Java Adoption Rises, Flattens

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What is the state of growth for Java today? Well, that all depends of the location of who you’re asking. According to the compilation of a global series of surveys conducted twice annually by Evans Data Corp. (EDC) in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and APAC (Asia Pacific), Java adoption is flourishing in some places, but seems to be topping out in others. This isn’t all that unusual, though, EDC President John Andrews said.


“Not surprisingly, we normally see differences in usage patterns for languages such as Java,” he explained. “What we’ve been seeing clearly is saturation in North America now, where there really is no growth. It’s flat. EMEA follows the same kind of trend. APAC is continuing to adopt Java at a more rapid pace. It exceeds the other groups by 10-plus percent.”


The survey involved about 1,200 respondents worldwide, which broke down roughly evenly between the three regions. The study showed that although Java is still quite popular, it’s facing more competition these days than ever before. “Java remains one of the more dominant programming languages,” Andrews said. “There’s still no question about that. But as we’ve seen in the past year-and-a-half, there are new innovations that have come to market that are apparently simpler. Java has gotten very complex in many ways.


In North America, Java growth leveled off due to a combination of an entrenched base of Microsoft users and increasingly diverse non-proprietary offerings. “Microsoft continues to move forward with its core platform and languages,” Andrews said. “Then you’ve also got the open-source movement now nipping away at both of them. We see Ajax, PHP and others that are similar to Java in terms of how to use it—Web-centric applications that are sometimes better for clients than Java is. There’s just more flexibility and tools out there today.” He added that EMEA is seeing similar conditions to those of North America, but that it was too early to tell if flattening Java growth would be a long-term trend for either region.


The Asia-Pacific market, though, has seen a great deal of Java adoption in the past few years due to a few reasons. “It’s interesting,” Andrews said. “We’ve seen open-source adoption and Java adoption in Asia that is quite a bit more than in EMEA or North America. The reason is that there’s just less invested in proprietary systems. If you recall, there were major pushes in the APAC region during the dot-com era both with Java and Linux. Given the fact that they were free, there was quite a lot of penetration back in those days. Wireless development in APAC is also stronger than what’s going on in North America and EMEA. Java plays very strong in that area as well.”


However, he added that Java growth in APAC was beginning to level out as well. “While we’re seeing the adoption level in APAC being considerably higher than in EMEA or North America, it should be noted that we also see it flattening out in terms of continued adoption. It’s at a nominal range higher than the other two regions, but it too has gone flat.”


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