It is a high-level programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Originally it was designed for writing programs for set-top boxes and handheld devices, but later on became a popular choice for developing web applications.
The Java syntax is alike to C++, but it is strictly an object-oriented programming language. For instance, most Java programs have classes, which are used to describe objects, and methods, which are assigned to particular classes. Java is also known for being stricter than C++, meaning variables and functions must be explicitly defined. It means Java source code may produce errors or "exceptions" more easily than other languages, however it also limits other types of errors that may be caused by undefined variables or unassigned types.
Unlike Windows executables (.EXE files) or Macintosh applications (.APP files), Java programs are not run directly by the operating system. Rather then, Java programs are interpreted by the Java Virtual Machine, or JVM, that runs on multiple platforms. It means all Java programs are multiplatform and can run on distinct platforms, by including Windows Macintosh and UNIX computers. Though, the JVM must be installed for Java applications or applets to run at all. Luckily, the JVM is included as part of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), which is obtainable as a free download.
Why do I need Java?
There are many websites and applications that won't work unless you have Java installed, and more are created daily. Java is secure, fast and reliable. From game consoles to scientific supercomputers, cell phones to the Internet, laptops to datacenters, Java is everywhere!
Major characteristics of Java:
1) The programs you develop are portable in a network. Your source program is compiled into bytecode, which can be run anywhere in a network on client or server that has a Java virtual machine. The Java virtual machine (JVM) interprets the bytecode into code that will run on the real computer hardware. It means that specific computer platform differences such like instruction lengths can be identifying and accommodated locally just as the program is being executed. Platform-depend versions of your program are no longer required.
2) The code is robust, here meaning that, unlike programs written in C++ and possibly some other languages, the Java objects can have no references to data external to themselves or other known objects. It ensures that an instruction can’t contain the address of data storage in another application or itself in the operating system, either of which would cause the program and possibly the operating system itself to terminate or "crash." The Java virtual machine(JVM) makes a number of checks on each object to make sure integrity.
3) Java is object-oriented, that means that, among other characteristics, an object can take benefits of being part of a class of objects and inherit code that is common for the class. Objects are thought of as "nouns" that a user might associate to instead of the traditional procedural "verbs." A method may be thought of as one of the object's capabilities or behaviors.
4) Additionally being executed at the client instead of the server, a Java applet has other characteristics designed to make it run fast.
5) Relative to C++, Java is simple to learn.
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