Java is one of the most popular programming languages among developers and organizations. It is a versatile language that comes with a wide range of applications.
Have you been working with Java for a long time? Are you getting bored working on it? And now you want to learn or work with a younger programming language that is better at handling errors and doesn’t have higher complexity or steep learning curve than Java?
If so, this article is undoubtedly for you. This article aims to make you aware of a list of the ten best Java alternatives. In addition, we shall walk you through each alternative’s benefits and disadvantages over Java. This will help readers better understand which programming language they need to use for their next development project.
So let’s begin.
- 1 What is Java?
- 2 Features
- 3 Advantages and Disadvantages of Java
- 4 Top 10 Alternatives to Java
- 4.1 Kotlin
- 4.2 TypeScript
- 4.3 Python
- 4.4 Golang
- 4.5 Dart
- 4.6 Swift
- 4.7 Ruby
- 4.9 Elixir
- 4.10 Rust
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 FAQ
What is Java?
Java is one of the most well-known programming languages in the world. It is one of the oldest technologies for the development of web-based applications. It is a class-based, object-oriented programming language that is fast, secure, and reliable. It is a general-purpose programming language used for creating a wide range of applications, such as desktop GUI apps, mobile apps, web apps, embedded systems, and many others.
More interestingly, this language has a syntax similar to C and C++. The best feature of Java is WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere). This feature requires you to write a Java program and compile it once on any Java-enabled machine. Later, you can run that program without the need for recompiling on different Java-enabled devices.
Let us have a look at the salient features of Java.
- Compiled and Interpreted: Java is both a compiled and interpreted programming language. Initially, The Java compiler compiles a Java program into byte code, and later, JVM converts it into machine code. There are many versions of JVM that interpret bytecode into machine code.
- Object-Oriented: With Java being an object-oriented language, it treats everything as an object. It supports abstraction, polymorphism, inheritance, and encapsulation concepts of OOPs.
- Platform-Independent: You can execute Java programs on any platform, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, etc. Make sure to have Java installed and environment variables set to run Java programs.
- Portable: Once the Java compiler converts a Java program into bytecode, you can execute that bytecode on any Java-enabled system. This makes Java a portable language.
- Multithreaded: Java lets you write a single program for performing different tasks simultaneously using the concept of multithreading. Multithreading enables the concurrent execution of multiple threads, where a thread is a small sequence of programmed instructions that perform a specific task.
- Dynamic: As Java works on classes and objects, it supports the dynamic loading of classes. This means the classes are loaded only on demand.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Java
Here are the remarkable benefits and drawbacks of Java.
- Java is simple to understand if you are already familiar with C and C++ languages, as its syntax is pretty analogous to them.
- Being an object-oriented programming language, it helps you divide a large code into smaller parts with names assigned.
- It is considered one of the most secure languages as it does not support pointers that provide access to the memory location.
- Applications developed using Java are easy and economical to maintain.
- The WORA feature of Java makes it a flexible language.
- Java is a high-level programming language. This means that it is easily understood by humans. Also, the syntax consists of many English keywords that are easy to remember.
- It supports automatic garbage collection, unlike C and C++ languages, where we manually need to free up the memory space.
- Multithreading ensures faster execution of Java programs.
- It lets you manage memory efficiently by providing two different memory areas: heap area and stack area.
- Compared to C and C++, Java programs take a lot of time to execute.
- Java essentially requires JVM for the execution of Java programs, which consumes a lot of memory.
- It does not support low-level programming features, such as the use of pointers.
- Programmers do not have any control over the garbage collection feature, as Java does not support functions like delete() or free().
- Java does not support unsigned data types, such as unsigned int, unsigned char, etc. However, the Java 8 version supports unsigned int and unsigned long.
Top 10 Alternatives to Java
After you look at the disadvantages of Java, you may want to try its alternatives. The following are the top 10 Java alternatives you can use for your programming project.
Starting the list of top 10 Java alternatives, we have Kotlin as the first alternative, considered the next big thing in Android programming and compared to what Swift is to iOS. In addition, Kotlin is now the official programming language for Android development. It is a general-purpose programming language that is statically-typed and cross-platform.
