How has Java changed over the years?
Due to Moore’s Law, the technology used in computing is consistently adapting and evolving with Java being no different. Java was originally devised in 1995 by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems, but since then Java has been through some serious changes. It was by no means the first programming language, as certain programming such as C++ preceded Java by as much as 15 years, but nowadays Java has been at the forefront of programming across the world, setting the standard at which other languages are measured.
There is a plethora of reasons as to why Java is so popular. But primarily Java is a common option because of the ease of use, platform power and security. In previous years, Java was used for a very different purpose, originally for the function and operation of consumer electronics, over the years however its application has become far more varied and useful.
Around the time when Java was only just first introduced, the written programs using other languages had an issue where users routinely needed to dump core because of pointer arithmetic errors or that they ran out of available memory due to leaks. Furthermore, the source code used could hardly be properly ported between alternate versions of Unix. Not to mention that the concept of running the same binary through on a number of different processors and operating systems was pretty taboo.
Once Java had gained a firm footing, everything changed. While understandably platform-dependent, the use of manually allocated, procedural C code will certainly carry on being applied for years to come, with Java proving itself to be a programmer’s choice and not necessarily a requirement. With this new tool and reliable tool in the back pocket, developers began producing real production code in a language that is object-oriented, garbage-collected and cross-platform. Now that the new solid foundation of coding had been set, any languages after Java, particularly C#, have been measured against the new higher bar for developer productivity established by Java.
However, in all of this it is important to bear in mind that Java’s core strength came from the ability to be far more practical than its predecessors and it gets the work done. By popularising and utilising the more effective components of earlier languages, then repackaging and reformatting them in a setting that was recognisable for the average C coder, but unlike C++ and Objective-C, Java was not a strict superset of C. The argument could certainly made that the willingness to both manipulate as well as remove or add features that allowed Java to outperform other object-oriented C descendants.
If you would like to know how to improve your own skills as a developer, please click here.