If you finally made up your mind to go for software development, you definitely have to weigh all the pros and cons of IT outsourcing and offshoring. And the prior step these thoughts is another vital step – choosing the right technology stack for the project. So if you are still in two minds whether Java outsourcing is something you need or maybe it’s better to opt for some other technology, it might be because you lack some details to get the full picture. We gathered the pros and cons of Java here to help you.
If somebody asks you to name 5 technologies that you know, Java will probably be among them. And actually, if we take the Stack Overflow’s Developer survey conducted in 2019, more than 53% of developers named Java as their most loved language.
One of the grounds for such admiration is not surprising since Java itself is much more than just a technology. That’s an entire complex of tools which embraces nearly everything one needs for Java development. So it consists of the elements listed below:
1. Java Development Kit (JDK) – that’s the first thing a developer downloads to start any development on Java. JDK itself is a software package which comprises the compiler, documentation, utilities and Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
2. Java Runtime Environment – a software layer running on top of a computer's operating system. It basically includes Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and the standard Java Class Library. JRE merges the code with the required libraries, then launches the JVM (a tool converting Java bytecode into machine code) for the execution of the code. Plus it ensures the dependencies to be available to the Java programs you develop.
3. Integrated Development Environment (IDE) – the app which allows its user to run, edit and compile the code. A number of IDEs have features like syntax highlighting and code completion, which eases the process of coding. If we take the top 3 IDEs which Java developers adore, they will be IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, and NetBeans.
Frankly speaking, Java is almost everywhere around. If your smartphone has the Android platform then its full of Java, as that’s the main technology used for Android development. Still not too convincing? Then here are some more examples: Big Data, web apps and state websites, scientific computing – all of them mostly have Java “inside”. And initially, mobile games also were written in Java (we’re talking about the period of the 2000s before the smartphones were invented).
As we are through with the introduction part, we shall continue with the gist of our “investigation”: the advantages and disadvantages of Java.
Benefits of Java
Until 2016 (the year when Kotlin had its first official stable release) Java was irreplaceable in Android development and this happened for a very simple reason: Java was the only official programming language for Android development. Though nowadays it has a competitor named Kotlin, still today there’s a great variety of options for web development using Java. Despite the high competition with other technologies, Java doesn’t fall behind and still has a number of pros to offer which can persuade one to make the choice in its favour.
1. It’s a high-level language. This notion implies a programming language to be much like human language rather than a machine one. Consequently, it should be easy and simple to write, read and maintain.
2. Its stability. The solutions created with the help of Java are said to be stable. That partly happens so because a new version of Java with new features is released every day with advanced features.
3. It’s object-oriented. Since Java belongs to object-oriented programming, it allows a developer to write typical programs and to reuse the code. So one can state classes, generate objects inside classes, work and maintain interaction between two objects.
4. Its maintenance is fairly cheap. The nature of work of a Java program does not rely upon some unique hardware infrastructure, so it’s possible to run the server in any machine. Result: it’s inexpensive to maintain.
5. It’s security. Java is the first technology which provided security as an integral part of the design. JVM possesses a special identifier which detects the bytecode and checks prior to running.
6. It’s multithreaded. Internally a Java program can carry out several tasks at one time.
7. Distributed computing. That’s a method when several computers work together in a network. That’s definitely an advantage as it allows to develop apps on networks which can contribute to both the functionality of application and data.
8. It’s portable (platform-independent). The portability implies that a developer has to write just one code once and the program can be started on any platform. The only condition is that this platform should support JVM.
9. It’s robust. Java is said to be a most reliable and powerful language. Its compilers manage to identify every single type of error in your code. Besides that, Java has such great features as exception handling and garbage collection which also prove Java to be reliable.
Drawbacks of Java
Unfortunately, like any technology, Java has not only advantages but also a bunch of disadvantages. The several significant cons of Java are:
1. Java’s performance. If we compare Java programs to those written in С or C++ which are natively compiled, it’s easily noticed that they are much slower.
2. Its memory. In Java, the memory is managed through garbage collection, so anytime the garbage collector works, it deteriorates the way the app performs. The main reason for that is that the garbage collector works only when all other threads are not working.
3. Costs for the commercial license. Since 2019 Oracle expects the users to pay for Java Standard Edition 8 when used for purposes such as business, commerce and production. So when you need updates and bug fixing, you’ll be charged by the number of users you have or for the processor. It hurts a lot when you start counting the new costs.
4. The look is not native (desktop). Programmers utilize a variety of tools special for each language in order to build the graphical user interface, GUI for short. Of course, we shouldn’t forget about Android Studio, which was initially designed for Android mobile development so the apps both feel and look native. Therefore, as soon as the conversation goes to the user interface of desktop programs, Java is certainly lagging behind and you’ll have to conduct really thorough research to find a tool that will be just fine to create your graphical user interface.
5. Java’s verbosity makes the code rather complicated. Java implies that one needs to use many words used as it’s quite similar to the natural language of humans a lot. The developers almost literally write down their commands and thoughts so the code is drastically huge (especially when compared to Python).
Final Words: So When Should I Use Java?
In fact, there’s a great variety of ways when choosing Java is a great variant. Below are a couple of options where Java will be just perfect:
1. Android mobile development. Surely, today Kotlin is definitely strengthening its position in mobile development, however, there’s plenty of room for Java programmers as technically Java is the main technology for Android development.
2. Big data programs. Java’s famous for its versatility and unifying numerous data science techniques. A well-known and commonly used publically available framework for processing and storing big data applications called Hadoop HDFS is entirely in Java. Plus, it’s pretty fine for building various ETL apps.
3. Software. Eclipse, Gmail, Atlassian, etc. – all of them are also the results of somebody’s work using Java.
4. Trading applications. Third-party trading applications, which are also part of the bigger financial services industry often prefer Java, e.g. Murex.
5. FinTech. Java allows building simple but at the same time robust and quick sites, furthermore, it works very well for data simulations and modelling.
6. PoS systems. As for the development of PoS systems (a place where your customer makes a payment for products or services at your store), numerous companies stick to Java because they typically need platform-independency and a large talent pool.