Chapter 4. Introduction to Java

Table of Contents

Introduction to Java
The Java LifeCycle
Just-In-Time Compilation (Dynamic Translation)
The Java 2 Software Development Kit (Java SDK)
Installation of the Java 2 Software Development Kit
Testing the JDK
The Java Runtime Environment (JRE)
New Concepts in Java
Garbage Collection
An Example Java Class
New concepts in Java
super and this predefined variables
Abstract Classes in Java
Strings in Java
Java Arrays
The Object class
The Class class
The Java API Documentation

Introduction to Java


"The Java platform is a fundamentally new way of computing, based on the power of networks and the idea that the same software should run on many different kinds of computers, consumer gadgets, and other devices"

 --SUN Microsystems

Java was initially developed by a team of software engineers at Sun Microsystems under the leadership of James Gosling in 1991, when he was investigating the development of a hardware-independent software platform using C++. The aim became to develop an alternative to C++, to implement control systems for consumer electronic devices.

C++ was found to be unsatisfactory for this task in many ways, and was dropped in favour of a new language called Oak. This new language consequently renamed Java was a powerful, yet straightforward language waiting for a new application.

In 1994 the World-Wide Web emerged and the Sun Developers used Java as the basis of a web browser, beginning the Java/HotJava project. The name was actually derived from the name of the programmers favourite coffee, during a brainstorming session. HotJava is a WWW browser developed by Sun to demonstrate the power of the Java programming language. Java was perfectly suited for use in WWW applications as the program code is compact, platform neutral, and could be used to generate compact programs called applets, that could be embedded in WWW pages.

In late 1995, Java (beta 2) was released along with the announcement of JavaScript by Sun Microsystems and Netscape Corporation. Support continued, and in late 1995 both Microsoft and IBM requested licensing rights from Sun. In early 1996, Java 1.0 along with JavaScript were officially released on the Internet.