Java is a longstanding collection of computer software and rules that is responsible for the development and deployment of hundreds of thousands of applications and websites. What sets Java apart is it's ability to allow cross-platform usage, nearly a first of its kind when it first appeared. Java was originally developed by Sun Microsystems (later purchased by the Oracle Corporation). It was initially released on Jan. 23, 1996, (though the Java language has been around internally since 1990) and has since had 161 major updates and countless minor revisions. The majority of Java implementations are now available to the public under the GNU General Public License. The enormous blockbuster Minecraft, which is now the world's most purchased and played video game, was originally written in Java.
- The widely used and very well documented Java Development Kit can be downloaded and used to create programs with Java
- Can be used to make pretty much anything
- Java is largely free and most of its implementations are under public license
- Probably the most well-documented programming language in the world
- Can be used for just about anything
- Make no mistake, Java is very old and has its problems. Most notably, compared to more modern platforms, Java bogs down on garbage collection and tends to be generally clunky when trying to process many high-intensity commands
- Java has an unfortunate history of bundling bloatware (Ask.com Toolbar, McAfee Security Scan Plus) with installation packages of its runtime environment, which is all of Java that most people will ever need. Be careful during installation and do not install something unwanted
- No automatic update system that doesn't require administrative rights and user intervention
- There has been some controversy over Java's security vulnerabilities, adding to its downfall
One would be very hard pressed to find someone who has used a desktop computer and hasn't heard of Java. It's one of the oldest and most widely used programming platforms in the world. Most people are prompted to download it shortly after installing a fresh operating system on a computer, mostly due to the fact that so many programs depend on it, not to mention over half of the world's websites using Java in one way or the other. For example, many third party platforms are actually based on Java, such as BeanShell, Clojure, Groovy, JRuby, Jython, Kotlin, Rhino, Scala and Gosu. But why so many modifications? As it turns out, for all of Java's longevity, it's quite old. While the base language can still be used for many applications, it's simply not as efficient as more modern programming platforms. Java is an important part of internet and computer software history and will remain in use for some time longer, but developers have slowly and steadily been seeking other means to make their programs work. In fact, Java inspired Microsoft's widely used .NET Framework. While it lacks the cross-platform mindset of Java since it can only be used on Windows, it's generally concerned superior for today's higher end applications.