Java vs. CSS: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

php vs. java

Java vs. CSS: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

Java vs. CSS are two very different programming languages. While Java is a general-purpose programming language with many uses, CSS is a styling language primarily used to alter the visual presentation of web pages. So how do the two languages differ? Which should you use in your programming endeavors? Please take a ride with us as we compare the two languages and establish their use cases, key differences, and must-know facts. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Java vs. CSS: Side-By-Side Comparison

UsesWeb development, mobile app development, game development, and enterprise softwareWeb development
TypeObject-orientedStyling language
CompatibilityAll operating systemsAll browsers
Ease of LearningModerateModerateComplex
Third-Party ToolsNetBeans, Android Studio, JUnit, Maven, Gradle, Jenkins, SpotBugs, SpringTailwind, Foundation, CSS Wand, Bootstrap
Client-Side vs. Server-Side UsesBoth client-side and server-sideClient-side only
File Name Extensions.java.css

Java vs. CSS: What’s The Difference?

Java and CSS are two very distinct programming languages. We’ll begin with a brief overview of each language, then we’ll take a look at how these languages differ from each other.

What Is Java?

Java is a general-purpose programming language used for developing web applications. The language has grown very popular with millions of everyday users. The network-centric language works across most platforms and can even be used as a platform by itself. You can use Java on Windows, Linux, and Mac without modification.

The language is highly reliable, fast, and secure, making it a good option if you need to code anything from mobile apps, websites, or even enterprise-based software. Additionally, Java supports object-oriented programming, thus, allowing the user to write modular, easy-to-maintain codes. 

Several object-oriented programming principles are supported by Java, including inheritance, polymorphism, and encapsulation. These principles are beneficial when developing a highly complex application. 

What Is CSS?

Cascading Style Sheets, commonly called CSS, is a programming language that makes web pages presentable. The language determines how an HTML-developed web page looks and feels, giving the user numerous customization options from color, font, spacing, styles, background images, and page layout, among others. 

The language is easy to learn and provides robust control over different markups. Some include HTML, XHTML, XUL, SVG, and plain XML. Additionally, CSS offers several benefits. When using CSS, you will surely enjoy the language’s excellent multi-platform compatibility, time-saving, fast page reloads, easy maintenance, and global web standards. These benefits all contribute to CSS’s popularity and wide usage.

CSS is a styling language primarily used to determine how HTML documents should look.


What Are They Used For?

Regarding uses, Java and CSS have unrelated uses. CSS is a styling language used to improve aesthetics in web pages. The language gives the user control over several page attributes, including font, styles, spacing, background colors, images, and animations. CSS helps make a web page more visually appealing to its users, improving their experience. 

On the other hand, Java is a programming language used for various purposes. The language is reliable, and most programmers use it for application and game development, enterprise-based applications, cloud computing, server-side applications, and website development. You can also use Java to develop an AI or as a platform.

Ease of Learning

If you are a programming novice in need of learning either Java or CSS, neither of these two languages will give you an easy time. However, we shall still compare them in complexity to see which is easier to learn.

Starting with CSS, you need to know HTML before using the language. CSS is primarily used to style HTML-developed web pages meaning that your first step would be to have some basic HTML knowledge. Afterward, it would help if you learned all CSS’s styling options and factors. The language also has several applications. It will take an average person months before they master all of them.

Java is also relatively easy to learn even if the language has numerous applications. This ease of learning is because most of its processes are run automatically, the language being high-level. You can master this language in a few months with a bit of learning, practice, and devotion. Compared to CSS, learning and comprehending this language will take a shorter time, thus Java wins the comparison based on ease of learning. 


Java and CSS enjoy great compatibility. Since CSS is used in web development, we shall base its compatibility on browsers. The language is compatible with all browsers, including Chrome, Opera, Edge, Safari, and Firefox. This excellent browser compatibility makes it easy to use CSS without worrying about your browser. 

