back to article OOP there it is: You'd think JavaScript's used more by devs than Java... but it's not – JetBrains survey

Java remains the most-used language among developers despite the apparent greater usage of JavaScript, according to a major new survey conducted by Czech developer tool outfit JetBrains. JetBrains is best known for its IntelliJ IDEA Java IDE, which also forms the basis for other IDEs including Google's Android Studio. Its …

  1. trickie

    Honestly, do you really think this counts as journalism?

    “But we can trust this data with some assumptions as we do have quite a lot of respondents who are not our customers."

    And what percentage of all developers does “quite a lot” represent? No one knows. Why can we trust this data?

    “Such bias is no reason to dismiss the survey, particularly from JetBrains, which is the dominant commercial vendor when it comes to IDEs. The company also has free community editions, and Android Studio is based on the community version of IntelliJ.”

    Why is it no reason to dismiss the survey? Because you say so? Because they do? Because they have a free version?

    1. Tim Anderson (Written by Reg staff)

      According to the analyst, about 40% of the respondents were not JetBrains customers so our of 19.5K that's about 7,800. The difficulty is that all these dev surveys have some sort of bias; it seemed to me that the company was being straight about this. StackOverflow is biased towards SO users; GitHub is GitHub users.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        It would be interesting to see the stats on that 40% separated out from the JetBrains customers. I bet those figures would have given a completely different picture.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          "I bet those figures would have given a completely different picture."

          We should ask them. Though if the TIOBE index is any indication, it might not be the results you are looking for...

      2. trickie

        So what? Perhaps the 40% of the respondents represents 1% of none-java developers. Who knows? The fact something is a big number doesn’t make it significant. So in that case the whole premise of the “article” would be garbage.

        This is a thinly veiled advertisement. I’ve no problem with that. But the author doesn’t call that out. That’s bad journalism. Call it what it is.

        1. Gonzo wizard

          Thinly veiled advertisement

          You've just summed up every conversation with, and press release from, any vendor that is published by a news site (or El Reg). Personally I take that as read from the start for this type of article.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge

        to add to the credibility of the JetBrains survey, see The TIOBE Index, where Java has been _the_ most popular language for the most of the last few years, occasionally trading places with 'C' in popularity (as with the last couple o' months, it seems).

        C: 17.2%

        Java: 16.1%

        JavaScript: 2.3%

        (but if you combine C with C++, that would make the two of them together the most popular, something worth pointing out)

        So now that JetBrains has results that are at least _similar_ to the long-running TIOBE index, I tend to believe them more. As opposed to "the other one".

        [now I would just like to see IntelliJ made more efficient, and particularly made more useful for C and C++ dev on Windows and POSIX/X11 systems, like a 'DevStudio' might be, otherwise it's good enough for 'droid dev]

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Journalism, Press Releases, and Surveys

      Journalists sometimes report on press releases and press releases sometimes highlight surveys and surveys are often biased. Such is life.

      Pick your answer and you can find a survey to support it.

      Unfortunately, in this case, JetBrains had to explain why second place was really first place.

      I'll file this under "Things That Make You Go Hmmm"

      1. yoganmahew

        Re: Journalism, Press Releases, and Surveys


        "Unfortunately, in this case, JetBrains had to explain why second place was really first place."

        They've chosen the already accepted answer though, that many have to do a bit of Javascript for the front-end and I think they've chosen a good method to expose it by asking what the main language used in the last year was.

    3. /\/\j17

      Honestly, do you really think this counts as journalism?

      Yes exactly BECAUSE of the point you raised - rather than just blindly copy/paste the JetBrains press release as a fluff piece, or scan read the first couple of lines of it and write 'shock and awe' piece Mr Anderson has read it, analysed it and clearly raised the concern that the numbers may contain a degree of bias to us, the reader.

      Read articles on this report on half of online 'news' sites and it will just be an intro paragraph of "New survey says JavaScript is dead.", followed by the press release more or less verbatim.

