One of the most used languages today, Java has come a long way. But do you know how it all started ? Let's get into it.

As many of you might know that James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, Patrick Naughton from the Green Team initiated Java Project in 1991, with the motive of designing interactive television, but this was too advanced for the digital cable TV industry then to implement this new tech.

Why ?

The obvious question comes Why ? Why did they create a new programming language ?

The simple reason is that they were not content with the API's of C and C++ that were being provided by the Sun Microsystems. In 1990 The Stealth Project with engineer Patrick Naughton of the Sun Microsystems were developing a new programming language due to the poor state of Sun’s C and C++ API’s, and with the introduction of James Gosling and Mike Sheridan the Stealth Project changed to the Green Project with the sole purpose to create something better than C and C++.

The Green Team - Source : Tech Insider


The initial ideas revolved around combining Mesa and C and producing an object-orientated environment in C++. But they decided not to go with C++ due to its requirement of high resources and its complexity. Moreover C++ lacked garbage collection and as a result the programmers had to manage system memory by themselves and that led to mistakes.

Hence, James Gosling tried to modify C++ but later discarded it and created a new language called Oak. The name Oak was used by Gosling after an oak tree that remained outside his office. Oak is a symbol of strength and chosen as a national tree of many countries like U.S.A., France, Germany, Romania, etc.

It took nearly 18 months to finish it, and by the fall of 1992 the Green Team built a personal digital assistant known as the Star7. Also featuring a smart agent (Duke) created by Joe Parlang which later became the mascot of Java.

The Green Project started to look at building highly interactive devices. In fact they were approached by Time Warner to build an interactive set-top box, but they had better plan of an entirely new set-top box platform. Unfortunately the TV industry thought it gave too much power to the user, eventually losing their bid, and with no one else to fund this project they were back into the Sun Microsystems.

By 1994, the World Wide Web was gaining much popularity. The Green Team figured out that the Internet might evolve as a highly interactive medium as they had imagined for the Cable TV. This gave them a new hope and a new opportunity.Naughton wrote a browser named WebRunner which is now known as HotJava.

In 1995, Oak was renamed as "Java" because it was already a trademark by Oak Technologies. Names like- “dynamic", "revolutionary", "Silk", "jolt", "DNA", “Java” were into consideration but lastly they chose Java because the name was so unique, as most of the team preferred Java than the others. The name Java The name Java originates from a sort of espresso bean, Java. It’s said Gosling came up with this name while having a coffee near his office.

Gosling designed Java with a C/C++ style syntax that system and application programmers would find familiar. Gosling was architect and designer of the compiler for the java technology, hence he is known as the Father of Java.

In 1995, Time magazine called Java one of the Ten Best Products of 1995. JDK 1.0 was released in (January 23, 1996).


The reason Java was easily adopted by users was because of its Principles, they are:-

  1. It must be simple, object-oriented, and familiar.

  2. It must be robust and secure.

  3. It must be architecture-neutral and platform independent.

  4. It must execute with high performance.

  5. It must be interpreted, threaded, and dynamic.

Programming languages in that era

Some notable languages that were developed in this period include:

  • 1990 – Haskell

  • 1991 – Python

  • 1991 – Visual Basic

  • 1993 – Lua

  • 1993 – R

  • 1994 – CLOS (part of ANSI Common Lisp)

  • 1995 – Ruby

  • 1995 – Ada 95

  • 1995 – Java

  • 1995 – Delphi (Object Pascal)

  • 1995 – JavaScript

  • 1995 – PHP

  • 1997 – Rebol

Despite these languages, C and C++ were still on top of the game. In fact Python wasn't as popular then as it is now. The world relied on OOP concepts of C++, but C++ was platform dependent whereas Java was platform independent, which added a major boost to java, and java was more secured compared to C and C++.

Advantages over C & C++

  • Java is a mature language, hence more stable and predictable.

  • The java Class Library enables cross-platform development.

  • Highly popular at enterprise, embedded and network level.

  • Unlike C & C++, its platform independent, due to the bytecode which is generated after its compilation and any machine having the JVM installed on it can run the code.

  • Java has powerful development tools like Eclipse SDK and NetBeans which have debugging capability and offer integrated development environment.

  • It can also be used for mobile development.

  • Rich APIs - Java has matured and stable rich APIs and frameworks.


The increasing demand of Java led to its further development and thus improved versions, with bug fixes, and improved UI. As of today the current stable release of Java is Java SE 12. The versions are :-

  1. JDK Beta : Released on 1995

  2. JDK 1.0 : Released on 1996

  3. JDK 1.1 : Released on 1997

  4. J2SE 1.2 : Released on 1998

  5. J2SE 1.3 : Released on 2000 (Codename- “KESTREL”)

  6. J2SE 1.4 : Released on 2002 (Codename- “Merlin”)

  7. J2SE 5.0 : Released on 2004 (Codename- “Tiger”)

  8. JAVA SE 6 : Released 2006 (Codename- “Mustang”)

  9. JAVA SE 7 : Released on 2011 (Codename- “Dolphin”)

  10. JAVA SE 8 : Released on 2014

  11. JAVA SE 9 : Released on 2017

  12. JAVA SE 10 : Released on 2018

  13. JAVA SE 11 : Released on 2018

  14. JAVA SE 12 : Released on 2019

Current State in the Market

Source: Datanyze

Though in the current scenario other languages such as PHP, Python have taken quite a spot in the market especially in the web development sector.

But still Java is widely considered as one of the top 3 programming languages, due to it's ease and implementation in enterprises.