TL; DR: Spring Boot is growing at an exponential rate and is set to become the most popular Java Framework soon. Spring Framework and Netty continue to grow strongly
Framework: ‘a basic structure underlying a system, concept, or text.’
Over the course of last year, we took a closer look at popular frameworks across several programming languages, including Java. As we noted at the time one of the factors which drives the popularity of a language is the availability of frameworks and tools which enhance developer productivity
In the latest bi-annual update to our RedMonk Programming Language Rankings my colleagues Stephen O’Grady and Rachel Stephens once again found Java to be in the top three languages. While the popularity of Java continues to be a surprise to some, it is something we here in RedMonk have been highlighting for a long, long time. As James Governor rightly points out ‘Java is Dead is Dead’.
For the purposes of this analysis we looked at the frameworks we hear mentioned in our conversations around Java. These frameworks are primarily focused on the server side. This is by no means a fully exhaustive list, but it does capture the most popular frameworks that we see being used with Java (some frameworks are also used with other languages, such as Play, and some frameworks are layered together, such as Netty and VertX). We have also added in RatPack for this update, and always if there is a framework you feel we should be looking please do add a comment below or let me know on twitter.
We firstly looked at the top 15 frameworks, and as before two clear tiers emerged. The tier 1 frameworks consisted of
The Spring Boot Explosion
In our last look at Java frameworks we noted that Spring Boot was on an exponential curve, and over the last nine months it has leapfrogged both Netty and Play, with 76% growth. Interest in the Spring Framework continues to grow, at a 39% increase, but we anticipate Spring Boot over taking Spring as the initial starting point for Java developers in the coming year.
A Closer Look at Tier 1 Frameworks
Commits & Issues
While stars are useful proxy for interest in a framework, commits and issues are a more interesting measure of the vibrancy of the community.
In terms of commit activity Spring, Spring Boot, Play and Netty are the most active, while on the issues front Spring Boot, Netty and Play take a clear lead.
Commercial & Community Contributions Tier 1 Frameworks
For each of the tier 1 frameworks we identified, where possible, commercial contributions and issues raised, and split into three distinct groups – the primary commercial entity contributing code and/or raising issues, other commercial entities and the wider community.
Unsurprisingly given their stewardship of the project Pivotal are by far the largest commercial contributor to Spring. We do see the wider community raising most of the issues with Spring, again unsurprising given the wide adoption of the Spring Framework.
Spring also has support for Kotlin, which we anticipate some significant future growth in.
Once again Pivotal are by far the largest contributor to Spring Boot. On the issues front the rapidly growing community is reflected in the number of monthly issues being created.
Netty, formerly part of the JBoss project, remains extremely popular. There is no clear commercial sponsor at this point, but a large degree of commercial interest. Interestingly Apple now create the most issues, but this predominantly due to a single contributor, and this activity has dropped off in recent months.
Lightbend (formerly Typesafe) lead in both contributions and issues with, although this activity very closely tracks the community involvement.
The lead engineers for Spark Java work for Sony Mobile, which continues to be the largest commerical contributor. The wider community continues to raise the majority of issues.
Spark also has support for Kotlin, which we anticipate some significant future growth in.
The largest commercial contributor to Vert.X is RedHat, with the majority of issues coming from the wider community.
Vert.X also has support for Kotlin, which we anticipate some significant future growth in.
DropWizard was originally developed by Yammer, who remain the largest contributor to the project in code commits. The wider community contributes almost all of the issues related to DropWizard.
Commercial Support & Licensing Information
When we move to large scale enterprise deployments, commercial support can become a significant factor, only three of the tier 1 frameworks currently have formal commercial support. All of the Tier 1 frameworks are available under an Apache 2.0 license.
|Spring Boot||Pivotal||Apache 2.0|
Red Hat considered possible
Eclipse 1.0, Apache 2.0
|Spark Java||None||Apache 2.0|
Notes on the analysis
- Data was pulled in early June 2017
- Where possible we have identified commercial contributions to a project, but there will be some minor gaps and inaccuracies in this mapping.
Disclaimers: Pivotal, Red Hat, Oracle, Lightbend (formerly TypeSafe) are current RedMonk customers.
Updates: July 3rd 2017 – added Vert.x twitter account and a note on Kotlin support for Vert.x
This Week in Spring – June 27th, 2017 | Alexius DIAKOGIANNIS says:
June 27, 2017 at 3:05 am
[…] Redmonk’s latest look at Java language and framework popularity, Spring and Spring Boot seem to be doing quite […]
Java Weekly, Issue 183 | Baeldung says:
June 29, 2017 at 9:15 am
[…] >> Language Framework Popularity: A Look at Java, June 2017 [redmonk.com] […]
Spring Boot and the Peloton - Enterprise Irregulars says:
June 30, 2017 at 2:24 pm
[…] they can be rather deceptive. But there are some other metrics to consider. In looking at the GitHub landscape for Java frameworks Fintan this week came up with some interesting […]
July 1, 2017 at 3:28 pm
Hi, how about adding the Pippo framework https://github.com/decebals/pippo to the report?
July 3, 2017 at 11:28 am
Thanks Serban, we have noted Pippo for the next update.
Julien Viet says:
July 1, 2017 at 9:39 pm
I’m the current Eclipse Vert.x project lead
A few things about the project
– Vert.x has a twitter account : @vertx_project
– the analysis is based on a single Vert.x GitHub repository and suffers from a bias when it comes to repository analysis : commits, issues, activity
This article seems to be a refresh of a previous article, so I’m assuming there will be new updates to this article, can they take in account the remarks above ?
You can get in touch with me directly to discuss about this
July 3, 2017 at 11:11 am
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Can you list the other repos you feel we should be looking at? They can be added in. I’ll update the twitter details shortly. Yes this is a refresh, there will be another in about six months time, but as Vert.x is included lets get the data updated in this article.
Julien Viet says:
July 1, 2017 at 9:40 pm
Vert.x also supports Kotlin since 3.4 🙂
July 3, 2017 at 11:27 am
Kotlin support note added, thank you.
Notes from the field – Spring Boot at Tesla and New Relic - Enterprise Irregulars says:
August 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm
[…] and Spring Boot have emerged as the key frameworks driving Java forward. Developer interest is off the charts. But alongside the data, a good anecdote or two can be helpful in understanding the landscape. A […]
JavaOne 2017 – Oracle Competing with Amazon, Going Serverless, Open Source, Vectoring Above The Clouds and Kubernetes « Peter Pilgrim :: Java Champion :: Digital Developer Architect says:
October 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm
[…] brought out on stage James Governor of the analysis form Red Monk in order to draw a thick black line under the open source process. There is to be zero differences […]