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The Differences Between Java and JavaScript

Mariel Lettier

Table of Content

Java
What is Java?
—— Java Programming Language
—— Java Programming Platform
What is Java used for?
What are Java's Features?

JavaScript
What is JavaScript?
When is JavaScript used?
Why is JavaScript so popular?

Java vs. JavaScript
Are Java and JavaScript Related?
What Sets Java and JavaScript Apart?
Which one is better: Java or JavaScript?

Conclusion

Java and JavaScript have been confusing us for a long time. Wait, do you mean Java and JS are not the same? Yes, that’s exactly what we’re saying! It’s time we finally set these two apart. This article will cover the basics of these two technologies and look into the Java vs. JavaScript feud. Do you have your boxing gloves on?

Java

What is Java?

Java is a programming language released in 1995 by Sun Microsystems. Yet, it's also a computing platform that helps develop and run programs. Java versions 17 and 19 are free for personal, and development uses. There are also paid subscriptions available if you want to receive extra support. You can find some kits and tools on this page. Now, let's take a closer look at the two sides of Java.

The Differences Between Java and JavaScript

The Java Programming Language

As a programming language, Java works on the Work Once, Run Everywhere (WORA) theory. Moreover, it applies to both the front and back end. Also, it’s a compiled, general-purpose, class-based, and object-oriented language. Java is easy to use, robust, secure, platform-independent, multithreaded, and portable. That was a lot of adjectives, so let’s go over what some of these things mean:

Compiled

Being compiled means that Java's conversion is directly into machine code. As a result, the relevant processor can execute this compilement.

Multithreaded

This feature allows the concurrent execution of two or more program parts. In consequence, multithreaded programming maximizes CPU use.

Class-Based and Object-Oriented

In class-based programming languages, there are object classes to define inheritance. Meanwhile, object-oriented means that the program's organization is via collections of objects.

The Java Programming Platform

Regarding the computing platform, Java offers two main software products. These are the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and the Java Development Kit (JDK). First, the JRE includes an execution engine (Java Virtual Machine or JVM) and a set of libraries. Also, it has other components needed to run applets and applications written in Java. On its JDK, Java includes javac and other compilers and debuggers. Further, it encompasses a variety of tools to help develop those applets and applications.

What is Java used for?

Java is widely used to create these types of software:

● Android apps.
● Web apps.
● Desktop apps.
IoT apps.
● Game development.
● Distributed apps.
● Cloud-based apps.
● Enterprise development.
Big Data processing.

What are Java's Features?

Java has many features and benefits. Some companies using Java include Spotify, Netflix, Google, Uber, and Slack. This section will go over those that make Java particularly popular. Further, this list will include it as a programming language and a computing platform.

Friendliness

The programming language is simple and easy to learn and use. This ease is due to Java's syntax being similar to that of the English language. As a result, Java is great for beginners and even easier for those with knowledge of C or C++.

Versatility

As we’ve seen above, Java has a wide range of applications, from web apps to big data. Yet, Java is also interoperable with most other programming languages. Thanks to its suite of high-level concurrency tools and packages, devs can create scalable solutions.

Independence

The Java source code can run on any operating system. As long as the JRE is installed, you can run a Java program on any device.

Community

The Java programming language has a robust community behind it. The community is quite active, ranking as the second-largest in StackOverflow. If you need help, you are bound to find a solution as someone will be more than happy to help you resolve any issues.

Tool Suite

The Java platform already comes with excellent tools for compiling and debugging. Yet, it also has a whole array of IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) available. Some of the most popular Java IDEs include IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, and Apache NetBeans. Other tools include JUnit and Jenkins for testing, Maven for PM, and Gradle for automation.

The Differences Between Java and JavaScript

JavaScript

What is JavaScript?

Created by Netscape in 1995, JavaScript (JS) is a lightweight programming or scripting language. The language is also object-based, general-purpose, dynamic, and interpreted. JavaScript runs on internet browsers and applies to both the Front and Back end.

Let’s go over what some of JavaScript’s features mean.

Lightweight

Lightweight programming languages can have one or many characteristics. These features include low memory usage, ease to use, and/or straightforwardness. Due to its low CPU usage and minimalistic syntax, JS is quite a lightweight language. Besides, it's also very easy to implement.

Dynamic

This is a type of high-level programming language where both types and values are dynamic. As a result, both concepts are available for change.

Interpreted

Interpreted programming languages will read the code during execution. Further, they will interpret it as they go. They do not need to compile the code into machine code.

When is JavaScript used?

The JavaScript programming language is most popular for creating websites but also has other applications. Let’s take a look:

● Mobile apps
● Server apps
● Virtual reality
● Data visualization
● Smartwatch apps
● Game development
● Booking systems

Why is JavaScript so popular?

JS is currently ranked number 1 in Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey. Further, Microsoft, Uber, eBay, and Google are just some of the companies that use JS. The JavaScript programming language has many excellent features and benefits. In this section, we’ll go over the ones that make it particularly popular.

