As a coding language, Java is an ocean – there’s a lot to explore and enact. It came out back in 1995 and remains unquestioned as one of the top 3 programming platforms in existence. It’s an awesome foundation for building a career in software development and 95% of enterprises are using it. Right now, there are almost 10 million Java developers in the world, and there’s plenty room for more. On a side note, Java is also known as a synonym for ‘coffee’; does that make you wonder why it was chosen as the name for a computing language?

Who invented Java and what for?

Java originated in Sun Microsystems, which is currently owned by the Oracle Corporation. Programmers often compare it to the C++ computer language, being general-purpose, concurrent, object-oriented and class-based. The founding developers of Java have admitted that they were ‘cleaning up’ C++ by removing its complexities (no pointer system), and stumbled upon the new language/runtime.

Java was built on the WORA (write once, run anywhere) concept, by that being platform independent. James Gosling is mainly acknowledged for designing this language, which only needs to be compiled once and then it can work on any operating system. Initially it was created for game consoles, VCR and interactive television, but later became the universal language for developing mobile and web applications. It was written in accordance with the following principles:

  • Simple, familiar and secure
  • Robust, yet portable
  • Threaded, distributed and dynamic
  • Interpreted and high performance
  • Automatic Memory Management

Components of Java:

  • Java Virtual Machine (JVM) – It provides a runtime environment
  • Java Runtime Environment (JRE) – A runtime environment in which Java byte code can be executed. It is the source for all libraries and support
  • Java Development Kit (JDK) – It is the mandatory tool for compiling, documenting and packaging Java programs.

The Story behind the Name

‘Java’ is a nice name, easy to pronounce, sounds good and somewhat memorable. Despite all the positives, it wasn’t really the first choice; the designers of the language recall it as an “accident”. The original name devised was “Oak”, but couldn’t be applied because it was already a trademark owned by someone else. Oak was symbolic for the oak tree outside James Gosling’s office, and the so called “Green Team” had a hard time letting go.

A brainstorming session was arranged where dozens of opinions were tossed around. The team wanted the name to be unique, not having ‘Net’ or ‘Web’ in it. Coffee was generally mainstream for the Green team members during such sessions, and someone just randomly said “Java”. In the end when all the suggestions were shortlisted, “Java” was among three finalists. “Silk” and “DNA” were the other two names recieving a high number of votes within the team.  

Where’s Java Now?

At this very moment more than 3 billion phones are operating on Java, because all Android apps are written in the language or make use of its API. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of TV sets and Blu-Ray Players are working on the platform as well. It is also a popular choice in game development and UI configuration in web applications. Moreover it has proved useful for constructing software architectures for managing Big Data, Banking transactions, Stock Market, and Retail.


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