The Java landscape moves fast, and with potential changes to OpenJDK release cadence, it’s poised to move even faster. For people like Michael Rasmussen, Head of Development at JRebel by Perforce, staying abreast of these changes, and understanding how they’ll impact development is paramount to creating features that resonate within the Java development community, keeping his application current with the latest versions of popular Java technologies, and developing new features, improvements, and integrations for JRebel.
Recently, I sat down with Michael to discuss the Java trends that teams should watch for in 2022.
It’s hard to talk about Java without mentioning the recent LTS release, Java 17. Do you think Java 17 will drive Java 8 level adoption? Or is it more akin to a Java 11?
MR: Frankly, no. Java 8 had the benefit of a big feature that drove adoption. Java 17 doesn’t have that big feature, and while there are many benefits in moving to Java 17 if you’re on Java 8, it’s unlikely to be a single feature that drives a lot of teams to move. That makes it unlikely that Java 17 will drive the level of widescale adoption we saw for Java 8.
Looking at the release roadmap, and the state of the various Java enhancement projects, is there an upcoming feature that you think will drive adoption at that level?
MR: I think the next big adoption event we’ll see in Java will coincide with Project Valhalla and the addition of value types to the language. But, even accounting for the faster LTS release cadence, I would guess it won’t be included in an LTS release until Java 25.
You mentioned a new release cadence for Java, can you tell us more about that?
MR: Well, I should say that it’s a potential change to the release cadence. It’s not set in stone yet, but it certainly looks like it will be – especially given that all the big OpenJDK vendors are on board. It would shift the LTS release cadence from every three, to every two years.
How do you think that would impact the Java ecosystem?
MR: That’s a big question, but I think the long-term impact will be that you’ll see even less adoption of non-LTS releases. In essence, why would you adopt an intermediary release when you can wait less than two years to adopt an LTS version with your desired feature? That’s not to say that people aren’t adopting non-LTS releases – it’s just that most Java teams aren’t equipped to upgrade to the latest versions as they’re released.
On the other hand, the rapid release cadence means that the minor upgrades are usually no-issue upgrades. If you have a project, or you are starting one, it might be best to aim for the LTS version that aligns with the expected project release and use the latest non-LTS versions during development.
Java 18 and 19 are set to be released in 2022, any features to keep an eye on?
MR: I think foreign function interface and Vector API will probably be the features to watch in 2022. I would expect both to be finalized for Java 19. On the language side of things, I think we will keep seeing more and more pattern matching enhancements.
JRebel conducts a Java industry survey every year, any technology trends you expect to see continue in this year’s report?
MR: At the framework level, I think you’ll continue to see microservice frameworks like Micronaut and Quarkus gain market share on Spring Boot. However, Spring Framework 6 and Spring Boot 3 are scheduled to be released in the second half of 2022, so Spring isn’t going out without a fight.
Another thing to consider with the new Spring releases is that they will be targeting Java 17 and Jakarta EE 9, which might help drive adoption of Java 17.
For IDEs, I think IntelliJ IDEA will still be the number one IDE in use, but I also think we’ll see a lot more VSCode as a secondary or even primary tool.
I should also mention that this year’s survey will be open until at least the end of November 2021. We’re trying to get as many people involved as possible. So, if you’re working in Java, please take a few moments to complete the survey. I will also be participating in a webinar for JRebel in December where our team will be making more predictions about the Java landscape, you can keep an eye out for that here .
Readers can find Michael Rasmussen on Twitter at @jmichaelras, or read his latest blogs at https://www.jrebel.com/blog. Previous editions of the JRebel Java Developer Productivity Report and other Java-related resources can be found at https://www.jrebel.com/resources.
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