Feb 07, 2020

How JetBrains and Kotlin can take over Java

JVM survey

Snyk, creator of popular developer security tools, released its annual JVM Ecosystem Report for 2020 that surveyed 2,000 Java developers. Here are the main takeaways you need to know:

Kotlin is growing fast. Kotlin, a new language created by JetBrains based on the JVM, grew 130% over the last year. It is now used by 5.5% of JVM developers and has surpassed both Clojure and Scala, other JVM languages that have been around for more than a decade.

Developers still overwhelmingly use Java as their main JVM language—87% of developers still prefer plain Java. But with Google’s endorsement of Kotlin for Android development, expect Kotlin to continue its rapid pace of growth and expect it to play a larger role in rejuvenating the Java community.

Java could move faster. Many developers don’t want to upgrade their Java tools.

When asked why they have not moved to more recent JDK versions, 27% of developers said that there are no features in newer versions that they need, 51% said their current setup works “just fine,” and 32% believed the cost of migration is too high.

That’s also why 64% of developers are still using Java 8 and just 25% are now using Java 11. All other versions sit at less than 5% usage each.

JetBrains is a behemoth that will play a bigger role in Java’s future. JetBrains, a Czech Republic based developer tools company, continues to dominate the Java IDE space.

In 2018, roughly 45% of Java developers used IntelliJ and 38% used Eclipse. Today, 62% use IntelliJ and just 20% use Eclipse. Nearly 48% of developers pay for IntelliJ Ultimate. At that rate, IntelliJ is poised to capture the vast majority of the Java IDE market.

Combine its work on IntelliJ with its work on Kotlin, and JetBrains controls a sizable portion of the Java software supply chain.

It’s beginning to pay off, too. JetBrains has not raised any venture funding since its founding in 2000, posted revenue north of $270M, and boasts more than 6M users.

What’s next? While many developers have flocked to Python and JavaScript, Java remains a popular language that powers much of the world’s software. Developers should continue to rely on even more innovation from influential players in the Java ecosystem.

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