- First, Kotlin comes with an advanced solution to the Null Pointer Exception (NPE) by securing the code in the type system. As a result, you can find the NPEs during the compile time and make changes to the code before executing it.
- Kotlin comes with 100% interoperability with Java; what this means is you can migrate the whole code written in Kotlin to Java, and vice-versa can be done as well.
- There are tons of IDEs available for Android developers to use when working with Kotlin. The vast majority of the Android studio’s IDEs are available for Kotlin.
- Kotlin, at its core, is developed to help developers build enterprise-level Android applications in a short amount of time.
- The number of developers who are fully moved to Kotlin is relatively small. As a result, if you are stuck somewhere during the development, the community of Kotlin developers might not have the answer to your problem.
- There are minimal sources online from where you can learn about Kotlin. So you have to be on your own to scrape the internet to find the lessons, community forums, videos, and other learning material for this programming language.
- TypeScript comes with the option of static typing, which means once the variable is declared, it won’t change its type and can only take in a specific set of values. This decreases the number of type errors, and the code performs much better during the execution.
- TypeScript provides better predictability, which increases the likelihood of functions working the way the developers initially designed them.
- Many mistakes in TypeScript are automatically spotted, and developers can take advantage of Refactoring, where the app is updated to its latest version without causing any change to the codebase or its behavior.
- TypeScript supports the concepts of Object Oriented Programming (OOP). Thus, developers can add classes, interfaces, inheritance, and other sorts of OOP mechanisms to their projects.
- Developers have to learn a new typing script, including its types, constructs, libraries, and more. It is similar to JS. Still, TS requires developers’ time and effort in the learning process.
- There are additional annotations present in TS, which makes the file size larger than the ones which are written using JS. Thus, developers need to write more code that slows down the development process.
Another language that is considered one of the best and easiest-to-learn alternatives to Java is Python. It is one of the most easy-to-understand, high-level dynamic programming languages. The language has its core design focusing on providing better code readability. When developing code in Python, you have to write less code as compared to Java. Not only is the language powerful, but it is also easily adaptable and beginner-friendly.
In addition to this, Python has been present for too long, which leads to a solid community of developers. One of the key benefits of using Python is that it manages the memory automatically.
- Python is an open-source programming language, meaning developers can work on it with more freedom and change the source code according to their needs. One can even distribute their own Python version if they have made new changes to it.
- Python has a massive library that developers can use anytime during the development cycle. Even the standard library is pretty immersive and has every function imaginable.
- One code written in Python language can efficiently run on multiple platforms without the developer having to change anything in it. Python follows the concept of “write once and run anywhere.” keep in mind not to involve any system-dependent features.
- Python allocates the data type on its own during the execution process. As a result, you don’t need to declare the data types when writing the code.
- Applications made from Python are not memory efficient as code written in Python requires a lot more memory space in comparison to Java.
- The database access layer is still in the developing stage if we compare it with other technologies like ODBC.
- Due to Python being a dynamically typed programming language, the data types could change suddenly, which results in run-time errors.
Golang was first published in 2009, and it is another open-source programming language that fits well in the description of Java alternatives. Google employees and other community-based contributors developed Golang. The main goal of Golang is to simplify the software development process for projects requiring complex architecture and processing.
- Golang is a compiled language, meaning the code gets directly translated into a format that processors can read. In Java, the code is converted into bytecode first for execution by a virtual machine.
- A person with a solid foundation in C or in Java can quickly master Golang even though the syntax and keywords of Golang are slightly different. The procedural approach for programming remains the same.
- Golang comes with concurrency support due to Goroutines, which allows functions to run independently and simultaneously.
- A company or even a freelancer will have no issues in acquiring development tools for Golang as it is an open-source initiative.
- When it comes to writing code, Golang takes a lot more time than Java. As a result, teams that have strict deadlines tend to look for better alternatives.
- Golang is still a new programming language, and developers will find themselves struggling a little bit with its libraries, especially when they are working on other platforms as well. There is no 3rd party SDK available for Golang.
