Oct 24 / Academic Director

Coding In Java

While Java is viewed as a programming language to design applications for the Internet, it is in reality a general all-purpose language which can be used independent of the Internet. 

Java was created at Sun Microsystems, Inc., where James Gosling led a team of researchers in an effort to create a new language that would allow consumer electronic devices to communicate with each other. Java was first released in 1995, and Java’s ability to provide interactivity and multimedia showed that it was particularly well suited for the Web.

Why Is It Called Java? It is customary for the creator of a programming language to name the language anything he/she chooses. The original name of this language was Oak, until it was discovered that a programming language already existed that was named Oak. As the story goes, after many hours of trying to come up with a new name, the development team went out for coffee and the name Java was born.

The difference between the way Java and other programming languages worked was revolutionary. Code in other languages is first translated by a compiler into instructions for a specific type of computer. The Java compiler instead turns code into something called Bytecode, which is then interpreted by software called the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), or the Java virtual machine. The JRE acts as a virtual computer that interprets Bytecode and translates it for the host computer. Because of this, Java code can be written the same way for many platforms (“write once, run anywhere”), which helped lead to its popularity for use on the Internet, where many different types of computers may retrieve the same Web page and more recently in mobile devices.

Java  or Python?
Python is probably a bit better as a first language because of its relatively simple syntax which is based closely on the English language. Java, on the other hand, is considered to be far less user-friendly and requires a tighter grasp of core programming concepts before achieving any meaningful output. Java uses ‘strict’ typing – meaning that the user needs to be precise in their commands and error feedback can often be ambiguous to newcomers.

Java is a good choice if you are analytical, pursuing an engineering or computer science degree, have completed python or want to take the AP Comp Sci exam. It is a great follow on to Python.

Created with