Features of Java

By | August 19, 2019

We can call java a revolutionary technology because it has brought in a fundamental shift in how we develop and use programs. Java is not only reliable, portable and distributed but also simple, compact and interactive. 

The following features aptly describe the full potential of the language. These features have made Java the first application language of the World Wide Web. 

Features of Java

The  general features of Java are: 

  • Compiled and Interpreted: Java combines both the approaches thus making it a two-stage system. Firstly, the Java source code is translated into machine instructions called bytecode, then, machine code is generated by Java interpreter that is directly executed by the machine running Java program. 
  • Platform-Independent and Portable: Portability is the most significant contribution of Java, the programs can be easily moved from one computer system to another. Hence, Java has become the most popular language for programming on the internet which interconnects different kinds of systems worldwide. 

   Java ensures portability in two ways:

  • Bytecode instructions generated by Java compiler can be implemented on any machine. 
  • Size of primitive data types is machine-independent.
    • Object-Oriented: Almost everything in Java is an object. All program code and data reside within the objects and classes. OOPs, concepts involve features like:
      • Object and Classes: Objects are basic runtime entities in an object-oriented system. Objects contain code and data to manipulate the data. This entire set of data and code can be thought of user-defined data type using the concept of class. A class is thus a collection of objects of similar type. 
      • Abstraction and Encapsulation: Enclosing of data and methods into a single unit is known as encapsulation. It means only the methods that are wrapped inside a class can access the data in the class. Thus, tasks are performed without knowing the internal implementation. Abstraction refers to represent essential features without including background details. 
      • Inheritance: The process by which objects of one class derive the properties of objects of another class. 
      • Polymorphism: Means the ability to take many forms. It plays an important role in allowing objects having different internal structures to share the same external interface. Polymorphism is used in implementing inheritance.   
    • Robust and Secure: Java provides safeguards to ensure reliable code. It has strict compile-time and run-time checking for data types. It has the feature of garbage collection that allows the memory to free itself from unused objects thus solving memory management problems. Exception handling is also incorporated which captures series errors and eliminates any risk of crashing system. Also, the absence of pointers in Java ensures that the programs cannot gain access to memory location without proper authorization.
    • Distributed: Java has the ability to access both data and programs. Java applications can open and access remote objects on the Internet thus enabling multiple programmers at multiple remote locations to collaborate and work together on a single project.
    • Simple and Familiar: Java is simple and small language, unlike C and C++ in which many features are redundant and unreliable like pointers, preprocessor header files, etc.
    • Multithreaded and Interactive: Multithreaded implies handling multiple tasks simultaneously. Java supports multithreading, that means we need not wait for the application to finish one task or process before beginning another. This feature significantly improves the interactive performance of graphical applications.
    • High Performance: Intermediate bytecode offers high performance in Java. Java architecture is designed to reduce overheads during runtime. Further, the incorporation of multithreading enhances the overall execution speed.
    • Dynamic and Extensible: Java is capable of dynamically linking in new class libraries, methods, and objects. Java programs support functions written in other languages such as C and C++. These functions are known as native methods that are dynamically linked at runtime.
    • Scalability and Performance: Java ensures performance by improving startup time and reducing the amount of runtime used in the runtime environment.
    • Monitoring and Manageability: Java supports a number of APIs, such as JVM Monitoring and Management API to track the information at the application level, Java Management Extension(JMX) etc. It also provides controls such as jconsole, jps etc to make use of monitoring and management facilities.Desktop Client: Java provides Swing used for developing graphics applications that require OpenGL hardware acceleration.

Miscellaneous Features

Following are the miscellaneous features:

  • Core XML Support: Java contains some special packages for the interface, to instantiate Simple API for XML and Document Object Model(DOM) parses to parse and XML document, transform the content of the XML document and validate an XML document against the schema.
  • Supplementary Character Support: Java adds the 32-bit supplementary character support.
  • JDBC Rowset: Java supports JDBC Rowset to send data in tabular form between the remote components of distributed enterprise application. 

Features of Java 12

1. Switch Expression (JEP 325)

Beta switch expression will improve coding by extending the switch statement, enabling its use as either a statement or an expression, this will help simplify the code and also introduce the use of pattern matching in a switch. 

Java programing is being enhanced to use pattern matching to resolve several issues including default control flow behavior of switch blocks, default scoping switch block and switch working only as a statement.

Java 11

int numberOfLetters
switch(fruit)
{
case PEAR:
numberOfLetters = 4;
break;
case APPLE:
case GRAPE:
case MANGO:
numberOfLetters = 5;
break;
case ORANGE:
case PAPAYA:
numberOfLetters = 6;
break;
default: 
throw new IllegalStateException("Wut" + fruit);
}

Java 12

int numberOfLetters = switch(fruit)
{
case PEAR -> 4;
case APPLE, MANGO, GRAPE -> 5;
case ORANGE,PAPAYA -> 6;
}

2. Default CDS Archives (JEP 341)

Improved JDK build process by generating a class data-sharing(CDS) archive with the help of the default class list on the 64-bit platform. Thus this feature has a goal to:

  • Improve startup time.
  • Get rid of the need to run X-share: dump to benefit from the CDS.

3. A Low-Pause-Time Garbage Collector

Garbage collector algorithm Shenandoah aims to guarantee low response times by reducing evacuation work simultaneously with the running Java threads. 

4. JVM Constants API 

Introduces an API modeling the key class-file and run-time artifacts, such as a constant pool.

5. Abortable Mixed Collections for G1

This feature makes the Garbage First (G1) garbage collector abort the GC process more efficiently by splitting the mixed collection set into mandatory and optional parts.

6. Promptly Return Unused Committed Memory from G1 

The main goal of this feature is to improve the G1 garbage collector to immediately return Java heap memory to the OS when inactive. This is achieved by periodically generating or continuing a concurrent cycle to check the complete Java heap usage.

7. Raw String Literals Removed

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About Simran Kaur

Simran, born in Delhi, did her schooling and graduation from India in Computer Science. Curious and passionate for technology urged her to study for an MS in same from the renowned Silicon Valley, California USA. Graduated in 2017, she flew back to India and now works for hackr.io as a freelance technical writer.

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