Java Tutorial

In this Java tutorial for beginners, learn how Java is concurrent, object-oriented, and is intended to let application developers “write once, run anywhere” (WORA).

1. What is Java Programming Language

Java is a general-purpose computer programming language that is concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, and specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is intended to let application developers “write once, run anywhere” (WORA), meaning that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation.

For example, we can write and compile a Java program on UNIX and run it on Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, or UNIX machines without any modifications to the source code.

WORA is achieved by compiling a Java program into an intermediate language called bytecode. The format of bytecode is platform-independent. A virtual machine, called the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), is used to run the bytecode on each platform.


2. History of Java

Java was originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which has since been acquired by Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems’ Java platform. The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++, but it has fewer low-level facilities than either of them.

Oracle Corporation is the current owner of the official implementation of the Java SE platform, following their acquisition of Sun Microsystems on January 27, 2010. This implementation is based on the original implementation of Java by Sun. The Oracle implementation is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris.

The Oracle implementation is packaged into two different distributions:

  1. Java Runtime Environment (JRE) which contains the parts of the Java SE platform required to run Java programs and is intended for end users.
  2. Java Development Kit (JDK) which is intended for software developers and includes development tools such as the Java compiler, Javadoc, Jar, and a debugger.

We can read about all the previous Java releases and their features in the linked post.

3. Features of Java

Java has multiple features. Some of these are unique to Java and some of these are common among other languages.

  • Object Oriented – In Java, everything is represented as objects. An object is kind of wrapper that encapsulated data and its associated behavior.

    Java provides support for all major object-oriented principles as seen in other object-oriented languages.

  • Platform Independent – The programs written in Java are converted to bytecode first, by Java compiler. This bytecode can be run in any machine having Java runtime environment (JRE). It makes the Java applications platform-independent.

    It is very different to C or C++ applications where programs compiled into binaries specific to OS.

  • Secure – Java applications run in Java runtime environment (JRE) with almost no interaction with system OS. It makes Java more secure than other languages.
  • Multithreaded – Java supports writing applications which can do multiple tasks in separate threads. All tasks progress using the time slicing technique of OS threads.

    For example, a Java application serve a user login form while running background processes also.

  • High-performance – Java is an interpreted language, so it may never be as fast as a compiled language like C or C++. But, Java enables high performance with the use of just-in-time compiler.
  • OS Architecture-neutral – Java compiler generates an OS architecture-neutral class files or bytecode.

    For example, in C programming, int data type occupies 2 bytes of memory for 32-bit architecture and 4 bytes of memory for 64-bit architecture. However, it occupies 4 bytes of memory for both 32 and 64-bit architectures in Java.

4. Automatic Garbage Collection

Java uses an automatic garbage collector to manage memory in the object lifecycle. The programmer determines when objects are created, and the Java runtime is responsible for recovering the memory once objects are no longer in use. Once no references to an object remain, the unreachable memory becomes eligible to be freed automatically by the garbage collector.

Something similar to a memory leak may still occur if a programmer’s code holds a reference to an object that is no longer needed, typically when objects that are no longer needed are stored in containers that are still in use. If methods for a nonexistent object are called, a “NullPointerException” is thrown.

Garbage collection may happen at any time. Ideally, it will occur when a program is idle. It is guaranteed to be triggered if there is insufficient free memory on the heap to allocate a new object; this can cause a program to stall momentarily. Explicit memory management is not possible in Java.

5. Java Hello World Program

The traditional “Hello, world!” program can be written in Java as:

public class Application
    public static void main(String[] args)
        System.out.println("Hello World!"); 	// Prints Hello World! to the console.
  1. Java source files must be named after the public class they contain, appending the suffix .java, for example,
  2. It must first be compiled into bytecode, using a Java compiler, producing a file named Application.class. Only then can it be executed, or ‘launched’.
  3. The Java source file may only contain one public class, but it can contain multiple classes with other than public access and any number of public inner classes.
  4. When the source file contains multiple classes, make one class ‘public’ and name the source file with that public class name.

6. Learning Java

Follow the given topics to understand Java basics and progress towards the advanced topics.

6.1. Java Basics

6.2. Java OOP

6.3. Java Collections

6.4. Java Input/Output

6.5. Java 8 Features

The above list of Java topics is not exhaustive. This will help you to get started and once you know the basics, you can explore more advanced topics in this blog.

Happy Learning !!

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