What Is The History Of Java?

Java is the ultimate object oriented, general purpose, platform independent programming language, that was written from the start to literally be able to run anywhere, a goal that it really has achieved. Java is based on the concepts of bytecode and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) which is what gives it the write once run anywhere ability. But what is the history of the platform that is so versatile and has been going for so many years now?

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Who Invented the Java Programming Language?

James Gosling is widely acknowledged to be the daddy of the Java programming language and platform. His ideas and implementation for Java were based on work he had previously done. As a student Gosling came up with a virtual machine for the DEC VAX, so that his professor could run Pascal programs on it.

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Those initial ideas fed into the design of Java, the Java compiler and the Java Virtual Machine, when Gosling, who worked at Sun Microsystems from 1984 to 2010, used them to help create a platform independent programming language. Sun Microsystems was where Java was originally born, and was first released in 1995. Since then Sun Microsystems was purchased by Oracle, who have continued to develop and improve Java.

Why was the Java Programming Language Created?

The initial idea of Java was to provide intelligence for home appliances such as cable boxes for interactive television, something probably similar to what we have with Smart TVs today, but the technology at the time was somewhat behind the ideas, so the concepts that it was originally developed for didn’t really come to fruition till much later. The Java project started somewhere around 1991, with James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton. Java was originally called Oak, but the name was changed after it was found that there was already an Oak programming language.

Java uses a syntax that borrows heavily from C and C++, which meant that developers from those backgrounds could pick it up almost instantly. But also seeks to solve many of the complexities found in those programming languages. In the mid nineties, the web browser was taking off, and in 1995, Netscape Navigator was launched with a plugin that allowed it to run Java code. Java was a good fit for browsers as it was designed with security in mind and also configurable, and the ability to run anywhere meant that integration was much easier.

Java runtimes were made freely available for most of the popular computer platforms at the time, and with this ability to run in the browser and on many difference machines, the Java language and platform took off.

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