Something is fashionable, something is out of fashion, and something is forever. For 20 years now, Java has been one of the popular programming languages, and it seems to stay with us for a long time. Even those far from programming have heard of it when watching Silicon Valley or installing Minecraft.
Java is used everywhere from small startups to market giants like Google, a popular real money gambling platform, Netflix and Amazon.
Back in the 90’s
In the 1990’s, C/C++ was the most popular language for backend development. James Gosling, a Sun Microsystems engineer, decided to create a simpler and more homogeneous language. Thus, Java appeared in 1995.
What Didn’t Suit C++?
Working With Pointers
It risked losing sensitive data by actively accessing memory with pointers.
Working With Memory Manually
Allocating and releasing memory manually caused memory leaks.
Made large systems difficult to develop and maintain.
Working With Threads
C++ could not work with programs running in parallel.
Features of Java
The creators compared Java to C++ and called it “simple, object-oriented and familiar”. Let’s translate from the language of programmers:
- Familiar – Java syntax is similar to C++.
- Simple – they removed inheritance and pointers.
- Object-oriented – the code unit, the smallest brick is a class, not a function. In this language, it’s easier to write scalable programs: to assemble code gradually, as a constructor.
Programming languages can be interpreted or compiled. In order for the processor to execute an instruction, the developer must tell it the instruction. To understand an instruction, the processor must translate it from the programming language to the language of the processor. There are 2 ways to do this:
- Interpretation. The processor “translates” the code line by line at runtime. This method is slow.
- Compilation. A special program, compiler, translates the code beforehand. It passes the translated instructions to the processor which executes them much faster.
The creators of Java combined the two approaches: the developer writes code in Java which is compiled to bytecode and executed on a virtual machine (Java Virtual Machine). This way the language remains compilable and interpretable.
What Is a Java Platform
The following components are called a platform:
- Virtual machine (JVM) – it executes the byte code on a specific processor architecture or operating system.
- Language – we write commands in it for the virtual machine.
- Standard library – a set of classes, functions, collections and operations.
- Compiling and debugging tools – they provide the process of “communication” with the virtual machine.
Java Virtual Machine Features
- Works with all architectures and operating systems.
- Restricts unsafe operations.
- Collects “garbage”. The machine finds unused objects by itself and frees memory. This is called “garbage collection”.
- Optimizes the most used code fragments. The performance is at the level of C++.
Where to Use Java
The language is used for backend development. If HTML and CSS are responsible for the appearance of the site: how text, images and buttons are placed, then Java is responsible for the inner workings: sending requests to the server, processing logical operations.
You can also use java to write games and create mobile apps for Android. It’s easier to list the things that aren’t written in this language: “real-time” systems like ventilators and spaceship autopilot.
What Java Developers Do
Tasks vary depending on the product area. Let’s highlight what any Java developer has to deal with:
- Solving analytical tasks (translating business requirements into code language).
- Working with the network via http.
- Working with databases and cloud storage.
- Developing server code.
- Writing apps for Android.
Is It Hard to Become a Java Developer
Mastering a language without programming experience is not easy, but it’s possible. Java is easier to learn than C++, but it’s harder than Python: the syntax and typing is stricter. Moreover, you need to learn the logic of object-oriented programming (OOP).
The main condition is constant practice. The more you write code, the easier it is to write it, and the “technical” mindset is a myth. Over time, your thinking will adjust to the language of algorithms.
All the difficulties of learning it pay off: the language is used in almost all spheres, and knowledge of OOP makes life easier if you put in the extra effort. If you are a beginner, it all depends on your effort, but we will highlight a few tips:
- Learn the syntax, patterns, frameworks and libraries.
- Learn the principles of Object Oriented Programming.
- Practice on your project.
This can be the simplest app, ideally a commercial project. Practice is important in programming, and you learn faster from your mistakes.
What to Remember
Java is one of the most popular programming languages. It’s used to write applications for Android, create games and servers. The language is universal, so java developers are in short supply on the market.
Java is a simple, high-level, object-oriented language. It’s suitable for learning from scratch, but you will have to make an effort. All disadvantages are compensated by its popularity and demand.
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