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Top 14 JVM Languages To Choose From For Your Software Development


July 8, 2022


March 19th, 2024


Regarding contemporary programming languages used for software development, Java has been a prevalent choice globally. Those who know Java know the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Its expertise and salient features have spread throughout organizations of all sizes and segments.

For the last few years, JVM has not rotated around Java alone; many other JVM languages are becoming well-known. JVM is getting faster and more effective in terms of execution and performance.

Hence, these JVM-based languages facilitate developers’ maximization of Java skills and overcoming shortcomings.

This article covers the first five most popular JVM languages and the other JVM implementations. But first, let’s quickly understand what a JVM language means.

What Is JVM Language?

A Java virtual machine (JVM) is a virtual machine that enables a computer to run Java programs as well as programs written in other languages that are also compiled to Java bytecode. – Wikipedia

A JVM-compatible language is a programming language that can flawlessly execute a JV. The JVM is responsible for loading, verifying, and executing Java bytecode. As the interpreter of Java, it showcases an abstract computing model. It offers both a compiler and an interpreter.

The compiler compiles the code and generates bytecode, and then the interpreter converts the bytecode to machine-understandable code.

JVM offers an individual instruction set and execution engine that manipulates memory regions at run time.

This offers a comprehensive execution infrastructure for applications to execute smoothly. The JVM setup is virtual since it operates on top of real hardware and OS.

The three components that JVM comprises are class loader, runtime memory, and execution engine. JVM refers to a specification that mentions the JVM’s workings. Its implementation is called Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

When a Java command is written on the command line, it creates a runtime instance. The JVM is responsible for loading, verifying, executing code, and offering a runtime environment.

Features of JVM

  • Garbage collection
  • Native memory tracking
  • Inbuilt security features
  • Complete compiler control
  • Effective memory management
  • Supports non-Java languages
  • Signal Chaining

Top 14 JVM Languages To Choose From

  • Java
  • Kotlin
  • Scala
  • Groovy
  • Clojure
  • Fantom
  • Ceylon
  • Jython
  • JRuby
  • Frege
  • Xtend
  • Golo
  • Concurnaas
  • Yeti

Of the Above, the Top 5 JVM Languages That Lead the Way

#1. Java

Java is a highly popular, class-based, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language developed initially by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems and now owned by Oracle. It follows the ‘write once, run anywhere’ concept, allowing it to maintain one of the top slots for years steadily.

It caters to applications like dynamic web apps, Android app development, game consoles, server-side development, embedded applications, IoT apps, scientific applications, financial/trading apps, Microservices-based apps, robotics, and many more. The Java code is first compiled into byte code, which runs on a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) irrespective of the fundamental architecture.

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Significant Features of Java:

  • Ideal for all types of apps and infrastructure
  • An ecosystem with tremendous community support
  • Secure, stable, and scalable
  • Easy to learn and code
  • Platform independent
  • Modular style of coding

Companies Using Java:

Spotify, Twitter, Uber, Netflix, eBay, Google, Airbnb, Slack, Instagram, Pinterest, Groupon, etc.

#2. Kotlin

Kotlin is a popular language focused on simplifying web and mobile app development. It has a particular focus on Android app development – server-side and client-side. Based on the JVM, it offers secure and futuristic apps. Regarding speed, performance, and coding style, Kotlin has an edge over Java. There is good support for different platforms like Windows, iOS, macOS, Linux, JavaScript, JVM, and embedded systems.

As a modern and trending programming language, Kotlin is easy to manage, and hence, developers find it easy to create robust applications. JVM libraries and frameworks help develop a variety of server-side applications. It maintains a cross-platform layer for native applications.

Salient Features of Kotlin:

  • Compatibility with current Java, Android, and web libraries
  • Easy maintenance and reading of code
  • Clean and compact syntax
  • Integration with any Java IDE
  • Strong community support
  • Operator overloading

Companies Using Kotlin:

Gradle, Spring, Corda, Coursera, Atlassian, Trello, Uber, Foursquare, Capital One, Pinterest, etc.

Interesting Read:  Top Examples Of Popular Apps Built With Kotlin

#3. Scala

Scala is a well-known, general-purpose, statically typed programming language that supports functional and object-oriented programming. It is a high-level language that offers static types to lessen errors in complicated applications. The JVM and JavaScript runtime help create high-performance applications with good library support. Scala is highly compatible with the Java ecosystem.

Being object-oriented, Scala efficiently manages user demands, from smaller scripts to massive systems. It is mainly utilized for data processing, web development, distributed computing, data engineering, etc. Since it is interoperable with Java, it leverages library support heavily. Since it is statically typed, it has a sophisticated type interface system.

Key Features of Scala:

  • Modernized, concise, and high-level language
  • Inbuilt best patterns and practices
  • Immutability, lazy computation
  • Well-designed coding structure
  • Concurrency control
  • String interpolation

Companies Using Scala:

Verizon, Twitter, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Accenture, Glovo, SoundCloud, The New York Times, Coursera, etc.

