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Brief History of Java

     In 1991, James Gosling from Sun Microsystems and his team (known as the Green Team) began designing the first version of Java aimed at programming home appliances which are controlled by a wide variety of computer processors.

     Gosling's new language needed to be accessible by a variety of computer processors.  In 1994, he realized that such a language would be ideal for use with web browsers and Java's connection to the Internet began.  In 1995, Netscape Incorporated released its latest version of the Netscape browser which was capable of running Java programs.

     Today, Java is owned by Oracle and is the most widely used programming language in the world. It resides as a primary language among colleges and universities in Computer Science departments, and it has now surpassed C++ in popularity.

Why is it called Java?  It is customary for the creator of a programming language to name the language anything he/she chooses.  The original name of this language was Oak, until it was discovered that a programming language already existed that was named Oak.  As the story goes, after many hours of trying to come up with a new name, the development team went out for coffee and the name Java was born.

     While Java is often viewed as a programming language to design applications for the Internet, it is in reality a general all-purpose language which can be used independent of the Internet. Java is the force behind a variety of applications and devices that are used every day, such as hand-held devices, mobile phones, navigation systems, Android Apps, and e-commerce. One of the beauties of the Java language is that applications written in Java are not tied to any particular operating system and will run anywhere.

     In 2016, Java was named the Programming Language of the Year (an award it also won in 2006) and scored its largest increase in popularity. The future looks bright for Java.

     Java is backwards compatible, meaning that programs written in the present version should also work with future versions.

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