Since Java is an object-oriented language, we shall base its compatibility on operating systems. Java is compatible with all operating systems. You can use Java on Windows, Mac, and Linux, which would work perfectly. The language will therefore accommodate you regardless of your operating system.

With both Java and CSS having great compatibility with operating systems and browsers, respectively, we can now end this compatibility round in a draw.

Third-Party Tools and Libraries

Java has an extensive library of useful third-party tools that you can use. These third-party tools help by providing specific functionalities and features to your language. 

The following are some of the third-party tools you can use on Java:

  • NetBeans
  • Android Studio
  • JUnit
  • Maven
  • Gradle
  • Jenkins
  • SpotBugs
  • Spring

CSS also has a list of useful third-party tools. These tools ensure that your projects are well-refined and pleasing to look at. Some of these third-party tools include Bootstrap,  CSS Wand, Foundation, and Tailwind.


Regarding performance, CSS easily wins. The language performs faster compared to Java. The fast performance is mostly because of its few functionalities, as its key role is to handle your web page presentation. However, if used incorrectly, CSS can still cause performance issues and a bad user experience.

Java, on the other hand, is slower than CSS. The language is slow because it takes up a lot of memory. Bad programming practices, slow string-based operations, array boundary checks, and the lack of low-level functionality also slow down Java’s performance. Additionally, Java libraries focus on readability and correctness rather than performance, thus making the language slower. However, you can improve how Java performs by getting the modern version, which is a bit faster. 

Client-Side vs. Server-Side Uses

CSS and Java have different applications regarding server and client-side uses. CSS, a styling markup, is used to change the final outlook of web pages. The language exclusively deals with the client side, allowing you to change how the different page elements look after developing a page using HTML.

Java is good for both client-side and server-side uses. When using the language to develop web pages, it works on the client side. However, you can use Java to develop servers mainly for storing large amounts of data. You can also use it to develop enterprise-specific applications where you will have to choose what the specific elements of the app do, thus, server side. 

Since Java can accommodate both client-side and server-side uses, it is a very powerful language that most programmers use. So Java wins this client-side vs. server-side comparison owing to its great flexibility regarding uses.


Java and CSS also have different syntax. Syntax is the rules and guidelines that define their structures. We will compare Java and CSS in terms of the complexity or simplicity of their syntax.  

CSS syntax is simple compared to Java. The syntax is made up of two main parts: a declaration block and a selector. The role of the selector is to specify the HTML element, while the declaration has the CSS value and property. This block carries more than one declaration. In the case of multiple declarations, they will be separated by semicolons while curly braces surround the entire declaration block.

Java syntax is more complex than CSS. Java codes are made up of objects, classes, and behaviors. Objects in these codes carry the data and functionality. These objects are instances of the class. Curly braces are used to mark the beginning and ends of the codes, with the main method being used in these codes. All the codes inside the “main()” method will be executed. You can include several codes inside the main method, “printIn()” is one of them. 

We can see how Java syntax is complex with just a basic introduction. CSS thus wins this syntax comparison since it is simpler than Java. 

OOPs in Java
Java codes are made up of objects, classes, and behaviors.

©Wright Studio/Shutterstock.com

File Name Extensions

File name extensions are the identifiers found at the end of file names. The identifiers tell the computer what type of file it is dealing with, its characteristics, and its use. They come after a period. CSS uses “.css” as its file name extension, whereas Java uses “.java.”


When coding using CSS and Java, you will notice that they react differently to errors. If you break a single CSS rule, your page may not be greatly affected. If you miss a tag, you will only mess with your layout. Despite having a few errors, your page will always load. However, in extreme cases, the page will not load.

On the other hand, Java takes all errors seriously. If your codes have any errors, they will not run. As a result, you will have to fix the errors, no matter how small. Errors in Java may make you lose precious time trying to locate and fix them, unlike in CSS. CSS is thus more resilient than Java, and it wins this round.

