Study: Java to overtake C++ next year

Java will overtake C/C++ as the language of choice among software developers worldwide by next year, according to survey results released by U.S.-based research firm Evans Data Corp. recently.

Of the 400 programmers from 60 countries outside North America who participated in the company’s survey, 60 percent said they expect to spend more of their time using Java next year, more so than C/C++ or Visual Basic.

Janel Garvin, vice president of research at Evans Data, who presented her findings at IBM’s Solutions technical developer conference in San Francisco, said that the total number of users of Java has grown since 1998 when it first began tracking Java usage.

“Java is even stronger outside North America,” said Garvin. “At least half of all international developers surveyed use it today. In fact, the average time they spent using Java rose from 9.1 per cent in 1999 to 17.7 per cent currently.”

Despite the initial controversy surrounding Java, arising from Sun Microsystems proprietary stance and the friction the company has with the OS (operating systems) community, Java continues to eclipse C/C++ as the technology “hot spot.”

Critical to its success has been the formation of a new Web tool industry, which has sprung up around Java, said Evans Data, adding the key reason is that Java “embodies many of the virtues missing from C++,” such as simplification, better memory management and cross platform capabilities.

Conversely, C++ has, in the past three years, declined among international developers, as with their North American counterparts. Today, most international developers spend 25 per cent of the time on C/C++, and that figure will decline even further by 2002, Evans Data said.

Nevertheless, the market researcher maintained that C/C++ is unlikely to disappear from sight anytime soon because of the huge volumes of code already generated.

As for C# (pronounced C sharp) – a new language similar to C++ but with new and improved Java-like language features tied specifically to Microsoft .Net strategy – the survey indicated that three quarters of the developers expressed no plans to adopt it yet, Garvin said. Those who might are likely to be using some Microsoft programming languages already, she added.