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Java

Java

J

ava is a programming language originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which has since merged into Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform. The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++ but has a simpler object model and fewer low-level facilities.

History

James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton initiated the Java language project in June 1991. Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it was too advanced for the digital cable television industry at the time. The language was initially called Oak after an oak tree that stood outside Gosling's office; it went by the name Green later, and was later renamed Java, from Java coffee, said to be consumed in large quantities by the language's creators. Gosling aimed to implement a virtual machine and a language that had a familiar C/C++ style of notation.

Sun Microsystems released the first public implementation as Java 1.0 in 1995. It promised "Write Once, Run Anywhere" (WORA), providing no-cost run-times on popular platforms. Fairly secure and featuring configurable security, it allowed network- and file-access restrictions. Major web browsers soon incorporated the ability to run Java applets within web pages, and Java quickly became popular. With the advent of Java 2 (released initially as J2SE 1.2 in December 1998–1999), new versions had multiple configurations built for different types of platforms. For example, J2EE targeted enterprise applications and the greatly stripped-down version J2ME for mobile applications (Mobile Java). J2SE designated the Standard Edition. In 2006, for marketing purposes, Sun renamed new J2 versions as Java EE, Java ME, and Java SE, respectively.

In 1997, Sun Microsystems approached the ISO/IEC JTC1 standards body and later the Ecma International to formalize Java, but it soon withdrew from the process.[15] Java remains a de facto standard, controlled through the Java Community Process.[16] At one time, Sun made most of its Java implementations available without charge, despite their proprietary software status. Sun generated revenue from Java through the selling of licenses for specialized products such as the Java Enterprise System. Sun distinguishes between its Software Development Kit (SDK) and Runtime Environment (JRE) (a subset of the SDK); the primary distinction involves the JRE's lack of the compiler, utility programs, and header files.

Framework structure

Ruby on Rails is separated into various packages, namely ActiveRecord (an object-relational mapping system for database access), ActiveResource (provides web services), ActionPack, ActiveSupport and ActionMailer. Prior to version 2.0, Ruby on Rails also included the Action Web Service package that is now replaced by Active Resource. Apart from standard packages, developers can make plugins to extend existing packages.

Principles

There were five primary goals in the creation of the Java language:

It should be "simple, object-oriented and familiar"
It should be "robust and secure"
It should be "architecture-neutral and portable"
It should execute with "high performance"
It should be "interpreted, threaded, and dynamic"

Java platform

One characteristic of Java is portability, which means that computer programs written in the Java language must run similarly on any hardware/operating-system platform. This is achieved by compiling the Java language code to an intermediate representation called Java bytecode, instead of directly to platform-specific machine code. Java bytecode instructions are analogous to machine code, but are intended to be interpreted by a virtual machine (VM) written specifically for the host hardware. End-users commonly use a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on their own machine for standalone Java applications, or in a Web browser for Java applets.

Performance

Programs written in Java have a reputation for being slower and requiring more memory than those written in C. However, Java programs' execution speed improved significantly with the introduction of Just-in-time compilation in 1997/1998 for Java 1.1 the addition of language features supporting better code analysis (such as inner classes, StringBuffer class, optional assertions, etc.), and optimizations in the Java Virtual Machine itself, such as HotSpot becoming the default for Sun's JVM in 2000. Currently (February 2012), microbenchmarks show Java 7 is approximately 1.5 times slower than C.

Some platforms offer direct hardware support for Java; there are microcontrollers that can run Java in hardware instead of a software Java Virtual Machine, and ARM based processors can have hardware support for executing Java bytecode through its Jazelle option.

Automatic memory management

Java uses an automatic garbage collector to manage memory in the object lifecycle. The programmer determines when objects are created, and the Java runtime is responsible for recovering the memory once objects are no longer in use. Once no references to an object remain, the unreachable memory becomes eligible to be freed automatically by the garbage collector. Something similar to a memory leak may still occur if a programmer's code holds a reference to an object that is no longer needed, typically when objects that are no longer needed are stored in containers that are still in use. If methods for a nonexistent object are called, a "null pointer exception" is thrown.

One of the ideas behind Java's automatic memory management model is that programmers can be spared the burden of having to perform manual memory management. In some languages, memory for the creation of objects is implicitly allocated on the stack, or explicitly allocated and deallocated from the heap. In the latter case the responsibility of managing memory resides with the programmer. If the program does not deallocate an object, a memory leak occurs. If the program attempts to access or deallocate memory that has already been deallocated, the result is undefined and difficult to predict, and the program is likely to become unstable and/or crash. This can be partially remedied by the use of smart pointers, but these add overhead and complexity. Note that garbage collection does not prevent "logical" memory leaks, i.e. those where the memory is still referenced but never used.

Java contains multiple types of garbage collectors. By default, HotSpot uses the Concurrent Mark Sweep collector, also known as the CMS Garbage Collector. However, there are also several other garbage collectors that can be used to manage the Heap. For 90% of applications in Java, the CMS Garbage Collector is good enough.