Java is a general purpose, high-level programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. The Java programming language was developed by a small team of engineers, known as the Green Team, who initiated the language in 1991. The language was originally called OAK, and at the time it was designed for handheld devices and set-top boxes. Oak was unsuccessful and in 1995 Sun changed the name to Java and modified the language to take advantage of the burgeoning World Wide Web

Java is a general purpose programming language with a number of features that make the language well suited for use on the World Wide Web. Small Java applications are called Java applets and can be downloaded from a Web server and run on your computer by a Java-compatible Web browser.

Java is an Object-Oriented Language

Java is defined as an object-oriented language similar to C++, but simplified to eliminate language features that cause common programming errors. The source code files (files with a .java extension) are compiled into a format called bytecode (files with a .class extension), which can then be executed by a Java interpreter. Compiled Java code can run on most computers because Java interpreters and runtime environments, known as Java Virtual Machines (VMs), exist for most operating systems, including UNIX, the Macintosh OS, and Windows. Bytecode can also be converted directly into machine language instructions by a just-in-time compiler (JIT). In 2007, most Java technologies were released under the GNU General Public License.