What is Java?

Over 3 billion devices run Java - Java installer

The Java language is very impressive. It is a write-once, run-anywhere language, meaning the code only has to be written once, and when it is compiled, it is usuable everywhere. The Java language is multi-platform, although some features do vary slightly between platforms.

Java source code are written in plain-text files with the .java extension. Java code can be written using any word processing tool, but it is highly recommended to use an integrated development environment (IDE) like Eclipse or NetBeans. This enables the programmer to test his or her Java code directly in the program, and can see any errors or warnings. It generally makes programming Java a whole lot more convinent. Search online for these IDE’s, they are free to download and install, and are also multi-platform.

Java is a high-level language that is very advanced yet simple to program, taking most hard parts (apart from debugging unfortunately) out of programming, making the life of the programmer much easier. It is highly object-oriented - everything is treated as an object in Java. (more in Object Orientation). It also has a really good toolset for multithreading (more about this in Concurrency), and is generally robust, portable, secure, and dynamic.

Java technology was created by Sun Microsystems (later an associate of Oracle) and is continually in development. It is used everywhere in virtually every electronical device. Java is based on C-like languages and does follow the same syntax as some things in C and C++. It basically takes all of the difficult, low-level, and complicated stuff out of C++ and compiles it into a brand new language that is way more easier and convinent, and has many applications in the current world.

As well as providing a clever, easy to learn language, Java is also a software platform. Many electronic devices use Java, ranging from laptops and printers to ATMs and parking meters. Java is found in most, if not virtually all of the electronic devices in the world today as it is very flexible, handles memory brilliantly and provides means to do so for the programmer (useful for low-memory systems, such as parking meters).

Not only does Java provide a virtual machine that can port, compile, and run Java code, it also provides a very carefully designed application programming interface (API) for programemrs to use the smorgasbord of tools and functions that can expand the potential uses with Java, ranging from simple math functions such as sin(); to complex containers for storing objects (more about this in Containers).

So as you can see, Java is a language that is worth learning about as it has many applications, it is very easy to learn, and becomming increasingly popular. It is only a matter of time until the standard language used in the IT industry is Java.

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