Evolution of Java Programming Language

Java is one of the most popular, versatile & powerful programming languages. Since 1995 when Java was introduced, it has undergone many evolutions. Here in this article, we will discuss all the milestones this powerful programming language has passed.

Introduction to Java

Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle) in the mid-1990s introduces Java. This object-oriented programming language was designed to be platform-independent. It means that code written in Java can support a wide range of devices & operating systems without modification. Java's popularity boosted in the industry due to its ability to create robust, high-performance applications.

Let's find out about Java's revolution from its beginning to till now −

Java 1.0 (1996)

In January 1996, the first version of the language came to the market. It has all the core features, including an object-oriented programming model, platform independence & JVM used.

But this version has issues with multithreading & standard library for networking and I/O operations.

Java 1.1 (1997)

It was an improved version of the previous version. As it supports multithreading, so it was easy to have multiple threads within a single program. It makes Java 1.1 a more suitable option for building responsive, high-performance applications. Also, it has a standard library. So it also supports networking and I/O operations.

Java 2 (1998)

  • It is a revolution when it comes to organizing and structuring code. Developers can easily create inner classes which means classes within classes.

  • Developers use Swing and AWT frameworks to create the Java Foundation Classes (JFC). JFC means a library set that use to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs)

  • The Java 2 Platform has a standard edition. It is good for developing standard desktop applications.

Java 5 (2004)

Java 5 or Java 1.5 came with some major updates in 2004. This version introduces generics. Generics allows for the creation of classes & methods that can work with multiple types of objects. It helps with improving the readability and safety of Java code. With this, it is easy to catch errors at compile-time & also reduce the need for typecasting.

Java 6 (2006)

Java 6 was an upgraded version that focused on improving the system and adding some new features. This version has a scripting engine & with this, you can easily execute scripting languages like JavaScript. To make it easy to understand & maintain developers can add metadata to their code. It is possible as it has support for annotations

Java 7 (2011)

It comes with several new features and refinements. It allows more efficient and readable code as it has switch statements for strings. This version also introduced the try-with-resources statement. With this, you can easily manage resources in a try-catch block & automatic resource management. This feature directly helps developers to write clean & maintainable code & also improve the overall Java application's performance.

Java 8 (2014)

It comes with many new features −

  • Lambda expressions help with creating anonymous functions * you can easily write code that uses functional interfaces.

  • It has the Stream API. So working with collections of data is easy as it provides a functional-style programming model.

  • It has Date and Time API. So get the chance to work with dates and times more robustly and flexibly.

Java 9 (2017)

In this model, you can find Java Platform Module System (JPMS), JShell, a REPL (Read-Eval-Print Loop) tool & HTTP/2

  • Modularise the Java SE platform with Java Platform Module System (JPMS). It also makes Java SE more scalable and easier to maintain.

  • Developers can have real-time interaction with the Java language in real-time. It is possible as it has JShell, a REPL (Read-Eval-Print Loop) tool.

  • The HTTP/2 client allows more efficient and effective communication with web servers. It also provides support for the latest HTTP/2 protocol.

Java 10 (2018)

This version comes with Local-Variable Type Inference, Garbage-Collector Interface & Application Class-Data Sharing

  • The local-variable type inference makes the code more concise and readable. With this developers can declare variables without explicitly specifying the type.

  • The Garbage-Collector Interface provides a customized and flexible method to manage the garbage-collection.

  • In this version also you can effortlessly share class data across numerous JVMs as it has the Application Class-Data Sharing. It also enhances Java applications' startup time.

Java 11 (2018)

It shows the dawn of a new six-month release cycle & the ending of the Java SE 8 long-term support (LTS). It has new features like −

  • It withdraws Java EE & CORBA modules from the JDK

  • The intro of the HTTP client, which sustains both HTTP/1.1 & HTTP/2

  • It includes the Epsilon GC, a no-op garbage collector that is planned for testing & experimental goals.

Java 12 (2019)

  • It has Switch Expressions. Developers can develop more concise & expressive code with switch statements.

  • The Raw String Literals. You can find more readable & maintainable code in string values.

  • The JVM Constants API delivers a more efficient and useful method to operate with constants at the JVM level.

Java 13 (September 2019)

  • It has Text Blocks while working with string values. It helps to make better readable and maintainable code.

  • The Reimplementation of the Legacy Socket API, which improves the performance and security of the Java networking stack.

  • The Removal of the JavaFX modules from the JDK

Java 14 (2020)

  • It has Pattern Matching for instanceof. You can generate more concise and expressive code when working with instanceof operators.

  • It has records that create simple & lightweight data classes.

  • In Java 14 you will find NullPointerExceptions. It delivers more precise info about the reason for a null pointer exception & makes it easier to diagnose and fix errors.

Java 15 (September 2020)

  • The Hidden Classes allow for the creation of classes that are not accessible via the classpath or reflection, providing a more secure way to load classes dynamically.

  • The Sealed Classes allow for the creation of classes that can only be extended by certain other classes, providing a more expressive way to define class hierarchies.

  • The Foreign-Memory Access API provides a way to safely and efficiently access memory outside of the Java heap, improving the performance of Java applications that work with large amounts of data.

Oracle corporation has released Java 16, Java 17 till now. Over the years, the Java language has evolved significantly. Every time it comes with new features & improvements. These changes have made Java more powerful, expressive & more secure. Java language continuously develops itself according to the needs of the developers. So, if you are a developer stay tuned with Java & become the creator of the most powerful applications in this world.

Updated on: 05-Apr-2023

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