History of Java Programming Language

Java is a widely-used programming language known for its simplicity, object-oriented design, and portability. It has played a pivotal role in the development of modern software and is still a popular choice for building a wide range of applications today. In this tutorial, we will explore the rich history of Java, from its initial release in 1995 to its latest version.


Java was developed at Sun Microsystems in the mid-1990s by James Gosling and his team, also known as the Green Team. The goal was to create a new programming language for digital devices such as set-top boxes and televisions. At the time, C++ was the dominant language in the industry, but the team behind Java aimed to build a language that could handle many of the tasks that C++ was capable of while eliminating some of the more tedious aspects of older languages.

Initially, the language was called Green and had the file extension .gt. It was later renamed Oak, after the national tree of several countries including the United States and Romania. However, Oak was already a trademarked name, so the team had to come up with a new name. They eventually settled on Java, a reference to the coffee bean and the concept of "Java juice" as a slang term for coffee.

Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it had been too advanced technology for the digital cable television industry at the time. Initially, Java was called Greentalk by James Gosling, and at that time the file extension was .gt. Later on, Oak was developed as a part of the Green Team project. Oak is a symbol of strength and Oak is also a national tree in many countries like the USA, Romania, etc.


How Java got its name?

The original name of the programing language was Oak. Oak was renamed 'Java' in 1995 because Oak was already a trademark by Oak Technologies. Before selecting the name Java the team suggested many names like dynamic, revolutionary, Silk, jolt, DNA etc. All these names were easy to spell and fun to say, but they all wanted the name to reflect the essence of technology. According to James Gosling, Java is among the highest names along with side Silk, and since Java was a singular name so most of them preferred it.


Primary Goals of Java

The creators of Java had several key goals in mind while designing the language:

  • Simplicity: Java was designed to be easy to learn and use, particularly for programmers familiar with other object-oriented languages such as C++.
  • Object-oriented design: Java is based on the concept of "objects," self-contained units of code that can be easily reused and modified.
  • Robustness: Java was built with security in mind and includes features such as automatic memory management and exception handling to prevent errors and vulnerabilities.
  • Architecture-neutral and portable: Java is designed to run on any device, regardless of its underlying hardware or operating system.
  • High performance: Despite being an interpreted language, Java is designed to execute code quickly and efficiently.
  • Interpreted, Threaded, and Dynamic: Java is an interpreted language, meaning that it does not need to be compiled before it is run. It also supports the concept of "threads," allowing multiple processes to run concurrently, and is dynamically-typed, making it easy to change and modify code on the fly.

Java Version History:
No.Version NameRelease Date
1JDK Alpha and Beta1995
2JDK 1.023rd Jan 1996
3JDK 1.119th Feb 1997
4J2SE 1.24th December 1998
5J2SE 1.38th May 2000
6J2SE 1.413th February 2002
7J2SE 5.029th September 2004
8Java SE 611th Dec 2006
9Java SE 728th July 2011
10Java SE 818th Mar 2014
11Java SE 921st Sep 2017
12Java SE 1020th Mar 2018
13Java SE 11 LTS25th September 2018
14Java SE 1219th March 2019
15Java SE 1317th September 2019
16Java SE 1417th March 2020
17Java SE 1516th September 2020
18Java SE 1616th March 2021
19Java SE 1714th September 2021
20Java SE 1822nd March 2022
21Java SE 1920th September 2022