Enable javascript in your browser for better experience. Need to know to enable it? Go here.

Languages & Frameworks

Adopt ?

  • When Apple introduced SwiftUI a few years ago, it was a big step forward for implementing user interfaces on all kinds of devices made by Apple. From the beginning, we liked the declarative, code-centric approach and the reactive programming model provided by Combine. We did notice, though, that writing a lot of view tests, which you still need with a model—view—viewmodel (MVVM) pattern, was not really sensible with the XCUITest automation framework provided by Apple. This gap has been closed by ViewInspector. A final hurdle was the minimum OS version required. At the time of release, only the very latest versions of iOS and macOS could run applications written with SwiftUI, but because of Apple’s regular cadence of updates, SwiftUI apps can now run on practically all versions of macOS and iOS that receive security updates.

  • We've had enough experience with Testcontainers that we think it's a useful default option for creating a reliable environment for running tests. It's a library, ported to multiple languages, that Dockerizes common test dependencies — including various types of databases, queuing technologies, cloud services and UI testing dependencies like web browsers — with the ability to run custom Dockerfiles when needed. It works well with test frameworks like JUnit, is flexible enough to let users manage the container lifecycle and advanced networking and quickly sets up an integrated test environment. Our teams have consistently found this library of programmable, lightweight and disposable containers to make functional tests more reliable.

Trial ?

  • When building an app with React Native you sometimes find yourself having to create your own modules. For example, we've encountered this need when building a UI component library for a React Native app. Creating such a module project isn't straightforward, and our teams report success using Bob to automate this task. Bob provides a CLI to create the scaffolding for different targets. The scaffolding is not limited to core functionality but, optionally, can include example code, linters, build pipeline configuration and other features.

  • Flutter is increasingly popular for building cross-platform mobile apps, and Unity is great for building AR/VR experiences. A key piece in the puzzle for integrating Unity and Flutter is the Flutter-Unity widget, which allows embedding Unity apps inside Flutter widgets. One of the key capabilities the widget offers is bi-directional communication between Flutter and Unity. We've found its performance to be pretty good as well, and we're looking forward to leveraging Unity in more Flutter apps.

  • Kotest (previously KotlinTest) is a stand-alone testing tool for the Kotlin ecosystem that is continuing to gain traction within our teams across various Kotlin implementations — native, JVM or JavaScript. Key advantages are that it offers a variety of testing styles in order to structure the test suites and that it comes with a comprehensive set of matchers, which allow for expressive tests in an elegant internal DSL. In addition to its support for property-based testing — a technique we've highlighted previously in the Radar — our teams like the solid IntelliJ plugin and the growing community of support.

  • Some programming languages, especially newer ones, have a package and dependency management solution built in. When it was introduced in 2014, Swift didn't come with a package manager, and so the macOS and iOS developer community simply kept using CocoaPods and Carthage, the third-party solutions that had been created for Objective-C. A couple of years later Swift Package Manager (SwiftPM) was started as an official Apple open-source project, and it then took another few years before Apple added support for it to Xcode. Even at that point, though, many development teams continued to use CocoaPods and Carthage, mostly because many packages were simply not available via SwiftPM. Now that most packages can be included via SwiftPM and processes have been further streamlined for both creators and consumers of packages, our teams are increasingly relying on SwiftPM.

  • Vowpal Wabbit is a general-purpose machine-learning library. Originally created at Yahoo! Research over a decade ago, Vowpal Wabbit continues to implement new algorithms in reinforcement learning. We want to highlight Vowpal Wabbit 9.0, a major release after six years, and encourage you to plan the migration as it has several usability improvements, new reductions and bug fixes.

Assess ?

  • Android Gradle plugin Kotlin DSL added support for Kotlin Script as an alternative to Groovy for Gradle build scripts. The goal of replacing Groovy with Kotlin is to provide better support for refactoring and simpler editing in IDEs as well as ultimately to produce code that is easier to read and maintain. For teams already using Kotlin it also means working on the build in a familiar language. We had a team with an at least seven-year-old 450-line build script migrate within a few days. If you have large or complex gradle build scripts, then it's worth assessing whether Kotlin Script will produce better outcomes for your teams.

