.NET vs. Java Comparison: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases
Nov 08, 2023
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Currently, .NET and Java are undoubted leaders in the domain of back-end software development. But which one among the two mastodons of web application development is better in your specific case? Much depends on your needs, as certain parameters and use cases may make either .NET or Java a perfect fit.
Keep reading for a comprehensive .NET vs. Java comparison. We will overview both contenders by their critical parameters. As a bonus, you will get a list of ideal use cases for .NET and Java in order to help you pick the right back-end development solution for your needs!
Things to know about .NET
In 2023, .NET is used by approximately 25.3% of developers worldwide, making it the top software development framework. Microsoft introduced .NET (or .NET Core) in 2002 and continues investing in this technology, fueling the rapid growth of this open-source framework. .NET supports multiple programming languages and is widely applied for building web, desktop, mobile, and cloud-based applications. NET software development grants you excellent quality and flexibility of coding while being one of the most high-performing back-end technologies.
Notably, .NET is widely used for developing high-load platforms. For example, this framework has been used to build software market giants like GoDaddy, Xero, and Microsoft’s official website. Leobit also has a proven track record of successful .NET platforms, including a customer-facing fintech app of a global payment processing provider and a re-commerce reporting portal.
Things to know about Java
Released in 1995, Java is one of the most lasting technologies in the market of back-end software development technologies. Around 30.55% of software developers are using this programming language and various technologies from its stack. Java is a platform-independent and object-oriented programming language known for its versatility and “Write Once, Run Anywhere” capability. Java has been a frontrunner in cross-platform development for decades, making it a popular choice for building web, desktop, and mobile apps long before many of the modern cross-platform solutions came into existence.
Just like .NET, Java is a fundamental technology for building high-load applications. The list of apps built with this programming language includes such notable names as LinkedIn and Booking.com.
Comparing .NET vs. Java
Now, let’s dive into a .NET Core vs. Java comparison based on their key parameters. The table below presents a summary of the findings from this comparison.
Each yearly release of a new .NET version significantly improves coding speed. The framework allows developers to reduce the amount of code with best practices and pre-built tools. .NET provides information on the best practices, such as file-scoped namespaces and decomposition of objects, helping software development specialists optimize the code.
With the use of the best practices, Java also supports excellent coding speed, while its releases make software development more convenient for developers. Java libraries offer a variety of threads that help software developers manage and process instruction in the sequence. However, from our experience, Java is still less developer-oriented than .NET.
There are many features that simplify coding in Java, while regular updates also provide instruments boosting the speed of development with Java. However, .NET remains the leader in terms of back-end coding pace as each new release prioritizes developers’ convenience and offers the most innovative development instruments.
Cost of development
.NET is an open-source software development framework, which means that there is a great range of free integrations and supporting tools for .NET development. Also, in a world where time is money, excellent speed of coding with .NET also means solid cost savings. .NET is also a perfect option when it comes to compatibility with Azure cloud technologies, known for their flexible pricing and reasonable cost of maintenance. As a more lightweight technology than Java, .NET also requires less compute resources, which is also positive in terms of project budgeting. Also, the rates of .NET developers are usually smaller compared to the ones of Java developers.
Java is also an open-source technology, which automatically means a rich portfolio of free integrations, supportive tools, libraries, and best practices. Various lists of efficient Java coding best practices also contribute to budget-friendly Java development. However, there may be additional fees associated with the Oracle Java SE subscription. Also, Java developers, usually, charge more than .NET developers. Check the graph illustrating median salaries for senior .NET and Java developers in the U.S. below.
When approached correctly, software development with both .NET and Java can be extremely cost-efficient. However, some factors, such as .NET vs Java salary differences and resource consumption make .NET a more cost-efficient technology than Java.
When it comes to app performance, .NET is the king. This framework uses natively compiled languages, such as C# and C++ that are very fast and ensure great performance. As a performance-oriented programming framework, .NET offers Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation to optimize code execution at runtime and provide excellent application performance.
JIT is also an essential Java feature, which helps this programming language reach good performance. Besides, Java applications benefit from enhanced performance thanks to the language’s concurrency features.
Although there are many ways to boost Java app performance, Java still falls short when compared to .NET in this aspect. When it comes to more basic applications, Java vs. .NET performance difference is too insufficient to have a recognizable impact. However, as a more lightweight framework, .NET wins in the .NET Сore vs Java performance comparison for more productivity-centric solutions.
Initially, .NET was rarely used for cross-platform development due to its lack of corresponding capacities. However, the framework evolved to become a popular solution for building apps for different platforms, including web, desktop, and mobile. In particular, .NET perfectly runs with Xamarin, Microsoft’s cross-platform development framework, as well as its successor .NET MAUI. There are also reliable practices for building .NET apps in combination with Flutter.
Meanwhile, Java is a mastodon in the domain of cross-platform software development. Java Virtual Machine (JVM) allows Java developers to write code once and run it on multiple platforms without modification.
