1.4 What Is Java?
Let's jump back to August 1998. The word 'Java' is synonymous with the
Internet in the public mind. The most common question at the time is
'What is Java?' If you can explain that then you have a job.
The company behind Java technology is Sun Microsystems, which was
founded in 1982 and today provides a diversity of software, systems,
services, and microelectronics that power everything from consumer
electronics, to developer tools and the world's most powerful data centers.
Other than Java technology, the core brands include the Solaris operating
system, the MySQL database management system, StorageTek 10 and the
In the early 1990s, Sun formed the 'Green Team' whose job it was
to prepare for the future. One of the team members was James Gosling
(known as 'the father of Java'). The aim was to create a software platform
that could run independently of the host platform - and the 'Write Once
Run Anywhere' mantra was created. By creating a controlled virtual
environment, or machine, software written on one hardware platform
could run unaltered on any other hardware platform.
The Java programming language was introduced by Sun Microsystems
in 1995 and is designed for use in the distributed environment of the
Internet. It was designed to have familiar notation, similar to C++, but
with greater simplicity. The Java programming language can be character-
Portability: Java applications are capable of executing on a variety of
hardware architectures and operating systems.
Robustness: Unlike programs written in C++, Java instructions cannot
cause a system to 'crash'.
Security: Features were designed into the language and run-time
Object orientation: With the exception of primitive types, everything
in Java is an object in order to support the encapsulation and message-
passing paradigms of object-based software.
Multithreading and synchronization: Java supports multithreading and
has synchronization primitives built into the language.
Simplicity and familiarity: This is, of course, relative to C++. Don't
imagine that Java can be learned in a day.
Java is a technology rather than just a programming language. It is a
collection of software products and specifications that provide a system
10 StorageTek is a tape-based storage solution from Sun. See www.sun.com/storagetek
for more information.