Java Vs JavaScript – What’s The Difference?

Java and JavaScript sound pretty much the same, don’t they? Both Java and JavaScript have Java in their names, so anyone can think that JavaScript is related to Java. Actually, that’s wrong, in fact, they are almost completely different, developed by different companies for different purposes. The similarity of Java and JavaScript can be understood in a joke, Java and JavaScript are the same, as ham and a hamster are. In this article, we will provide you with a detailed comparison of the Java and JavaScript programming languages. We will learn about Java vs JavaScript. Both being programming languages, Java and JavaScript have similarities too, we will also discuss it.

What is Java?

Java, a high-level programming language,  is developed by Sun Microsystems. Originally, it was designed to develop programs for set-top boxes and handheld devices. Though, later it became a popular programming language for creating web applications. Java is intended to let application developers “write once, run anywhere” (WORA), which means compiled Java code can run on any platforms that support Java without the need of recompilation.

The syntax of Java is similar to C++. And the difference is, Java is strictly an object-oriented programming language. The Java programs have classes, which are used to define objects and methods. These objects and methods are assigned to individual classes. In Java, variables and functions have to be explicitly defined, which makes it more strict than C++. As a result, Java source code may produce errors or exceptions more easily than other languages but this also makes the limitation of other types of errors which can be caused by unassigned types or undefined variables.

Java programs are interpreted by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and do not run directly by the Operating system, unlike Windows executables (.EXE files) or Macintosh applications (.APP files). The Java Virtual Machine or JVM runs on multiple platforms which make all Java programs as multiplatform. Java programs can run on different platforms, like Macintosh, Windows, and Unix computers. But JVM should be installed in different platforms to run Java applications or applets at all. The JVM is a part of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), which makes it available for free download.

Features of Java:

  • Compiled and interpreted: Java compiler translates the source code into bytecode and then machine code is produced by the interpreter which can be directly executed by the machine.
  • Platform independent: A program is said to be platform independent if it can run on all available operating systems. Any modification in the operating systems, system resources and processor could not affect the java programs. It means that the bytecode generated by a java compiler could be employed on any machine having any operating system.
  • Object Oriented: Java is purely object-oriented language as in java everything is an Object. As Java is based on the Object model, it can be easily extended.
  • Secure: Java is developed to be secure in a networked environment. A bytecode verification process is used in Java run time environment to ensure that code loaded over the network does not violate Java security constraints. It secures from the threat of virus and misuse of resources. The security feature of Java helps to develop virus-free, tamper-free systems. In Java, authentication techniques are based on public-key encryption.
  • Robust: Java is a robust Programming Language that can handle Run-time Error, has automatic garbage collection and does not have pointer concept and Exception Handling. Java eliminates certain types of programming errors. As being strongly typed programming language, which allows Java extensive compile-time error checking. And it does not support memory pointers, which reduces the possibility of overwriting memory and corrupting data. The memory leaks are eliminated by garbage collection which is done by automatic memory management. Various other problems associated with dynamic memory allocation and de-allocation are also eliminated.
  • Architecture neutral: Architectural neutral means the programming language can run on any available processors in the real world without considering the development and compilation of processor. Any system that implements the Java Virtual Machine can interpret Java applications that are compiled to bytecodes. The Java applications can run on most of the platform as Java Virtual Machine is supported across most operating systems. An architecture-neutral object file format is created using Java compiler that makes the compiled code executable on many processors, in the presence of Java runtime system.
  • Portable: The languages which support platform independent and architectural neutral feature are known as portable. The architecture-neutral and having no implementation dependent makes Java portable. Some languages like C, C++, Pascal are considered non-portable language whereas Java is a portable language. Java has the compiler which is written in ANSI C of a POSIX subset with a clean portability boundary.
  • Distributed: Java can be used to create distributed applications. Distributed applications in Java are created using RMI and EJB. The multiple client systems depend on multiple server systems in the distributed application, so if any problem arises in one server system, it will not be reflected on any client system. Java also enables the development of applications on the network and both data and program can be shared. Remote objects can be accessed using Java through the internet and allow programmers to work from different remote locations.
  • Multithreaded and interactive: The multithreaded feature available in Java makes possible to write programs which can perform many tasks simultaneously. And the interactive feature allows the developers to construct different interactive applications that can run smoothly.
  • Dynamic and Extensible: The Dynamic memory allocation feature reduces the wastage of memory and improves the performance of the application. At the runtime, the process of allocating the memory space to the input of the program is known as dynamic memory allocation. To allocate memory space dynamically we use an operator called ‘new’ operator which is also known as dynamic memory allocation operator. Java programs have an extensive amount of run-time information which are used to verify and check accesses to objects at run-time.
  • Networked: Java mainly used for desktop and mobile based applications whereas J2EE, a Java programming language based computing platform, is used for developing network-based applications.
  • Ease of development: The reusability of codes in Java make the development of programs easier.
  • Scalability and Performance: The use of Just-In-Time compilers in Java enables high performance. And also by enhancing the start-up time and minimizing the consumption of memory in a Java runtime environment, we can improve the scalability and performance of Java programs.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a programming language which is used in web development. Originally, JavaScript was developed to add dynamic and interactive elements to websites by Netscape. JavaScript is one of the three core technologies of the World Wide Web alongside HTML and CSS. JavaScript is used to make interactive web pages and have been an essential part of web applications. Most of the websites use it, and almost all web browsers have a dedicated JavaScript engine to execute JavaScript.

