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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Dynamic Languages on the JVM... Growth or Demise

TIOBE Index January 2011
Like most of you I saw the TIOBE Index this week. Java still holds the top slot, but the press is grinding out our slow inevitable demise.  My question to them is what language is replacing Java? I am not going to be such a zealot to assume that some day, hopefully in the distant future, Java will become COBOL. That day is not here.

One of the interesting observations was around dynamic languages. There was an overall decline, or stasis in dynamic languages. The exception being Python. My interest though is not in general languages like Python, or Ruby, but in their JVM compatible equivalents: Jython and JRuby. The press seems to group them in the "general" demise along with everything else.

I don't agree.

JRuby just released 1.6.0 RC1 on January 10th, 2011 and it will match pace with its parent Ruby when released. Jython has a new release candidate too: RC3 from January 11th, 2011.

I guess it is like a bumble bee, nobody told it: "You can't fly!" So it goes about its merry business like these projects. Nobody told them them of their imminent demise.

I believe that the decline of dynamic languages is real EXCEPT on the JVM. JRuby combined with Java has real staying power. It combines the ease of use in Ruby with the power and multitude of frameworks available in Java. I see growth here not decline.

It will be very interesting when JDK 7 is released later this year. The completion of JSR-292 Supporting Dynamic Languages on the JVM (InvokeDynamic) will breathe a new life into dynamic languages. If you are interested, it is already available. Just download OpenJDK to try it out.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
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