Real world Java applications

Applications of Java

Java has been around for almost 30 years, and Oracle regularly boasts that the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) runs on more than 3 billion devices.

When we look at these four billion real-world Java application deployments, we see that the Java platform is popular used in the tech industry to build:

  1. Online gaming applications like Minecraft
  2. Desktop applications like IntelliJ
  3. Mobile operating systems like Android
  4. Financial applications for companies like Citibank
  5. Enterprise Java applications for database persistence
  6. Microservices for Docker based deployments
  7. Continuous integration tools like Jenkins
  8. IoT apps with the Java Embedded Framework
  9. Enterprise business apps with Jakarta EE
  10. Browser based Java apps with WebAssembly

4 types of Java applications

As we look over the list of real-world Java applications, we can see that the list breaks down into four basic types:

  • Desktop Java applications
  • Enterprise Java applications
  • Mobile device applications
  • Microdevice and IoT apps

Interestingly, if this list was made 25 years ago, browser based application deployments would have been at the top of the list. It’s not anymore.

Benefits of Java applications

Java applications benefit from Java’s simplicity, portability and dynamic nature.

Browser based Java applications

When Java was first released, a component known as a Java applet made it possible to run Java inside the web browser. The Java applet, and its integration with the Netscape browser, is one of the key drivers of Java’s popularity in the early days of the Internet.

Sadly, the Java applet was replaced with newer, friendlier technologies like:

  • JavaScript and JQuery
  • ActiveX controls
  • Flash components
  • Angular and React
  • Responsive web frameworks

The Java applet API has since been deprecated and removed from both web browsers and the JDK. However, there may be a new renaissance for real-world Java applications that run inside the web browser.

Java apps and WebAssembly

WebAssembly is a new, fourth language of the web that allows code written in languages like Java or Rust to run inside the web browser. With so many backend Java applications being actively maintained, it only makes sense for organizations that build backend applications with Java to also build their browser based app with Java as well.

Historically, Java’s simplicity and ease of use have made it popular in a multitude of sectors in industries.  With WebAssembly, the tech sector might return to the early days of the Internet where Java applications dominated in the web browser as well.

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