JavaScript is influenced by Java and the syntax is similar to C. It is based on ECMAScript, a scripting language developed by Netscape. JavaScript is a client-side scripting language. That means the source code is processed by the client’s web browser rather than on the web server. It can function even after a webpage is loaded and without communicating with the server.

JavaScript function checks the web form before it is submitted, which make sure all the required fields are filled out. An error message can appear in a webpage by JavaScript code before any information is actually transmitted to the server if there are any errors present while filling out the fields.

JavaScript code can be inserted anywhere within the HTML of a webpage as same as other server-side scripting languages such as PHP and ASP. JavaScript code remains visible in the source of the webpage but the output of server-side code appears only in HTML. A separate .js file can be referenced for JavaScript which is also viewable in a browser.

Features of JavaScript:

  • Interpreted: The JavaScript is an interpreter based language so it can be executed directly in a browser. The compilation of the code is not needed in JavaScript.
  • Client-side scripting language as well as server side: Initially in the previous version, it was only client-side scripting language which needed a browser to execute the code, and didn’t use to involve server interaction. But the newer versions and frameworks also support server-side scripting. Still, mostly, it is used as a client-side scripting language.
  • Functional programming language: Function can be assigned to variables like any other data types in JavaScript. And also a function can accept another function as a parameter and even can return a function. In JavaScript, functions can have no name as well. This feature gives you the ability to code in a functional programming style.
  • Event-based: JavaScript can run specifically for the occurrence of some event. Any web page or a form to be submitted can be considered as an event.
  • Object-oriented: JavaScript shows the control over an HTML page by the manipulation of objects within that page. The object-based language is JavaScript as it provides predefined objects.
  • Browser support: All the browsers have default support enabled for JavaScript, so you don’t have to use any plugin at all to use JavaScript. Since all browsers support javascript as a scripting language and provide integrated support for it.

Why do JavaScript and Java have similar names?

You might have a question going on in your mind if they are not related to each other, Why does “JavaScript” contain “Java” word in it? Actually, the similarities in the name have nothing to do with Java. The name JavaScript is the result of early web browser wars between Netscape and Microsoft. This war between two web browsers gradually named and shaped the JavaScript which was just a marketing strategy to achieve acceptances as Java.

The word Java, in Javascript, has nothing to do with Java language. As there is no relation between these two programming languages. But, Javascript was inspired by Java, along with AWK, C, HyperTalk, Lua, Perl, Python, Scheme, and self-programming languages. Java was designed by James Gosling whereas JavaScript was designed by Brendan Eich, both in the same year 1995 but after the popularity of Java.

After Sun microsystem and Netscape collaborated to compete with Microsoft, they decided to use the wave of hype surrounding Java at that time. Netscape Communications had decided that the scripting language they wanted to create would complement Java and should have a similar syntax, which excluded adopting other languages such as Perl, Python, TCL, or Scheme.

As a result, they positioned JavaScript as the companion language to Java as in the same way Visual Basic was to C++. Therefore, the name was just a completely transparent marketing play to gain acceptance. For that Netscape and Sun made an agreement and it became JavaScript. The main reason was to make it a complementary scripting language to go with Java.

JavaScript had the different previous version of names, and later in the standard committee, it officially became ECMAScript. Originally, JavaScript was developed under the name Mocha, but officially it became LiveScript and then renamed as Javascript when Sun and Netscape collaborated. The final name caused confusion, which gave the impression to the language as a spin-off of the Java programming language.

When Netscape and Internet Explorer were trying to dominate the browser world and hence the internet, Microsoft cloned JavaScript and named it JScript which caused Netscape to start the standardization of JavaScript and changed its official name from JavaScript to ECMA. That kept JavaScript safe from Microsoft to make decisions to change or improve it.

The key features in JavaScript were extracted from Java, Scheme, and Self. Eich used prototypical inheritance instead of Class-based inheritance as in C++, Java, Python. Although JavaScript had name Java in it, it didn’t become popular for many years, because it couldn’t do much outside of the browser. The time was of Java applets, so even inside the browser, it could only do some fancy things and remained an unpopular language.

