State of the Java Ecosystem

State of the Java ecosystem - image of coffee cup lying on its side spilling out coffee beans

I was doing some research as a follow-up on a previous post on which JDK version should you use.

I was curious as to which JVM/JDK versions developers were actually using and from which manufacturers. As with all research on the Web, it’s so easy to go down rabbit holes, and sometimes so difficult to find our way back out of them.

I found a lot of reports on the state of the Java ecosystem by a number of different companies. Most had a stake of some description in the Java ecosystem. Some sold commercial Java products such as telemetry systems or monitoring tools or IDEs. Some built and provided OpenJDK distributions for free as well.

I think most reports were as honest as they could be, being transparent about how many people responded to their surveys, or where and how they got their data. I didn’t pick up any serious abnormalities. All the reports appeared to report on very similar topics, with very similar results. Obviously JDK versions and usages changed every year, but fairly predictably.

Java Versions

The latest 2023 reports indicate that three Java LTS versions (Java 8 at 33/50%, Java 11 at 56/38% and Java 17 at 9/45%) were used most regularly in production. The percentages reported vary quite widely, probably due to differences in data gathering mechanisms, when the reports were completed (beginning or end of the year), or when new JDK versions were released. The important thing to take away here is not the actual percentages, but that the top spots are held by LTS releases. It appears that most developers play it safe and avoid non-LTS versions for production.


Other things didn’t change much. Spring Boot and Spring MVC dominated as application frameworks over a number of years and across a number of different reports. Spring Boot usage was reported as between 58% and 72%. Spring MVC was reported as between 29% and 41%. Most other IoC/DI frameworks came in at around 3% to 5%.

JUnit dominated as a unit testing framework. Its usage was reported at around 85%, while the closest rival was Mockito at 46%.

Build Systems and IDEs

Maven is the number one build system, being about twice as popular as Gradle. The percentage of developers using Maven hovers consistently around 75%, while Gradle scores in the region of 40% to 50%. Ant usage dropped from 11% in 2021 to 6% in 2023.

The most popular IDE by far is IntelliJ IDEA, scoring between 72% and 78%, with Eclipse and Visual Studio Code trailing at around 6% to 8%. One report was an outlier here reporting around 24% for Eclipse and VS Code. (Or maybe the 6% to 8% numbers are outliers — that report was published by JetBrains who develop IntelliJ).

Further Reading and Signing Off

Too many numbers already! There are lots of other interesting statistics in the reports, none of which I want to inundate you with at the moment.

The three most interesting reports (in chronological order) were:

Was this interesting? Please share your comments, and as always, stay safe and keep learning!

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