Java is a highly level object-oriented programming language and is one of the best programming languages I ever used. It is one of the few programming languages which are platform independent that essentially means that you write a piece of code once and it works on every platform such as Windows, Linux or MAC etc. thanks to Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
It’s been over two decades since Java was developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (later acquired by Oracle Corporation), the usage and popularity of Java is still increasing with the passage of each single day. Until the present, it is the most widely used programming language in the world leaving behind PHP, Python, C# and even C/C++ which has been around since almost five decades.
Many of my friends and juniors often ask me, what is the best programming language to get started as a programmer, whether they should learn PHP or Java, which programming language is highly paid or easy to learn etc. Most of the time, I recommend Java without a second thought and there are solid reasons behind it based on my own personal experiences being a Java developer. It was the first object-oriented programming language I learnt during my bachelor degree and since then I fall in love with it. In the following section, I will discuss why I recommend Java to everyone.
Why Java is Best Programming Language?
Let’s talk about the reasons that make Java the developers’ first choice:
1. Open Source
Probably the most important reason, why Java is so much popular, is the fact that it is open source and free. Java compiler (JVM) source code is publicly available for download. Oracle has also released an open source version of the Java compiler called the Open-Source JDK. This means that you will be able to publicly and legally download the source code for the entire Java compiler.
Since Java is an open source language, it is widely used for open-source software development. Most of the 3rd party libraries and IDEs are available under GPL license (General Public License, the license that usually comes with open source software) for example Spring MVC Framework for web development and Eclipse IDE etc.
Cost is an important factor for someone who wants to learn a programming language, or an organization that wants to use the technology in their software. Since Java is free from the beginning, it makes developers and large organization to choose it for their small to big strategic projects.
2. Object-Oriented Programming Language
Another reason behind the popularity of Java is that it’s an Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) language. Object-oriented programming refers to a type of computer programming in which programmers define not only the data type of a data structure, but also the types of operations called functions or methods that can be applied to the data structure. Java supports all basic principles of OOP like data abstraction, encapsulation, polymorphism, function overloading & overriding, and inheritance etc.
It is fairly easy to develop an application in OOP programming paradigm as it uses modular, extensible and flexible approach. It is very easily to manage the Java application in modular fashion. Apart from general OOP concepts, Java itself incorporates many useful practices & design patterns in its core library.
3. Beginner Friendly
Surprised? You’re not the first one! There are many people who would be surprised to see it as one of the top reasons to choose Java for learning, or considers it as best programming language, but it actually is. Java syntax is much intuitive that makes it easy to read, write and understand a Java program.
It may be difficult at start for a naive to install the JDK & setup the classpath variables. But once you go through this whole process, the rest is fairly easy — writing Java code.
Java was originally developed to be relatively easy to learn as it assumes the programmers are not that smart and careful. Since it is a high level language, which means Java abstracts away most of the complex low-level logic that allows the developers to focus on software features rather than worrying about the little details many consider both tedious and difficult.
4. Rich Programming API
Another important reason to learn Java is that it’s very rich API. It offers everything you need to write a successful program whether it is input/output handling, networking, useful utilities, XML parsing, database connection and query handling, date & time handling or anything else you may need.
Moreover, there are tens of thousands of Java open-source libraries like Apache Commons, Spring MVC, Hibernate etc. that provides everything that is left in official API. If you’re coming from a programming background in C/C++ or VB to Java, it would be pleasant surprise for you to see so much functionality that is properly organized and managed.
5. Developers Community
The size of the developers community matters for any programming language to survive and grow. The larger a programming community is, the more support and help you’d be likely to get. As soon as you start learning any programming language, you’ll face many issues and difficulties to understand different things and at that point, you’d realize how blissful a strong community of developers is. Moreover, the bigger a community, the more people will be developing useful tools and libraries to make development in that particular programming language easy and fast.
Developer community is Java’s biggest strength and one of the main reasons why it is very popular and widely used. According to TOIBE programming community index, Java has the world’s largest developer community.
All of these platforms are a great source to get help for beginners, advanced and even expert Java programmers. Java community is actually based on take and give-back philosophy which means that you’re not only encouraged to ask questions but you’re also expected to share your knowledge with your fellow developers.
6. Free Development Tools
Cost of the development tools for any programming language is an important factor behind its usage and popularity. The more free development tools are available, the more people will use them to learn and develop useful resources. If you are bound to pay a hefty amount of money to purchase license for a development tool just for the sake of learning, it is surely going to affect your learning motivation.
Since Java is itself free and open-source, almost all of its development tools are either open-source or available free to download and use like Eclipse and NetBeans etc. There is no doubt that these tools played a key role to make Java one of the best programming languages. It is no less than pleasure to code in Integrated Development Environment (IDE) especially if you’ve coding experience in DOS or notepad.
Netbeans & Eclipse are very popular & powerful development tools. They offer many useful features to make development faster and easier such as code completion, code debugging, code formatting & refractoring, test server deployment, code management and many more. It is very easy to search, debug, refactor, write and read code in these IDEs.
