Java: A Time-Tested Programming Language Still Going Strong
In this article, we understand why Java is still a popular programming language even after over 25 years since its first release.
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Consistently in the top rankings of the TIOBE index for the past two decades, and with a current TIOBE ranking of 4, Java has proved to be one of the most popular programming languages even after more than 25 years of its creation. With an ever-changing technological landscape, where technology emerges and perishes in the blink of an eye, the Java language's continuous success is no miracle but a testament to its time-tested usefulness in helping build complex applications across industries worldwide.
In this article, we will take a look at the points that still make Java a favorite among the tech community worldwide.
Brief History of Java
It was in the early 1990s while working on converting software code from one language to another to solve a problem, James Gosling, who is considered the father of the Java language, started the journey to develop a new language. The technology landscape back then had other programming languages such as small talk, C++ and there did not seem to be a need for another language that would essentially do the same work; given how Java has been adopted over the years, it certainly had some unique features, which were lacking in the popular languages back then.
Java was originally called Oak programming language but later changed its name to Java owing to copyright issues. The goal of Java was to be a language that could be written once and run anywhere, commonly called WORA, and this was achieved through the use of Java Virtual Machine (JVM). While setting out to build Java, James Gosling and his team had the following major goals:
- It must be simple, object-oriented, and familiar.
- It must be robust and secure.
- It must be architecture neutral/portable.
- It must execute with high performance.
- It must be interpreted, threaded, and dynamic.
Although Java has evolved over the years, the above basic principles still hold true and are something that makes Java so popular among developers.
What Makes Java So Popular?
Java is a relatively simple and easy-to-learn programming language. With easy-to-understand syntax, writing code and debugging is a breeze. Also, most of the complex programming processing, like garbage collectors, etc., are automated, which makes it easier to focus on the things that matter, i.e., writing good code.
Java follows an approach where objects are central to the process of designing and writing code. This makes it modular and reusable, with a single piece of code being easily integrated in several places.
With the support of Write Once Run Anywhere (WORA), one of the biggest advantages of Java is being platform-independent. A code written on any platform can easily be run everywhere; this is achieved through the use of Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
With being around for more than 25 years, Java has matured to the extent that business-critical applications are built and run in Java. Also, from a security point of view, since Java has been adopted by a large number of users and tested, security flaws, if any, are quickly patched.
Since Java has been around for so long, many developers are passionate about the language, and many others use it daily; as such, this has created a vast community of experts and active users enabling easy sharing of knowledge, best practices, etc.
What's Next for Java?
The developers and the community have constantly been making changes and releasing newer and better versions of Java, with the release cycle only getting quicker over the years and many Long-Term Support (LTS) versions being part of it, which is a testimony of the rockhard support the language enjoys. Also, with many critical projects already running on Java across industries, it would be safe to assume that Java is here to stay and thrive.
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