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My Java Journey - What is Java?

This is the second post from a series of posts about my personal journey with Java. If you haven’t read the first post and the disclaimer, you can do that now.

See how people use different languages in speaking with each other? Well, Java is a language that computers speak among many other languages. This is not entirely true. If you could hear two computers speaking, you will probably hear something like 01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 … – just a series of zeroes and ones - and that won’t make lots of sense. This series of zeroes and ones is known as binary.
Humans need to be able to speak in this way in order to speak to or instruct computers to perform tasks (programming). Due to the difficulty in this, other computer languages were developed that closely resemble human language. Java is just one example of such a language. Others are C++, C, Python, Perl, Ruby, Ada, JavaScript and PHP. Hundreds of programming languages exist.

Normally, computers will not be able to understand such languages. To remedy the situation, other programs convert the instructions into forms that can be understood by the computer. We say the program has been compiled. With a little more work, a program written on one machine should be able to work on other machines. Java has an upper hand here. With java, you scarcely need to compile a program that you write multiple times. Programs written in Java is able to run on any computer running any of the main operating systems. This is called cross-platform.

Unlike most languages which compile code to machine code, Java programs are compiled into bytecode. Bytecode is the machine code which does not depend on any specific platform. It is the machine language for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This code does not need to be compiled again for any other platform. All it needs is to be interpreted to work on another platform.

Enough of the long talk. Let’s dive right in.

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