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Groovy vs Java: Detailed Comparison and Tips on the Language Choice

The latest statistics from the TIOBE Programming Community index states that Java remains one of the most popular software development languages among professional developers.

According to the TIOBE data, last year Java held the first place; this year it went down to the second position. (Source:

Despite the high popularity of Java, the data from the Stack Overflow survey indicates that there is a large number of developers who no longer want to use this language.

% show the number of professional developers who are currently using Java, but no longer interested in continuing to use it. (Source:

One of the reasons why Java’s popularity is declining is that there are more convenient alternatives appearing day by day.

Apache Groovy is one of the programming languages that can complement and in some cases even replace Java.

Today, Groovy takes the 31st place in the ranking of the most popular programming languages. Earlier, it several times got into the top 20. (Source:

Despite the fact that Apache Groovy is a Java-syntax-compatible programming language for the Java platform, there is still a big difference between Groovy and Java.

In this article, we’ll examine the main differences between Groovy and Java to see when each of the two languages is best to use.

Why Java Is Worth Consideration

Developers use the Java platform to work on a variety of projects, ranging from desktop, web and mobile applications to big data processing and many more.


For many years, the Java language has been very popular, and today a lot of companies hire Java developers to get valuable software and expand business opportunities.

Why do developers prefer Java? Here are some points that can explain this:

Java Is a Mature Language

Given that the Java language is very common and time-proven, it is very stable and predictable regarding software development, especially when talking about enterprise development.

The reason for that is a very rich ecosystem of proven frameworks and libraries which Java offers to the developers.

Also, the prevalence of this language provides companies with a large pool of talents – as Java is studied at schools and universities, and for many developers this language is the first programming language they learn.

Therefore, companies that want to find a Java developer always have a large variety of potential contractors with rich experience and advanced skills in Java development.

Due to the support of Oracle and the Java community, the language is constantly evolving, which makes it even more stable and reliable.

So if Java is so widespread why should businesses consider any alternatives?

Why Groovy Is Worth Consideration

Though Java is still one of the most widely used object oriented programming languages in the IT industry, Groovy has a few benefits that make it no less effective in software development.

Groovy May Provide Even More Opportunities Than Java

Groovy is based on the power of the Java code, but beyond that, Groovy combines the strengths of other languages.

Python, Ruby, and Smalltalk, also influenced Groovy and some of its features – range data type checking, map and list literal notation, and more.

Still, Groovy can be both a static and dynamic language depending on how you use it. It is based on the grammar of Java, so every developer learning Groovy is a Java developer to some extent.

Besides that, developers who program in Groovy get access to the valuable features inspired by other development languages which facilitates the development process and makes it more efficient.

Groovy Can Complement Java

Groovy and Java have some things in common.

For instance, Groovy can be used as a scripting and programming language for the Java platform. Groovy can also work with Java libraries and code as well as be compiled to Java virtual machine (JVM) bytecode.

Java virtual machine. (Source:

This way, companies are able to combine the power of both languages to get the utmost.

Apache Groovy Is Open-Source

Groovy is open-source, which allows developers to constantly improve it, as well as exchange ideas and experience.

During its lifespan, Groovy has had many active code contributors and more than 300 code committers. (Source:

Many Companies Use Apache Groovy and Benefit From It

There is a large number of companies such as Starbucks, TransferWise, Learningpod, Rumble, and Craftbase successfully using Groovy for their business needs.