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Comparing Java vs JavaScript

Java vs JavaScript Comparison Guide

Java and JavaScript (JS) have confused those who write code for a long time. Wait, do you mean Java and JS are distinct programming languages? Yes, that's right! It’s time we set these two apart to clarify if JavaScript is finally the same as Java. This article will cover the key differences between these two technologies and examine the Java vs. JavaScript feud. Do you have your boxing gloves on?

What is Java?

Java is a general-purpose programming language released in 1995 by Sun Microsystems. Yet, it's also a computing platform that helps develop and run programs. Java versions 17 and 19 are free for personal and development uses, and several kits and tools exist. There are also paid subscriptions available if you want to receive extra support. Now, let's take a closer look at the two sides of Java.

What are Java Features?

Java has many features and benefits. Some modern companies using Java include Spotify, Netflix, Google, Uber, and Slack. This section will review those that make Java particularly popular for building interactive websites and complex applications. Further, this list will consist of it as a programming language and a computing platform.

1. Friendliness. The programming language is simple and easy to learn and use. This ease is due to Java's syntax being similar to that of the English language. As a result, Java is great for beginners and even easier for those with C or C++ knowledge.

2. Versatility. As we’ve seen above, Java has a wide range of applications, from Web Applications to Big Data. It is also interoperable with most other programming languages. Thanks to its suite of high-level concurrency tools and packages, devs can create scalable solutions.

3. Independence. The Java source code can run on any operating system. Once you install the JRE, you can run a Java program on any device.

4. Community. The Java programming language has a robust and active developer community behind it. The professional developers are quite active, ranking as the second-largest in StackOverflow. If you need help, you will find a solution, as someone will be more than happy to help you resolve any issues.

5. Tool Suite. The Java platform has excellent tools for compiling and debugging digital solutions. Yet, a whole array of Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) is available. Some of the most popular Java operating environments are IntelliJIDEA, Eclipse, and ApacheNetBeans. Other tools include JUnit and Jenkins for testing, Maven for PM, and Gradle for automation.

The Java Programming Language

As a programming language, Java works on the Work Once, Run Everywhere (WORA) theory. Moreover, it applies to both the Back and Front-End Development. Also, it’s a compiled, general-purpose, class-based, and object-oriented language. Java is easy to use, robust, secure, platform-independent, multithreaded, portable, and supports static typing, which means it has a rigid syntax. That was a lot of adjectives, so let’s go over what some of these things mean:

Compiled. Being compiled means that Java's conversion is directly into machine code. As a result, the relevant processor can execute this compliment.‍

Multithreaded. This feature allows the concurrent execution of two or more program parts. In consequence, multithreaded programming maximizes CPU use.

Class-Based and Object-Oriented. In class-based programming languages, there are object classes to define inheritance, which simplifies mobile app development. Meanwhile, object-oriented means that the program's organization is via collections of objects.

The Java Programming Platform

This OOP programming language offers two main software products for the computing platform. These are the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and the Java Development Kit (JDK). First, the JRE includes an execution engine (Java Virtual Machine or JVM) and a set of libraries. Also, it has other components needed to run applets and applications written in Java. On its JDK, Java includes Javac and other compilers and debuggers. Further, it encompasses a variety of tools to help develop those applets and applications.

When is Java used?

Created by James Gosling in 1995, this object-oriented programming language is widely used to create several types of software, including Android apps, web apps, and desktop applications, among its most popular uses. Nonetheless, the Java programming language also includes Internet of Things (IoT) Apps, Distributed Apps, Cloud-Based Apps, Graphical User Interface (GUI), and Big Data processing, which are useful for games and enterprise applications.

What is JavaScript?

Created by Netscape in 1995, JavaScript is a lightweight scripting language. It's undoubtedly a dynamic language that is object-based, general-purpose, and interpreted. JavaScript runs on modern browsers and applies to Front and Back-End Development. JavaScript is one of the most popular languages nowadays, and it is used to create several types of products. For instance, you can utilize it to develop mobile applications (React Native) that run on different devices, as it is a cross-platform language. But let’s go over some of the key features of JavaScript.

Lightweight. JavaScript code is a lightweight programming language that can have many characteristics. These features include low memory usage, ease of use, and/or straightforwardness. Due to its low CPU usage, minimalistic, and more flexible syntax. Besides, it's also very easy to implement.

Dynamic. This language is high-level because types and values are dynamic. As a result, both concepts are available for change.

Interpreted. Interpreted programming languages will read the code during execution. Further, they will interpret it as they go. They do not need to compile the code into machine code. A great thing for building robust and efficient applications.

When is JavaScript used?

The JavaScript programming language is most popular for creating web pages and server-side applications, but it has other applications. Mobile, server, smartwatch, and web-based applications are among the most popular User Experiences (UXs) developed in this language. Its uses extend to Data Visualization, Virtual Reality, game development, and booking systems.

Why is JavaScript so popular?

JS is currently ranked number 1 in Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey. Further, Microsoft, Uber, eBay, and Google are just some companies that use this object-oriented, class-based, all-purpose programming language. The JavaScript programming language has many excellent features and benefits, so let's review the ones that make it particularly popular.

