JVM language popularity

I was lately interested in how popular the major JVM languages are in comparison, so I did some quick tests.

I compared Java, Scala, Groovy, Clojure and JRuby. I included both JRuby and Ruby in my queries, because JRuby isn’t really a distinct language.

The tests

Google

Quite obvious, eh? I searched for “x language” where x is one of the languages and wrote down the number of results. I’m fully aware that this isn’t a very good test.

Ruby 97,400,000
Java 46,200,000
Scala 29,200,000
Groovy 17,700,000
Clojure 3,460,000
JRuby 1,770,000
               

I thought Java would come out on top, surprised me.

Tiobe

The good old programming language popularity index.

Java #1
Ruby #13
Groovy #31
Clojure >#50
Scala >#50
JRuby Not listed
               

I thought Scala would do way better than Groovy.

GitHub

The most popular project hosting service.

Ruby #2
Java #5
Scala #18
Clojure #21
Groovy #22
JRuby Not listed
               

Scala, Clojure and Groovy are pretty close here.

StackOverflow

Probably the most important Q/A site for programmers.

Java 218,432
Ruby 41,435
Scala 8,104
Groovy 3,772
Clojure 2,762
JRuby 1,051
               

Java and Ruby are quite popular, the others less so.

Conclusion

Unsurprisingly, Java is by far the most popular language. So if alternative JVM languages are the future, the future doesn’t seem to be quite here yet.

The second place goes to Ruby. Ruby, not JRuby – it’s hard to figure out what percentage of the Ruby community is using JRuby.

Scala, Groovy and Clojure are similar in popularity. Sometimes Scala is on top, sometimes Groovy. Nonetheless, I’m actually most impressed by Clojure. It did pretty well, considering that it’s radically different to Java/Groovy/Scala and only 5 years old. (Groovy and Scala are both 9 years old, Java and Ruby both 18.)

Bottom line: When considering which JVM language (other than Java) to use, popularity can’t really be a factor. That’s good.

3 Responses to JVM language popularity

  1. The top results of “ruby language” all seemed to relate to the language I had in mind, but you’re right, a considerable portion of the results probably refers to other meanings of “ruby”. The Google test is pretty bad.

  2. Java doesn’t surprise me at all. At least in the “professional” sector, nearly every company still relies on Java. Many never heard of alternatives or adhere to Java because of its support by Oracle. I don’t think, that Ruby plays a big role on the JVM.

    The popularity of Jython would have been interesting, too. But there’s the same problem as with (J)Ruby.

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