      Read this article on the IT news equivalent of the Daily Mail and it would be "New survey says JavaScript is dead. Won't someone think of the children! Unnamed sources in the IT industry (probably the journo. writing the piece) say this will lead to billions of job losses in the next 48 minutes and is a result in the huge infulx of foreign Java developers.".

    4. Anonymous Coward

      > Honestly, do you really think this counts as journalism?

      Just because you're a Notepad user...

    5. Someone Else Silver badge

      @trickie --

      Sounds like your feelings got hurt because your favorite language didn't show up in the top n, or that it showed a modest to steep decline in popularity.

      Its a survey. Get over it!

    6. thames

      Every survey is inherently biased, because the answers only come from people who were able to be contacted and are willing to answer surveys. It's also going to be biased because many people who use multiple languages will have subjective and incorrect opinions on which language was their primary language.

      What it does indicate is general categories and trends. Various other surveys by other parties also show the same trilogy of Java, Javascript, and Python as being the most commonly used languages, so this survey fits in with other independent sources.

    7. uncredited

      It literally says in the article:

      "The big part of the response are using our tools currently, it's about 60 per cent so there is definitely a bias towards our customers. "

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, to be fair, a lot of people think the fact JavaScript runs in all the client browsers means it has the biggest footprint, but that isn't true by a long shot. That is only the presentation layer on top of all the business logic, database mappings, interprocess communications, job scheduling, and a host of other services and provisioning requirements that have to be coded for the server side of things.

    JavaScript is ill-suited to server programming. The server is coded in Java. So while the presentation team has to know JavaScript and usually knows Java as well, the server side people are exclusively Java and the tools to be integrated by the Java code.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      re: The server is coded in Java.

      Yeah, that's right grandad!

      1. Gonzo wizard

        Re: re: The server is coded in Java.

        Harsh but true. I sometimes use Kotlin instead of Java.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: re: The server is coded in Java.

          Kotlin, yeah.

          I think 'droid adopted it as a backup plan to the ongoing legal dispute between Google and Sun/Oracle. I've chatted online with people who really like it, but they admit there's a somewhat steep learning curve of a month or so before they become as competent with Kotlin/Droid as they already are with Java/Droid.

          Something to consider, maybe...

          (last I checked Kotlin was barely a blip on the TIOBE index, below COBOL at number 30)

    2. James Anderson

      No. The server side is coded in php.

      1. Gonzo wizard


        You forgot to use the right icon. FTFY.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        @James Anderson --

        No. The server side is coded in php.

        For very small values of 'coded'.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      JavaScript is ill-suited to server programming.

      I actually quite like node, it definitely has its place. And Mongo.

      I use Flask mostly be because it has The libraries I need, but thank goodness we have python extensions to ease JSON use and talk to the JS on the browser.

  3. Blackjack Silver badge

    Take it with a grain of salt

    The main reason no one usually has Javascript as their only language is that's is used online a lot and if you write code for online stuff Javascript is not enough. You need flavors of HTML4/5, PHP, CSS and other things.

    And of course a good fancy editor to put it all together.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: You need flavors of HTML4/5, PHP, CSS and other things.

      Yeah, you have to have PHP to render a web page.

      1. Tomato42

        Re: You need flavors of HTML4/5, PHP, CSS and other things.

        yes, but you still program it in HTML

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Take it with a grain of salt

      "And of course a good fancy editor to put it all together."

      pluma! Or I suppose, you COULD use IntelliJ... or Eclipse...

      /me does a LOT with embedded web thingies on RPi and pluma is an excellent editor when you run the editor on the RPi itself, but ALSO use an X Server on a networked Linux box via the DISPLAY environment var on the RPi side. I've tried remote X11 with things like IntelliJ before, from within a Linux VM specifically, and the results weren't that impressive.

  4. cloth

    Python !?

    I love it - I was using python in 1996 for the pre-cursor of IBM's Websphere app server and here it is - making a "resurgence" :-) I've always thought that one of the biggest issues computing is that it has no lingua franca. So, to hear that a language has survived all this time despite all the "excitement" around yet another new language is heart-warming. Maybe one-day a language or three will be it - no more, net, nix and we can all get on with doing what we're supposed to be doing which is writing really hard to define logic into machines.

