Java was created by a team of developers led by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems in the mid-1990s. Gosling is often referred to as the “father of Java” because of his pivotal role in the creation of the language.
In the early 1990s, Gosling and his team set out to create a new programming language that could run on a variety of hardware platforms and could be used to build networked applications. They initially called the language “Oak,” but later changed the name to “Java.”
Java’s design was influenced by other programming languages such as C++, Smalltalk, and Objective-C. One of the key design goals was to create a language that would be simple, easy to learn, and have a familiar syntax for C and C++ programmers.
Sun Microsystems released the first version of Java, JDK 1.0, in 1995. The language quickly gained popularity among developers, and its “write once, run anywhere” philosophy made it a popular choice for building cross-platform applications.
In 2010, Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle Corporation, which has since continued to develop and maintain the Java language and platform. Today, Java remains one of the most widely used programming languages in the world.
Here is a brief history of Java and its major versions:
- 1995: The first version of Java, known as JDK 1.0, is released. It introduced the Java language, class libraries, and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
- 1997: JDK 1.1 is released. This version added support for inner classes, JavaBeans, JDBC, and RMI.
- 1998: Sun Microsystems releases JDK 1.2, which was later renamed to Java 2. This version introduced the Swing GUI toolkit, the Collections Framework, and the JIT (Just-In-Time) compiler.
- 2000: Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) 1.3 is released, introducing support for the HotSpot JVM, which improved performance.
- 2002: J2SE 1.4 is released, adding support for regular expressions, assertions, and the NIO (New I/O) API.
- 2004: J2SE 5.0 is released, introducing major language changes such as generics, annotations, and autoboxing.
- 2006: Sun Microsystems releases Java SE 6 (J2SE 6), adding support for scripting languages, JDBC 4.0, and the Java Compiler API.
- 2011: Oracle Corporation, which had acquired Sun Microsystems, releases Java SE 7, which introduced support for multi-catch, try-with-resources, and other language enhancements.
- 2014: Java SE 8 is released, introducing lambda expressions, functional interfaces, the Streams API, and other language features.
- 2017: Java SE 9 is released, introducing the module system, JShell, and other language and API enhancements.
- 2018: Java SE 10 is released, introducing features such as local variable type inference, and other small language changes.
- 2019: Java SE 11 is released, which is the first Long Term Support (LTS) release since Java 8, and includes features such as dynamic class-file constants and improved HTTP client API.
- 2020: Java SE 15 is released, which includes features such as text blocks, pattern matching for instanceof, and record classes.
Java continues to be a popular programming language for developing a wide variety of applications, from enterprise software to mobile apps to games. Its strong community, a wealth of libraries and frameworks, and cross-platform compatibility have made it a go-to choice for many developers.