- Golang does not come with the support of generic functions. Thus programmers have to create multiple footprints of functions to cover different sorts of parameters in their code.
Dart was published by Google in 2011, and it uses a BSD license. The second version of Dart, which was released in 2018, came with significant changes making it multi-purpose and mobile development friendly.
In addition to this, Dart is based on the C programming language. Thus, it supports object orientation, and someone with experience in OOP programming can quickly learn it. It serves as one of the most popular Java alternatives.
- You can run Dart scripts on iOS and on Android native apps without having to make any changes in your scripts. Scripts can also compile on their own in Linux, Mac OS, and Windows as well with the help of self-contained snapshots.
- Static typing is present to help developers find errors in the early development stages. While also allowing them to manage the complexity of the application easily. The code is more optimized, and there is less work in finding the errors once the code is written.
- The success of Dart is the responsibility of Google. Thus it provides incredible support and documentation free of cost to developers who want to learn it. Besides this, it is also well supported by Android Studio.
- One of the most significant issues with Dart is that it does not have comparable library support; it could be a huge problem, depending on the complexity of your problem.
- The demand for Dart programmers isn’t enough to consider it to be a must-learn programming language. Also, some experts believe Dart still has a long way to go before it becomes a complete programming language.
Swift is among the powerful and intuitive alternatives to Java. It has the best features of C and Objective – C to help developers in creating applications for iOS and other Apple devices.
Moreover, it has proven the benefit of removing compatibility issues that are part of C programming. Swift, in the coming years, could be the de-facto programming language for creating immersive, responsive, and consumer-centric applications. One can add Markdown syntax in order to add rich text and images to display in the Xcode’s quick help.
- Swift is easier to read than most other programming languages, including Java. The number of lines you have to write in order to create a program with Swift is a lot less than Objective-C.
- It does not come with dependencies, so it is a lot easier to maintain and manage your code or application when using Swift.
- Moreover, it provides better code stability and prevents programmers from making mistakes by excluding the number of issues that were present in both C and Objective-C.
- As the length of code is small compared to Java, its execution time is also cut short, allowing companies to save money in the development process.
- Swift has a limited pool of talent as it is still a young language, and not many programmers want to keep themselves stuck to the development of iOS applications.
- The developers of Swift provide constant updates to it. As a result, a developer needs to find the right tools to perform specific tasks. Apart from this, Apple’s official Apple ID, XCode, has a significant disadvantage in tooling and support for Swift.
- Swift was developed to work with Windows, iOS, and Linux. Still, it only works best for developing applications for iOS devices.
When it comes to looking for the best alternatives Java, it is hard not to mention Ruby. It is known for being the most reliable programming language, which has its own framework called Rails. It followed the concepts of object-oriented programming and was developed in 1995.
- Organizations that are looking to scale up their operations can use Ruby as it is easy to make changes in its written code.
- All the objects created in Ruby are stored in the form of reference instead of a value. Thus, it is hard to overwrite the data or hijack the code for data retrieval. As a result, all forms of sensitive information can be implemented on Ruby.
- The user interface is quite interactive, making it easier for developers to understand and write the code. It follows the simple syntax pattern, which is a perfect solution for newbies who want to try their hands on application development.
- Ruby supports multithreading or native thread support. This means more than one program can run alongside each other anytime without slowing down the overall performance of the application. Operations with quick ETA can take a significant benefit from Ruby’s fast processing.
- Due to the presence of database connections, the performance of the code solely depends on how efficiently a developer can write code. This could lead to a Ruby-facing bottleneck even though it is a fast development language.
- All the standards and paradigms of Ruby have to be followed by developers. This results in the difficulty of making changes in the core codebase.
Elixir was launched in 2012 by José Valim, and it is based on the concept of functional programming. It is built on top of the Erlang Virtual Machine known as BEAM. Erlang works perfectly with Elixir as it is a concurrent and productive coding language.
There is a core team of Elixir which maintains the source code of the programming language. Even though it is comparatively younger than Java still, in such a short period of time, it has shown a tremendous amount of good results in terms of its repository.
