Technology Trends Involving Java
Java is an object-oriented programming language (OOP) for Web browsers. It is organized around data rather than actions and supports polymorphism (which allows the same code to be written generically so it can function with different datatypes), inheritance (which allows one class to behave like another class, or category of objects, and to expand it operations to perform specific functions), and encapsulation (or the process of combining objects to create new entities).
In OOP, the ‘object’, which includes both data and procedures, is an encapsulated data structure manipulated within a set of routines to carry out a specific function. Java is platform independent, so it can run on all hardware platforms without customization. As a “robust” code, Java is less susceptible to crashing, since Java objects contain no external references to data. This ensures data integrity.
Java is used for both server and client processing. Compiled Java code (bytecode, extension .class) is convenient for use in the Web for a number of reasons. Java can be used for most operating systems, including Mac OS and Windows, through the use of Java Virtual Machines that translate the bytecode. Just-in-time (JIT) compilers convert Java directly into machine language. Java can be used to create complete applications that run between a number of servers and clients in a network.
Java can also build small application modules called “applets” that can be launched from a Web page. When a module runs from a web browser, it is called a “servlet”. The ability to use these modules and combine them according to specific needs increases Java’s efficiency. Java’s biggest contribution has been to increase user interactivity with web applications through GUIs (Graphic User Interface). Java is also portable, designed according to a “write once-run anywhere” model where server applications can be converted between servers.
Java was released in 1995 by Sun MicroSystems. However, it began development in 1991. It began at Sun in 1991 with the secret “Green Project” that tried to integrate small electronic devices with cyberspace using a standard language centered on Internet connectivity. Java is very similar to the popular C++ programming language. They both are object-oriented programming, using similar syntax and general forms for commands. However, C++ is less secure since it supports pointers, which hold the address of other variables. Java emerged with more self-contained variables.
The impetus behind the Green Project was to connect computers to consumers. Its first incarnation connected a home entertainment device with digital cable television. The device-independent language that would eventually become Java was named originally code-named OAK. In 1995, Netscape licensed Java from Sun and built a version of it on Navigator 2.0. Within a few months, IBM, Adobe, and Microsoft were just a few of the companies ready to license and adopt Java.
Java has undergone many changes since it first appeared. These changes include the addition of many classes, or templates defining the methods and variables for a specific object. Current versions of Java are Java SE 6, with Java SE 7 anticipated in 2008. Today, Java is in use by 5 million software developers and operates in 2.5 billion devices including PCs, mobile phones, smart cards, web cams, games, market simulators, and car navigation devices, just to name a few.
Java’s versatility and flexibility makes it ideal for programmers to use when developing software for practically any digital service. For example, Java can be used to write software that can run on virtually any platform regardless of where it was written. It creates programs that can run on web browsers or through web services for easy accessibility and portability. Java can create highly customized applications or services by combining different Java-based programs.
Java’s run-time systems, the use of interpreters (JVMs-Java Virtual Machines) to decode and interpret bytecode exist for all major hardware platforms. JIT (Just-In-Time) compilers allow for bytecode to run only as it is needed. JVMs and JIT are what gives Java its independence and ability to run in a variety of environments.
Points of Interest
Java SE, Version 6 was released in 2006. The enhanced features in this version hold some of the trends for Java in 2007. Java SE 6 adds enhanced parsing features and XML to object-mapping of APIs (Application Program Interfaces). Program developers can use their preferred languages and mix it with Java code. This new version connects with the Java database, so developers don’t have to find and configure their own when developing database applications.
This allows for easier connection to relational and open databases. Java SE 6 will provide more desktop APIs, allowing programs to communicate with operating systems via the Internet through the desktop. Ultimately, innovations in Java for the next year will focus on security, quality, stability, and compatibility.