Java is a popular, general-use programming language and computing platform. It was designed to have fewer dependencies than other languages, allowing it to work seamlessly for more users. Because it is fast, secure, and reliable, it has been the most popular programming language since it was first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. To date, many applications and websites require the installation of Java to work properly.
What Makes Java so Popular
Java offers a fast, secure, and reliable way to develop applications and has been widely used on laptops, data centers, PCs, game consoles, scientific computers, cell phones, and tablets. It is free to use and download, and all updates are available to users from the Java website for free. Web developers, application developers, data analysts, and computer techs use Java every day, making it the most popular development language available.
Types of Java Platforms
Four Java platforms utilize Java programming language. The Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE) contains its core functionality and is used for networking and security along with graphical user interface development (GUI). Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Jave EE) is used to run highly scalable, reliable, secure, multi-tiered network applications. Enterprise Edition also offers an API and runtime environment and is commonly used with higher-level application development.
Java Programming Language Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) offers the same API platform as Enterprise Edition and a small-footprint programming language that allows for software development for smaller devices such as mobile phones and tablets. JavaFX has a lighter-weight user-interface API and is used to develop high-performance applications and connect networked data sources.
The History of Java
Java was the brainchild of James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton, and was originally designed to support interactive television. The digital cable industry found the program too advanced, leading Gosling, Sheridan, and Naughton to pivot functionality. Java was initially called Oak but was later changed to Java, named after the Indonesian coffee product. The C/C++ style syntax was designed by Gosling and is familiar to programmers.
The creation of the Java language was established with five primary goals in mind. Java developers wanted simple, object-oriented, and familiar language. It had to be robust, secure, architecture-neutral, and portable. It also had to execute with high performance, and it had to be interpreted, threaded, and dynamic. These principles have been maintained since Java’s inception in 1991, and the simplicity of these goals contributes to its long-running success.
Java uses an automated garbage collector, which manages memory in the object lifecycle. When a programmer creates an object, Java recovers the memory once those objects are no longer in use. When no references to the object remain, this unreachable memory is automatically freed by the garbage collector. There are multiple types of garbage collectors in Java, including the default (G1GC), and Parallel Garbage Collector, used in Java 8.
Java’s automatic memory management systems alleviate programmers of the responsibility of manual memory management. While the garbage collection does not prevent logical memory leaks, the program will try to access and deallocate memory. Garbage collection may happen at any time, but ideally operates when the program is idle. If there is insufficient free memory to allocate a new object, the garbage collector will automatically launch.
Real-Word Java Applications