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The complete History of Java Programming Language

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Java is an Object-Oriented programming language developed by James Gosling in the early 1990s. The team initiated this project to develop a language for digital devices such as set-top boxes, television, etc. Originally C++ was considered to be used in the project but the idea was rejected for several reasons(For instance C++ required more memory). Gosling endeavoured to alter and expand C++ however before long surrendered that for making another stage called Green. James Gosling and his team called their project “Greentalk” and its file extension was .gt and later became to known as “OAK”.

Why “Oak”?

The name Oak was used by Gosling after an oak tree that remained outside his office. Also, Oak is an image of solidarity and picked as a national tree of numerous nations like the U.S.A., France, Germany, Romania, etc. But they had to later rename it as “JAVA” as it was already a trademark by Oak Technologies. “JAVA” Gosling and his team did a brainstorm session and after the session, they came up with several names such as JAVA, DNA, SILK, RUBY, etc. Java name was decided after much discussion since it was so unique. The name Java originates from a sort of espresso bean, Java. Gosling came up with this name while having a coffee near his office. Java was created on the principles like Robust, Portable, Platform Independent, High Performance, Multithread, etc. and was called one of the Ten Best Products of 1995 by the TIME MAGAZINE. Currently, Java is used in internet programming, mobile devices, games, e-business solutions, etc.

The Java language has experienced a few changes since JDK 1.0 just as various augmentations of classes and packages to the standard library. In Addition to the language changes, considerably more sensational changes have been made to the Java Class Library throughout the years, which has developed from a couple of hundred classes in JDK 1.0 to more than three thousand in J2SE 5. History of various Java versions:


Release Date

Major changes

JDK Beta



JDK 1.0

January 1996

The Very first version was released on January 23, 1996. The principal stable variant, JDK 1.0.2, is called Java 1.

JDK 1.1

February 1997

Was released on February 19, 1997. There were many additions in JDK 1.1 as compared to version 1.0 such as

  • A broad retooling of the AWT occasion show
  • Inner classes added to the language
  • JavaBeans
  • JDBC
  • RMI

J2SE 1.2

December 1998

“Play area” was the codename which was given to this form and was released on 8th December 1998. Its real expansion included: strictfp keyword

  • the Swing graphical API was coordinated into the centre classes
  • Sun’s JVM was outfitted with a JIT compiler out of the blue
  • Java module
  • Java IDL, an IDL usage for CORBA interoperability
  • Collections system

J2SE 1.3

May 2000

Codename- “KESTREL” Release Date- 8th May 2000 Additions:

  • HotSpot JVM included
  • Java Naming and Directory Interface
  • JPDA
  • JavaSound
  • Synthetic proxy classes

J2SE 1.4

February 2002

Codename- “Merlin” Release Date- 6th February 2002 Additions: Library improvements

  • Regular expressions modelled after Perl regular expressions
  • The image I/O API for reading and writing images in formats like JPEG and PNG
  • Integrated XML parser and XSLT processor (JAXP) (specified in JSR 5 and JSR 63)
  • Preferences API (java.util.prefs)

Public Support and security updates for this version ended in October 2008.

J2SE 5.0

September 2004

Codename- “Tiger” Release Date- “30th September 2004” Originally numbered as 1.5 which is still used as its internal version. Added several new language features such as:

  • for-each loop
  • Generics
  • Autoboxing
  • Var-args


December 2006

Codename- “Mustang” Released Date- 11th December 2006 Packaged with a database supervisor and encourages the utilization of scripting languages with the JVM. Replaced the name J2SE with java SE and dropped the .0 from the version number. Additions:

  • Upgrade of JAXB to version 2.0: Including integration of a StAX parser.
  • Support for pluggable annotations (JSR 269).
  • JDBC 4.0 support (JSR 221)


July 2011

Codename- “Dolphin” Release Date- 7th July 2011 Added small language changes including strings in the switch. The JVM was extended with support for dynamic languages. Additions:

  • Compressed 64-bit pointers.
  • Binary Integer Literals.
  • Upstream updates to XML and Unicode.


March 2014

Released Date- 18th March 2014 Language level support for lambda expressions and default methods and a new date and time API inspired by Joda Time.


September 2017

Release Date: 21st September 2017 Project Jigsaw: designing and implementing a standard, a module system for the Java SE platform, and to apply that system to the platform itself and the JDK.


March 2018

Released Date- 20th March Addition:

  • Additional Unicode language-tag extensions
  • Root certificates
  • Thread-local handshakes
  • Heap allocation on alternative memory devices
  • Remove the native-header generation tool – javah.
  • Consolidate the JDK forest into a single repository.


September 2018

Released Date- 25th September, 2018 Additions-

  • Dynamic class-file constants
  • Epsilon: a no-op garbage collector
  • The local-variable syntax for lambda parameters
  • Low-overhead heap profiling
  • HTTP client (standard)
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3
  • Flight recorder


March 2019

Released Date- 19th March 2019 Additions-

  • Shenandoah: A Low-Pause-Time Garbage Collector (Experimental)
  • Microbenchmark Suite
  • Switch Expressions (Preview)
  • JVM Constants API
  • One AArch64 Port, Not Two
  • Default CDS Archives

Last Updated : 06 Jul, 2023
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