  • For those who prefer a more natural language than JSON for infrastructure code, Azure Bicep is a domain-specific language (DSL) that uses a declarative syntax. It supports reusable parameterized templates for modular resource definitions. A Visual Studio Code extension provides instant type-safety, intellisense and syntax checking, and the compiler allows bidirectional transpilation to and from ARM templates. Bicep's resource-oriented DSL and native integration with the Azure ecosystem make it a compelling choice for Azure infrastructure development.

  • We've been debating the merits of cross-platform mobile development tools for nearly as long as we've been publishing the Technology Radar. We first noted a new generation of tools in 2011 when blipping about cross-mobile platforms. Although we were skeptical of them at first, these tools have been perfected and widely adopted over the years. And nobody can debate the enduring popularity and usefulness of React Native. Capacitor is the latest generation of a line of tools starting with PhoneGap, then renamed to Apache Cordova. Capacitor is a complete rewrite from Ionic that embraces the progressive web app style for stand-alone applications. So far, our developers like that they can address web, iOS and Android applications with a single code base and that they can manage the native platforms separately with access to the native APIs when necessary. Capacitor offers an alternative to React Native, which has many years of cross-platform experience behind it.

  • We don't routinely feature new versions of languages, but we wanted to highlight the new long-term support (LTS) version of Java, version 17. While there are promising new features, such as the preview of pattern matching, it's the switch to the new LTS process that should interest many organizations. We recommend organizations assess new releases of Java as and when they become available, making sure they adopt new features and versions as appropriate. Surprisingly many organizations do not routinely adopt newer versions of languages even though regular updates help keep things small and manageable. Hopefully the new LTS process, alongside organizations moving to regular updates, will help avoid the "too expensive to update" trap that ends with production software running on an end-of-life version of Java.

  • Android 12 brought significant changes to app widgets that have improved the user and developer experience. For writing regular Android apps, we've expressed our preference for Jetpack Compose as a modern way of building native user interfaces. Now, with Jetpack Glance, which is built on top of the Compose runtime, developers can use similar declarative Kotlin APIs for writing widgets. Recently, Glance has been extended to support Tiles for Wear OS.

  • Android today has several media APIs: Jetpack Media, also known as MediaCompat, Jetpack Media2 and ExoPlayer. Unfortunately, these libraries were developed independently, with different goals but overlapping functionality. Android developers not only had to choose which library to use, they also had to contend with writing adaptors or other connecting code when features from multiple APIs were needed. Jetpack Media3 is an effort, currently in early access, to create a new API that takes common areas of functionality from the existing APIs — including UI, playback and media session handling — combining them into a merged and refined API. The player interface from ExoPlayer has also been updated, enhanced and streamlined to act as the common player interface for Media3.

  • MistQL is a small domain-specific language for performing computations on JSON-like structures. Originally built for handcrafted feature extraction of machine-learning models on the frontend, MistQL currently supports a JavaScript implementation for browsers and a Python implementation for server-side use cases. We quite like its clean composable functional syntax, and we encourage you to assess it based on your needs.

  • While many tools support multipackage development in the node.js world, npm 7 adds direct support with the addition of npm workspaces. Managing related packages together facilitates development, allowing you, for example, to store multiple related libraries in a single repo. With npm workspaces, once you add a configuration in a top-level package.json file to refer to one or more nested package.json files, commands like npm install work across multiple packages, symlinking the dependent source packages into the root node_modules directory. Other npm commands are also now workspace aware, allowing you, for example, to execute npm run and npm test commands across multiple packages with a single command. Having that flexibility out of the box decreases the need for some teams to reach for another package manager.

  • We witnessed the migration from server-side rendering website to single-page application in the browser, now the pendulum of web development seems to swing back to the middle. Remix is one such example. It's a full-stack JavaScript framework. It provides fast page loads by leveraging distributed systems and native browsers instead of clumsy static builds. It has made some optimizations on nested routing and page loading, which makes page rendering seem especially fast. Many people will compare Remix with Next.js, which is similarly positioned. We're glad to see such frameworks cleverly combining the browser run time with the server run time to provide a better user experience.

