That’s the biggest similarity. The differences pile up from there, though.
Java has a “write once, run anywhere” system. It works like this:
- Write the code in Java.
- Compile the code to computer-readable bytecode.
- Run the code on the Java Virtual Machine, which is a virtual computer that runs the Java bytecode on devices.
This means that whenever you want to change the program, you need to make the change in the Java code and translate the whole program into bytecode again.
A big part of programming languages is storing values in variables. Java is statically-typed, meaning you have to say what kind of value every variable contains, and then it’s fixed. For example:
int a_number = 42; char a_letter = ‘z’;
“int” has to be a number and “char” has to be a letter.
let number = 42; let a_letter = “z”;
Java can run several different threads at the same time, meaning it can do several things at once.
Which one do I need?
- Websites, web apps, and other front-end interfaces
- Simple web servers/back-end tasks (with Node.js)
- Creating browser-based games and animations
- Apps/games/programs built on Electron or another cross-platform framework
However, you’ll probably want to use Java for:
- Android apps
- Desktop applications
- Server-side applications
- Writing code for phones, IoT devices, and other hardware
If you’re looking to pick a language to learn, it depends on your goals. If you’re looking to build a programming career and get a solid grasp of programming fundamentals, or if you want to work on non-web applications, Java is considered the more technically rigorous language. It’s also the most widely used in the world.
If you are looking to get into game development, these programming languages will be more suited to you.
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