When Java was originally developed, it didn’t have any official alternatives. Java is, without a doubt, one of the most well-known programming languages. It’s a highly versatile language with a wide range of potential applications. If you want to create a desktop, web, or mobile application, Java is the language to use. Java has its own set of limits, some of which might force you to search for an alternative solution. As time passed many languages emerged on the scene, developers were able to find more creative ways of working around Java’s shortcomings. Nowadays, companies often use Java for one thing while using another programming language for other tasks to get better results.
Java is used for building both desktop and web applications. Java’s biggest strength lies in its rich ecosystem of libraries, frameworks, and tools covering almost all aspects required during application development.
However, Java has some disadvantages as well, It takes longer to develop a Java program than other languages such as C++ or Python; debugging Java code can be quite challenging because the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) provides no information on what went wrong. It only tells you where something went wrong but not why; Java vulnerabilities often result from memory leaks which are hard to detect with standard debuggers.
Reasons to Choose a Java Alternative
There are many reasons why you might want to consider using an alternative to Java. Here we listed some most significant ones –
- Tools built with Java generally tend to use more memory than other programming languages. So, if you are targeting low-memory systems, Java may not be suitable for you.
- There are faster alternatives to Java. Even though Java is a pretty fast language, there are still faster ones on the market depending on your specific use case.
- The development time is extremely high for those who program in Java. If you are planning to build a project quicker, you might want to consider an alternative.
- Java is difficult to master. Even though there is certain online Java homework help available at your service, it could be still pretty tedious for beginners.
- If you are facing compatibility issues with the programs developed using Java, you may switch to a much more modern alternative.
- Getting help for Java-related issues may be a bit difficult. The community doesn’t seem to be very active in certain issues that are complex to fix.
List of Best Java Alternatives
This guide aims to provide Java developers with some ideas for great alternatives to Java. It will show you both open-source and commercial platforms. As we have seen above, there are many downsides associated with using Java. So let’s look at the options, especially those that address the said issues. The following are the best Java alternatives:
Python’s high-level readability makes it easier for new developers to learn and master the language. Python has been used in scientific computing, web development, machine learning, etc. It is also very good at tackling problems that Java struggles with, such as memory management or debugging issues efficiently.
Some Java frameworks and tools can’t be used with Python, e.g., Java’s dependency injection framework (JSF) for web development; also, some libraries that are written in Java cannot be directly accessed from Python, such as JNI, which lets you access native code from Java so if your project needs to do something specific don’t forget to check whether the library of your choice has a python counterpart or not before deciding on using it.
- High-level and interpreted programming language
- Extremely easy to learn
- Suitable for machine learning
- Suitable for almost any type of machines and operating systems
- Supports a huge array of libraries for different needs
Kotlin is a Java-like language introduced by JetBrains (the company behind IntelliJ IDEA) in 2011. It aims to solve Java’s problems of verbosity, null pointer exceptions, and complexity while keeping all the benefits such as easy interoperability with Java libraries/frameworks, etc.
Suppose you compare Java and Kotlin code side by side, e.g., variable declaration or function calling. In that case, it will be difficult for an untrained person to understand them without any prior knowledge about either of these languages—they look pretty similar!
However, once you get past the surface-level similarities, Kotlin quickly becomes more productive than Java because of its concise syntax, making it easier & faster to use: less boilerplate & easier to read. More advantages of Kotlin were listed in our previous article.
- A modern approach to statically typed programming languages
- Best for developing Android applications
- Much better syntax than Java
- Features such as null safety, data classes, and extension functions
- Officially supported by Google
Java is primarily known for its rich set of APIs, and JavaFX has been designed to cover the GUI (Graphical User Interface) side of Java. Although it’s not a replacement for AWT or Swing, JavaFX provides an API that makes writing client-side code easier than using just Java, plus Java can be used on the server-side.
In contrast, JavaFX should be used only for front-end purposes unless you want your application to have poor performance due to switching between the back and front-end rendering.
- Java-based framework
- Supports multimedia and web content
- Integration with other Java-based libraries and tools
- Built-in UI controls to develop full-featured applications
- An extremely rich set of APIs for developers
Haskell is a purely functional programming language which means it doesn’t allow any side effects. Java’s concurrency model (threads) isn’t great, and Java NIO has some issues that make it challenging to use efficiently; Haskell provides better alternatives such as Software Transactional Memory (STM).
STM allows you to write concurrent code in synchronous style while hiding away all the low-level synchronization details; It also gives safety guarantees for your data structure since transactions won’t be able to see incomplete updates! This makes testing & debugging much easier than using traditional locks or atomic variables found in Java/C++.
Another important benefit of using Haskell is its powerful type system. Types act as an extra set of documentation for your program to find all the possible states/values a function or data structure can have.
