Java - Another Wonder By James Gosling
Java is a programming language originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which is now a subsidiary of Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform. The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++ but has a simpler object model and fewer low-level facilities. Java applications are typically compiled to bytecode (class file) that can run on any Java Virtual Machine (JVM) regardless of computer architecture. Java is a general-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented language that is specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is intended to let application developers "write once, run anywhere." Java is currently one of the most popular programming languages in use, particularly for client-server web applications. The original and reference implementation Java compilers, virtual machines, and class libraries were developed by Sun from 1995. As of May 2007, in compliance with the specifications of the Java Community Process, Sun relicensed most of its Java technologies under the GNU General Public License. Others have also developed alternative implementations of these Sun technologies, such as the GNU Compiler for Java, GNU Classpath, and Dalvik.
Sun Microsystems released the first public implementation as Java 1.0 in 1995. It promised "Write Once, Run Anywhere" (WORA), providing no-cost run-times on popular platforms. Fairly secure and featuring configurable security, it allowed network- and file-access restrictions. Major web browsers soon incorporated the ability to run Java applets within web pages, and Java quickly became popular. With the advent of Java 2 (released initially as J2SE 1.2 in December 1998–1999), new versions had multiple configurations built for different types of platforms. For example, J2EE targeted enterprise applications and the greatly stripped-down version J2ME for mobile applications (Mobile Java). J2SE designated the Standard Edition. In 2006, for marketing purposes, Sun renamed new J2 versions as Java EE, Java ME, and Java SE, respectively.
In 1997, Sun Microsystems approached the ISO/IEC JTC1 standards body and later the Ecma International to formalize Java, but it soon withdrew from the process. Java remains a de facto standard, controlled through the Java Community Process. At one time, Sun made most of its Java implementations available without charge, despite their proprietary software status. Sun generated revenue from Java through the selling of licenses for specialized products such as the Java Enterprise System. Sun distinguishes between its Software Development Kit (SDK) and Runtime Environment (JRE) (a subset of the SDK); the primary distinction involves the JRE's lack of the compiler, utility programs, and header files.
On November 13, 2006, Sun released much of Java as open source software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). On May 8, 2007, Sun finished the process, making all of Java's core code available under free software/open-source distribution terms, aside from a small portion of code to which Sun did not hold the copyright.
Sun's vice-president Rich Green has said that Sun's ideal role with regards to Java is as an "evangelist."
Following Oracle Corporation's acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2009–2010, Oracle has described itself as the "steward of Java technology with a relentless commitment to fostering a community of participation and transparency
Main articles: Java (software platform) and Java Virtual Machine
One characteristic of Java is portability, which means that computer programs written in the Java language must run similarly on any hardware/operating-system platform. This is achieved by compiling the Java language code to an intermediate representation called Java bytecode, instead of directly to platform-specific machine code. Java bytecode instructions are analogous to machine code, but are intended to be interpreted by a virtual machine (VM) written specifically for the host hardware. End-users commonly use a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on their own machine for standalone Java applications, or in a Web browser for Java applets.
Standardized libraries provide a generic way to access host-specific features such as graphics, threading, and networking.
A major benefit of using bytecode is porting. However, the overhead of interpretation means that interpreted programs almost always run more slowly than programs compiled to native executables would. Just-in-Time compilers were introduced from an early stage that compile bytecodes to machine code during runtime.
Sun Microsystems officially licensed the Java Standard Edition platform for Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris. In the past Sun licensed Java to Microsoft but the license expired without renewal. Because Windows does not ship with a Java software platform, a network of third-party vendors and licensees develop them for Windows and other operating system/hardware platforms.
Sun's trademark license for usage of the Java brand insists that all implementations be "compatible". This resulted in a legal dispute with Microsoft after Sun claimed that the Microsoft implementation did not support RMI or JNI and had added platform-specific features of their own. Sun sued in 1997, and in 2001 won a settlement of US$20 million, as well as a court order enforcing the terms of the license from Sun. As a result, Microsoft no longer ships Java with Windows, and in recent versions of Windows, Internet Explorer cannot support Java applets without a third-party plugin. Sun, and others, have made available free Java run-time systems for those and other versions of Windows.
Platform-independent Java is essential to the Java EE strategy, and an even more rigorous validation is required to certify an implementation. This environment enables portable server-side applications, such as Web services, Java Servlets, and Enterprise JavaBeans, as well as with embedded systems based on OSGi, using Embedded Java environments. Through the GlassFish project, Sun is working to create a fully functional, unified open source implementation of the Java EE technologies.
Sun also distributes a superset of the JRE called the Java Development Kit (commonly known as the JDK), which includes development tools such as the Java compiler, Javadoc, Jar, and debugger.
Main article: Java performance
Programs written in Java have a reputation for being slower and requiring more memory than those written in C. However, Java programs' execution speed improved significantly with the introduction of Just-in-time compilation in 1997/1998 for Java 1.1, the addition of language features supporting better code analysis (such as inner classes, StringBuffer class, optional assertions, etc.), and optimizations in the Java Virtual Machine itself, such as HotSpot becoming the default for Sun's JVM in 2000. Currently, Java 2.0 code has approximately half the performance of C code. However, Java 5.0 has been shown to run at native speeds that sometimes match and occasionally beat the speed of C and C++.
Some platforms offer direct hardware support for Java; there are microcontrollers that can run Java in hardware instead of a software JVM, and ARM based processors can have hardware support for executing Java bytecode through its Jazelle option.