  • Executing a scheduled task once and only once in a cluster of distributed processors is a relatively common requirement. For example, the situation might arise when ingesting a batch of data, sending a notification or performing some regular cleanup activity. But this is a notoriously difficult problem. How does a group of processes cooperate reliably over laggy and less reliable networks? Some kind of locking mechanism is required to coordinate actions across the cluster. Fortunately, a variety of distributed stores can implement a lock. Systems like ZooKeeper and Consul as well as databases such as DynamoDB or Couchbase have the necessary underlying mechanisms to manage consensus across the cluster. ShedLock is a small library for taking advantage of these providers in your own Java code, if you're looking to implement your own scheduled tasks. It provides an API for acquiring and releasing locks as well as connectors to a wide variety of lock providers. If you're writing your own distributed tasks but don't want to take on the complexity of an entire orchestration platform like Kubernetes, ShedLock is worth a look.

  • SpiceDB is a database system, inspired by Google's Zanzibar, for managing application permissions. With SpiceDB, you create a schema to model the permissions requirements and use the client library to apply the schema to one of the supported databases, insert data and query to efficiently answer questions like "Does this user have access to this resource?" or even the inverse "What are all the resources this user has access to?" We usually advocate separating the authorization policies from code, but SpiceDB takes it a step further by separating data from the policy and storing it as a graph to efficiently answer authorization queries. Because of this separation, you have to ensure that the changes in your application's primary data store are reflected in SpiceDB. Among other Zanzibar-inspired implementations, we find SpiceDB to be an interesting framework to assess for your authorization needs.

  • sqlc is a compiler that generates type-safe idiomatic Go code from SQL. Unlike other approaches based on object-relational mapping (ORM), you continue to write plain SQL for your needs. Once invoked, sqlc checks the correctness of the SQL and generates performant Go code, which can be directly called from the rest of the application. With stable support for both PostgreSQL and MySQL, sqlc is worth a look, and we encourage you to assess it.

  • Developing apps for iOS has become more streamlined over time, and SwiftUI moving into Adopt is a sign of that. Going beyond the general nature of SwiftUI and other common frameworks, The Composable Architecture (TCA) is both a library and an architectural style for building apps. It was designed over the course of a series of videos, and the authors state that they had composition, testing and ergonomics in mind, building on a foundation of ideas from The Elm Architecture and Redux. As expected, the narrow scope and opinionatedness is both a strength and a weakness of TCA. We feel that teams who don't have a lot of expertise in writing iOS apps, which are often teams who may be looking after multiple related codebases with different tech stacks, stand to benefit the most from using an opinionated framework like TCA, and we like the opinions expressed in TCA.

  • WebAssembly (WASM) is the W3C standard that provides capabilities of executing code in the browser. Supported by all major browsers and backward compatible, it's a binary compilation format designed to run in the browser at near native speeds. It opens up the range of languages you can use to write front-end functionality, with early focus on C, C++ and Rust, and it's also an LLVM compilation target. When run in the sandbox, it can interact with JavaScript and shares the same permissions and security model. Portability and security are key capabilities that will enable most platforms, including mobile and IoT.

  • Zig is a new language that shares many attributes with C but with stronger typing, easier memory allocation, support for namespacing and a host of other features. Its syntax, however, is reminiscent of JavaScript rather than C, which some may hold against it. Zig's aim is to provide a very simple language with straightforward compilation that minimizes side-effects and delivers predictable, easy-to-trace execution. Zig also provides simplified access to LLVM's cross-compilation capability. Some of our developers have found this feature so viable, they're using Zig as a cross-compiler even though they aren't writing Zig code. Zig is a novel language and worth looking into for applications where C is being considered or already in use as well as for low-level systems applications that require explicit memory manipulation.

Hold ?

 
  • languages-and-frameworks quadrant with radar rings Adopt Trial Assess Hold Adopt Trial Assess Hold
  • New
  • Moved in/out
  • No change

Unable to find something you expected to see?

 

Each edition of the Radar features blips reflecting what we came across during the previous six months. We might have covered what you are looking for on a previous Radar already. We sometimes cull things just because there are too many to talk about. A blip might also be missing because the Radar reflects our experience, it is not based on a comprehensive market analysis.

Unable to find something you expected to see?

 

Each edition of the Radar features blips reflecting what we came across during the previous six months. We might have covered what you are looking for on a previous Radar already. We sometimes cull things just because there are too many to talk about. A blip might also be missing because the Radar reflects our experience, it is not based on a comprehensive market analysis.

Radar

Download Technology Radar Volume 26

English | Español | Português | 中文

Radar

Stay informed about technology

 

Subscribe now

Visit our archive to read previous volumes