The history of Java dates back to the early 1990s when a team of developers at Sun Microsystems, led by James Gosling, began working on a project called “Green” to develop software for consumer electronics devices. The team wanted to create a programming language that could run on various devices and platforms.

Initially, the project aimed to build a language called Oak, inspired by the Oak tree outside Gosling’s office. However, as the project progressed, it was realized that the name “Oak” was already trademarked, leading to a search for a new name. Eventually, the team settled on “Java,” inspired by the Java coffee they often drank.

In 1995, Sun Microsystems officially released Java to the public, along with the slogan “Write once, run anywhere.” This highlighted Java’s platform independence, allowing developers to write code that could run on any system with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), irrespective of the underlying hardware and operating system.

Java gained popularity rapidly, primarily due to its portability and the growth of the internet. The emergence of the World Wide Web created a need for a programming language that could run applets (small applications) on web pages, and Java’s security and platform independence made it an ideal choice. Applets could be embedded in web pages and run on any device with a Java-enabled browser.

Java continued to evolve with the release of new versions and updates, adding features and improving performance. In 1997, Sun Microsystems released Java 1.1, introducing significant enhancements to the language and its libraries. Subsequent releases, such as Java 2 (renamed as Java SE), Java EE (Enterprise Edition), and Java ME (Micro Edition), expanded Java’s capabilities for various application domains.

In 2009, Oracle Corporation acquired Sun Microsystems, becoming the new steward of Java. Under Oracle’s ownership, Java development continued, with new versions and updates being released. Notable releases include Java SE 7 in 2011, Java SE 8 in 2014 (which introduced lambda expressions and the Stream API), and Java SE 11 in 2018 (which marked a transition to a new release cadence and long-term support model).

Java’s popularity extended beyond desktop and web applications. With the rise of smartphones, Java became the primary language for developing Android applications. Android uses a modified version of Java and its own runtime environment called the Android Runtime (ART).

Java 20 is the latest version of java.