2016 look ahead: JVM Coding Languages

In this post I take a look at the future of four coding languages for the JVM; Java, Scala, Clojure and Kotlin. The ‘JVM’ stands for the Java Virtual Machine and it has become a popular development platform powering many early Internet sites and now it’s a popular choice for cloud applications.


We will need to wait until 2017 for the next version which will include ‘Project Jigsaw’. I don’t expect much change in the Java landscape until then. Right now, I feel that the project to watch is the OpenJDK project. This is primarily due to Google, who might be looking to shift to OpenJDK for their popular Android mobile OS.


The next version of Scala will refocus on ‘DOT’ which would enable Scala to compile not only for the JVM, but also for Javascript engines. The radical thinking by Martin Odersky and team is a gamble that could lead to an impressive future for the Scala language.


The challenge for Clojure is that there is a well known gap where niche adoption gives way to broad acceptance, unfortunately Clojure has been trying to overcome that gap for some time and still has been largely unsuccessful. There is still a lot to like about the Clojure ecosystem as they continue to deliver yearly releases.


The newest language on this list is Kotlin and it is trying to be the ‘Thomas the tank engine’ of languages. The exciting thing about Kotlin is that it offers many improvements over stock Java and it could quickly become the go to alternative for Java veterans. With version 1.0 fully released, I expect to see it used on more serious projects and for adoption to increase significantly this year.

Final thoughts

I left a couple favorite JVM languages off the list. This is because I expect very little change from these projects in the next year.

The Groovy language was abandoned by Pivotal and now is incubator status with the Apache project. While Groovy is a mature project, it will take the Apache project some time to get this project moving forward again.

Another project that I absolutely adore is the JRuby project. However for serious long term production development I see Ruby users switching to Clojure (or maybe even Groovy) instead of using JRuby.

Copyright (c) Matthew Jackowski, 2016. Photo: © Africa Studio — Fotolia.com.

Originally published at brilliantcoding.com on March 24, 2016.

Published in Techspiration + Ideas + Making It Happen.