The Importance of Java in Today’s World

A quick look at GitHub reveals just how incredibly popular Java has become over the last decade or two. It’s currently second most used programming language just after JavaScript. You may be wondering what exactly is the reason for such popularity. As usually, the answer is rather complex and involves many independent aspects of the language. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones to see how Java got to where it’s today.

Easy to Learn

First released in 1995, Java is now dominating the world of mobile devices and new generations of developers and using it to create exciting projects that leverage the power of the Internet and small embedded hardware. Why do these developers choose Java over other languages? Because it’s very easy to learn and can run on any operating system that supports the Java Virtual Machine. Such level of portability is unseen anywhere else. Furthermore, Java strictly enforces modern object-oriented programming paradigm, which is taught in introductory programming lesson at most colleges and universities all over the world.

Java also gives aspiring devs many choices when it comes to development environments and its verbose nature and strong typing make debugging easy and mostly pain-free.

Extensive API

Java has very rich API and enjoys a fantastic support from the open-source ecosystem that surrounds it. You are never required to reinvent the proverbial wheel, since all your networking, I/O, or database needs are taken care of by many free libraries. No matter what your project entails, you’ll have absolutely no problem finding a suitable API to build it upon.

Large Community

The large community around Java is both incredibly helpful and also productive. Independent developers and organizations from all corners of the world produce frameworks, guides, books, and video tutorials that help beginners dive right into the languages. Thanks to sites like Stack Overflow, receiving the right answer to any question is a matter of minutes.

Platform Independent

Sun famously summed the philosophy behind Java as “write once, run anywhere.” This is, indeed, to this day one of the most important things behind Java’s popularity and usefulness. The same code can be run on any platform or architecture with compatible Java Virtual Machine capable of executing Java bytecode. Recently, there has also been an industry-wide push to make to make Java the leader of the IoT, which means that five to ten years from now Java could be anywhere from kitchen mixers to desk lamps.

Highly Secure

Java is often labelled as one of the most secure programming languages in existence. This is largely because the language doesn’t allow access to out-of-bound arrays and the complete absence of pointers. This instantly eliminates common programming mistakes that often lead to several security flaws, like buffer overruns or stack corruption. Additionally, Java’s Security Manager class lets developers implement various security policies and effectively run their applications in a sandbox environment.

The Future of Java

Java’s origins as a programming language for embedded systems may, paradoxically, also by its final destination. Its unmatched flexibility helped it conquer the world of IoT, and with Oracle releasing JRE specifically for ARM-based systems, the future is looking brighter than ever for the language that was once disregarded by the majority of developers as too slow and bulky for practical use even on desktop computers.

However, there’s one area where Java is likely to become almost completely irrelevant: the web. The huge popularity of WordPress and Node.js cemented JavaScript as the language of choice for the new, mobile-first era of the Internet. Despite this, most businesses will stick to Java for the sake of legacy code and an excellent availability of different libraries developed specifically for enterprise applications and purposes.

What about Java on Android? This one is a little bit trickier. As web and mobile continue to blend, hybrid applications built on frameworks such as Adobe PhoneGap, or Electron are expected to gain on popularity. It’s entirely possible that there will be a time when the majority of apps will be actually Hybrid Applications with a WebView wrapped in a native app to leverage the power on native APIs.

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