Top 4 Java Trends of 2024
2024 is kicking into high gear. As Java enterprise development shops work to implement new features and go to market faster, everyone is searching for the latest innovative feature or tool to save time.
Cutting-edge IDEs look to edge out longtime Java IDE mainstays IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse. AI tools as varied as GitHub Copilot and ChatGPT can help automate writing basic code. And Java 21 will be adopted at faster rates than any other Java LTS version before it due to Oracle’s pledge to increase the cadence of long-term support Java versions.
So to save you the trouble of endless research, here are 5 of the top Java development trends for this year—and how you can implement them in your Java development practice.
1. Cutting-Edge IDEs Will Gain Momentum
IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse have long held their rank as the two most popular Java IDEs, but that pecking order may be changing.
Microsoft Visual Studio Code, or VSCode, is well-regarded for its robust debugging features and multi-language capabilities. Best of all, it’s free, and hundreds of VSCode extensions (including JRebel) expand its features. It focuses on providing the core functionality that a developer needs to write Java code and allowing the developer to add extensions addressing their specific needs instead of providing all the functionality you could ever possibly need but never actually use.
Jetbrains Fleet, currently in beta, also looks to disrupt the IDE market in similar ways to VSCode. Fleet uses the IntelliJ code-processing engine with a distributed IDE architecture and a sleek user interface.
2. More Organizations Will Upgrade to Java 21
Each year, the Java Developer Productivity Report finds that Java developers cite long-term support as one of the most important factors for upgrading Java versions—often trading spots with security features.
At one time, Oracle only released new versions with major updates and changes in the JDK. Now we have a much more regular cadence, with Oracle releasing new Java versions every six months (March and September). Each of these releases contains a handful of new features and bug fixes. Every four releases, however, Oracle introduces a new Java LTS, or long term support, version.
The release of Java 21 in September 2023 marked the shift of that cadence from every three years to every two years—and that version was loaded with permanent and preview features like virtual threads, syntax improvements, and upgraded libraries.
Many of these development teams are also using JDKs managed by third parties like AdoptOpenJDK, Amazon Corretto and others who still provide support for these older application environments.
🛠️ Looking for JDK support?Talk to an expert.
While 31% of Java developers still use Java 8 (according to the 2023 Java Developer Productivity Report), many organizations may be looking to leapfrog to Java 21 in the coming year.
3. AI Will Assist With Manual Development Tasks
As Java developers are tasked with doing more development with less resources, they’re turning to novel tools and tactics to make that happen. And one such tool is writing Java code with AI (artificial intelligence).
According to our most recent Java Developer Productivity Report, Java developers are not only turning to mainstream AI tools like Bard and ChatGPT, but also specialized tools like GitHub Copilot.
We’re not suggesting that robots are going to take over for real human developers, but as these tools become better trained and more refined, look for them to be loyal assistants for more manual tasks.
4. Productivity Teams Will Become Commonplace
Perhaps our boldest prediction for the coming year is the increasing importance that Java development productivity teams will play in developing best practices and testing tools. We’re already seeing it every week at JRebel.
As we move into 2024, developer experience is more important than ever—not just for improving work process but also for increasing job satisfaction. And businesses are taking notice as the Java developer workforce shortage continues.
According to CTO Rod Cope, “... it can be incredibly demotivating for coders to join a new company and then discover they will spend most of their days completing processes, writing reports, and attending meetings. After all, they did not aspire to become developers so that they could fill in spreadsheets and consequently, may decide to look elsewhere.”
So to alleviate that pain point, organizations are turning to dedicated productivity teams to test tools and implement best practices. The early results show that this approach can help businesses of all sizes streamline their Java tech stack, improve productivity, and enable Java developers to spend more time actually coding. Companies able to focus on this will gain happier development teams with lower burnout rates than average.
Looking for further ways to accelerate Java development in 2024? Try JRebel. By eliminating redeploys, Java developers can visualize code changes instantly while maintaining application state. While those 3-5 minute lulls don’t seem like a huge time sink independently, they can add up to more than a month of Java development time annually.
Want to see how much time you could save by eliminating redeploys? See for yourself during your 14-day free trial of JRebel.