Survey Says: Scala Devs Edge Java Jocks in Container/Microservices Adoption

Scala developers are outpacing Java developers when it comes to microservices adoption, they're embracing cloud-native more strongly, and devs from both camps think containers have enormous potential to disrupt the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) landscape. Those are some of the findings of a survey of more than 2,100 JVM developers published today by Lightbend (formerly known as Typesafe), the chief commercial backer of the open source Scala project.

The survey, entitled "Enterprise Development Trends 2016," gathered the responses of 2,151 JVM developers from around the world working in large companies (more than 5,000 employees), medium-sized organizations (200-5,000), and small enterprises (fewer than 200). The survey was open to all JVM language developers, but 44 percent claimed Java applications in production, 77 percent claimed Scala apps, and some claimed both.

The survey results seem to indicate that lightweight containers are "democratizing infrastructure," the authors concluded, "challenging the old guard of Java EE app servers."

"The fragile model of bundling services into JARs and EAR files on app servers for isolation is rapidly giving way to the much more refined foundation of service isolation through Linux Containers ...," they wrote. 57 percent of survey respondents said they believe that containers will "disrupt the JVM landscape."

Among the survey's other findings:

  • 42 percent of respondents whose production applications are written primarily in Scala said they're running microservices in production, compared with 28 percent of Java developers.
  • 42 percent of respondents who selected Scala as their primary language for production apps said they're running most of their applications in the cloud, compared with 26 percent of Java developers.
  • Container momentum is real: 22 percent of respondents said they're seriously piloting containers for production deployment; 31 percent are "playing around" with containers on their local machines; 20 percent are starting to evaluate containers seriously; and 6 percent said they're not at all interested in containers.
  • 42 percent of respondents who selected Scala as their primary language for production apps said they're running most of those apps in the cloud, compared with 26 percent of Java developers.
  • So-called fast data patterns have momentum with developers: 34 percent of respondents said most of their data processing is real-time, and 22 percent cited equal amounts batch and real-time processing. Of respondents whose production applications are written primarily in Scala, 28 percent are running Akka Streams in production, 28 percent are running Kafka and 21 percent are running Spark Streaming.
  • Scala developers seem to have more influence when it comes to cloud technology adoption than their Java dev counterparts. Among survey respondents who selected Scala as their primary language, 49 percent said that a lot of their company's cloud tech adoption is driven by developers; but only 36 percent of those who selected Java as their primary language said that developers had that kind of influence.

Scala is a type-safe language for the JVM. The company's Lightbend Reactive Platform combines a number of the company's products to supports the development of reactive applications on the JVM in both Scala and Java. Conceptualized in the "Reactive Manifesto," which was co-authored by Lightbend CTO and co-founder Jonas Bonér, reactive applications are apps that better meet the "contemporary challenges of software development" in a world in which applications are deployed to everything from mobile devices to cloud-based clusters running thousands of multicore processors.

The complete results from the "Enterprise Development Trends 2016" survey are available here upon providing registration info.

About the Author

John has been covering the high-tech beat from Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly two decades. He serves as Editor-at-Large for Application Development Trends ( and contributes regularly to Redmond Magazine, The Technology Horizons in Education Journal, and Campus Technology. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Everything Guide to Social Media; The Everything Computer Book; Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design; John Chambers and the Cisco Way; and Diablo: The Official Strategy Guide.



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