Besides these IDEs, Java platform also offers saveral other tools such as JConsole, Visual VM for profiling & decompilers etc.
7. Huge Collection of Open-Source Libraries
One of the many reasons why I love Java, is the availability of huge number of open-source libraries. You can find helpful resources for all most everything you want to do and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Java developers community is very active. There are tens of hundreds of active open-source projects are under active development.
These open-sources libraries make sure that Java is available everywhere. Many big organizations like Google, Apache etc. contributed a lot to develop and maintain awesome open-source libraries that makes Java development fast, easy and cost effective. On the other side, there are many open-source Java frameworks available like Spring, Struts, Maven, Gradle, Hibernate etc. that follow the best software development practices and design patterns to help Java developers to complete their work.
For me, these open-source libraries are no less than a blessing. Whenever, I want to do something new that needs to write a special kind of functionality, I first search Google before writing my own code. Most of the times, I was able to find something that offers exactly what I wanted to do. I always encourage others to search for a functionality in Google before writing your own code. There are fair chances that, it’s already coded, tested and available for ready to use.
8. Platform Independent
“Write Once Run Everywhere” is what Java promotes. Java is platform independent that essentially means that regardless of which platform you use to code and test your Java application, it will work everywhere. This is one of the reasons behind Java success as a programming language. There are many Java applications that are developed & maintained on Windows but are deployed at Unix platform. Moreover, platform independence also helps developers who are using different operating systems to collaborate with each others on same project.
Java is a compiled programming language which means that you need to compile the Java source code first into bytecode (a set of instructions that execute on Java Virtual Machine) before you run it at your production server. During this compilation phase, it is easy to detect and fix all possible programming errors. Java is also statically-typed programming language — do type checking (the process of verifying and enforcing the constraints of data types) at compile-time instead of run-time. Due to this, you will see less strange and unexpected errors, which means your codebase will be easier to maintain as it grows in size and complexity.
Above characteristics also make Java faster and performance optimized than dynamically typed & interpreted programming languages because the code is already compiled after type checking and server resources are not wasted on doing type checking and reporting syntax errors. This is very important as your application grows larger or needs to handle more processes.
Apart from above, Java has excellent documentation support — callled Javadocs. You can read comprehensive details about each function and class Java API offers. It helps newbies to understand what and why they are writing some piece of code. I consider Javadocs one of the top reasons behind the popularity of Java.
10. Java is Everywhere
Yes, Java is literally everywhere! It’s on desktop, it’s on web, it’s on mobile phones, it’s on smart cards, it’s on embed systems, it’s in real time & high performance systems, everywhere you can think of and so are the Java developers. There are millions of Java developers worldwide working on different Java frameworks. This huge availability of Java developers, is another reason, why organization prefer to choose Java for new project development rather than any other programming language.
11. Career Prospective
According to Gooro.io, Java is the 3rd most demanded skill worldwide. There are many technology giants like Google or Amazon that use Java to develop their software systems because of its good performance & speed and are actively contributing to open-source projects. This also encourages many startups to develop their applications in Java for easy scaling & high performance.
According to Indeed.com job posting trends, Java developers are in high demand as compared to other programming languages:
12. Future Prospective
As of TIOBE Index of top programming languages, Java is the most popular language in 2016. The learning interest of Java is growing steadily and more & more people are interested in learning and adopting Java as a professional path. No doubt, a programming language’s ability to stay relevant and survive for long time depends on whether the language developers community is growing or not. So clearly Java is the winner here and will continue to dominate in the years to come.
Apart from growing community, Java is owned by Oracle and is under active development to make sure that the language is bug free and stay relevant to modern programming needs. Updates are released slowly to ensure that it remains backward compatible and to provide enough time to enterprises to adopt changes as well. The last version of Java (Java 8) was released in March 2014 that introduced many new features like lamba expressions, parallel operations, new date & time API, TSL 1.2 default support and more.
Java Learning Resources
If you’re interested in learning Java, there are plenty of free resources available on the Internet. But I would suggest to buy a good book because books are well-written for beginners and introduce programming complexity step-by-step.
I personally highly recommend Java How to Program (10th Edition) written by Paul Deitel & Harvey Deitel to beginners. It is one of the best books to learn Java if you aren’t familiar with any programming language before. This was the same book that introduced me to Java. Few more recommended books for beginners are following:
Apart from above books, Oracle’s official Java documentation & tutorials are another great source of learning for beginners. These tutorials are comprehensive and covered almost all important details of Java programming language.
Further, Google is one of the best source to learn Java or any other programming language. If you know how to effectively search on Google, you can find all most everything. If you are confused and don’t understand a particular concept, term or have any issue with Java installation or API, Google can help you to find the specific information. There are thousands of very good blogs, tutorial sites, and free video tutorials on internet to learn Java programming.
To get started with Java development, you must first install Java Development Kit (JDK) at your local machine. There many good good IDEs to write, compile & test Java code such as Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ etc.
I hope this article will help you understand what exactly Java offers and how to get started with it. If you have any question or suggest, please write in comments section or contact us.
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