    Just a thought - I can't wait for the backlash from the "but this language doesn't" brigade - sigh, my point exactly.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Python !?

      Not sure survival is a good metric. Basic is still going (and still taught in some schools).

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Python !?

        Maybe at Trump University or "schools" of that ilk....

    2. thames

      Re: Python !?

      The reason that there's no one language to do everything is because every useful language includes some sort of assumptions about the problem domain built into it. The more closely that language's assumptions match what it is you need to do, the better optimised it is for your purposes. Conversely, the more optimised a language is for some purpose other than your own, the less likely it is to be suited for what you want to do.

      Consider for example industrial ladder logic. It's fantastically optimised for expressing logic for and debugging industrial machinery. It would be spectacularly crap however if you tried to use it to write an ERP system. Java and other similar languages would be similarly crap at doing the sorts of jobs that ladder logic is used for.

      So if you need to connect your factory floor to your ERP system, then what you need is ways to connect different systems together, not try to use one language to do both.

      1. Palpy

        Re: "...assumptions about the problem domain..."

        I'd not thought about it in those terms, being under-educated, but I do now. Have an upvote.

        Many large-scale industrial automation offerings (Siemens, Rockwell, Yokogawa, etc) include ladder logic, function block, sequence table, and script-based programming languages. (Seems like I'm forgetting one or two there.) Seen through your paradigm, the different languages on offer can be used to more efficiently solve different types of automation problems.

        Ferinstance, back inna day, we had to interface a factory-programmed (no touchie, no touchie!) Win RT controller with a plant-wide automation system using a limited-bandwidth connection. Multiplexing the data propelled our staff into the scripting language provided by our master automation package; I'm sure we could have eventually handled the MUX using function blocks and sequence tables, but the scripting was a faster and cleaner solution in this case.

        More to the topic at hand, a recent toy app I made uses Javascript for the interface (easy to use any of my home machines, running various OSes) and Python behind the scenes for some file operations. Fits well with the "problem domain built into [the language]" concept, I guess.

    3. James Anderson

      Re: Python !?

      Nice language but it eats cpu. FORTRAN is the poster child for long lived languages, closely followed by COBOL which tends to prove longevity is not a good metric.

  5. Gonzo wizard
    Thumb Up

    Long-term IntelliJ user incoming...

    First used IntelliJ 4 in 2003-2004, returned to IntelliJ in 2010 and haven't looked back. If you're working outside of iOS/mac/Windows platform development it is a rich and comprehensive product. I pay for (well, rent) the enterprise edition. If I stop paying I have a perpetual licence for the version available at my last renewal.

    You can tell that they dogfood but I won't pretend it is perfect. Issues are responded to promptly even if the fix isn't so prompt. JetBrains has been my best experience of product support as a paying customer, end of.

  6. Buzzword

    This metric doesn't measure "popularity"

    Let's say you have a particular functionality requirement. It takes 20 hours to code it in Java, but only 10 hours to code it in Javascript. Your metric would conclude that Java is twice as popular as Javascript; when in fact it's just twice as tedious.

    I'm not claiming that Java is less productive than Javascript; just that we can't tell from the given metric alone.

    1. Kubla Cant

      Re: This metric doesn't measure "popularity"

      It takes 20 hours to code it in Java, but only 10 hours to code it in Javascript

      And 10 days to work out why the Javascript version doesn't work quite as specified.

      1. J27

        Re: This metric doesn't measure "popularity"

        Typescript can help with that. I'm a recent convert, but now that I'm using it I find that it really helps finding those mistakes that would have taken ages before.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Another survey, another favorite language

    What a surprise. A vendor specialized in Java publishes a survey that demonstrates that Java is the most preferred language.

    I've heard news about bears in the woods, want me to tell you ?

    1. Mark192

      Re: Another survey, another favorite language

      Yeah, the person that said that the big number of respondents didn't make it accurate got voted down. Didn't think we'd have statistically naive people knocking around this website.

  8. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

    I just can't get away with them...

    Does anybody else have problems with IDE's ?

