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A Brief History of Java and Why it is an Outstanding Programming Language

Last Updated On Sunday, Apr 9, 2023 | Written By - Mudit Jain


A Brief History of Java and Why it is an Outstanding Programming Language

Java is one of the most popular mainstream programming languages. It's been in the top positions of various surveys for decades now.

But, have you ever wondered how Java got to be this loved by the industry? Read on to learn some of the fascinating facts from Java history and why it is a great language to learn today.

Brief History of Java Programming Language

It all started in the early 1990s at Sun Microsystems with the idea to build "smart" consumer electronic devices.

It was called the "Stealth Project", and its main objective was to research the application of computers in the consumer electronics market.

Java Green Team

Sun Microsystems wanted to build a system that would allow creating a large, distributed network of consumer devices all talking to each other.

Initially, C++ was considered as the language for the project. However, they had to dismiss it for several reasons. At this time, the project became known as "Green".

At this stage, James Gosling made the first modifications to C++, which later became what we now know as Java. However, back then, the language was called Oak.

To satisfy the initial project's objectives, Oak had to be platform-independent, executed/interpreted dynamically, secure, reliable, highly readable, and provide efficient memory utilization.

Furthermore, if Oak were to be widely used in the consumer electronics industry, it would also have to be simple, compact, and easy to master.

The name Oak had to be dismissed due to copyright issues. The language was named Java instead.

Java - FirstPerson Project

In November of 1992, the project was incorporated under the name FirstPerson. However, it was obvious there would be no success for Java in the consumer electronics industry by this time.

So they had to pivot. Now the project was aiming at the interactive TV market. In particular - video-on-demand technology and a set-top box OS.

But unfortunately, the market was deemed immature. So sun Microsystems dissolved the project.

Java and the World Wide Web

It might have been the end. Fortunately for us all, a few people from FirstPerson still pursued the idea of finding a perfect industry for Java.

In 1994 Bill Joy started the "Liveoak" project, which aimed to build an OS. And Patrick Naughton used "Liveoak" to work on a web browser he was writing.

The design parameters of Java were perfect for the Internet. It was reliable, secure, and architecture-independent.

By October of 1994, Naughton and Jonathan Payne had a stable web browser which was later named "HotJava". By 1995 Java was supported by the most popular browsers.

And the rest is history. The introduction of Java marked a new era. The World Wide Web has evolved with its help.

Growth & Development

Over the years, Java grew to be a programming language and a full-fledged ecosystem.

Java Development Kit, Java Runtime Environment, and Integrated Development Environment provide everything you might need to write brilliant Java programs.

The numerous APIs, libraries, and enormous community are also a great help.

Java Today

Java is one of the most used languages for the web. But not only that. Today you can find Java in a lot of industries. Mobile apps, Big Data technologies, software, trading apps are just a few of those.

Why Java is an Excellent Language to Learn Now

There are dozens of reasons to learn Java. Especially as a first programming language. Here are the most solid ones.

Easy to learn

Java was initially designed to be easy to master. It is an object-oriented language. This means it mimics real-life and tries to solve problems like you would with real-life objects.

Its syntax is very readable. Java is also beginner-friendly. Not only because its syntax is easy to master.

But because it handles many tedious tasks like memory management automatically.

Because Java is so popular with newbie programmers, there are numerous online courses to choose from. Courses like Java for beginners from CodeGym, for example, offer great opportunities to learn, practice, and cooperate with other Java developers.

High Demand

In 2016 Oracle counted that Java was running on over 7 billion devices worldwide. This number has grown since then.

Because of the high demand for Java applications, there's inevitably high demand for Java developers, making them one of the best-paid professionals in the industry.

It's a cross-platform language with very few limitations

One of the main principles behind Java is - write once, run everywhere. The combination of JRE and JVM enables Java applications to work on any platform.

This, in turn, makes it a very versatile language that can be applied in any industry, from mobile apps to home appliances.

Rich API

There are three types of Java APIs - official Java core APIs, optional official APIs, and unofficial ones. This means there's an API for almost everything.

One of the biggest tech-savvy communities

Community is very important for developers, both for learning and day-to-day work. And Java has gathered one of the biggest communities around itself.

For example, there are over 9000 discussions on Java at Github, and over 1,5 million questions tagged Java on StackOverflow.

So you can be sure there's an answer to any of your questions out there. Or at least a dozen of people who can help even with the most obscure issues.

Wide Range of Development Tools

There's a wide variety of development tools for Java. Of course, there are the already mentioned JDK, JRE, and IDE.

And various other tools for literally everything - debugging, syntax highlighting, code completion, language support, automated refactoring, etc.

Wrap up

Java has a long and fascinating history. But the most fascinating part is - it continues to grow and evolve to this day. And it won't stop any time soon.

So learning it now is a great way to make sure you have fantastic career opportunities in the future.

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