Monday, 2 May 2011

History of Java

History of Java

At first glance, it may appear that Java was developed specifically for the world wide web. However, interestingly enough, Java was developed independently of the web, and went through several stages of metamorphosis before reaching its current status of de facto programming language for the world wide web.

Two failures

Java was designed by Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s to solve the problem of connecting many household machines together. This project failed because no one wanted to use it.

Then it was redesigned to work with cable TV. This project also failed because the cable companies decided to choose a competing system.

The microprocessor revolution's most important contribution to date is that it made possible the development of personal computers, which now number in the hundreds of millions worldwide. Personal computers have profoundly affected people's lives and the ways organizations conduct and manage their business.

Microprocessors are having a profound impact in intelligent consumer-electronic devices. Recognizing this, Sun Microsystems in 1991 funded an internal corporate research project code-named Green, which resulted in the development of a C++-based language that its creator, James Gosling, called Oak after an oak tree outside his window at Sun. It was later discovered that there already was a computer language called Oak. When a group of Sun people visited a local coffee shop, the name Java was suggested, and it stuck.

The Green project ran into some difficulties. The marketplace for intelligent consumer-electronic devices was not developing in the early 1990s as quickly as Sun had anticipated. The project was in danger of being canceled. By sheer good fortune, the World Wide Web exploded in popularity in 1993, and Sun people saw the immediate potential of using Java to add dynamic content, such as interactivity and animations, to Web pages. This breathed new life into the project.

Sun formally announced Java at a major conference in May 1995. Java garnered the attention of the business community because of the phenomenal interest in the World Wide Web. Java is now used to develop large-scale enterprise applications, to enhance the functionality of Web servers (the computers that provide the content we see in our Web browsers), to provide applications for consumer devices (e.g., cell phones, pagers and personal digital assistants) and for many other purposes.


Success

When the World Wide Web became popular in 1994, Sun realized that Java was the perfect programming language for the Web. Early in 1996 (late 1995?) they released Java (previously named Oak) and it was an instant success! It was a success, not because of marketing, but because there was a great need for a language with its characteristics.

Java 1.0, 1.1, and 2 (same as Java 1.2)

Java 1.0 was the first version. Java 1.1 added important changes to user interface management, and many important new classes were added (JDBC, JavaBeans, ...). Java 2 was released at the end of 1998 with important additions to many different parts of Java, but especially with an improved graphical user interface, and many additional packages.

Versions:

* Java 1.0 - 212 classes in 8 packages, released May 1996
* Java 1.1 - 503 classes in 23 packages, released Feb 1997
* Java 1.2/2.0 - 1,520 classes in 59 packages, released Dec 1998
* Java 5.0 - 3562 classes in 166 packages.

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