After this short trip down memory lane of the tech space, we will look at the differences and use-cases. We also will look at popular products using both and the challenges of learning each. Let’s dive in:
What is Java?
Java is a programming language like C or C++. It was originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems in 1995. It’s a so-called strict language, class-based and follows an object-oriented approach. The source code will be compiled into a bytecode file and then executed by a virtual runtime machine on the host. This enables the Java mantra “write once, run everywhere”. In theory, you should be able to take any Java application and use the same “.jar” file on any suitable environment which has a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) available.
Where is Java used?
Java is often used for mobile applications on the Android platform. For example, the popular messenger app “Telegram for Android” is built using Java. While Java is traditionally one of the languages used for mobile app development, Google (which owns the Android platform) doesn’t recommend it anymore after a lawsuit between Google and Oracle (which acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010).
Java is also used for desktop applications on Windows, Linux and MacOS. One of the most well-known is the popular video player “VLC”. Several large-scale websites opted to use Java-based backends for performance or stability reasons. The backend is the part of a website which is usually invisible to users. Well-known examples are the business-community LinkedIn, the short-message service Twitter which changed from Python to Java due to performance reasons and most of the Google applications run either Java or Golang.
How hard is Java to learn?
How popular is Java?
According to GitHub developer surveys, Java is one of the most popular languages for server-side applications. The popular developer Q&A platform StackOverflow lists Java as the 5th most popular language with 41.1% developers using it in its 2019 survey.
Due to the above mentioned steeper learning curve, there are fewer developers entering the Java job market. The hourly wages for Java developers tend to be higher than for other languages. Something to consider, when you are hiring a Java developer for your project.