What is Java

Java is a computer programming language that was originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems; Java 1.0 (the first public version) was released in 1995. As of 2014, Java is developed by the Oracle Corporation. Java is an object orientated programming language, and is a popular programming language for developing Web based applications.

Java is a 'class-based' style of object orientated programming: objects are defined into 'classes', rather than defining the objects individually. Java applications are portable and computer architecture neutral: due to the 'bytecode' being typically compiled into a 'class file' (applet for example) which can be run upon any JVM (Java virtual machine).

A JVM (Java virtual machine) is an execution engine which interupts bytecode (compiled Java binary code) for a computer's processor; so that is can perform and run the Java program on a variety of computer architectures. Sun Microsystems estimated that there are billions are devices which are enabled with a JVM (Java virtual machine).

Some of the key features of Java are that it is:

  • Computer architecture neutral
  • Object oriented
  • Portable
  • Distributed
  • High performance
  • Multithreaded
  • Dynamic
  • Secure

Java is a cross-platform object-orientated programming language, and is compatible with:

  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Solaris
  • MacOS

Java was developed with the philosophy of being computer architecture neutral,and being compliant with the Sun Microsystem slogan for Java: "Write Once, Run Anywhere". Ideally Java bytecode should be compiled so that it can be run on any device which supports a JVM (Java virtual machine). It is common practice (as of 2014) for most software packages and hardware devices to install a JVM.

One issue which has arised is that there are numerous JVM installations; each which varies slightly in relation to the platform they are installed upon. When a Java program is run upon each, it may perform slightly differently, and can result in Java programs needing to be debugged. For this reason, cross-platform programming languages (like Java) are criticised: due to the subtle errors and bugs which can be produced.

The syntax of the Java programming language is similar to C and C++ - Java syntax is generally considered to have evolved/derived from C++ syntax - but differs in the fact that Java is an object orientated programming language and all program code is an object and is written within 'classes'. The JDK (development kit) is essential for developers who want to design Java applications.

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