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10 Kick-Ass Technologies Modern Developers Love

Introduction to the geek love fest

Have you ever heard the question: “How do you know if you’re in love?”

Well, forget that. We’d rather know “How do you know when a technology is going to change your life?”

So we asked ourselves, is it possible to identify which technologies are loved and chosen specifically by geeks…and to understand why they are chosen?

In part, yes. We have statistical evidence from three years of developer surveys about dozens of technologies, but this is about more than just market share or t-shirt coolness that influences our judgement in these matters. It’s never only based on one element, so here are some we thought about, in order of importance (or gravity):

  1. Market data (raw % of market, relative size of market, level of fragmentation)
  2. Developer feedback (i.e. explicit responses from surveys)
  3. Amount of buzz about it (press coverage, social media share, community presence)
  4. Anecdotal evidence (personal conversations, stories, gut feeling)

Obviously, the prerequisite here is that the technology needs to visibly provide value on some level, solving problems or inefficiencies that exist​ in software development or reimagining something better altogether.

Each of these technologies has a story behind it, usually a good one, and supported by a culture and a reason for existing not born out of dreaming about riches. We believe this is what geeks are drawn too. Something personal, with a pulse.

So we went out in search of the heart behind that pulse and contacted as many leaders as we could from among the target technologies. With a couple exceptions, we got direct quotes from the right people, giving us greater insight into what the future holds for the technology itself and the space in which it lives.

So, in alphabetical order, here are 10 top technologies the modern developer loves:

  1. Confluence
  2. Git
  3. Gradle
  4. Groovy
  5. IntelliJ IDEA
  6. Jenkins
  7. JIRA
  8. MongoDB
  9. Scala
  10. Tomcat + TomEE

Honorable mention: JRebel*

*At first we debated whether it was too biased to include a tool made by the same organization that sponsors RebelLabs, but with clear statistical evidence of love for JRebel by developers, it deserves an honorable mention :)


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  • theschmitzer

    Hard to believe Jenkins makes the list. Does not scale to even a moderate number of builds.

  • http://www.zeroturnaround.com/ Toomas Römer

    Actually Jenkins is not that bad. I just pulled the stats, we have 878 jobs configured (a lot of duplication because of handling multiple branches), 25 servers in the cluster and about ~200 executors. It gives us builds and tests on ~4 different platforms.

    I think Jenkins does scale but it requires work in administration and monitoring.

  • Sunil Giri

    Still like Eclipse & Maven over IntelliJ & Gradle, may be not modern enough !

  • http://raibledesigns.com Matt Raible

    Why do you prefer Eclipse over IntelliJ? I switched to IntelliJ in 2006 and never looked back. Here’s why I prefer it: http://raibledesigns.com/rd/entry/why_i_prefer_intellij_idea

  • Sunil Giri

    Thanks for responding, I started using Eclipse in 2004, never felt a need to change untill I landed on a multi module JSF, Maven project in 2007 which used MDA , Eclipse started consuming lot of memory and became very slow, I tried IntelliJ back then,but IntelliJ also had similar memory requirements, I dint like the look and feel, may be since it was different from eclipse, also I was not sure if the learning curve (from workspace->project of eclipse to Intellij modules structure to other details) were really worth, Eclipse was free and IntelliJ community edition. But I like what you have written about IntelliJ’s front end languages support, so plan to give it another look.

  • Satheesh Ak

    Top 10 Technologies – http://bit.ly/WIinfq

  • An0nym0usC0ward

    I, for one, have to use Idea at work. But I still don’t like it. People say it’s more convenient than Eclipse in many ways, but I find it gets in the way and annoys me in many ways.

    For example, its refactorings are hidden too deep, and I don’t need it to do a deep rename often enough to justify its smarter rename. OTOH, I do want to Ctrl-Left/Right through just parts of camel-case identifiers very often, which it doesn’t know, it seems – even most plain text editors do this, but not Idea. Its version control interface is streamlined, but not nearly has powerful as I’d like it, which is why I use an external tool anyway, with both Eclipse and Idea. I absolutely dislike Idea notifying you of errors only by red zig-zag underlines in the project explorer, instead of a Still, I do more of the SVN stuff in Eclipse than in Idea. I could go on for quite a while, but I think it’s a matter of personal taste.

    Idea feels like a thin wrapper on top of external tools, rather than a full-blown IDE. While I do like the idea, I don’t necessarily like the implementation.

    Then again, I do use Linux as an IDE – http://blog.sanctum.geek.nz/series/unix-as-ide/ – so my way of working on code might be somewhat particular.

  • An0nym0usC0ward

    Sort of mixed content. I definitely know a lot of programmers who profoundly dislike at least half of the enumerated technologies. Maybe it’s just a list of technologies who built a lot of hype around them recently? Hype doesn’t always correlate with lasting value.

  • Fernando

    Angularjs with all my heart. And Jrebel

  • Andy Gumbrecht

    Thank you so much Oliver an Simon. I hope it’s OK to plug the TomEE 1.7.0 release here, http://tomee.apache.org/tomee-1.7.0.html