Getting started with Java Language

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Java SE VersionCode NameEnd-of-life (free1)Release Date
Java SE 9 (Early Access)Nonefuture
Java SE 8Spiderfuture
Java SE 7Dolphin2015-04-14
Java SE 6Mustang2013-04-16
Java SE 5Tiger2009-11-04
Java SE 1.4Merlinprior to 2009-11-04
Java SE 1.3Kestrelprior to 2009-11-04
Java SE 1.2Playgroundprior to 2009-11-04
Java SE 1.1Noneprior to 2009-11-04
Java SE 1.0Oakprior to 2009-11-04


The Java programming language is…

Java is intended to let application developers “write once, run anywhere” (WORA), meaning that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation.

Java code is compiled to bytecode (the .class files) which in turn get interpreted by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). In theory, bytecode created by one Java compiler should run the same way on any JVM, even on a different kind of computer. The JVM might (and in real-world programs will) choose to compile into native machine commands the parts of the bytecode that are executed often. This is called “Just-in-time (JIT) compilation”.

Java Editions and Versions

There are three “editions” of Java defined by Sun / Oracle:

There is a separate topic on Java SE / EE / ME editions.

Each edition has multiple versions. The Java SE versions are listed below.

Installing Java

There is a separate topic on Installing Java (Standard Edition).

Compiling and running Java programs

There are separate topics on:

What’s next?

Here are links to subjects to continue learning and understanding the Java programming language. These subjects are the basics of the Java programming to get you started.


While Java does not have any support for testing in the standard library, there are 3rd-party libraries that are designed to support testing. The two most popular unit testing libraries are:


1. In Versions section the end-of-life (free) date is when Oracle will stop posting further updates of Java SE to its public download sites. Customers who need continued access to critical bug fixes and security fixes as well as general maintenance for Java SE can get long term support through Oracle Java SE Support.

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