How fast are JVM-based languages growing among developers?

The Big Three – Scala, Clojure and Groovy.

The following is an article written by TheCodeGeneral (not too sure who he is, but is quite respected in the community and very well read):

There have recently been two large JVM language polls (poll1, poll2). These polls have yielded some very interesting data. The results of the two polls differ due to differences between the audiences from which the voters were drawn. Clojure fared particularly well (ahead of Scala and Groovy) in the poll I ran due to many of the voters coming from the LISP friendly HackerNews community. The DZone poll which drew a slightly larger number of voters (primarily Java devs. from the dzone community) favoured Groovy, with Scala in second place, followed by Clojure. One thing which stands out in the results of both polls is the clear separation between “The Big Three” JVM languages (Scala, Clojure and Groovy) and the rest. This “Tier One” group represents alternative JVM languages which have garnered the most support among developers.

In order to get a better picture of popularity spanning both polls I combined the results and plotted a chart. “The Big Three” and JRuby (an honorable mention) are included in the chart. In the combined vote counts Scala, Clojure and Groovy are closely matched:

Popularity amongst developers does not always necessarily translate directly into commercial adoption. draws its data from a very large number of job websites and as such is an ideal source of data regarding commercial adoption. Running The Big Three languages through their job trends system yields some interesting results:

In the data both Groovy and Scala are showing signs of significant commercial adoption, with Clojure trailing. This is consistent with the DZone poll results and adds support to my theory that Clojure support draws heavily from hobbyists and lisp hackers rather than commercial organizations. Groovy comes out on top in this chart. The big three contains two dynamically typed languages (Groovy, Clojure) and one statically typed language (Scala).

The most encouraging outcome of the last few years has been the flourishing ecosystem around new JVM languages. A decade ago the CLR was being proclaimed as *the* runtime to support multiples languages. Thanks to the community the JVM is looking more and more like the preferred target for new languages, innovation and research.

8 Responses to “How fast are JVM-based languages growing among developers?”

  1. edude03

    This article was cooler when the title said “Grooby”. Still good article, I think I’m going to take a look at JVM targeted languages soon myself as the performance trade off isn’t bad at all anymore, actually tests have shown that the JVM can outperform C in some cases.

  2. tdignan

    The indeed data is bogus. That thing finds tons of job posting that contain phrases like “Looking for a groovy housekeeper” or “Need a groovy musician for my band.” “Scala” and “Clojure” are not words used in common verbiage, so the signal is clearer. However the groovy result is exaggerated. Very interesting stats, though.

    • Judah Johns

      To be honest, finding hard data on any language is hard since most is self-reported or in some way or another, anecdotal. That said, it is nice to have an idea of what the numbers could be.

  3. Ranking the Programming Languages | Platform as a Service Magazine

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  5. van Geir

    Why did you restrict the sample to “JVM-languages”. If you’d chosen “multi-platform languages”, your results would’ve been different. Scala, Clojure, and JRuby would’ve been in the sample (though not Groovy). Many other languages would’ve qualified also, e.g. any language in

  6. The Jelastic Newsletter - May 16, 2012

    [...] One of the biggest takeaways from this data, other than the fact that it’s nice to see how at least two of these are growing in commercial adoption, is that the JVM is looking more and more like the target of preference for new languages, research and innovation. You can read the whole article here. [...]


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