Java’s type system is much weaker and doesn’t provide you with enough information about your code; it also takes a lot of time to write & maintain large amounts of boilerplate Java code, which drives developers crazy. In short, Haskell is an extremely safe language that offers better concurrency than Java while being as fast as C++.
- Haskell is a functional programming language
- It has Lazy Evaluations
- Immutable data by default
- Supports concurrency and parallelism
- An active community with extensive libraries
Clojure is a dynamic and general-purpose programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It’s different from Java because it uses LISP syntax and brings functional programming to Java while providing better concurrency than what you can get with traditional multi-threading.
Clojure provides an immutable persistent data structure called Cons Cell or ‘Atom’, which acts like an ordinary value in memory. Still, its entire state gets updated when any of its parts change. Several benefits of using Clojure over Java include the Immutable data structures that make code easier to reason about. You don’t need defensive copies everywhere, since they cannot change without your knowledge after creation.
- Clojure is a modern and dynamic functional language
- It has Immutable data by default
- It supports concurrency
- Lazy evaluation is also supported
- Functions on top of JVM
Scala is a Java-like language that runs on the JVM and brings functional programming to Java while providing better concurrency than what you can get with traditional multi-threading. Scala provides immutable persistent data structures called ‘Atoms’ which act like ordinary values in memory.
Still, their entire state gets updated when any of its parts change. It’s powerful enough to be used in large projects such as Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., written entirely in Scala.
One of the main benefits of using Scala is its Java interoperability, since Java developers can easily learn Scala, which makes it easier for companies to hire Java or JVM engineers. Scala also provides better integration with Java frameworks/libraries than what you get with Kotlin. This is one of the reasons why large projects prefer using Scala over other alternatives because they don’t have to switch over all their code-base at once.
- Scala is a multi-paradigm programming language
- A very strong type interface
- Scala also runs on top of JVM
- Immutable data support by default
- Really works well for large applications with complex code
C Sharp (also known as C #) is a Java-like programming language, and it’s the best alternative to Java if you want something that runs on Windows. Thanks to its async/await syntax, it provides much better support for writing concurrent code than Java thanks to its async/await syntax, allowing developers to write asynchronous code in a synchronous style.
Like Java, C # also comes with great tooling such as Visual Studio IDE & Roslyn compiler — both of these tools are industry standards, so learning them will help you get hired at any company.
Another benefit of using C Sharp over Java is that you can integrate .Net Framework components into your project, which means there’ll be no need to rewrite existing pieces of software every time you build new projects. This way, you can re-use existing .Net code and Java libraries as well.
C# (.Net framework) Features
- C# is a multi-paradigm programming language
- A strong type system
- Threading and Concurrency are supported
- Best suited for Windows app development
- Developed and backed by Microsoft
Go is a Java-like programming language that can be compiled to bytecode which runs on the JVM. It provides much better support for writing concurrent code than Java, thanks to goroutines and channels. You can use them in your programs just like how you would use normal functions & variables, but they are all executed concurrently.
One of the main benefits of using Go over Java is it compiles into a single binary file, so there’s no need to ship multiple .class files when deploying applications. This benefit makes deployment faster since you don’t have to wait after every build before starting up servers/services. Go is also faster than Java in many cases because it doesn’t include so much overhead.
- Go is an open-source programming language
- Very simple syntax, suitable for beginners
- Garbage collection
- Best suited for networking, web servers, and distributed systems
- Developed and backed by Google
Xtend is a very suitable Java alternative. Because as a programming language, it helps those who want to code in a concise and readable manner. Thus, this statically typed language helps developers to be more expressive. Furthermore, there are features that make it at par with Java, such as type interference, lambda expressions, and even automatic resource management.
You can say it is more like a Java dialect that can be compiled in a Java 8-compatible source code. It can also be used to develop new custom languages. And finally, it has a low learning curve, making it easier to pick up on the go.
- Extension to Java with improved syntax.
- Active annotation system for metadata management.
- Integrated dependency injection via Google Guice.
- Polymorphic method dispatch for behavior variations.
- Powerful template expressions for code generation.
- Built-in null safety to prevent errors.
Java and Groovy are both powerful enough and scalable, but the latter has a certain edge, being much shorter and more expressive than the former. As such, developers using Groovy do not have to write as much code as they would for the same tasks using Java. Groovy also features the following: dynamic typing, closures, and metaprogramming, allowing the creation of complex applications quite easily.
The syntax used is more powerful and not as harsh on errors. It later saves time during debugging. And since Groovy is interoperable with Java, transitioning code from Groovy to Java and vice versa is possible.
- Syntax is similar to but more flexible than Java.
- Support for both static and dynamic typing.
- Powerful features for processing strings and collections.
- Seamless integration with existing Java classes and libraries.
- Native support for markup languages like XML and HTML.
- Grails framework for rapid web application development.