Learning

The language is both easy to understand and learn. Moreover, it doesn’t need an environment setup; a browser is all it takes to have it running.

Compilation

As JS is an interpreted language, it does not need compilation. The fact that it's executable as soon as it’s written makes prototyping quite faster.

Interoperability

You can easily integrate JavaScript into programs coded with other languages. This means you can use JS in a variety of applications.

Versatility

Thanks to its various tools and libraries, JavaScript has a wide variety of uses. Not to mention, you can use the programming language for both the Front and the Back-End.

Community

JavaScript has a rich ecosystem and a large and very active community. The language has support from a large number of devs and companies like Google and Facebook. The JS community is always collaborating on new tools and willing to help other devs when needed.

The Differences Between Java and JavaScript

Java vs. JavaScript

Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s dig into what sets Java and JavaScript apart. As we’ve mentioned, JavaScript is a programming language. Meanwhile, Java is both a language and a computing platform. Let’s call that Difference #1. Yet, from here on out, we’ll focus on the disparities between the programming languages.

Are Java and JavaScript Related?

No, JavaScript and Java are not related. They’re not really similar either. Yes, both Java and JavaScript have “Java” in their name. This is the main source of confusion and has to do with their shared history.

Netscape’s name for JavaScript was initially Mocha. Also, Netscape had the most popular web browser at the time. Yet, when Microsoft came along, they weren’t feeling confident about handling the competition. Due to this, Netscape decided to reach out to Java creators, Sun Microsystems. Their collaboration deal was what brought about the new name. Netscape couldn’t beat Internet Explorer, but the name “JavaScript” remained.

Java vs. JavaScript: What They Have in Common

Both Java and JavaScript are object-oriented languages that can run in a web browser. The syntax of both languages is like the one of C+. This means that they both use periods and curly brackets. And that’s where the similarities end!

What Sets Java and JavaScript Apart?

Below, we’ll go over four main elements that set these languages apart. We’ll also summarize these and some more differences at the end of this section.

Strongly-Typed vs. Dynamically-Typed

Java is a strongly typed language and JavaScript is dynamically typed. This means that declaring variables in Java is quite rigid. Meanwhile, JavaScript has a more relaxed syntax and rules.

Class-Based vs. Prototype-Based

Java requires you to use classes. These classes are basically reusable templates to produce objects. Classes are needed to create an instance of a particular object, which means you have to wrap your code in a class. Inside the class declaration, you will have yet another function. When the class gets defined, these functions will be called. Only then do we specify what we want to happen. This means we end up with several lines of code.

With JavaScript, you can also work with classes and objects. However, you can also use a simple function, without all the previous declarations, to define your logic. This means you can express what you want to happen in one line of code.

It’s worth noting that JS has recently added similar class constructions. But, these are not as complex as the ones in Java. Even though Java takes longer to code in the beginning, it is less prone to bugs. In contrast, JS is more straightforward in the initial stages of coding. On the cons side, it can be more time-consuming when it comes to upkeep.

Compiled vs. Interpreted

Java is compiled, checking the code of an entire project and turning it into machine code all at the same time. This helps catch potential syntactical errors when compiling. Although the same can’t be said about logic errors, this is still a major plus.

In the other corner, we have interpreted languages like JavaScript. These interpret the language at run time. Although this improves performance, it can harden when building and maintaining large projects.

Virtual Machine vs. Browser

JavaScript used to run only on browser environments, mainly for client-side scripting. Meanwhile, Java was always able to run in both browsers and the Java Virtual Machine. Yet, Node.JS has recently come into play as a JavaScript runtime environment. This has considerably expanded JS capabilities! You can learn more about this here.

Bonus: Programming vs. Scripting Languages

While Java is a programming language, JavaScript is technically a scripting language. What does this mean? Well, scripting languages are a subset of programming languages that are interpreter-based.

Other Differences Between Java and JavaScript

The table below summarizes the differences we’ve just discussed and covers quite a few more of the features that set Java and JavaScript apart.

The Differences Between Java and JavaScript

Which one is better: Java or JavaScript?

Both Java and JavaScript have their pros and cons. We can’t say one is better than the other. Rather, it's arguable that Java works better with some projects and JS with others. Choosing a language depends on the skills your team has and what you are looking to develop.

Java is very popular for Android applications. This language is also better suited for large-scale projects that rely on stability. Also, Java is big for general-purpose programming of hardware. For instance, for outcomes such as the Internet of Things. The main features to consider when choosing Java are that it can handle more data and computing. Further, it's also more stable and is widely used in IoT.

JavaScript was originally meant for the web and it currently dominates web development. The language started with HTML and CSS. Thanks to its community, libraries, and frameworks, JS has expanded quite a bit. The Node.JS framework, for example, is extremely popular among startups.

Conclusion

The Java vs. JavaScript debacle has created confusion for way too long. We hope this article has clarified any doubt you might’ve had about these two technologies!


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