|What it is||Object-oriented programming language designed to create software that runs on as many platforms as possible||Scripting language designed to run in web applications and on websites, rather than standalone software|
|First release||1994 (1.0a)|
May 23, 1995 (public release)
|December 4, 1995|
|Latest Stable Release||Java SE 17 (September 2021)||ECMAScript 2021 (June 2021)|
|Influential Developers||James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, Patrick Naughton||Brendan Eich|
|Open Project||Yes, Open Source||Yes, Open Standard|
- Java runs on many operating systems due to a move away from platform-specific dependencies
Java: The Complete History
The project that would become Java started development at Sun Microsystems in early 1991 as a way to enable interactive television programming. James Gosling, the primary developer at SUN, focused on creating a programming language and environment that could run on as many platforms as possible without a heavy need for dependencies. Gosling also used syntax that is similar to C++, realizing that many programmers would already be able to code in that language. The project went through several name changes, starting as Greentalk and then becoming Oak before settling on Java. The first launch of Java was in May of 1995 and an annual Sun Microsystems conference, where it was also announced that Netscape, a popular web browser, would support the technology. As a result, web browser uses of Java which required a Java “applet” to run became very popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
In 2006, Java was released as open source software. In 2011, Oracle acquired Sun and took on what they describe as the “stewardship” of Java. As a result of changes in web browsers and development at Oracle, Java today has shifted almost entirely away from use in browsers and the web. Instead, most uses of Java take place standalone applications written in the Java runtime environment (JRE), an IDE that has more than 850 million installations on computers. Although many falsely think Java is dead due to its removal from browsers, the truth is that Java is still a popular language for the same reasons Gosling had in mind when he designed it in the early 1990s.