History of Java Programming Language| UNext


Java is one of the most popular programming languages software developers use worldwide. Java was developed in the early 1990s by James Gosling as an object-oriented programming language. Over the years, the language has been the foundation of millions of applications across many platforms, such as Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, Android-based handheld devices, Embedded Systems, and corporate solutions. Java operates on more than 3 billion smartphones, according to Oracle (which acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010). In this article, we’re going to explore the history of Java and the philosophy behind it. 

Table of contents

  1. What is Java?
  2. History of Java
  3. Philosophy of Java
  4. Importance of Java
  5. Java Version History

So let us dive into the brief history of Java.

1) What is Java? 

Java is an object-oriented, cross-platform programming language introduced in 1995 by Sun Microsystems. Today, Java helps run many applications, including Sports, Social Media, Audio, Video, etc.

2) History of Java

James Gosling, often called as the father of Java pioneered Java in June 1991 as a project called ‘Oak.’ Gosling aimed to develop a virtual machine and language with a well-known notation like C but with more precision and simplicity than C/C++. In 1995, Java 1.0 was the first public execution. It pledged ‘Write Once, Run Anywhere’ on popular platforms with free runtimes. It was very safe and configurable, with security restricting network and file access. In a stable ‘applet’ setup, the significant web browsers soon implemented it in their standard settings.

In 1997, Sun reached out to the ISO/IEC JTC1 and then Ecma International to formalize Java, but they quickly withdrew. Java continues to be a de facto proprietary standard regulated by the Java Community Process. With the revenue generated by a new vision, such as the Java Enterprise Framework, Sun made several Java implementations free of charge. The critical difference is that the compiler is not present in the JRE, differentiating between its Software Development Kit (SDK) and JRE (JRE).

On 13 November 2006, Sun launched a considerable amount of Java in the GNU General Public License as free and open-source software (GPL) (GPL). On 8 May 2007, Sun completed the process by releasing a fully accessible, all-free, and open-source Java core code, except for a small portion of the code that Sun did not copyright.

3) Philosophy of Java

The development of the Java language had five primary objectives: 

  • The object-oriented approach should be employed. 
  • It should allow multiple operating systems to run the same program. 
  • It should have built-in computer network support. 
  • It should be configured to execute code from distant sources safely. 
  • By selecting which parts of the other object-oriented languages are considered acceptable. It should be simple to use.

Java programmers often consider it appropriate to use extensions like CORBA, Internet Communications Engine, or OSGi to achieve networking support and remote code execution goals.

  • Object Orientation

The first element, object-oriented (OO), applies to a programming and design process. While several OO meanings are possible, one critical distinguishing principle is the design of the program to combine different data types, which it manipulates with their respective operations. Data and code are then combined into entities known as objects.

An entity can be considered as a part (code) and the state of self-contained conduct (data). The idea is to separate items that change from things that remain the same; a change in any data structure also means that the code that runs on that data or vice versa is modified accordingly. This division into compatible objects offers a more reliable basis for the design of a software system. The aim is to promote the management of large software projects, increase quality, and reduce the number of failed projects.

Another primary objective of OO is to create more common artifacts so that software between projects can be more reusable. For example, a generic “customer” object should have substantially the same basic set of behaviors, significantly when these projects overlap on a certain fundamental level, as they often do within larger organizations.

Hopefully, in that sense, software objects can be treated more as plug-in components so that the software industry can primarily build projects based on current, well-tested parts, thus reducing development time significantly. Software reusability has obtained mixed functional outcomes with two primary difficulties: the conception and communication approach of genuinely generic objects is poorly understood.

  • Platform Independence

The second feature, platform independence, means that Java-written programs must run on different hardware equally. one should be capable of writing once and executing the program anywhere. Most Java compilers accomplish this task by compiling Java’s ‘halfway’ to bytecode code, specifically bytecode Java, simplified Java platform-specific machine instructions.

The code then runs on a virtual machine that interprets and executes generic Java byte code in native code on the host hardware. Also, standardized libraries are available to allow unified access to host machines’ features, such as graphics, threading, and networking, to name a few.

Notice that while the compilation stage is precise, somewhere, the Java bytecode is interpreted or converted by the JIT compiler into native machine instructions. Java compilers are also implemented to compile the native object code, such as GCJ, for removing the intermediate bytecode level. Still, only a single architecture can run the performance of these compilers.

Sun’s Java license demands “compatible” with all implementations. It led to a legal dispute with Microsoft after Sun argued that RMI and JNI interfaces did not accept the Microsoft implementation and introduced platform-specific features. Microsoft will no longer be shipping Java with Windows, and Internet Explorer will no longer support Java applets without a third-party plugin in recent versions of Windows.

However, for those and other Windows versions, Sun and others made Java runtime systems available free of charge. The first language implementations used an encoded virtual machine for portability. These innovations created programs that performed slightly slower than those that were compiled to native executables, such as C or C++, so that language was reputed poorly. More recent JVM deployments generate programs with multiple techniques that operate much faster than before.

