Microsoft touts Visual Studio Code as a Java juggernaut

2.5 million devs can't be wrong – or can they?

Microsoft reckons Visual Studio Code has a community of more than 2.5 million Java developers, and coming up next for them is full support for Java 21 and changes intended to improve reliability and stability.

Java has dropped down the TIOBE index from number one in 2020 to number four in the latest iteration. It now hovers below Python, C, and C++, with C# snapping at its heels. However, Java remains a significant force with a large base of passionate developers.

Microsoft claims more than 2.5 million of them also use Visual Studio Code.

To mark the milestone, the software giant gave developers a peek at the roadmap for the next six months – a collaboration with Red Hat, including full support for Java 21. Red Hat's arrival into the Visual Studio Code world began in 2021 with the 1.0 release of Language Support for Java by Red Hat, which brought forth official support for Java 17. The IBM unit has continued its involvement, and the latest effort has contributed to this week's milestone.

As well as the JDK support, the team aims to deal with reliability issues – one of the most mentioned bugbears from Java users, according to Microsoft. "We want to improve the stability of our platform so you can focus on your code without worrying about language server glitches or crashes, or code completion stops," the company said. "We aim to build a stable and consistent coding experience for the users."

Microsoft also has improving the Gradle developer experience and optimizing performance in its sights.

Unsurprisingly, code completion was also mentioned, along with plans to improve the intelligence behind suggestions. And as if to remind developers that despite all the talk of community and collaboration, this is still a Microsoft project, talk of Copilot was shoe-horned in:

"In the next few months we will explore how to leverage GitHub Copilot Chat to enhance your Java development experience, whether it's finding an error, writing unit tests, helping debug code, adding dependencies, or managing Java projects."

Still, at least Microsoft managed to restrain the AI puff to a single line in the roadmap. Copilot aside, it looks exciting for Java developers using Visual Studio Code, and 2.5 million of them is quite the achievement. Depending on who you talk to, there are somewhere between 9 and 10 million Java developers worldwide. ®

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