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What is Java and its Brief History

Alimam Miya
I'm not a great programmer, I'm a good programmer, with great habits.
・6 min read

In this tutorial section, we will be diving deep into learning and understanding one of the most popular programming languages in the world i.e what is Java and its basics to advance. This tutorial section is recommended for those who are new in the field of programming as well as those who are willing to upgrade their Java programming skills. So, let’s begin!

What is Java programming language

Java is a high-level, object-oriented, platform-independent, general-purpose programming language. It is a widely-used programming language that can be used for creating but not limited to desktop applications, mobile applications, web applications, console applications, and server-side applications.

Alternatively, Java is a programming language that can be used to create programs, web applications, software, embedded systems, and much more. Java has predefined syntaxes and programming rules which are followed to build such types of applications.

All the Java programs are basically Write Once Run Anywhere (WORA) in nature, which means you can write code in one platform and run it in multiple supported platforms. This is possible in Java because code written in Java is compiled to an intermediate result also known as ‘bytecode’ which is platform-independent i.e it can run on different platforms using a virtual machine known as Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Java runs on billions of devices and more than ten million developers have created Java applications around the world. It is a globally used programming language.

  • Note: Java and Javascript are two different programming languages that are confused with each other. Both are different in nature and have different working methodologies. Java is a computer programming language owned by Oracle Corporation and JavaScript is a scripting language that is an implementation of the ECMAScript language standard.

Brief History of Java

James Gosling, also known as the Father of Java programming language created and developed Java at Sun Microsystems in 1991. Initially, it was named Oak (named after an oak tree) by the creator and later it evolved to become Java. The first version of Java was released in 1995 under a proprietary license by Sun Microsystems. Later in January 2010, Oracle Corporation purchased Java from Sun Microsystems and is also the current owner of Java to date.

Why Should I learn Java?

Java is easy to learn

Java is easy for those who have a programming hand. If you are new to programming, then you might feel it difficult in the beginning to grasp all the concepts but as you move forward it will all make sense to you. It has a bit of a learning curve initially but as you progress things get easy and really easy.

Has wide platform support

Java is used in a variety of platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mobile phones, Websites, Web Servers, Solaris, FreeBSD, and many more. There are electronic gadgets around you that might be using Java right now. Even this thing that you are using right now may have Java somewhere in its core.

Supports Object-Oriented Programming

Java is an object-oriented programming language i.e it supports object-oriented concepts like Polymorphism, Abstraction, Inheritance, Data hiding, etc. These concepts are very much useful when we are developing programming applications in a modular and reusable way. It provides security within modules as well.

Java is popular

Java is used by more than 10 million developers worldwide which makes it one of the most popular programming languages in the world. In most global researches, it is found that Java is much preferred among other programming languages.

Great community support

The developer community of Java is wide across the world. You will find tons of help across the Internet if you get stuck in any part of Java programming. May it be Desktop app development, Web app development, Mobile app development, or whatever it may be. You are not alone.

Fast in execution

Java is comparatively faster than other programming languages that just use interpreter technology to run their programs. Java programs are faster because all you have to do is compile your programs to generate the bytecode and then the JVM converts the byte code to the machine-understandable code. This final executable code is faster in execution and doesn’t need any further interpretation on the second run like it is needed in other interpreted languages.

Huge Library Support

Java comes with a huge set of in-built libraries and there are external community-supported libraries spread over the Internet. If you look for a code library that will make your life easier in programming then there are millions of Java libraries across the Internet for specific purposes that might come in handy. Most of them are free and open source.

Machine Learning and AI

Java has libraries that support machine learning easy for developers. A vast majority of libraries are also maintained online by community members regarding machine learning, deep learning, Artificial Intelligence, computer vision, etc.

Applications of Java

Most of the applications that we use every day are somewhere backed by Java. Due to its feature of being platform-independent, it has grown so much that it is almost everywhere. Here are some of the key applications of Java.

Desktop Applications

Java has predefined UI libraries to develop a fully functioning Desktop application. Packages like Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT), Java Swing, and other graphics media packages available in Java are filled with tools and components that are basically required in a desktop-based application. Each and every component of UI libraries available in Java is well documented as well as fully customizable to develop a featured application.
Apart from this, there are several external open-source UI libraries available across the Internet that may come in handy.

Mobile Applications

Every other smartphone that comes to the market is based on Java. The popular operating system Android OS is also based on Java. Java is also one of the languages that are widely used to create mobile applications. There are libraries and tools that come in-built with the software package known as Android Studio which has Java APIs to create android applications.

Apart from that, apps that we see in App stores are mostly built around Java. Developers prefer Java for their App development because it provides rich features, toolset, and documentation for developers.

Web Applications

Java is not limited to Desktop and Mobile applications. It is also supported in the development of Web applications. It has great tools and components that are pretty much used to design a backend server environment. Due to its security features and robustness, it is one of the preferred languages that are used in large-scale web development. Servlets, Java Server Pages (JSP), JavaFX, Spring MVC are a few key technologies that use Java for web development.

Scientific Applications

May it be scientific research or scientific calculation, Java got it covered. Java is filled with libraries that support mathematical and scientific calculations. It has a very good accuracy of result when a large amount of calculations is thrown to it. From UI designing of scientific applications to output assembling everything is possible using Java.

Very much into the scientific environment? Then you might be familiar with the popular mathematical library known as MatLab which is also built using Java in its core.

Enterprise Applications

Corporate environments need large software solutions to operate, tackle their problems, and solve their queries. According to Oracle, their Java EE platform is designed to help developers to create large-scale, multi-tiered, scalable, reliable, and secure network applications. It covers essential features and functionality for not only large companies but also for government agencies and small organizations.

Big giant companies need robust, scalable, secure, and powerful software solutions and Java is capable of developing it. The Java EE has development APIs that will make developers focus more on building solutions rather than focusing on code.

Distributed Applications

Java can operate on multiple servers or computers at once by its distributed feature. It can connect to multiple resources in a network to build a complex architecture to run software applications. These distributed network resources are also termed as Nodes that are connected to each other and work together to fulfill a goal.

Java Provides APIs to develop distributed applications. Java Intelligent Network Infrastructure (JINI) is a network operating system built on Java that is popularly known for distributed application development.

Big Data & Analysis

Data in the cloud is growing exponentially day by day. Companies collect these data to analyze trends and extract patterns to make critical decisions. Java is used in the development of such applications which can process large amounts of data to extract useful information.

Popular frameworks such as Apache Spark and Apache Hadoop both are used in the big data processing. Both of them are built using Java.

Embedded Systems

Most of today’s embedded systems like Television, DVD player, Microwave Oven, Multimedia Player, Smartwatches, etc. some or the other way use Java in its core. Even some old keypad phones in the past were backed by Java.

Embedded Systems generally have low memory and low processing power. Java still works efficiently in these types of systems by managing memory and processing power.

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