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Why Java in 2023?

Has there ever been a better time to be a Java programmer? From new Spring releases to active JUGs, the Java platform is experiencing a renaissance.

Why Java?

A six-month release cycle for the Java Platform gives Java developers something to look forward to at least twice a year. However, there's far more to get excited about for Java in 2023 than just two new JDK releases.

Here are 11 reasons why Java developers are in for an exciting year in 2023:

  1. The Java 20 release arrives
  2. Spring Boot 3 is out
  3. Jakarta 10 is here
  4. Spring Framework 6 is GA
  5. JPA enjoys Hibernate 6
  6. Learning Java gets easier
  7. JavaOne is back again
  8. Java syntax is easier
  9. Enhanced Visual Studio Code Support
  10. Universal support continues
  11. Java User Groups are live

1. 2023 brings in Java 20

Java 20, the next iteration of Java's six-month release cadence, arrives on Mar. 21, 2023. It's not a Long-Term Support (LTS) release; Java 17 was the most recent LTS and Java 21, the next one, arrives in September 2023.

Nevertheless, Java 20 is a milestone number. Impressive features packaged into the release include:

  • record patterns
  • scoped values
  • virtual threads
  • structured concurrency

When factored into an application, these features make Java more efficient, less verbose and easier to maintain over the long term.

2. Spring Boot 3 is out

Make JAR, not WAR.
Josh LongSpring developer advocate

For the first time in nearly five years, the Java community gets its hands on a full increment release of SpringBoot.

Spring Boot Version 3 became generally available in November 2022, and developers are just starting to sink their teeth into its new and updated libraries, including:

  • Spring Kafka 3.0
  • Spring Session 3.0
  • Spring GraphQL 1.1
  • Spring Batch 5.0
  • Spring Security 6.0

As Spring developer advocate Josh Long once said: "Make JAR, not WAR."

3. Jakarta EE 10 is here

In September 2022, the Jakarta EE 10 release went GA, and Java developers in 2023 will get to unpack all the updated features and libraries, including new versions of:

  • CDI
  • JMS
  • JSF
  • Servlets
  • JSPs
  • Security
  • Mail

The Java namespace turmoil is no longer a thing, and the community can move forward with Jakarta EE's first double-digit release.

4. Spring Framework 6.0

The Spring Framework revolutionized the concept of dependency injection and inversion of control when it was first released over 20 years ago.

Version 5 of the Spring Framework has proved stable, but it's also been around for over five years, and it required updates to take advantage of new JDK 17 features.

Version 6 of the core Spring Framework was released in November 2022. In 2023, Java and Spring developers get a chance to integrate these new libraries into their applications.

5. Hibernate 6

The most popular JPA library is Hibernate. It's the Java community's favorite way to perform object relational mapping, and is often used in conjunction with Spring-based applications.

Hibernate users have waited since 2015 -- seven years -- for a full increment update. They finally got it in October 2022, when Red Hat made Hibernate 6 generally available.

In alignment with JPA 3.0, Hibernate 6 supports the latest Jakarta EE standards, runs on JDK 17 and offers performance improvements for JDBC queries and HQL translations.

6. Java is easier to learn than ever

It'll be so much easier to learn Java in 2023 than it was in 2003.

In the past, you had to install the JDK, and an IDE, and hope every PATH and environment variable was set properly before you could begin to code. Also, in 2003, every Java program required a main method.

Back in 2017 with Java 9, JShell removed the main method requirement. Now there are IDEs as a service such as Replit and OneCompiler. As a result, today you can write your first Java application quickly and easily in the cloud.

The barriers to entry Java erected in the past are now gone, and Java is easier to learn than ever.

7. JavaOne is back again

Like most conferences, JavaOne disappeared during COVID-19. It returned in October 2022 with a venue change from San Francisco to Las Vegas -- which might not have been the best choice for a community concerned about large crowds and communicable diseases.

JavaOne will be back again in Las Vegas in September 2023. Hopefully even more fans of the platform will attend as COVID-19 concerns dissipate.

8. Java syntax is more readable

Python and C# developers often criticize Java as being overly verbose. However, language improvements with regard to shell scripting, exception handling and functional programming will silence those criticisms, as Java is more succinct than ever.

Still, Java continues to be highly expressive, which makes Java easier to write and maintain than the equivalent piece of code written in languages like Python or JavaScript.

The days of complaining about Java's verbosity are over. That's why Java is the right programming language for 2023.

9. Visual Studio Code supports Java

NetBeans and Eclipse are the two open source IDEs most popular with Java developers. However, in 2023, Java developers can join the ranks of JavaScript, C# and Node.js developers who love the relatively new Visual Studio Code IDE from Microsoft.

Microsoft has made major efforts to entice Java developers over to their Azure cloud platform. The company created its own distribution of the JDK, hired Java Champions to help optimize Java on the Azure platform, and even staffed one of the biggest exhibitor booths at JavaOne in 2022.

You can now add first-class Java support to the company's popular IDE to that list. If you want to move to an IDE with a more modern feel, or if you're a .NET developer who already has experience with Visual Studio Code, you're in luck.

There's never been a bad time to learn Java. Nevertheless, given all the new tools features, libraries, conferences and IDEs at a developer's disposal, there's never been a better time to answer the why Java now question.

10. Java still enjoys universal support

When Amazon releases a new cloud service, it's just assumed that a Java API will immediately follow. The same thinking applies to most enterprise services and tools. The Java community tends to take this for granted.

Developers in the Ruby, Rust and Go community are not always as lucky with vendor support. They often rely on open source projects to provide the API integration support they need.

Java developers should take some time to appreciate the universal support they enjoy.

11. Java User Groups are starting up again

Java User Groups (JUGs) died off during COVID-19, and they have been slow to start up as life returns to normal.

However, in-person meetings are once again gaining traction, as local Java developers return to building their communities.

For example, on Jan. 26 the Toronto JUG held its first in-person gathering since 2019. I plan to attend them regularly in 2023.

When tasked with the question of what's the best programming language to learn, or what's the best programming language to use, people often ask the question, Why Java?

In 2023, there are more answers to the why Java question than ever.

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