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Why Java
 
Java is a high-level, third generation programming language, like C, FORTRAN, Smalltalk, Perl, and many others. You can use Java to write computer applications that crunch numbers, process words, play games, store data or do any of the thousands of other things computer software can do.
 
Compared to other programming languages, Java is most similar to C. However although Java shares much of C's syntax, it is not C. Knowing how to program in C or, better yet, C++, (best of all: Objective C) will certainly help you to learn Java more quickly; but you don't need to know C to learn Java. Unlike C++, Java is not a superset of C. A Java compiler won't compile C code, and C programs need to be changed substantially before they can become Java programs.
 
The programming language Java is designed to meet the challenges of application development in the context of heterogeneous, network-wide distributed environments. Greatest among these challenges is secure delivery of applications that consume the minimum of system resources, can run on any hardware and software platform on computers as well as on mobile phones, and can be extended dynamically.
 
The Java programming language originated as part of a research project to develop advanced software for a wide variety of network devices and embedded systems. The goal was to develop a small, reliable, portable, distributed, real-time operating platform. When the project started, C++ was the language of choice. But over time the difficulties encountered with C++ grew to the point where the problems could best be addressed by creating an entirely new language platform. Design and architecture decisions drew from a variety of languages such as Eiffel, SmallTalk, Objective C, and Cedar/Mesa. The result is a language platform that has proven ideal for developing secure, distributed, network-based end-user applications in environments ranging from network-embedded devices to the World-Wide Web and the desktop.
 
The Java programming language is designed to be object oriented from the start. Object technology has finally found its way into the programming mainstream after a gestation period of thirty years. The needs of distributed, client-server based systems coincide with the encapsulated, message-passing paradigms of object-based software. To function within increasingly complex, network-based environments, programming systems must adopt object-oriented concepts. Java technology provides a clean and efficient object-based development platform.
 
The Java programming language is designed for creating highly reliable software. It provides extensive compile-time checking, followed by a second level of run-time checking. Language features guide programmers towards reliable programming habits.
 
The memory management model is extremely simple: objects are created with a new operator. There are no explicit programmer-defined pointer data types, no pointer arithmetic, and automatic garbage collection. This simple memory management model eliminates entire classes of programming errors that bedevil C and C++ programmers. You can develop Java code with confidence that the system will find many errors quickly and that major problems won't lay dormant until after your production code has shipped.
 
Java technology is designed to operate in distributed environments, which means that security is of paramount importance. With security features designed into the language and run-time system, Java technology lets you construct applications that can't be invaded from outside. In the network environment, applications written in the Java programming language are secure from intrusion by unauthorized code attempting to get behind the scenes and create viruses or invade file systems.
 
Performance should be considered in addition to all other factors. The Java platform achieves superior performance by adopting a scheme by which the interpreter can run at full speed without needing to check the run-time environment. The automatic garbage collector runs as a low-priority background thread, ensuring a high probability that memory is available when required, leading to better performance. Applications requiring large amounts of compute power can be designed such that compute-intensive sections can be rewritten in native machine code as required and interfaced with the Java platform. In general, users perceive that interactive applications respond quickly even though they're interpreted.
 
There are also a number of aspects to Java that are all about building more reliable applications. It is a lot easier to build things that are more reliable - that break less often - so you don't have to worry about blowing your machine to bits. There's also a lot in Java that's all about security. So when you've got something like their large databases - whose integrity is something they need to be careful about - security is important. So, it's a whole bunch of things that all swirl together.