Java is a programming language that is very popular. It was first released in 1995. Unlike C or C++, Java uses are more complete run-time which created a new model called middleware. Middleware is the idea of using additional layers of software to consolidate assets.
Java has a runtime, class libraries and compilers. Java is compiled into bytecode which allows it more easily implemented on widely disparate machine architectures.
Unlike C++, Java is managed by a for-profit corporation. Eventually, in May 2007, Java was released under the GNU open source license. This saga is a good lesson on public option versus corporate greed.
The Java runtime has long been criticised for being a security headache and updates have been released for many years as new problems become known and fixed. The problem with such a large run-time is time is it needs a lot more maintenance.
Java has been used widely for browser based games. The popular Pogo.com uses Java.
A lot of corporate shops use Java as it is available for mainframes, mid range system and PCs alike. Its popularity rivals C++ with over 9 million developers.
Compared to C and C++ the Java platform is larger but it is small enough to fit embedded systems easily.
Java added some classes over time for things like Bluetooth so that it could be used with consumer products easily,
Oracle eventually bought Sun and they now use Java with their database product. Java is tied to the oracle database. More recently PHP and MySQL became the open source alternative to Java and the Oracle database. Oracle has managed to survive with their database which is available for mainframes and commodity servers alike,
Java runs slower than C++. Chess programs that are converted run about twice as a fast. The overhead of the extra layers of APIs is the reason for the performance hit, but given mixed hardware assets this is a tolerable cost.
Java has been able to help many legacy platforms migrate from old systems to lower cost modern commodity servers.
Following a dispute with Sun over the using Java with Windows, Microsoft decided to create the .NET Framework which eventually allowed for many programming languages to be implemented. Visual Studio 2005 included
Visual J# which was a .NET version of Java included with Visual Studio 2005 but it did not continue with later releases of Visual Studio, instead Microsoft is focusing on C# which is now largely standardized. C# has grown in popularity with Windows developers. C# has become the web development language used with Windows server shops.