Java Platform
Main articles: Java (software platform) and Java Virtual Machine

One characteristic of Java is portability, which means that computer programs written in the Java language must run similarly on any supported hardware/operating-system platform. This is achieved by compiling the Java language code to an intermediate representation called Java bytecode, instead of directly to platform-specific machine code. Java bytecode instructions are analogous to machine code, but are intended to be interpreted by a virtual machine (VM) written specifically for the host hardware. End-users commonly use a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on their own machine for standalone Java applications, or in a Web browser for Java applets.

Standardized libraries provide a generic way to access host-specific features such as graphics, threading and networking.

A major benefit of using bytecode is porting. However, the overhead of interpretation means that interpreted programs almost always run more slowly than programs compiled to native executables would, and Java suffered a reputation for poor performance. This gap has been narrowed by a number of optimization techniques introduced in the more recent JVM implementations.

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