But remaining inside the browser also made JavaScript the most popular programming language in the world. After the fall of Java applets to never rise again in the 2000s, the JavaScript became popular. As it had managed to get inside the browsers before it was known or became popular.

Java Vs JavaScript – Key differences

Actually a few years ago, it wasn’t difficult to summarize the differences between Java and JavaScript. At the time of development, Java was a general-purpose language, while JavaScript programming languages were scripting languages used to create animated and interactive web pages. Today, everything has changed in them. Java and JavaScript both have developed and matured and has reached a different level in the programming world. Many people still assume that JavaScript is same or spin-off to Java language as both have the name Java. As we know, that is not true. Here, we will see how Java and JavaScript are different from each other.

Java Vs JavaScript


Java JavaScript
Java is an object-oriented programming language. JavaScript is an object-based programming language.
Java creates the application that can run in a virtual machine or browser. JavaScript code runs on browser only.
Java code is compiled.  JavaScript is interpreted.
Java code allows programmer full functionality and needs to be compiled.  JavaScript code contains a limited number of commands and features.
The first name of Java was OAK, then Green and finally named as Java and was developed by James Gosling, Sun MicroSystems. JavaScript was earlier named as Mocha, then LiveScript and at last JavaScript and was developed by Brendan Eich, Netscape.
Java is high-level, static, nominative, safe, manifested, compiled and strongly typed language. JavaScript is text and event-based, functional, imperative, dynamic, duck and weakly typed language.
In Java, there are different data types like int, float, string, etc and need to specify datatype with variable while declaring. In JavaScript, there is a var keyword which is used to define the variable and it can automatically choose data type of variable according to value it takes.
The file extension for Java is “.Java” or “.jr” and after compilation, it becomes “.class” file that contains bytecodes which are executed by JVM: Java Virtual Machine. File extension for JavaScript are “.js” and “.mjs”.
Objects of Java are class based. Objects of JavaScript are prototype based.
Java has a block-based scope. JavaScript has function based scope and object-based context.
Java first appeared on May 23, 1995. JavaScript first appeared on December 4, 1995.
Java provides object encapsulation. JavaScript does not provide object encapsulation.
Java is multithreaded. JavaScript doesn’t have multithread.
The namespace is used in Java. The namespace is not available in JavaScript. But we can create namespace by using IIFE.
The syntax of Java is similar to C++. The syntax of JavaScript is similar to C.
In a browser, enabling Java does not mean you have enabled JavaScript too. In a browser, enabling JavaScript does not mean you have enabled Java too.
To write Java programs, you will require the Java Development Kit (JDK). JavaScript can be simply written using any text editor.
Java source code is always hidden as it is compiled into a bytecode, which is unreadable. JavaScript code can be read by anyone as it is written in a plain text form.
Java is designed with security as the prime priority which is achieved using the JVM. JavaScript is less secure in comparison to Java though it can be minimized.

Similarities between Java and JavaScript

  • Java and JavaScript are both browser-compatible

JavaScript programming languages are specific to websites. Currently, almost all of the modern browsers and several websites use JavaScript to improve their user experience. Java had java applets which were popular in websites but their popularity has declined due to security and compatibility issues. Most mobile browsers website visitors have JavaScript enabled and Java applets disabled by default.

• Java and JavaScript, both are server-compatible

The web application servers such as Apache Tomcat, JBoss, and WebSphere are developed using Java. The web applications that are on public sites and the corporate firewall protected web applications, are run by Java web application servers. JavaScript also has been used on the server side. As Node.JS is growing in popularity and many more JavaScript-coded application servers are being used.

• Java and JavaScript, both have frameworks and libraries

Frameworks and libraries offer help to access purposes specific and general purpose code for helping programmers. They offer codes that are reusable for different scenarios. These codes provided by frameworks and libraries can reduce the program coding time significantly. Presently, both Java and JavaScript are matured programming language with a huge range of library and framework available. These languages have reached a stage of maturity at which they have gained the title of highly developed programming language which has a wide range of framework and library options available for various purposes.


Now, you know at least something about Java vs JavaScript. Here, now a new question comes, which one should you choose to learn? You know the answer is also simple, you should learn the language whichever better fits your needs. Neither Java nor JavaScript is superior or inferior to each other.

Both of them, Java and JavaScript are almost completely different languages. Java and JavaScript were essentially designed for distinct purposes. As we know, Java, a general-purpose language, is mostly used in developing mobile or web-based applications. On the other hand, JavaScript, a client-side scripting language, is specifically used for designing behavior and interactive web pages for the web-based application. Java is more complicated, static and strong programming language than JavaScript.

Advanced Java – Important Topics (Java EE)

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