Work on the Java programming language started in 1991, and the design goals were to create a simple, object-oriented language with a syntax that was familiar to existing programmers.

James Gosling was the leading designer behind the language, and he initially named it Oak, because an oak tree was growing outside his window. For copyright reasons, it was later renamed Java after the Java coffee.

An essential concept in the design of the language was to let programmers write once and run anywhere, abbreviated to WORA. The idea is that an application written in Java can run on most platforms without any modification or recompilation.

The portability was achieved by letting the Java source code compile into an intermediate representation, called Java byte code, instead of platform-specific machine code. The byte code is then executed by a virtual machine that’s written for the hardware hosting the application.

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