Learning. Its programming knowledge is both easy to understand and learn. Moreover, it doesn’t need an environment setup; a browser is all it takes to have it running.

Compilation. As JS is an interpreted language, it does not require compilation. The fact that it's executable as soon as it’s written makes prototyping quite faster.

Interoperability. You can easily integrate JavaScript into programs coded with other languages, which means you can use JS in a variety of applications.

Versatility. Thanks to its various tools and libraries, JavaScript has a wide variety of uses. You can also use the programming language for both the Front and the Back-End development of web applications.

Community. JavaScript has a rich ecosystem and a huge community. Many developers and companies like Google and Facebook have supported the language. The JS community always collaborates on new tools and is willing to help other developers when needed.

Java vs JavaScript

Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s dig into what sets Java and JavaScript apart. As we’ve mentioned, JavaScript is a programming language. Meanwhile, Java is both a language and a computing platform. Let’s call that Difference #1. Yet, from here on out, we’ll focus on the disparities between the programming languages.

Are Java and JavaScript Related?

No, JavaScript and Java are not related. They’re not similar, either. Yes, both Java and JavaScript have “Java” in their name. This feature is the main source of confusion and concern about their shared history.

Netscape’s name for JavaScript was initially Mocha. Also, Netscape was the most popular web browser at the time. Yet, they weren’t confident about handling the competition when Microsoft came along. Due to this, Netscape decided to reach out to Java creators, Sun Microsystems. Their collaboration deal was what brought about the new name. Netscape couldn’t beat Internet Explorer, but the name “JavaScript” remained.

What Sets Java and JavaScript Apart?

Another major difference is that Java is an object-oriented language, while JavaScript is an object-oriented scripting language. However, both can run in a web browser. The syntax of both languages is like that of C+, meaning that they both use periods and curly brackets. And that’s where the similarities end! Below, we’ll review four main elements that set these languages apart. We’ll also summarize these and some more differences at the end of this section.

Strongly-Typed vs Dynamically-Typed Language

Java is a strongly typed language, whereas JavaScript has dynamic typing. Declaring variables in Java is quite rigid. Meanwhile, JavaScript has a more relaxed syntax and rules.

Class-Based vs Prototype-Based Language

Java requires you to use classes. These classes are reusable code templates to produce objects. Classes are needed to create an instance of a particular object, meaning you must wrap your code in a class. Inside the class declaration, you will have yet another function. When the class gets defined, these functions get called. Only then do we specify what we want to happen, meaning we end up with several lines of code.

With JavaScript, you can also work with classes and objects. However, you can also use a simple function to define your logic without all the previous declarations, expressing what you want to happen in one line of code.

It’s worth noting that JS has recently added similar class constructions. But, these are not as complex as the ones in Java. Even though Java takes longer to code initially, it is less prone to bugs. In contrast, JS is more straightforward in the initial stages of coding. On the cons side, upkeep can be more time-consuming.

Compiled vs Interpreted Language

Java is a compiled language that checks the code of an entire project and turns it into machine code simultaneously, which helps catch potential syntactical errors when compiling. Although we can’t say the same about logic errors, this is still a major plus. In the other corner, we have interpreted languages like JavaScript. These solve the language at run time. Although this improves performance, it can harden when building and maintaining large projects.

Virtual Machine vs Browser Language

JavaScript runs only on browser environments, mainly for client-side scripting. Meanwhile, Java could always run in browsers and the Java Virtual Machine. Yet, Node.JS has recently become a JavaScript runtime environment, considerably expanding JS capabilities!

Programming vs Scripting Language

While Java is a programming language, JavaScript is technically a scripting language. What does this mean? Well, scripting languages are a subset of programming languages that are interpreter-based.

The table below summarizes the differences and covers several more features that set Java and JavaScript apart.

Java vs. JavaScript

Which is better: Java or –Script?

Both Java and JavaScript have their pros and cons. We can’t say one is better than the other. Rather, it's arguable that Java works better with some projects and JS with others. Choosing a language depends on your team's skills and what you are looking to develop. Java is generally harder to learn, as it is a more complex language than JavaScript.

Java is very popular for Android applications. This language is also better suited for large-scale projects that rely on stability. Java is also big for general-purpose hardware programming. For instance, they use it for scientific computing outcomes like the Internet of Things (IoT). The main features to consider when choosing Java are that it can handle more data and computing. Further, it's also more stable and widely used in IoT.

Originally, they created JavaScript for the web and currently dominate the Web Development landscape. The language started with HTML and CSS elements. Thanks to its community, libraries, and frameworks, JS has expanded its server-side programming capabilities quite a bit for building User Interfaces (UIs) that are dynamic and interactive. Additionally, it's very popular among the tech stacks. The Node.JS framework, for example, is extremely popular among startups.


The Java vs. JavaScript debacle has created confusion for too long, although they are known and popular choices. We hope this article has clarified any doubt you might’ve had about these two popular programming languages, and see that they are excellent choices for implementing them in your business processes to short development times!