A Brief History of Java Programming

With over 25 years of development under its belt, the Java programming language finds itself one of the most popular object-oriented programming languages out there, thanks to its overarching philosophy to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. While some of that may sound like gobbledygook, it reveals Java’s main strength which is, essentially, it can run on any machine.

Let’s take a look back at the history of Java to see its greatest moments and understand why it is still so popular with over nine million developers today.


The java language project was initiated in June 1991, by James Gosling, Mike Sheridan and Patrick Naughton—with James Gosling being given the overall credit for designing the language.

Originally called Oak and designed for interactive television, the language was seen as far too advanced for digital cable television at the time, leaving it in somewhat of a void. However far from throwing in the towel, Gosling continued to develop Oak, remaining it “Green” before settling on the moniker we are familiar with today—which is, of course, a reference to Java coffee from Indonesia.

The language was produced at Sun Microsystems, which has since been acquired by oracle, a multinational computer corporation based in Austin, Texas.

Eager to keep the language feeling familiar, Gosling designed Java with a similar style of syntax to C and C++, hoping that this would help boost its appeal. While this certainly will have fast-tracked the language’s adoption, it was the overarching principles which secured its place as one of the most influential programming languages.

Java Programming


Java is widely appreciated to have five key principles, which mark the five primary goals Gosling had while creating the language. These are:

  1. It must be simple, object-oriented, and familiar, making it easy for all programmers to learn and migrate to it.
  2. It must be robust and secure.
  3. It must be architecture-neutral and portable, seeing it play almost effortlessly regardless of the system architecture.
  4. It must execute with high performance.
  5. It must be interpreted, threaded, and dynamic, allowing programmers with a vast array of tools to suit a variety of needs—from systems and application design to gaming.

These principles set Java apart from other programming languages, mainly due to the focus on having Java programs be executable across different systems and portable devices.

Mass Adoption

Since Java’s key design focus was on design, rather than application, it allowed Java to be put to work in a whole range of different situations. This saw developers worldwide slowly adopt the programming language as a general-purpose programming language, making it great for newcomers, freelancers and professionals alike since programmers would only need to learn the one language to develop for a whole variety of situations.

This has seen Java deployed in company systems, massively multiplayer online games and to handle big data for scientific purposes.

Let’s take a look at some of the most used applications written in java.


While the Android operating system for mobile devices is built on the Linux kernel and written in C, the Android SDK chose Java as the language to build and run Android applications. This is because Java allows apps to be well optimized for a variety of devices, including those with low memory.

The use of Java in Android did spark a legal dispute between Oracle (Java’s owner) and Google, however the lawsuit ended with the judge dealing that APIs cannot be copyrighted—marking a great day for open-source software.

That said, since then many android developers have been switching to the programming language Kotlin.


As android, built by Google, opts for Java as a key part of its structure, it should come as no surprise that Google also use Java for many of their backend programming and user interfaces. For example, Google Docs is written in Java.


The colossus that is Amazon has many facets, from e-commerce to web services. It is these web services, known as Amazon Web Services (AWS), which are mainly written in Java. Again, this is likely due to the ease of deploying these applications across devices when written with Java.


Using a mixture of Java and Python, Spotify brings music streaming to millions of listeners globally thanks to this programming language.


Using Java for most of its application design, along with a smattering of python and C++, Java is an essential component for Netflix getting fresh content onto your device.


The world-famous indie sandbox which changed the course of the gaming industry was originally built, in parts, with Java. Many original Minecraft players will warmly remember the Java Minecraft launcher, while Java was also used behind the scenes to run some game logic, while dealing with rendering and messaging.


For fans of this classic MMORPG, it will be no surprise that it was originally written in Java. After all, it is produced by Jagex—whose moniker quite literally stands for Java Gaming Experts.

As RuneScape moved away from the browser and into a standalone client, Jagex ported the game to C++, but it’s clear that this legendary title wouldn’t have existed without Java.

If you’re a fan of RuneScape and are looking to get ahead, head on over to Eldorado GG to get your hands on some RuneScape gold, items or even some boosting.


In sum, it’s clear to see why Java is still such a popular language. Thanks to its core philosophies and developers embracing its all-purpose code, it has found uses in a variety of spheres. Today we are inundated with incredible variety when it comes to programming languages, but the fact that Java remains among the most popular and well known is an indication on the impact it has had on programming history.

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