The first technique is to compile native code directly into a more conventional compiler, which totally skips bytecodes. This results in good results, but at the cost of portability. The Java bytecodes are converted into native code as a different technique known as a just-in-time compilation (JIT) when the program is running.

The program runs faster than the interpreted code and is also compiled overhead during execution. More advanced VMs use dynamic recompilation in which the VM can selectively recompile and optimize essential components of the software and evaluate the behaviors. Dynamic recompile can do more than static optimizations because the dynamic compiler can use the runtime environment and the collection of loaded classes to construct optimizations. Dynamic reconstruction and compilation of JIT allow Java programs to benefit from native code speed without losing portability.

  • Automatic Garbage Collection

One concept behind Java’s automated memory management model is to save programmers the stress of manual memory management. In specific languages, the programmer allocates memory to build any object stored in a heap and then manages the memory manually to remove those objects. A memory leak can occur when a programmer forgets to relocate memory and does not type code promptly: it consumes a potentially large quantity of memory. Furthermore, the program can become unstable and collapse when a memory region is spread two times. Finally, there is some overhead and sophistication of the user code to track and finalize allocations in non-waste-collected environments.

Automatic garbage collection avoids this possible issue in Java. When objects are created, the programmer decides, and Java is responsible for managing the object lifecycle. Holding a reference, the program or other objects may mention an object (which, from a low-level point of view, is its address on the heap). The Java garbage collector automatically deletes a non-reachable object if no reference to an object remains, freeing memory and avoiding memory leakage. There can also be memory leaks if a programmer’s code includes a reference to an item no longer needed—in other words, it may still occur at a higher conceptual level.

4) Importance of Java

Currently, Java is the world’s top five most frequently used programming languages, according to Statista. Some developers use Java to design GUI applications, while others use Java to build a range of web applications. Java is also widely used in manufacturing mobile and android games, the most extensively-installed mobile platform.

Here are some of the reasons why Java is and will remain important in the long run.

  • Mature and Keeps Evolving

Java is a sophisticated and stable language for programming. However, Oracle Corporation updates the programming language regularly with the help of a dynamic community. Each new Java version has many new features and performance improvements.

  • Platform Independent

Programmers need to write applications with the use of several devices and platforms. Therefore, they are looking for a programming language that lets them write the application code once and use it across multiple platforms without additional effort. The programmers can compile the Java code once and deploy it across various platforms without recompiling it. The bytecode enables the application code to be deployed by programmers on any Java-supporting platform. They can also quickly transport the app from one platform to the next without constantly compiling the code.

  • Supports Common Programming Paradigms

Java’s syntax rules are similar to the C and C++ syntax. Thus it is easier for beginners to learn and use Java in less time. Simultaneously, Java is a rival class-based programming language that is object-oriented. Because Java embraces popular object-oriented programming principles such as heritage, polymorphism, abstraction, and enclosure, the applications are made modular, extensible, and scalable, more readily accessible by programmers. The developers can also benefit from such Java libraries to incorporate object-oriented design concepts more effectively.

  • Google Recommends for Android App Development

During the development of mobile apps, any developer cannot overlook the mobile device with the most extensive installation base. The programmers can write Android apps in C, C++, and Java. But Google suggests that developers of mobile apps write Android apps in Java only. By typing it in Java, developers can further improve the performance and compatibility of Android apps. Developers also have the option to write sturdy Android apps in Java in a shorter time, using various tools and libraries.

  • Rich set of APIs

Java dominates other languages in the programming interfaces rich application programming interfaces (APIs) category. The programmers have the option of creating popular development projects by using a variety of Java APIs without adding any extra code. Some of these APIs are shared by significant corporations, and community members download others. Developers can use APIs to link databases, inputs and outputs, networks, utilities, protection, and XML parsing according to their needs. They can combine these APIs with other Java Open Source libraries to improve the application’s functionality and efficiency without adding time and effort.

5) Java Version History

JDK Alpha and Beta (1995)

JDK 1.0 (23rd Jan 1996)

JDK 1.1 (19th Feb 1997)

J2SE 1.2 (8th Dec 1998)

J2SE 1.3 (8th May 2000)

J2SE 1.4 (6th Feb 2002)

J2SE 5.0 (30th Sep 2004)

Java SE 6 (11th Dec 2006)

Java SE 7 (28th July 2011)

Java SE 8 (18th Mar 2014)

Java SE 9 (21st Sep 2017)

Java SE 10 (20th Mar 2018)

Java SE 11 (September 2018)

Java SE 12 (March 2019)

Java SE 13 (September 2019)

Java SE 14 (Mar 2020)

Java SE 15 (September 2020)

Java SE 16 (Mar 2021)

Java SE 17 (September 2021)

Java SE 18 (March 2022)


A Java developer can generally use Java to write GUI, mobile, and web applications for desktop applications. The simplicity and versatility of Java make it, in the real sense, a general programming language. Simultaneously, the Java frameworks and programming tools make Java one of the most common languages of the year. Java finds wide applications for all developing processes. Knowing his history will only help you solidify your belief and trust in using the language.


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