A Brief History of Java

Knowing a basic history of Java helps if you are seeking to understand computer programming. Essentially Java is a programming language developed by Sun Microsystems, and it allows computer programmers to write codes and commands that can be used by Web browsers and mobile applications.

The team that developed Java, dubbed the "green team" and led by James Gosling, began working on it in 1991 and released it in its first incarnation in 1995. The technology was initially marketed to the digital cable television industry but was later applied to the internet, just a fledgling concept at the time. Java was almost an instant hit and was followed up by Java 2 in late 1998. Java 2 had numerous versions tailored for specific purposes, such as J2ME for mobile applications.

Java has become so successful and essentially cemented its position as an industry standard for many reasons:

It works with almost any operating system. Since it is run through what is called a "virtual machine" regardless of what kind of computer you are using, chances are Java will run smoothly.

It is object-oriented. In computer programming terms, an object is not markedly different than an object in the real world. Computer programming instructors often explain object-oriented programming using the "lamp" analogy. An object is simply an entity, such as a lamp, that has both a state (on and off) and a behavior (turn on and turn off). To say that Java is object-oriented means that the programming is based on these objects and how they interact. This is advantageous because it makes for simpler code writing.

It is simple to use. Much of the syntax, or the rules that determine what combination of symbols means what, is based on C++. Java improved upon this model, making it more object- oriented and easier to write and understand.

It is secure. The same Virtual Machine that makes Java almost universally compatible also keeps it secure. Since it is run in a self-contained program within your computer, any glitches or errors that occur don't wreak havoc outside of the system.

With these features, Java has maintained its niche in the computer programming market. It is estimated that as of 2006 there were over four billion devices worldwide that are capable of running Java Virtual Machine. Java is still widely used to this day, and, as of May 2007, almost all of Java's core code is available to download for free.

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