The Java programming language is finding a niche among enterprise
application developers, leading to higher demand for Java-based software
development tools, according to two reports today from competing high-tech
In a departure from how other Internet technologies have been adopted, top
IS executives in large enterprises are pushing Java thanks to its
ability to extend existing corporate applications, according to one of the studies
from Zona Research
"About a third of those surveyed said the use of Java is being driven from
above," said Clay Ryder. "That is not a majority, but in past studies, only
15 to 18 percent of companies said they have an Internet strategy. Others
have said it just happens, so even if one-third says it's top down, that's
Java adoption among rank-and-file developers has in the past been slow,
since many prefer to use languages they already know, such as C++, to build
applications. Developers on tight project deadlines tend to reach for
tried-and-true tools before devoting time to learning a new one, analysts
However, the studies released today show that Java is not replacing
existing tools, but is instead augmenting developers' toolboxes as a method
for building client interfaces that integrate existing applications.
The increased enterprise interest in Java by medium and large companies is
creating hot markets for Internet-centric software tools. Overall, the Java
tools market will exceed $3 billion by the turn of the century, according to the International Data Corporation report.
Four key segments of the Java tools market accounted for $140 million in
revenue last year, a figure that will double this year and grow to $750
million by 2000, IDC estimated. Those core segments are Web site design,
Internet rapid application development, Internet enterprise development,
and Java development environments.
Zona found that about half of the 279 IT professionals responding to the
survey already use Java, and the balance expect to deploy Java within the
next year. The research covered firms with 250 or more employees and did
not estimate overall market size.
Eighty-four percent of respondents from large firms plan to develop new
Java applications, and 70 percent are using Java to enhance existing
"Leverage is a very strong component of how they will use Java," Ryder said.
That interest in Java largely is driven internally, not by vendors,
partners or customers, Zona found.
Instead, the top-three drivers were Java's linkages to Web browsers (72
percent), its cross-platform compatibility (66 percent), and interest from
programmers (62 percent). Market trends (56 percent) and cost
considerations (39 percent) also ranked as key motivators.
One interesting conclusion in the Zona study is that Java is not a
driving force behind corporate interest in network computers, even though
46 percent of respondents said their companies were likely to deploy NCs.
Of those planning to deploy NCs, 37 percent said they would be new devices,
not replacements. Of the respondents expecting to use NCs to replace
existing devices, 29 percent said they would replace PCs while 34 percent
said they would replace dumb terminals.
"That takes a lot of wind out of the argument that NCs are going to replace
PCs in the companies," Ryder said. "And the assumption that Java and NC are
tightly linked doesn't seem to be as likely a cause and effect.