Java is one of the most recognizable names in computer programming and has been around for almost three decades.
The iconic Java cup is highly identifiable to computer experts as well as standard home users.
With this notoriety, however, has come a bad reputation for being insecure and obsolete in the modern world of computing, leading you to wonder if Java is still relevant.
Is Java Necessary? (10 Reasons It Is)
Yes, Java is necessary to run many of the programs, websites, games, and applications you use daily.
Java is one of the most popular programming languages, with the Tiobe index ranking Java in the number one slot in popularity, calculated in five-year increments, from 2002 all the way to 2017 and continuing to show strong at number three in 2022 so far.
Java was expressly designed for use in the distributed environment of the internet.
It has provided the technological infrastructure of the internet as we know it.
Java is instrumental in today’s technologically saturated environment.
The necessity of Java is based on factors that affect both the development side and the consumer side of computing.
1. Java Is Platform Independent
Java was designed to be used across all computing platforms, making it platform independent.
This platform independence allows it to be used on a wide range of devices and operating systems including PCs, Macs, smartphones, fitness trackers, IoT devices, and GPS devices.
Java code written on one platform can then be used on any platform which supports the Java Virtual Machine, or JVM.
The JVM is part of the Java Runtime Environment, or JRE, and is designed to translate Java bytecode into binary, which is the language your computer speaks.
The JRE is the software package that houses the JVM and contains the data libraries the JVM uses to compile written Java code into binary code for the computer to understand.
2. Java Is Open Source
The majority of Java programs are open source.
Open source refers to code that is available to the public for access and modification.
Open-source programming is designed to be decentralized and collaborated on by the programming community as a whole, leading to increased innovation.
Java offers its compiler as open-source software and is also used in abundance as a language to write other open-source software programs.
3. Java Has A Massive Community
While this may not seem important, it is highly relevant.
The Java community is enormous which means that issues or bugs in the system have been found and addressed by someone in the community already.
Also, since Java is open source, object oriented, and has such massive community support, development time for projects is greatly reduced.
Instead of having to write new code for common functions, prewritten and tested object source code can be found in Java forums, libraries, and community chat sites, decreasing the redundancy of writing common code.
Just how big is the Java community?
There are nine million Java developers worldwide, Java runs on three billion mobile phones, and 97% of enterprise and 89% of desktop computers run Java.
4. Java Is Object-Oriented
Object-oriented programming, or OOP, is a programming method that breaks code into bits based on the objects within it.
Java uses the principles of OOP to create separate code components which can be re-used and restructured while still maintaining security and separation.
Benefits of OOP-based languages such as Java include increased productivity, simplified troubleshooting, elimination of redundancy, and the ability for multiple instances of an object to co-exist without interfering with each other.
OOP systems are also easily scalable.
5. Java Is Easy To Learn
Java was designed to be simple to learn.
Java’s language is based on English syntax which simplifies learning.
Beyond just the simplified syntax, there are a massive amount of Open-Source code repositories, including JHipster, Maven, and Apache Commons which can be used if a coding problem is encountered or if you need code samples.
Java support forums and community chat boards are also ready to help any new coders learn the nuances of the language.
Java also serves as a great base language if you want to pursue other programming languages.
6. Java Stays Up To Date
In 2018, Java changed its version release schedule from two or three years to every six months in March and September.
What this means for the consumer is that Java can release the most up to date and cutting-edge technology quickly.
This allows Java to be innovative in emerging technologies such as blockchain, big data, and artificial intelligence.
Any bugs and issues that develop are also addressed in these new versions.
7. Java Is Secure
The JVM allows for the Java compiler to run inside of a virtual machine, eliminating its access to the host device.
Java’s JRE suite is also designed to handle all its processes itself, such as data management, error detection, garbage management, and memory management.
This encapsulation of the code allows Java to verify its data byte by byte and eliminates buffer-overflow exploits.
8. Java Runs Websites
Java runs on the most highly recognizable websites today.
A grand total of 72,111 websites use Java programming in some way on their sites.
Java is a go-to for web developers who require a powerful and flexible programming language.
Websites can be created using Java by using the Java servlet, JavaServer Faces, or Java Frameworks.
This variety of application methods allows for both expert web designers and beginners the ability to create dynamic websites.
9. Java Is Global
Almost every country in the world runs Java and is the fifth most common programming language used worldwide with an estimated eight million Java programmers across the globe.
It is a globally universal language that powers websites and applications from the United States to South Korea to Brazil.
This universal acceptance makes Java a go-to language for developers wanting to take their product to the global market.
10. Java Is Everywhere
Chances are you are using a Java based program or application every day.
Large corporations tend to use Java due to its flexibility and ease of programming and development.
Every industry from tech, to science, to finance, entertainment, and the government uses Java based programming in some fashion.
Examples of Java applications include:
The Java based Maestro Mars Rover controller was used in 2004 to maneuver the Mars Rover around Mars for three months.
The phenomenon Minecraft is built on Java code.
The use of Java code in Minecraft creates a world that can be individually coded by users to create their own unique worlds.
Using Minecraft is also an excellent way to teach coding principles, thanks to Java.
Android apps are written and compiled using Google’s Android API, which is based on Java’s development kit, or JDK.
Until 2019, Java was the official language for Android App Development.
In 2019 Java was replaced by Kotlin, which was introduced in 2017 as a second official Java language and is completely interoperable with Java and actually runs on a JWM.