#4. Groovy

The Apache Groovy language is a powerful scripting JVM language that offers simplified code with dot-separated notation. It supports syntax for manipulation of collections, Strings, and JavaBeans.

As a dynamic, object-oriented language, it can be utilized anywhere Java is used. It combines new applications, Java modules, and existing Java applications.

It offers multifaceted capabilities, such as static compilation and static typing. It integrates seamlessly with any other Java platform, delivering solid features, scripting competencies, metaprogramming, domain-specific language, and functional programming. It provides a flat learning curve for those well-versed in Java.

Salient Features of Groovy:

  • Static and dynamic typing
  • Operator overloading
  • Native support for lists and regular expressions
  • Flexibility and ease of coding
  • A vibrant and enriched ecosystem
  • Concise and supportable tests

Companies Using Groovy:

Starbucks, Apple, Verizon, AgaroPulse, Rumble, Craft base, Trendyol Group, Oracle, Target, etc.

#5. Clojure

Clojure is a dynamic, high-level, general-purpose language in the JVM list that relies on the LISP language and possesses compilers that execute on Java and .NET environments.

It combines the features of a scripting language and a multithreaded programming language. Although it is a compiled language, all its features are equally supported at runtime.

Clojure shares the code-as-data philosophy and a solid macro system with Lisp. It consists of an enriched set of unchangeable and constant data structures. If needed, it provides a software transactional memory system for accurate multithreaded designs.

It offers simple availability to Java frameworks with elements like type inference and optional type hints.

An Important Features of Clojure :

  • Functional programming
  • Hosting on the JVM
  • Runtime Polymorphism
  • Software Transactional Memory
  • Vibrant and robust community support
  • Inbuilt support for concurrency

Companies Using Clojure:

Walmart, Accenture, Nubank, CircleCI, Soundcloud, GO-JEK, Zalando, Adobe, Amazon, Capital One, etc.

Other Popular JVM Languages

#6. Fantom

Fantom is an object-oriented, open-source, and portable language on the JVM. It compiles JavaScript and .NET CLR. It can execute seamlessly on different browsers and servers and works well with IoT devices. It features immutability, familiar syntax, concurrency control, flexible libraries, and concise core APIs, making it a preferred choice.

#7. Ceylon

Ceylon is an object-oriented language developed by Red Hat. It is statically typed and offers a simple learning curve since it is highly understandable and less wordy. Many powerful type system features developers include construct to define type aliases, flow typing, local type inference, union, intersection types, etc.

#8. Jython

As the name suggests, Jython is the Java platform implementation of Python that executes on the JVM. It offers the benefits of Python running on JVM and the availability of classes written in Java. It is multithreaded and object-oriented and utilizes Java’s garbage collector for effective memory cleansing.

#9. JRuby

JRuby is a high-performance implementation of the Ruby language that executes on the JVM. It is free to use and works as a mixed-mode VM for Ruby, in which Java bytecode interprets code directly or ahead of time. It supports several Java and Ruby libraries. It leverages the best features from both languages, such as duck-typing.

#10. Frege

Frege is a JVM language that creates functional programming for the Java platform. It is a version of the functional language Haskell and is interoperable with Java. It offers easy compilation to a Java class. It offers advantages like functional paradigms, immutability, using packages from the Haskell repository, and compatibility with the Haskell ecosystem.

#11. Xtend

Xend is a flexible, statically typed, object-oriented JVM language that compiles into Java 8-compatible code. Unlike others, it compiles Java code to work with the generated code. Any current Java library can be used efficiently, and the compiled output output is easily readable. There are effective lambdas, macros, and operator overloading features to help.

#12. Golo

Golo is a lightweight dynamic language for the JVM. It is simple, dynamic, and weakly typed and prefers the explicit over the implicit. In Golo, the semantics are ported by designing the language with performance patterns. The code base is highly approachable for runtime research or language use.

#13. Concerns

The Concurnas programming language is an open-source JVM language ideal for creating scalable, reliable, concurrent, and distributed systems. It helps developers leverage modernized multi-core CPU and GPU hardware, making parallel programming easy. Developers can do their work with fewer lines of code that are easy to test and secure.

#14. Yeti

Yeti is a functional language that executes on the JVM. It uses properties such as Type inference, polymorphic structure, variant types, lazy lists, pattern matching on values, property fields in structures, and an interactive REPL environment. It offers a direct compilation to Java bytecode with faster compilation and execution.

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JVM Languages: Wrapping It Up

Reviewing the list of JVM languages that are becoming increasingly popular is interesting. Over the years, the list will expand with newer languages supporting JVM.

Java is a sure shot to stay, but now, developers are no longer dependent only upon Java. They have a variety of languages on JVM that can offer better results and overcome the hurdles developers face with Java.

It is tough to say which of the above JVM language lists is the best since it depends upon organizational parameters such as skilled resources, budgeted cost, experience, project deadlines, etc.

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