For many years, Java has been a leading back-end technology in terms of cross-platform development. However, with the evolution of .NET’s cross-platform development features, there is no longer a distinction. Hence, there is a tie in this regard.
As one of the most popular back-end development technologies, .NET has a large and vibrant community encompassing a wide array of developers, libraries, and supporting tools. Supported by Microsoft, .NET has a great list of best practices, as well as Microsoft-powered or open-source technologies in its stack.
As a software development market mastodon, Java also has a vast and mature community. There are a great number of Java development forums, best practices, libraries, and tools to support software developers.
While the Java development community might be bigger than the one of .NET, this difference pays no actual relevance. .NET is a very mature programming framework, and it definitely doesn’t lack tools, ideas, and supporting technologies.
.NET provides an excellent selection of scalability-oriented features. This Microsoft-powered framework supports multi-threading and asynchronous programming, both allowing back-end developers to build large and highly scalable software solutions. Besides, .NET is perfectly compatible with Azure, allowing application developers to leverage the scalability of the cloud.
Java also doesn’t lack scalability-oriented features. This programming language supports multi-threading and high-performance garbage collection. Its ecosystem also includes a wide array of libraries and frameworks that help software developers build distributed and scalable systems. In particular, Java developers widely use the Apache Hadoop framework for distributed processing of large data sets across various clusters of computers.
We can conclude that both .NET and Java are excellent solutions for building scalable applications with their distinctive scalability-oriented advantages. In brief, it means a tie in this regard.
.NET is a popular solution among businesses aiming to build applications in the cloud. While there are solid lists of best practices for building .NET apps on AWS and GCP, .NET works at its best in Azure cloud development. Being a Microsoft-backed framework, .NET empowers developers to fully harness the benefits of Azure microservices architecture and cloud features.
As for Java, this programming language is also widely used for building cloud applications. It offers an extensive list of libraries and best practices for developing and deploying cloud-based applications. There are many successful examples of Java applications built and deployed on AWS and GCP. As for Azure, Java is also widely used for building applications in Microsoft’s cloud, but it is no match to .NET in terms of Azure cloud compatibility.
.NET is an ideal solution for businesses interested in leveraging the power of Azure. However, in terms of overall cloud compatibility, .NET and Java conclude this round in a tie.
With a focus on security as one of the main concerns in the modern IT industry, .NET offers a wide array of useful classes and services that help developers write secure code, configure role-based security, and encrypt sensitive data. Much depends on how developers implement security practices, but default .NET features are more than enough for building robust application security.
Java, as one of the most mature back-end development technologies, provides an extensive system of security measures. There is a wide array of Java security tools and best practices allowing developers to write secure code and build fortified applications.
With the right approach, developers can build completely secure .NET and Java software. Therefore, Java vs. .NET security rivalry ends in a tie.
.NET offers a list of libraries, toolkits, and services for building embedded systems. In particular, .NET nanoFramework is a popular solution for building embedded systems with .NET.
Java is a recognized leader in embedded system development. Its main advantage is a lightweight implementation of Java SE Embedded. This solution offers simple and secure development of multifunctional, portable, and reliable embedded systems.
When it comes to embedded system development, Java seems to be a better fit than .NET because of the implementation of Java SE Embedded, which is one of the most mature solutions for embedded development.
.NET vs. Java: Perfect Use Cases
Now that we have reviewed Java vs. .NET Core dilemma by their most critical parameters, let’s proceed with a list of use cases for both.
When to develop apps with .NET?
Basically, you can build almost everything with .NET. However, there are specific solutions that just perfectly fit this framework. We suggest choosing .NET for back end when:
- Building high-load apps that should show excellent performance
- Launching software that should develop in the long run (.NET is more future-oriented)
- Developing apps with complex GUI (graphical user interface) because .NET is very fast
- Creating apps with the intention of deploying or integrating them with Azure cloud services
- Creating cross-platform applications
- Building solutions working within Microsoft software ecosystem
- Building basic embedded systems
- Developing video games
When to develop apps with Java?
As for Java, here is the most relevant list of use cases for this programming language. Note that in certain cases, both technologies can serve as excellent solutions, making it challenging to favor one over the other. We suggest using Java when:
- Working with legacy systems relying on legacy Java code
- Creating cross-platform applications
- Developing more complex embedded systems
- Developing video games
Let’s conclude our insight into the classic .NET-Java rivalry. While Java is a renowned name in the domain of back-end development, .NET surpasses it in many aspects, such as speed of development, development cost, and app performance . The only sphere where Java has a real advantage is embedded systems development. In almost all other cases, we believe .NET to be a perfect choice for clients facing Java vs. .NET dilemma.
We choose a solution depending on our customer’s needs, but, mostly, give our votes to .NET, which is, by far, our favorite back-end development technology. As an experienced software development company, we are ready to help you build a perfect back end with this framework. Contact us to build applications that harness all the powers of Microsoft’s advanced software development framework.