Data repositories such as Wikipedia, use a Java based search engine to run their websites.
Apache Hadoop is also a Java based data repository.
Hadoop is an open-source data software library used to distribute large data processing sets across computer clusters using simple programming concepts, hence the use of Java.
Java is the base of many integrated development environments, or IDEs, due to its open-source nature, flexibility, ease of integration, and ability to run on any platform.
An IDE is an application development tool that uses a simple graphical user interface, or GUI, to combine software development tools like the source code editor, the local build automation, and the debugger.
IDE’s which use Java include NetBeans, Eclipse IDE, GraalVM, and NSA Ghidra.
The main premise behind Java—write once, run anywhere—makes it highly valuable in the internet of things, or IoT sector.
Java is highly portable as well as extremely effective in exchanging and receiving information.
It is also cost-effective which is always a plus in the development of IoT devices.
Some examples of Java in IoT include Java based Visible Tesla which was developed in 2013 by a Tesla owner to monitor and control their Tesla.
This program is now available to other Tesla owners and includes geofencing abilities, door locks, and charge status.
Java is also used in programs like SmartThings to control and keep track of IoT devices.
Do I Need To Install Java?
No, you do not need to install Java.
Ten years ago, most programs that used Java prompted users to install independent Java programs such as the Java Flash Player to access the content.
Nowadays, this is not the case.
Most programs and applications that use Java come equipped with their own private JRE instances.
This means that the JRE is downloaded and installed with the program that is running it.
This also means that when the program running the JRE updates and patches, the JRE is updated and patched also.
Chances are that you have multiple JRE programs on your computer or smartphone right now and are not even aware of it.
That is the beauty of Java, it is designed to be seamless.
Do I Need To Delete Java?
Yes, for most users, having a separate installation of Java is unnecessary and may even lead to vulnerabilities due to a lack of updating.
Deleting Java may increase the security of your computer.
One way to decide if a separate application of Java is necessary for you to run your daily functions is to remove Java for a short period of time and see if it affects the way your system operates.
If you do not find any significant differences in the programs or applications you can run, then a separate Java installation is not necessary.
How Do I Delete Java?
Java provides step-by-step instructions on how to delete Java from different operating systems on their webpage.
On a Windows 10 device:
- Click in the bottom left corner the Windows icon. This will launch the Windows dialog box.
- Click on Settings which is displayed as the gear icon.
- Once the settings dialog box opens, type Control Panel into the search field and search.
- Open the control panel which appears as a little data box icon.
- Under Programs, choose Uninstall a program. This opens the uninstall dialog box.
- To find Java, type Java into the search box. When Java is located, check the box next to Java and click uninstall.
This process can also be used to find out if you have Java installed on your Windows 10 device to begin with.
What Does Java Say?
If you have Google searched “Is Java necessary” before now, chances are you have seen numerous articles stating that you do not need Java at all anymore and that you should delete Java altogether.
This opinion even seems to be supported by Java itself.
Java states that the removal of all older versions of Java is recommended.
When Java is updated, it even prompts the user to delete other Java versions or any version of Java that has not been used in the last six months.
A key word to note here is “older.”
Java recommends removing older versions of Java for security purposes.
Older versions may not be fully supported or may interfere with the performance of the updated version.
Java also recommends removing Java versions that have not been used in the last six months for two reasons.
If the program has not been used, then it has most likely not been updated either, leaving it open to vulnerabilities.
Also, if the program has not been used, there should be a new version of Java available to replace the older version.
What Is The JRE?
The Java runtime environment, or JRE, is the runtime environment for Java.
A runtime environment is basically a software program that runs other software.
The JRE contains the Java class loader, the Java class libraries, and the Java Virtual Machine.
The JRE is the orchestrator and container system for these components of Java.
The JRE is essential to the immense interoperability that Java offers.
The JRE is designed to sit on top of the host operating system and act as an intermediary between the Java code and the host system.
This allows for the Java code to run unhindered while still being able to be used on multiple platforms without the need for modification.
What Is The JVM?
The Java Virtual Machine, or JVM, is part of the JRE.
The JVM includes a just-in-time, or JIT compiler which is responsible for converting Java bytecode into an executable the host device can understand.
The JIT allows for this conversion to happen as quickly as if the program was a native executable.
The JVM is what allows Java to be a WORA or write once run anywhere based language.
The JVM can run on both the server and client side and can also be activated by a Web browser.
What Is The JDK?
JDK stands for the Java development kit.
The JDK allows programmers to create software using Java that can be run on the JRE and the JVM.
The core components of the JDK are the compiler and the class libraries.
The compiler is the software that translates the inputted programming code into executables that the computer can understand.
When a programmer writes code, they do it using a set of rules called the programming language.
This set of rules defines how input is interpreted and what certain characters, abbreviations, symbols, and spaces mean.
The compiler takes this inputted code and turns it into an executable, which is the binary language that the computer understands.
You must remember that a computer does not speak in a regular language.
The computer literally only understands on and off, or 0s and 1s.
A class library is used in OOP to hold prewritten classes or coded templates and contain GUI and non-GUI components.
The Java class library in the JDK is a set of dynamically loaded libraries that can be used with multiple operating systems.
The library includes container classes, regular expressions, and task interfaces.
It is typically downloaded as a .jar file which acts as a .zip file containing all the necessary prewritten code and templates.
The class file can also provide emulation for features needed by Java that are not available on the hosting platform.
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