Technology

Java vs. Javascript: Is Java Similar to Javascript?

Java and JavaScript are two of the most popular programming languages today. However, many people mistakenly believe they are similar or even the same language. The truth is they differ significantly.

In this blog post, we will compare Java vs. JavaScript in depth across eight key areas – history, types, uses, syntax, speed, platforms, community, and careers. Whether you’re learning your first language or are an experienced programmer, understanding how Java and JavaScript differ is essential. 

By the end, you will have clarity on what differentiates these languages. You can decide which language better fits your needs and career aspirations.

Difference Between Java and Javascript

1. History

Java and JavaScript were created just one year apart in the mid-1990s during the rise of the World Wide Web. 

Java was developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems, which was later acquired by Oracle. It was released in 1995 as a core component of Sun’s Java platform. The goal was to create a portable language that could run on any device independent of the platform.

JavaScript was created in 1995 by Brendan Eich while he was an engineer at Netscape Communications. The purpose was to add dynamic and interactive elements to web pages. It was first known as LiveScript but later officially renamed to align with Java’s popularity.

Java was initially intended for general software development across platforms. JavaScript was designed explicitly for the web as a scripting language to make web pages more functional.

2. Types

One significant difference is that Java is a compiled language, and JavaScript is an interpreted language. 

Java code is first compiled into bytecode which then runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This allows Java to run on any device with a JVM while still being performant. The JVM layer handles platform dependencies.

JavaScript code is interpreted at runtime by the JavaScript engine in a web browser or other host environment. For example, Google’s V8 engine runs JS code in the Chrome browser. This allows JavaScript to be flexible and immediately executed on any device with an appropriate host.

Java is also statically typed, requiring developers to explicitly declare variable types like integers or strings. JavaScript is dynamically typed, so variables can hold values of any type without type definitions.

3. Syntax Comparison

The syntax of Java vs. JavaScript also differs in meaningful ways. 

Java uses curly braces { } to delimit blocks of code like methods or control statements. On the other hand, JavaScript uses spacing and indentation. 

Java has classes, interfaces, access modifiers, and strong conventions about organization based on OOP concepts. JavaScript prototypal inheritances allow more flexibility but less structure.

For example, a simple “Hello World” program prints differently:

Java:

java syntax

JavaScript:

Java has a more detailed and wordy syntax, making it seem complex and strict to some. In contrast, JavaScript offers a more straightforward, concise, and flexible syntax, allowing for quicker development.

4. Uses

Java is versatile and suitable for various applications, including desktop, web, mobile apps, backend services, data analysis, and scientific computing. Notable Java-based applications and platforms include Android apps, Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEs, Jenkins, Apache Hadoop, and Apache Tomcat.

On the other hand, JavaScript is mainly used as a client-side scripting language for web pages and web/mobile applications. It’s embedded into HTML pages and interpreted by all modern web browsers. Additionally, Node.js enables JavaScript to be used for server-side development.

In short, Java is broadly used across various fields, whereas JavaScript primarily focuses on enhancing web functionality and user interaction.

5. Performance Comparison 

As a compiled language, Java code runs relatively fast once compiled to optimize the native bytecode. JavaScript, as a scripting language, tends to be slower for intensive tasks.

However JavaScript engines have evolved to considerably improve performance through just-in-time compilation and other optimization techniques. For example, Google’s V8 engine compiles JavaScript to machine code before execution instead of purely interpreting it.

So while JavaScript was always slower, modern JS engines help close this performance gap. Still, Java performs better for 3D games, complex visualizations, AI, and math/science applications.

6. Platforms

Java’s fundamental advantage is its cross-platform compatibility. Java code compiled on one OS can run on any other OS with a JVM, including Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and more. 

JavaScript runs in the host environment provided by web browsers, Node.js, and other JavaScript engines. The engine handles compatibility with underlying platforms. So while JavaScript can run across platforms, it depends on the availability of a compatible engine. 

Java provides this portability itself directly as a language feature, while JavaScript achieves multi-platform functionality indirectly via its host environments.

7. Community 

Both languages have massive open-source communities. With 63.61% of users, JavaScript is the most widely used programming language among software developers globally.

Popular JavaScript frameworks include React, Angular, Vue, Node.js, and Express. Leading Java frameworks are Spring, Struts, JSF, Hibernate, Apache Kafka, and Google Web Toolkit.

Each language also has dedicated developers, online forums, tutorials, courses, conferences, and publications indicating their substantial communities. Both programming communities number in the millions worldwide.

8. Career Prospects

Java tends to be ranked as more in demand relative to JavaScript in job market reports. For example, Indeed Trends shows over 9,000 more job postings for Java developers than those listing JavaScript skills. JavaScript developer job openings still number over 150,000 globally.

Both are clearly critical and employable skills. However, Java development spans more domains and industrial sectors. JS developers are more concentrated on front-end web development and mobile application roles.

Within technology, knowing both Java vs. JavaScript is valuable, given their complementary strengths. However, Java may have the edge for career opportunities due to enterprise usage in various industries.

Java vs. Javascript: Table

Category Java JavaScript
Year Created 1995 1995
Created By James Gosling at Sun Microsystems Brendan Eich at Netscape
Type Compiled language Interpreted scripting language
Typing Statically typed Dynamically typed
Syntax Style Verbose uses curly braces Less verbose, uses spacing/indentation
Speed Fast, compiled code Slower, but engines optimize well
Platform Dependency Cross-platform (JVM) Dependent on the host environment
Primary Use Cases General purpose apps, backend development Front-end web development
Frameworks Examples Spring, Hibernate, Struts React, Angular, Node.js
Jobs Demand Higher, wider industry usage Concentrated in web roles

Conclusion

To wrap up, Java vs. JavaScript demonstrates essential differences in their histories, intended usage, typed scripting nature, syntax styles, performance optimization techniques, platform dependencies, community resources, and job marketability while sharing an overlap in popularity and demand.  

JavaScript has a simpler syntax preferred by beginner programmers for front-end web development. Java offers versatile application development through more rigid, general-purpose code yielding high cross-platform performance.

Understanding precisely how Java differs from JavaScript allows leveraging their individual strengths. With practice, developers can become proficient in both languages to maximize capability across web, mobile, backend, systems programming, and other domains.

So don’t assume Java and JavaScript are interchangeable – their distinctions are too fundamental not to clarify!

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