Java vs. CSS: 8 Must-Know Facts

  • Java is used for several functions, including application and game development, enterprise-based applications, cloud computing, server, and website development. CSS is used as a web page styling language.
  • CSS is more resilient than Java since a single CSS error does not significantly affect the web page you are developing. However, you have to fix any available Java errors for the code to run correctly.
  • Java has a complex syntax, whereas CSS has a simpler syntax.
  • CSS uses “.css” as its file name extension, whereas Java uses “.java.”
  • Java is suitable for both client- and server-side uses but is mainly used for server-side uses. CSS is a client-side language since it focuses on making the page aesthetically pleasing for the users.
  • Regarding performance, CSS is faster than Java, with Java using up more memory, causing a slow performance.
  • CSS is compatible with all browsers, whereas Java is compatible with all operating systems. 
  • Both Java and CSS are complex when it comes to learning. However, learning Java would take a shorter time since most of its functionalities are automated.

Java vs. CSS: Which Is Better? Which Should You Use?

Having covered the differences between Java vs. CSS, which is better? Java offers many functionalities, from developing applications, games, and servers, thus making the language better than CSS. CSS will confine you to formatting the aesthetics of your HTML-developed web page. As such, Java’s versatility makes it better than CSS in this comparison. 

However, which one should you use? The language you use will depend on your specific programming needs. If you want to improve your web page’s aesthetics, be it fonts, styles, spacing, or even adjust the background and include animations, CSS will suit you best. However, consider using Java if you are developing an application, game, server, AI, or enterprise-related system.

Java vs. CSS: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is Java?

Java is a high-level, object-oriented programming language that was developed by Sun Microsystems in the mid-1990s. It was designed to be platform-independent, meaning that programs written in Java can run on any operating system that has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed. Java is known for its “write once, run anywhere” principle, which has made it popular for developing applications for mobile devices, web applications, and enterprise systems. Java code is compiled into bytecode that can be executed on any system with a JVM, making it one of the most versatile programming languages available today.

What is CSS?

CSS, short for Cascading Style Sheets, is a styling language used to add design and presentation to web pages. CSS separates the presentation of a web page from its content, allowing developers to control the layout, colors, fonts, and other visual aspects of a website. CSS uses a set of rules and selectors to target specific HTML elements and apply styles to them. By separating content from presentation, CSS makes it easier to maintain and update the design of a website, as changes to the CSS file can be applied globally across all web pages that use it.

Can Java and CSS be used together?

Yes, Java and CSS can be used together. Java can be used to add interactivity and dynamic functionality to a website, while CSS is used to control the layout and styling of the website. When using Java with CSS, Java is typically used to manipulate the DOM (Document Object Model) and CSS styles dynamically in response to user actions or other events. This allows for a more interactive and engaging user experience on websites.

Which language is easier to learn, Java or CSS?

Java and CSS are two different languages used for different purposes, and they have different learning curves. Java is a programming language used for developing applications, software, and games, and it requires a strong foundation in computer science concepts like object-oriented programming. CSS, on the other hand, is a style sheet language used for designing the visual presentation of web pages, and it is relatively easier to learn compared to Java.

That being said, the difficulty of learning a language depends on your prior knowledge and experience in the field. If you have a background in programming and computer science, Java might be easier for you to learn. If you have a design background or are more interested in front-end web development, CSS might be a better starting point. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preferences and career goals.

How many errors are there in Java?

There are three types of errors in Java; 

  • Syntax error: It occurs as a result of incorrect use of the Java syntax leading to syntactical problems.
  • Runtime error: These errors occur after a successful compilation of a program. They are detected upon execution of the program.
  • Logical error: This type of error is the hardest to identify. The programmer is responsible for tracing the errors as the compiler and JVM cannot trace it.

How many layers are there in the CSS Box model?

The CSS box model is made up of four layers. The first layer has the content. The second layer has the padding that wraps up the content. The third layer is the border layer and the fourth is the margin.

Which are the most popular CSS frameworks?

CSS as a programming language uses multiple frameworks. However, there are some that stand out and are most preferred by users. They include Bootstrap, Foundation, Semantic UI, and UIKit.

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