    I have tried several of them and find them useful for the automated build/project control stuff but just find they are too cluttered when it comes to hacking code. jetbrains is horrendous, there are pains (sic) all over the place, thin narrow vertical and horizontal areas down the edges, you daren't click on some places because it changes the whole screen layout and then you take half an hour trying to get back the view you had so you can continue on with coding.

    I even find the code completion clunky.

    I like vi/vim and keep falling back to that.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: I just can't get away with them...

      OK, boomer.

      1. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

        Re: I just can't get away with them...

        That looks as if you have something wrong with your expect script.

        Bl**dy script kiddy :-)

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: I just can't get away with them...

        /me facepalms

    2. Swiss Anton

      Re: I just can't get away with them...

      vi! You lightweight. What's wrong with edlin, or maybe even punching your own cards. Sheesh, what a snowflake.

      (Icon - closest I could find to a hair shirt)

      1. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

        Re: I just can't get away with them...

        I hated edlin - I'd cut my teeth on CP/M's ed and found edlin to be clunky too :-)

        Wish I had enough hair for a shirt :-(

      2. FIA Silver badge

        Re: I just can't get away with them...

        vi! You lightweight. What's wrong with edlin, or maybe even punching your own cards. Sheesh, what a snowflake.


        Then simply make no mistakes.

    3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: I just can't get away with them...

      A giant monitor is what you need.

      There are many projects where you'll never get anything done without an IDE. Golang has functions pretending to be methods. Scala has invisible implicits everywhere to make it work (or not). Java and Scala have giant stream pipelines where intermediate values are beyond tedious to calculate manually.

      Alternately, you could work some place that's using so many garbage Spring/EE frameworks and custom build pipelines that an IDE has no ability to analyze the code.

    4. Palpy

      Re: IDEs? I've heard of them...

      I did use a JetBrains IDE awhile back, I think it was PyCharm (on Windows), and there was some particular reason for using it. Which I can no longer remember. Maybe it had to do with a specialized Python module for pulling OPC data. I wasn't crazy about the IDE itself. But that was donkey's years ago.

      However, I throw my towel in with the crowd who find IDEs generally useful. Oh, might as well say it -- I throw in the towel, period.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I just can't get away with them...

      The IDEs I use let you rearrange the view or hide panes anytime you like. What sort of crazy IDEs are you using?

      Maybe try an advanced editor like Atom, simplier than a whole IDE but with lots of helpful features. Although the VI mention makes me think you might be trolling us.

    6. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I just can't get away with them...

      I did try out pycharm, but binned it quickly because it’s a fat bloated wallowing thing part coded in java.

      Eclipse similarly overdone, so there is overhead wasted in messing with the ide.

      I am increasingly drawn to lightweight, simplified tools that don’t get in the way.

  9. Kubla Cant

    ...Python developers fancy working in Go, for example, and ... Java programmers. The next most-fancied languages are Kotlin, Python, Rust and TypeScript

    In my three decades as a code monkey, this has been an enduring phenomenon. Most people want to learn a new language and try to spot the candidate that will be most interesting or lucrative. Five years ago everyone was desperate to know Scala. I'm embarrassed to recall the hot skills from thirty years ago.

    Maybe I'm just lazy, but I find it difficult to learn a language without a job to do in it. It's even harder to convince potential employers that you are professionally competent in something you've mostly used in your spare time.

  10. Mark192

    Would be better with fewer gushing bits from the press release

    Interesting but the article would be better with fewer gushing bits lifted from the press release - those bits don't really mesh with the normal tone of The Register.

    Article still a fk-ton better than any others based around the same release (what's with the standard of journalism on this site, how is it so high?)

    1. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

      Re: Would be better with fewer gushing bits from the press release

      ...the standard of journalism on this site, how is it so high?

      You are the new DG of the BBC and I claim my free TV licence.

  11. J27

    This survey is of people who uses Jetbrains products, so of course Java will be #1, Jetbrain's Java IDE is their best-selling product product. This is like annoucing the results of Microsoft's Visual Studio developer survey and saying that C# is the number one used language.

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