Java is an object oriented language similar to C++, but simplified to eliminate language features that cause common programming errors. It was specially made for hand held devices and set-top boxes, developed by sun Microsystems and originally called oak. Oak was unsuccessful and sun took advantage of the burgeoning world wide web to change oak to java and modified the language to his advantage.
Java source codes are compiled into a format called bytecode, which can then be executed by a java interpreter. Compiled java code can run on most computers because java interpreters and runtime environments, known as java virtual machines, exist for most operating systems. Bytecode can also be converted directly into machine language instructions by a just in time compiler. Java is a general purpose programming language with a number of features that make it well suited for use on the World Wide Web. Small java applications are called java applets and can be downloaded from a web server and run on your computer by a java compatible web browser, such as Netscape navigator and Microsoft internet explorer. There are lots of web pages that will not work unless you have java installed. Java is fast, secure reliable and safe to use.
The java plug in software is a component of the java Runtime Environment written in the java language to run inside various browsers. It is not standalone software and cannot be installed separately. While this is an apple, Java can be used to make applications as well, and these are the two types of programs that java can be used to create, that is applets and applications. An application is a program that runs on the users computers under the operating system while an apple is a program that runs on HTML page using a java enabled web browser.
The java syntax is similar to C++ but is strictly an object oriented programming language. For example most java programs contain classes which are used to define objects and methods which are assigned to individual classes. Java is also known for being stricter than C++, meaning variables and functions must be explicitly defined. This means java source code may produce errors or exceptions more easily than other languages, but it also limits other types of errors that may be caused by undefined variables or unassigned types.
Unlike windows executable files or Mac applications, java programs are not run directly by the operating system. Instead, Java programs are interpreted by the java virtual machine, which runs on multiple platforms. This means all java programs are multiplatform and can run on different platforms. However the java virtual machine must be installed for the java applications or applets to run at all.
Unlike programs written in C++ the java objects can contain no references to data external to themselves or other known objects. This ensures that an instruction cannot contain the address of the data storage in another application or in the operating system itself, either of which would cause the program and perhaps the operating system itself to crash.
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