JavaScript Vs. Java: What Are The Fundamental Differences?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you are new to programming, you may assume that JavaScript and Java are similar programming languages or different versions of the same language. Similar names can cause this confusion among those new to software development or programming. When you compare JavaScript vs. Java, you may understand that they are two very distinct programming languages. In this article, we compare these versatile languages, examine their similarities and differences and learn about their features and usage.

Comparing JavaScript vs. Java

It is important to compare JavaScript vs. Java to know the similarities, differences and features of both languages. Once a student or a developer understands the similarities and differences, they can learn the language that best suits their programming needs. Businesses use both Java and JavaScript extensively to create enterprise solutions, front-end development, back-end development and to build websites and mobile applications. Knowing the key differences between JavaScript and Java can be crucial for new developers as it increases their employability.

Related: Java Vs Python: Key Differences And Similarities

Origin of Java

Sun Microsystems released Java as a class-based programming language in 1995. Some programming languages cannot run independently and may need support from other programs or hardware. Sun Microsystems developed Java as a standalone programme as it could run without help or interference from any other software or hardware component.

The company originally developed Java as an efficient general-purpose language, though today, it is mostly used to create web-based applications and games. Since Java requires a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for execution, it can run independently on any device that has a JVM. Since its release in 1995, the company has released many versions.

Related: 100 Java Interview Questions For Freshers With Example Answers

Origin of JavaScript

Netscape developed JavaScript in 1995 as an interpreted high-level programming language. Interpreted languages implement instructions directly without a compiler. You can use JavaScript to tell a computer how to respond to a user once it receives an input through a web browser. The browser can interpret the user's commands without a plugin. Without the plugin, JavaScript makes browsing faster, interactive and responsive. It has remained one of the top programming languages for web-based interfaces since its release.

Related: Top 50 JavaScript Interview Questions And Answers

More points of comparison between JavaScript and Java

Parent companies have developed Java and JavaScript for very specific purposes. Both make programming easier and are popular among a worldwide community of programmers. They share some similarities and differences. These are some important points of comparison between the two languages:

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

Developers design software around function and logic. Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a computer programming concept, where developers base the software design around data or objects. Both Java and JavaScript follow the principles and concepts of OOP, and developers code objects and define their relationships with each other. While Java is an OOP programming language, JavaScript is an OOP scripting language.

Inheritance

Inheritance is an important mechanism in OOP programming through which you derive one class from another to create a hierarchy of objects with similar attributes and functions. Java functions on a top-down, class-based hierarchy for its objects. Objects in one class inherit the same properties as the other members in that class. Similarly, in JavaScript, all objects inherit properties directly from other objects.

Platforms

Java applications and programmes run in Java Virtual Machines (JVM). JVMs are abstract or virtual machines that enable a computer to run Java programmes and other programmes written using Java bytecode. JavaScript does not typically require any additional platform, and the applications can run directly on a web browser.

Frameworks

Developers often require a working knowledge of various frameworks to quickly develop prototypes and real products. Developer communities create a vast library of frameworks for both Java and JavaScript. If you are new to Java and JavaScript, you can learn to use frameworks to develop faster and simpler applications. Some popular frameworks for JavaScript include Angular 2+, NodeJS, iQuery, React, Bootstrap and Cordova. Some popular frameworks for Java are Spring Boot, Spring Security, Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark.

Related: 11 React Interview Questions And Answers

Front-end application development

Both Java and JavaScript are popular front-end development languages. Java is used to create applets in front-end technologies. JavaScript allows browsers to perform various functions as it runs code directly in the web browser implemented in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).

Back-end application development

Programmers use both Java and JavaScript for back-end development. Developers consider Java as a primary back-end development language as they use it to develop powerful server-side apps and websites. They also use Java to design various enterprise solutions. Developers may use frameworks like Node.js to run JavaScript on the server-side.

Related: Frontend Vs. Backend Development: What Is The Difference?

What are the differences between JavaScript and Java?

Despite the similarities between the two programming languages, Java and JavaScript also have many distinct differences. This is because developers built these languages for different purposes. These are some differences between Java and JavaScript:

Usage

Java is a class-based programme that can work independently on many devices. It has been a popular language among developers and they use it for a variety of purposes. Some applications of Java include:

  • Android app development

  • Back-end development

  • Front-end development

  • Big data analytics

  • Hardware configuration

  • Scientific computation

  • Server-side development

The main purpose of JavaScript is to make web browsing quick and interactive. Developers use JavaScript in software, embedded hardware controls and servers. Some of the primary uses of JavaScript are:

  • Helps build interactive websites: It aids in building an interactive website by helping users choose from multiple options with a click. Displaying or hiding information, browsing through galleries and zooming in and out are some features provided by JavaScript.

  • Use a variety of frameworks: Developers use many JavaScript frameworks like Angular, Node.js and React to develop apps for web and mobile platforms.

  • Build web servers: Developers also use JavaScript to build web servers and applications. These web servers support the back-end infrastructure of a website or application.

  • Create browser games: Developers also use JavaScript to create and run browser games to entertain and engage customers and audiences.

Compilation and execution

JavaScript is an interpreted scripting language without compilers, as the web browsers interpret the code directly. Java is a comprehensive programming language that requires a compiler. Developers code in Java using a JVM (Java Virtual Machine). This machine allows computers to run both Java programmes and programmes compiled for the Java bytecode.

Documentation

Many professionals widely use Java in enterprise development and hence many developer communities and businesses have created extensive documentation for Java programs, frameworks and architecture. This enables Java to become a language with established coding standards and libraries. It also has helped Java develop as a highly standardised programming language with reliable solutions for businesses.

JavaScript has a dynamic ecosystem. Many developers have created useful frameworks on top of JavaScript to improve its functionality. This may have contributed to a lack of standardisation and unorganised documentation for users of the language.

Levels of complexity

Since Java is an OOP language, it has a wider range of concepts and features and is more comprehensive. A new programmer may find it challenging to master Java because it is often vast and complex. Entry-level professionals typically focus on learning concepts and features like objects, classes, relationships, data abstraction, inheritance, encapsulation and polymorphism. Additionally, they may require practice in Java programming and relevant work experience to gain expertise. To be an expert-level programmer you may require several years of hands-on programming experience and knowledge.

Many professionals widely consider JavaScript to be one of the easiest scripting languages to learn. Web browsers have built-in JavaScript engines which run and execute the JavaScript code. A developer learns how to embed the scripts in a web browser, which may take a few days to learn.

Understanding Javascript and Java

JavaScript and Java both have different purposes and usage. Which language is better among them will depend on your specific requirements. Developers use JavaScript for front-end and Java for back-end development. Developers who use both can work on all stages of a project. Professionals with working knowledge or expert-level knowledge in Java can learn JavaScript in a few days. Developers working with JavaScript can learn Java to add to their skill set if they have experience working with other programming languages.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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