Learn about a brief history of Java.


Java™ was first developed in the 90’s by James Gosling. It borrows much of its syntax from C and C++ to be more appealing to existing programmers at the time. Java was owned by Sun Microsystems, which was then acquired by Oracle in 2010.

About Java

Java is a statically typed, object-oriented language. Statically typed means every variable and parameter must have a defined type (as opposed to languages like JavaScript, which are dynamically typed). Object-oriented (OO) means that data and functions are grouped into objects, which are usually referred to as methods in OOObject-oriented languages.

Advantage over C/C++

Java code is compiled to byte-code, which runs on a virtual machine (the Java Virtual Machine or JVM). The virtual machine handles garbage collection and allows Java to be compiled and run on any OS or hardware with a JVMJava Virtual Machine.

This is an advantage over C/C++, which must be compiled directly to machine code and has no automatic garbage collection (the programmer needs to allocate and deallocate memory).

Java packages

The standard implementation of Java comes in two different packages: the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) and the JDK (Java Development Kit). The JREJava Runtime Environment is strictly for running Java as an end-user, while the JDKJava Development Kit is for developing Java code. The JDK comes with the javac command for compiling Java code to byte-code among other things.

Java community process

To make Java more open and community-based, Sun Microsystems started the Java community process (JCP), which allows a somewhat democratic evolution of Java and JVMJava Virtual Machine specifications.

Also, Sun relicensed most of its Java technologies under the GNU General Public License in May 2007, resulting in multiple open-source implementations of the JVMJava Virtual Machine. OpenJDK is the current official implementation.