Faisal Memon

What is Java?

Java is a high-level, open-source programming language owned by Sun Microsystems that has risen in popularity since its 1995 debut. It has evolved a lot and is being used in a wide range of applications. As per TIOBE Index, Java continues to be the third most popular language worldwide amongst software developers.

What is Java used for?

Java works in an extensive array of applications, ranging from GUI-based desktop applications to web-based dynamic applications. Let’s take a deeper look at what Java is used for

GUI-Based Desktop Applications

Java offers libraries like JavaFx and Swing, which can build Java-based dynamic desktop applications. Only Swing was being used until the past few years. Then Java introduced JavaFX, which is more advanced than Swing. 

JavaFX offers a great UI kit and features to add media, UI control, and more in your Java application. It uses FXML, which is HTML-like and can define application interfaces. It also has features like “Scene builder.” which can integrate with NetBeans or Eclipse. Scene builder can create the FXML document using the drag-and-drop method. IDEs like NetBeans, Eclipse, and Intellij IDEA are built using Java.

To start building desktop-based applications, you should be well-versed with core Java concepts.

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Web-based dynamic applications

Technologies like HTML and CSS are used to design web pages. These web pages work on a web browser. But we need a server-side technology that can handle server-related tasks. This is where server-side scripting like Servlets and Spring come into the picture.

Java offers features like Servlets, Struts, Spring, Hibernate, and JSP. These can help build dynamic web-based applications that run in browsers. Frameworks like Spring and Spring boot simplify developers’ lives. They provide a faster way to make the web application by reducing the effort of the developer. 

Java also offers templating engines like Thymeleaf. This is an open-source library that is useful for writing server-side Java templates. These templates can access Java objects and generate HTML on the fly for rendering on the browser.

Large banks like Goldman Sachs, Citi Group, Standard Chartered, and Barclays use Java. They have many back-end and front-end trading systems, data processing modules, settlement, and confirmation systems written in Java.

Mobile application

Android, the world’s most popular mobile-based operating system, is also developed using Java. Android applications are mostly written in Java using Android SDK, which is also Java-based. They consume Android APIs on devices developed in Java.

As of May 2021, Android had over 3 billion active devices around the world.

Apps like Spotify, Twitter, and Opera mini browser are all popular Android applications built using Java as a platform.

Although Android and iOS are the most popular mobile-based operating systems in the world, low-end phones of Nokia and Samsung still power J2ME, a platform based on Java. The apps that run on these platforms are also built using Java. WhatsApp, the world’s most popular application, is also available on the J2ME platform for users. Users can install and chat with their loved ones.

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Backend web and application servers

Java has many back-end web servers that are quite popular, like Apache Tomcat. Java also has application servers like JBoss, WebLogic, and WebSphere that are quite popular in the industry.

Software tools

IDEs like Eclipse, NetBeans, and IntelliJ Idea are desktop applications written using Java. Many developers use these IDEs to build software applications. These IDEs have Amazing interface, which is good enough to prove the capabilities of Java features like JavaFX and Swing.

Enterprise applications

Java is a popular programming language. It’s easy to learn and is often the first choice when it comes to building enterprise applications. It also has a major share of enterprise computers running on Java.

Java also has vast options of libraries. These assist developers with the most common issues that might occur when building applications. For an enterprise, it’s good to have a choice since it would help them get a better deal with respect to price. Many of these libraries are available as free or open source. 

Java offers Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE), which comes with features for running enterprise software that suits large enterprise applications. Major ERP systems and CRM systems used by large corporations are built using Java.

Popular Java frameworks

What is a framework? Frameworks are tools that make developers’ lives easy by reducing a lot of boilerplate code. The following are some of the most popular Java-based frameworks used by Java developers.

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Here is how Java works:

How Java works illustration
  1. Java programs are written in .java files, which are then given to the compiler, which converts the same to machine-level code or bytecode. 
  2. This bytecode gets saved as a .class file. 
  3. This Java file passes on to the JVM, which is responsible for executing this file. JVM is an interpreter that executes Java bytecode. 
  4. JVM loads the .class file and executes it to show the output.

You can learn more Java basics with Java projects for beginners. 

What makes Java a favorite choice?

Why would you use Java rather than languages like C++ or Kotlin? There are some advantages to Java that others don’t share:

How should I start my programming career with Java?

You can start learning core Java and start your programming career by practicing and writing some Java code. Building small projects will help you get started and boost your confidence. Reading a few Java code examples would be a good place to start.

Once you are comfortable writing Java programs and doing small projects, getting Java certified would be an obvious next step. Certification would add credibility to your profile and help you get a job quicker. 

Page Last Updated: December 2021