History of Java - JAVA: Easy Java Programming for Beginners, Your Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Java Programming (2015)

JAVA: Easy Java Programming for Beginners, Your Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Java Programming (2015)

Chapter 1. History of Java

This chapter will give you a brief history of how Java software came into life, starting from the existence of computers. It will also provide you a brief overview of the evolution of the various computer programming languages.

The Birth of Computers


It was not long ago, well maybe around two decades, that there were still typewriters to create the documents we need at home, in school or for work. Remember your mother’s recipes on index cards, your thesis in college, your resume for a job application and many more. Then here comes the birth of computer systems that made everything a whole lot easier! It was a total revolution when these miracle machines were introduced. Now, with just a click of the mouse or a keystroke you have photos printed out to decorate your home, a YouTube video of your high school ball, or a visually compelling marketing presentation for work.

A computer system consists of all the essential components of a computer and how they are integrated with one another for the device to function efficiently and effectively. Such components can be classified as hardware or software. Computer hardware pertains to the physical part, such as the central processing unit (CPU), mouse, keyboard and monitor, among others. Software, on the other hand, refers to the different programs that tell the computer what to do. Both hardware and software components work hand in hand to produce the user’s desired results.

Since this eBook was written to provide a step-by-step tutorial on Java programming, then we will emphasize on the software aspect of the computer system. In addition, the emergence of the World Wide Web or simply known as the Internet had brought forth more innovations in computer programming. The increasing demands of this online superhighway when it comes to sharing and communicating information has forced programmers to explore the potentials of JAVA programming language.

Evolution of Computer Programming Languages

· 1954-1957

John Backus with an IBM team developed FORTRAN (considered the first modern computer programming language but definitely not user-friendly).

· 1959

Grace Hopper at Remington Rand developed COBOL (Letter B stands for Business, which is COBOL’s primary feature that included processing records of customers, employees and more)

· 1972

Dennis Ritchie at AT&T Bell Labs developed the C programming language.

· 1986

Bjarne Stroustrup at AT&T Bell Labs developed C++ that supported object-oriented programming (OOP).

· 1995

It was exactly on May 23rd that Sun Microsystems released the first official version of Java programming language that is considered as an improvement of C++. This general-purpose software enables you to build and explore databases, write windowed applications and control handheld devices, among others. Just after five years, Java already had 2.5 million developers worldwide.

· 2000

The College Board announced in November that Computer Science Advanced Placement exams will be based on Java by 2003.

· 2002

Microsoft introduced C#, a new language named that inherited most of its programming features from Java. Sys-Con Media reported in June of the same year that there was an increasing demand for Java programmers (it has exceeded by 50% as compared to the demand for C++ programmers).

· 2007

Google started developing apps on Android mobile devices using the Java language.

· 2010

Oracle Corporation incorporated Java technology into the Oracle family by purchasing Sun Microsystems in January

· 2010

eWeek ranked Java in June as first among its “Top 10 Programming Languages to Keep You Employed” (www.eweek.com/c/a/ Application-Development/Top-10-Programming-Languagesto-Keep-You-Employed-719257).

· 2013

More than 1.1 billion desktop computers and 250 million mobile phones have been using Java platform since August 2013 (www.mobiledevicemanager.com/mobile-devicestatistics/250-million-android-devices-in-use and http://java.com/en/about). Moreover, Blu-ray devices emerged with more interactive capabilities through the new technology. Java was already considered the most popular language by various programming groups and communities, such as TIOBE Programming Community Index (www.tiobe.com/index.php/ content/paperinfo/tpci) and PYPL that stands for the PopularitY of Programming Language Index (http://sites.google.com/site/pydatalog/ pypl/PyPL-PopularitY-of-Programming-Language), among others.

Emergence of Java Technology

When IT experts realized in the early 1990s that there is a big demand in making people’s lives less complicated by introducing intelligence to everyday home appliances, Sun Microsystems collaborated with a team of researchers to start the “Green Project”. This is sort of a secretive assignment aimed to develop a portable home-appliance software that will run in embedded processor chips. The program should be flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing appliance processor chips, which were getting smaller, cheaper and yet more powerful. The team planned to use C++ at first, but its portability issue was blocking their path to success. Thus, they decided to develop a whole new computer programming language.

It was in 1991 when Java language was initially conceived by Sun Microsystem through the collaboration of James Gosling, Chris Warth, Patrick Naughton, Mike Sheridan and Ed Frank. Oak was the initial name of the new programming language, which was the tree just outside James Gosling’s window (the team’s project leader). However, Oak was already being used as the name for another programming language. So in 1995 it was officially renamed to Java, which denotes the coffee that the software developers enjoy whenever they have their breaks. However, when the demand for such home-appliances did not turn out as what Sun Microsystem expected, the programming team has to find another channel to expand Java. Finally, in May 1995, Java was first released at the SunWorld Conference and was immediately followed by Netscape (the world’s #1 browser at that time) announcing that they will incorporate the programming language in their development. With Java-embedded web pages, websites transformed from plain dull into interactive ones. Not only that the Web sends information to its audience, but they are also able to accept user input.

In this chapter you have learned the history of computer programming languages, focusing on the development of Java technology. In the succeeding chapter, Java will be described on how it is used in various programming environments with a clear instruction on how to properly install it in your computer.