Introduction to Java Programming Language

August 23, 2021, Learn eTutorial

Java is a powerful object-oriented programming language developed by the famous  Canadian computer scientist, James Aruther Gosling at Sun Microsystems in the year 1995 along with his colleagues Mike Sheridan and Patrick Naughton. Gosling who is best known as the father of the Java programming language is also credited with the name Dr.Java for his incredible creation of the fast-paced technological world. Gosling has a clear vision of the Write Once, Run Anywhere principle while designing this platform-independent programming language which stands out even today.  

History of Java

Before getting started with java, let's go back to the era that gave birth to this powerful yet robust programming language named JAVA. The seed of the Java language was initially planted in the mind of Sun’s Microsoft lead architect James Aruther Gosling, as a part of a research project in 1991. Gosling along with his colleagues started working to develop advanced software for a wide spectrum of network devices and embedded systems.

In the initial phase, the language of choice was C++ and with the passage of time, they realized the difficulties with C++ in designing and implementation, and later it demanded the need for an exclusive programming language platform. Consequently, the Java programming platform is designed by adapting the design and architecture plans sketch from various other programming languages. 

Firstly this programming language was named OAK, after the tree that stood near Gosling’s office. But unfortunately, due to some copyright problems, they were forced to change the name. Several names like Green, Silk, DNA, WRL, etc were on their list and eventually, they decided to end up with a fresh and warm name to their new language which is JAVA, the name of an Indonesian coffee.

Java Features/ Java Buzzwords 

The creator of Java designed this beautiful language with the inclusion of some distinguishable features which makes this language vivid and compatible even today. Their design goal was to develop a technology that is simple, portable but secure, and robust with promising high performance on multiple platforms in a distributed network.  The unique features that molded this powerful language are termed Java Buzzwords

Key Features of Java

So, What are the major features of Java programming?

  1. Simple 

     The first and foremost design goal of the Java programming language is the simplicity of the language. The language is designed in such a way that anyone can quickly grasp the basic programming knowledge and can start to code even as an absolute beginner.

  2. Object-oriented

    Another important feature that is incorporated in the Java programming language is the concept of object-oriented programming - in the sense, each and everything in java is an object which integrates data and behavior. The programming system of Java has embraced the OOPS concept to function effectively in this fast-paced and complex network-based environment. OOPs, concepts are visualized in the below diagram.

    OOPS Java
  3. Familiar

    Familiar means closely acquainted. Yes, Java programming language has a close acquaintance with C and  C++ and it may look similar to C and C++. This is because the style and syntax of java were borrowed from those languages discarding all complexities and skeptical concepts.  Programmers who are familiar with C, C++, and associated languages can effortlessly migrate to the Java platform with a quite short learning curve. 

  4. Robust

    Java is robust in the sense:

    • Java scrutinizes the code during compile-time and runtime to eliminate the errors and thereby provide error-prone codes.
    • Java is capable of managing the memory tightly and efficiently by utilizing the Garbage Collector which locates the unused objects and deletes them to secure space in the memory.
    • Java is also effective in handling exceptions with the help of a mechanism called exception handling.
    • Java does not have explicit pointers too.
  5. Secure

    Java is a secure programming language because it is designed in a way that it can function in distributed environments without the fear of being attacked by intruders or untrustworthy parties.

    What makes Java the most secure language is the bytecode that developed after compilation. The bytecode is close to machine language and is not readable by humans. Hence the possibility to be modified by any third party is minuscule. 

    Moreover, java programs always run in the sandbox(JRE) with no or minimal interconnection with the Operating System thereby preventing the invasion of untrusted sources and so are extensively used in developing virus-free and temper-free applications.

  6. Architecture Neutral 
    Key Features of Java

    To deploy the java based applications in heterogeneous network environments, the Java byte code - an architecturally neutral intermediate format has been designed. From the diagram, it is pretty clear that the java source code is converted to java byte codes by the Java compiler. This intermediate code can be efficiently transferred to various hardware and software platforms.

  7. Portable

    Another prominent feature of Java technology that is clearly tied with architecture neutrality is portability(platform independence) which means the program or code written in one platform can run readily on another platform without any changes(or minimal change).

    The important component that incorporates both architecture neutrality and portability is the JVM(Java Virtual Machine). As the name indicates, it acts like a virtual platform and performs specific implementation for specific hardware and specific software platforms. Refer diagram given in architectural neutral.

  8. High Performance 

    Java technology accounts for a high degree of performance. Always assured great performance by facilitating a strategy by which the interpreter can run at full speed without bothering the runtime environment check. The automatic garbage collector guarantees the availability of memory whenever it is needed which expedites better performance.

  9. Interpreted

    The involvement of the compiler makes java a compiled language where the java source code gets converted into some kind of machine instructions called bytecode. Similarly, the intervention of JVM which serves as an interpreter entitles java as an interpreted language. The JVM takes the byte code and executes it on a real computer.

  10. Multithreaded  

    Multithreading is an important feature of the Java language. It simply means doing multiple things at a time. A multithreaded java application can run two or more threads simultaneously thereby attaining maximum utilization of CPU and a high degree of interactivities for the end-user.

  11. Dynamic 

    Java language is said to be dynamic in a way that the language and its run-time system are dynamic in their linking phase though the compiler uncompromisingly sticks on its static type checking. To be more specific anything that happens on run-time is said to be dynamic, here in Java on-demand basis one can link and load classes, code modules, or even interactive executable codes from across the network.

Features Discarded From C & C++

To achieve the simplicity of the Java programming language, designers had removed many of the features causing redundancy and uncertainty. The indecisive features withdrawn from C and C++ are listed below:

Java has :

  • No preprocessor, no typedef and no 
  • No complex data types like Structure, Union, and Enum
  • No pointer data types
  • No functions
  • No Multiple inheritances 
  • No operator overloading
  • No Goto Statements
  • No Automatic Coercions

Java Application:

The incredibly impressive features of java make java 'the king of all programming languages and extremely popular in all aspects of technology, be it in a desktop application or web development or in big data analysis. Java since its launch has been continually chosen as the high-ranking programming language till now. The 10 top-notched applications that run on java with their real-world examples are tabularized below.

SL NO Java Applications Example
1 Desktop GUI  applications Acrobat Reader,  ThinkFree
2 Mobile applications Netflix, Google Earth, Uber
3 Web-based applications Amazon, Broadleaf
4 Embedded Systems Sim Card, Blue-ray disc player
5 Application Servers WebSphere, WebLogic
6 Web Servers Apache Tomcat, Rimfax Web Server
7 Enterprise Applications ERP, CRM
8 Scientific Applications Matlab
9 Big Data Applications Hadoop, Apache HBase
10 Software Tools Eclipse, Net Beans

Java is not limited to a specific area, it grounds its way in all aspects and hence the applications that rely on java are countless. So undoubtedly we can say, JAVA programming language is the best option for everyone, be it an absolute beginner or professional.