Programming Tutorials

History Of Java

By: aathishankaran in Java Tutorials on 2007-02-20  

It is always a good practice to know a little bit of history and background of any technology before starting to actually use it. In fact Java has nothing to do with the 'Island Java' in Indonesia. It all started at Sun Microsystems when they were developing an application for the 'set-top box'.

In 1990's they tried to develop a portable application that can run on any micro chip. Not surprisingly, the team chose C++ to accomplish this task. But soon they found that there are many features in C++ that prevented it from being PORTABLE. Therefore they tried to remove those features that are platform dependent. In doing so, they ended up developing a new programming language. They named this new programming language as OAK. Some say that the reason simply being that the team leader James Gosling spent most of the time under a OAK tree. So they chose this name. Surprisingly, this programming language never took off.

In 1995, the WWW (World Wide Web) became popular and Internet came to be widely used even among homes. This was a blessing in disguise for 'OAK'. The WWW presented

the same problems and issues such as the 'set-top box' software. Around the globe, there were many different platforms, under different operating systems and therefore there was a need for a portable, platform independent programming language which can be used to write programs that can run on all these different platforms without the necessary of re-compilation.
Sun Microsystems, renamed OAK to 'JAVA' with some changes and launched it in the same year. Developers around the globe immediately found Java's potential and the WWW got its new look and Java took the world by storm.

1990: Sun Microsystems decided to develop special software that could be used to manipulate consumer electronic devices. A team of Sun Microsystems programmers headed by James Gosling was formed to undertake this task.

1991: After exploring the possibility of using the most popular object-oriented language C++, the team announced a new language named "Oak";

1992: The team, known as Green Project team by Sun, demonstrated the application of their new languages to control a list of home appliances using a hand-held device with a tiny touch sensitive screen.

1993: The World Wide Web (WWW) appeared on the Internet and transformed the text based Internet into a graphical environment. The Green Project team came up with the idea of developing Web applets (tiny programs) using the new language that could run on all types of computers connected to Internet

1994: The team developed a Web however called "HotJava" to locate and run applet program on Internet. HotJava demonstrated the power of the new language, thus it instantly popular among the Internet users.

1995: Oak was renamed "Java", due to some legal snags. Java is just a name and is not an acronym. Many popular companies including Netscape and Microsoft announced their support to Java.

1996:Java established itself not only as a leader for Internet programming but also as a general purpose, object-oriented programming language. Java found its home.

2010:Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle Corporation and Java is now part of Oracle

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