Thursday, 21 May 2015 16:40

Happy birthday Java


Time flies: Java is 20 years old.

Java's twentieth anniversary was marked by Oracle overnight.

Java debuted in 1995, although the technology dates back a few more years. Sun initially developed the language and supporting technology with consumer electronics in mind, but the focus shifted to online services, CD-ROMs and desktops, and then to web pages.

Java was announced at the SunWorld conference in 1995, along with the HotJava browser. Netscape (remember Netscape?) also announced it would support Java in its browsers.

Java was open sourced in 2006. That applied to all three versions: Java SE for desktops, Java EE for servers, and Java ME for handheld devices.

By 2010, Oracle had acquired Sun, in part for its Java technology, and in 2014 Java 8 arrived, which the company described as "the most significant top-to-bottom changes to the Java language."

See Oracle's Java timeline.

Today, there are 9 million Java developers and 7 billion Java-powered devices around the world. More than 125 million Java-based media devices (including Blu-ray players) have been deployed, and more than 10 billion Java Cards have been shipped.

"Java has grown and evolved to become one of the most important and dependable technologies in our industry today. Those who have chosen Java have been rewarded many times over with increases in performance, scalability, reliability, compatibility, and functionality," said Oracle's Java platform group vice president of development Georges Saab.

"The Java ecosystem offers outstanding libraries, frameworks, and resources to help programmers from novice to expert alike.

"The development of Java itself occurs in the transparent OpenJDK community.

"With the considerable investment from Oracle and others in the community, we look forward to the next 20 years of Java's evolution and growth."

Java 9 is expected in 2016. Significant features include modularisation (to make it scalable to a wider range of devices, and to make life easier for developers), an interactive tool for evaluating snippets of Java code, a new HTTP client API to support HTTP/2 and Web Sockets, a port to the ARM AArch64 architecture on Linux, updates to existing APIs, and some significant performance improvements.

Image: Incorporates a drawing of the Duke mascot released by Kurashvili Dimitri under the Free Art Licence via Wikimedia Commons and a public domain drawing of a cake via Pixabay. Accordingly the composite image is also offered under the Free Art Licence.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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