What is Java?
Java is a programming language that allows Web page developers to embed applets, including games and other programs that wouldn't run under normal coding. Java has become one of the most popular Web applications ever made, with 10 million users and counting since its creation.
Three people were behind the idea when it was first conceived in 1991. James Gosling, Mike Sheridan and Patrick Naughton had originally built the code with television in mind, hoping to take it to new interactive heights. However, at the time, digital cable wasn't quite ready for the technology, so Gosling turned to make it compatible with a Java virtual machine (JVM for short), with a language that used a C/C++ set-up.
Java was initially called Oak, for a tree just outside of Gosling's office. It was later changed to Green, but eventually, the trio settled on the name Java, mainly because of all the coffee they were going through at the time.
For the creation of the Java language, Gosling assigned five basic principles:
- It should be "simple, object oriented and familiar"
- It should be "robust and secure"
- It should be "architecture-neutral and portable"
- It should execute with "high performance"
- It should be "interpreted, threaded and dynamic"
Java was written using a code known as WORA — "write once, run anywhere." It allows developers to run code on one platform without the need to rebuild it for another. It runs in a concurrent, object-oriented fashion, with only a handful of implementation dependencies to keep it up and running.
Sun Microsystems released the first public offering of Java 1.0 in 1995. With security in place and the ability to use network and file-access restrictions, developers began applying Java applets to Web pages.
In 2006, Sun released Java as a free and open source software (FOSS for short), under a General Public License. It became quite popular in terms of open-source distribution, thus leading to the high count of users that continue to apply Java applets today.
Alternative implementations have also been developed using similar technology, including the GNU Compiler and the GNU Classpath. It is usable in a number of Web browsers, working with a variety of Web-powered games and video programs.
Java has gone through a number of versions over the years, though they haven't always been improvements. The latest version, Java SE 7, arrived in 2011. Several articles and complaints indicate that new Java apps, particularly through select Web browsers, are subject to hacking. Most of these issues have been addressed with security updates (including some through Oracle), though some problems do exist. Not enough to waver its popularity, however.