- Elixir is a modern programming language that has practical features like a Pipe operator, Protocols, built-in documentation, package manager, and more. This cuts down the work of a developer almost to half. Telecom systems present around the world have been using it since their inception.
- Every concurrent activity in Elixir is a process; the footprint of Elixir processes is very minimal, which results in the negligible cost of launching thousands of processes side-by-side.
- Due to the way concurrency works in Elixir, it is pretty faster than Java. A code written in Java will have two threads coordinating with one another to perform a specific set of tasks. In the same scenario, if we use Elixir, there will be thousands of processes launched at the same time to achieve that same task. As a result, Java cannot beat Elixir’s performance when running on a multi-threaded processor.
- Due to Elixir being a relatively new programming language, it is hard to find a qualified developer that can work on it with efficiency. In addition to this, a developer who has the required skill to work with Elixir asks for a significant amount of salary, which is hard to give to small-scale companies and startups.
- Before you can start writing code using Elixir, you need to have a complete understanding of Erlang, on which Elixir is built on. Erlang has a massive number of libraries that developers can use, but developers need to learn about them in the first place.
Researchers at Mozilla came up with the Rust programming language in 2010 when they were trying to find a reliable alternative to the C++ language. It is considered a general-purpose language, and in a lot of projects, it can be your trusted Java alternative with a number of features. The language is quite reliable and safe to use for website and web application development.
Rust also makes sure that your memory safety is intact with the help of a borrow checker, which will validate the references. Rust, in previous years, was able to beat Python and TypeScript in popularity. Likewise, developers working with Rust have a higher salary package than those of Python and C++ developers.
- Due to its low overhead, Rust has become an ideal language for embedded programming. Rust is known to be resource-efficient and has tons of in-demand features which embedded systems need. Also, one gets to identify bugs early in development, which leads to the prevention of mishaps happening in the future.
- With Rust, you will be more confident while writing the code in comparison to other high-level languages like Java or Python. Someone who knows how to write code in C can quickly find the way around with Rust.
- There is no garbage collection system in Rust. As a result, it offers higher speeds of a compilation than other languages. Moreover, Rust does not allow run-time checking, and this leads to compiler bombing of the wrong code right in the bud.
- The ecosystem of Rust is expanding day by day, and the main reason is that it is more than just a programming language or a compiler.
- Right now, Rust only works for Mozilla; for some reason, if Mozilla decides to part ways with Rust, it will become insolvent. This is a considerable risk that a person needs to take when they are choosing Rust for the development of a website or web application.
- A programming language doesn’t have to be strict, but with Rust, everything needs to be perfect for the program to execute and run successfully. There will be no display or output if a single line in your code has some fault. This could quickly become frustrating for programmers.
Here ends the discussion of the top Java alternatives. The choice of Java alternatives entirely depends on the personal preferences and the goal of programmers. We recommend you go through the pros and cons of each Java alternative, and based on your analysis, choose the language that fits your project. Though Java is a popular and robust language, you can consider its alternatives.
Q1) Can I use any other language instead of Java?
Q2) Which is the official programming language for Android development?
Java is the official or default language of programming in Android development. But that doesn’t mean you cannot use any other programming language to develop applications for Android.
Q3) Is the Java language dying?
No, Java isn’t going anywhere anytime soon; yes, its popularity has seen a hit due to the presence of new programming languages. Still, it is considered to be one of the languages that a programmer must learn to excel in their career.
Q4) Which is better – Java or Kotlin?
Kotlin is a better option if you are comparing it from an Android developer’s perspective. Java, On the other hand, is an excellent general-purpose language that can help you develop almost anything related to the web.
Q5) Is Java still in use?
Even though Java was founded 26 years back, still more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies are using Java in their organization in one way or the other. The TIOBE index states it to be the most popular programming language in the world. So yes, Java is still in use and that too quite extensively.
Sameeksha is a freelance content writer for more than half and a year. She has a hunger to explore and learn new things. She possesses a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.