Table of Contents
Java is a popular object-oriented, platform-independent programming language. It allows you to develop a wide variety of applications that can run on different hardware and operating systems. Java also provides a runtime environment for running Java applications on a variety of devices.
Java was originally developed in 1991 by James Gosling and a team of engineers at Sun Microsystems, which was later acquired by Oracle Corporation. It was originally developed for consumer devices such as washing machines, televisions, etc.
These devices required a small, efficient, fast and platform-independent language. Languages like C and C++ were not preferred because of the compiler’s dependence on specific processors as well as the large development time and cost.
Thus, Java was designed as a portable, platform-independent language that could run code on any platform. It was originally called Oak, but was later renamed Java.
Although Java was designed to meet the programming needs of small services, it was found to be capable of solving larger problems, such as testing web and mobile applications.
It became instantly popular and has been adopted worldwide for developing applications ranging from embedded, desktop, web and mobile applications. Java can be used to create applications for small and large businesses and even supercomputers.
Features and advantages of Java
The following are some of the features and benefits of the Java programming language.
Simple and robust
Java syntax is derived from previous programming languages such as C, C++. This makes it easier for developers to learn Java quickly. Java also eliminated the complexity of pointers, operator overloading, multiple inheritance, and other such features. Instead, it has become more robust with efficient memory management and exception handling features.
Java is based on the object-oriented programming paradigm. It is therefore well suited for developing real-world applications.
Java offers a solution to a major problem that previous languages have faced, namely code portability. During compilation, it converts the source code into an intermediate, architecture-neutral format called bytecode.
This bytecode can run on any platform that has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed. Moreover, even language specifications, such as the size of primitive data types and operators, have been defined to be hardware independent. This ensures that the code works correctly if the operating system, processor, or system resources change.
Security is an important issue in Java applications as they are designed for multiple and distributed platforms. Java provides security checks at various levels during application development. The JVM is designed to apply its security features during code execution to ensure that the code is well-formed and written according to Java standards.
Java supports multithreaded application development for simultaneous execution of multiple tasks. In a multithreaded application, a single program can have multiple threads executing tasks independently and simultaneously. Java allows you to create thread pools that can be used to get threads when needed.
Distributed and dynamic
Java supports distributed programming for developing and accessing resources over the network. It provides several application programming interfaces (APIs) to handle transfer and remote requests over the network. Java also allows dynamic execution of classes by storing them in a separate location and dynamically loading the necessary classes at runtime.
The concept of modularity has been introduced since Java 9. It was supposed to be included in Java 7 and Java 8, but was not achieved. Before Java 1.8, packages were packaged in executable .jar files for Java applications.
But, with Java 9, a new design called “Module” was introduced. A module is similar to a JAR file, but unlike a JAR file, it also contains configuration information in the form of a module-info.java file. This allows the module to be more powerful and flexible than the JAR file, since all dependencies are specified in the module-info.java file.
When using a JAR file, the entire JAR file is loaded at runtime, but only those modules that are on the dependency list are loaded with the module. This allows applications to remain lightweight and run faster.