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There has been concern for nearly five years application servers are dead. Truth be told, they are not dead, but is their usage in decline? The simple answer is yes. Over the years, it appears corporate environments have decided the "return on investment" is not there when looking at Java application servers. On the surface, one might assume that the likes of WebSphere or WebLogic might be the ones in decline due to cost. Perhaps it is just affecting the proprietary choices, while their open source based derivatives are growing or remaining steady? Appears not. Whichever Java application server you choose, all of them are in a state of decline.

Whether it be proprietary options such as WebSphere or WebLogic, or open source alternatives JBoss or Tomcat, all are in decline based on employment listings we review. However, they are not declining at the same pace. From our collection of data, WebSphere and WebLogic's decline has been more muted. The rate of reduction for each of these application servers is in the neighborhood of 25-35% over the last couple years. At the same time, the likes of JBoss and Tomcat have declined around 40-45%. Not a drastic difference, but one that still is notable.
Why are the FLOSS based application servers losing ground at a faster clip than their proprietary brethren? I am sure there is a multitude of possibilities, but one that might glean some insight is the progressive nature of different companies. It is more likely a company that relies on proprietary solutions is an established entity that moves at a slower pace when considering changes. There is a strong probability it will keep the existing application server around for a longer period of time before switching gears. Meanwhile, companies that have FLOSS based solutions are more likely to be more nimble. They probably have a tendency to keep up with the trends more aggressively, and as a result do not hesitate to make a change when there is a technological advantage in doing so.

Outside the business prognostication, there are some seismic transitions that have occurred within engineering departments. Primarily the processes that they follow. During this time of application server regression, we have witnessed the rising of DevOps, Micro Services, Serverless and Continuous Delivery. Each of these have had a profound effect. Whether it be an application being developed using Continuous Delivery resulting in the need for multiple deployments daily, or Micro Services' need for a taxing multiple application servers to run each component, the servers bog down the potential efficiency. On top of that, the popularity of structuring a department in a DevOps fashion has limited the need for an application server. Ultimately, the amount of employment listings proclaiming a need for proficiency in these three categories has jumped significantly in the last five years. Hence, it is hard to dispute their importance in this trend.

Besides what has been mentioned, there are a multitude of other factors that might be up for debate. However, one can not ignore the current decline of application servers no matter what there makeup is. It appears more and more entities are realizing they do not need the complexity and lack of efficiency of utilizing an application server to deploy applications. Engineering departments are in a constant state of reconfiguring their processes, and in the case of application servers, it appears that the part they once played in the overall infrastructure is no longer a necessity.
in-demand software depeloper skills
The application space is the place to be. A lot of work has been done in the low-level Linux arena, and it continues, but the growth over the last few years has been in the application space. With that being the case, which language are developers utilizing to build these apps? In short, it depends, which I know does not come as a huge surprise. But, with the data that we have, we are able to determine which languages are leading the way.

The language that finds itself on the top of the mountain is Java. Being around open source software for over 15 years, this was not always the case. Early on, we did not see a lot of interest in Java developers, but boy has that changed. It is the definitive leader in the application space currently. While the numbers have not grown in the last six quarters, the sheer overall number is impressive. On average, companies are asking for Java skills in over 1 in 3 job postings focused on FLOSS. Quite a feat for a language that did not register on the radar years ago. And, based on its heavy use with Android, it would not be a surprise to see this number increase in the future.

Another language that is used prominently in the application space is C++. While its numbers can't quite compete with that of Java, it still commands a large marketshare in this arena. Whereas Java is asked for in 1 of 3 postings, C++ is required in 1 of 4. Much like that of Java, its numbers have remained relatively stable over the last six quarters. C++ has always been heavily utilized, and even though Java has superseded it, it remains a highly relevant language.

demand for scripting languages
Scripting is an essential attribute of an administrator's skill set. With all the choices that exist, which one is best? In this area of technology, more so than almost any other, it is all about taste and preferences. Whether it is Perl or Bash or Python, the job will get done. All that matters is the manner in which it gets done. Therefore, the clear cut answer to the question of which is best, is completely up to the administrator. We will provide the statistics we are able to analyze from the marketplace, and if it sways your decision one way or the other, fine, but it does not need to. There is no wrong answer.

Most of the popular scripting languages have shown steady growth over the last six quarters, with one exception, Perl. For some reason, Perl has seen about a 10% decline over the period analyzed. Along with every other language, the movement is not drastic, yet noteworthy based on the overall data. It peaked in early 2016 at nearly 1,900 requests per 10,000 job listings. It now finds itself just below 1,700. As for the reason why this has taken place, your guess is as good as mine. Whatever the rhyme or reason, corporation's are not asking for it as much presently.

The one scripting language that garners the largest numbers and is still in growth mode is Python. Whereas Perl has declined by about 10%, Python has seen growth of a little over 10% during the last year and a half. Its reading as of January 2016 registered in at 2,566 out of 10,000 listings. As of April 2017, the number of listings requiring Python skills has increased to 2,826. The numbers in between have been a little haphazard, but at the end of the day, the trajectory is moving upward.

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