Top five scripting languages on the JVM
Groovy and JRuby lead a strong field, with Scala, Fantom, and Jython following behind
Clojure, JavaFX, and NetRexx
Clojure, JavaFX, and NetRexx are likely to face a more difficult path breaking into the enterprise than those previously discussed. These languages are not inherently flawed, but they either appeal to very small communities (Clojure and NetRexx) without having notable business-oriented features or (in the case of JavaFX) face intense competition from other languages. Predicting the future path of any language is a fool's errand, so I could well be wrong, but I suspect many language cognoscenti would agree with my projection.
Clojure is a purely functional language that is a dialect of Lisp; syntactically, it sits between Common Lisp and Scheme (the two main variants of Lisp). Like Scala, it has built-in support for concurrency that enables the clean separation of immutable and mutable functions. Unlike all the other languages mentioned here, however, it is not object-oriented.
JavaFX is a Java platform and scripting language brought out by Sun during the last two years to facilitate the development of rich Web applications. While successful at delivering this functionality, it has not found widespread acceptance. Despite this, when Oracle purchased Sun, JavaFX was specifically called out by Larry Ellison as one of the key technologies he would continue to invest in.
Finally, NetRexx was the original scripting language for the JVM. Developed by IBM, it is based on the high-level Rexx language. Although IBM made NetRexx available for free, it was never open sourced. Rumors that IBM will open the source have swirled throughout much of its lifetime, but there has been little confirmation of that. Despite being a remarkably well-thought-out scripting idiom -- that can be either compiled or interpreted -- NetRexx has languished. IBM updated it exactly twice since its release in 1997, and as a result, it no longer has an active user base.
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