The term JavaScript has “Java” in it. Therefore often, most people assume both are related. Many, even entry-level programmers, think JavaScript as an extension to Java. And thus, they wonder if both languages are needed to develop apps and websites.

java vs javascript

Well, during the early development days, Java and JavaScript crossed paths, but only briefly. They complimented each other on the web, and they still do so. But they are entirely different.

Both languages have marked a prominent presence in the world of app and web development. But they are not rivals. Instead, Java and JavaScript rule the world of programming in their separate roles.

And in this article, the discussion will be about what Java is, what JavaScript is, and how JavaScript is different from Java.

Towards the end, you will also get the answer to the pressing question – Java vs. JavaScript, which is better, and how to find the one best suited to your development needs. So, without further ado, let’s begin.

What is Java?

Java is a platform-independent, object-oriented programming (OOP) language. Applications developed with Java can run across multiple platforms. James Gosling developed it, in 1995, at Sun Microsystems (now acquired by Oracle).

Features of Java

  1. It follows OOP concepts like inheritance, abstraction, and encapsulation.
  2. It works on Write Once, Run Anywhere (WORA) theory.
  3. It uses a compiler to execute codes.
  4. It facilitates distributed computing.
  5. It is a robust, multithreaded language with automatic memory management.
  6. Its applications can run on any platform that has Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Applications of Java

Java has proved its efficiency on multiple platforms. It has been the backbone of many applications throughout the digital world. Here are some important Java applications–

  1. It has been the standard programming language for Android app development.
  2. It is the preferred choice for cross-platform software for desktops.
  3. It is used to handle high-volume data processing enterprise systems.
  4. It supports many scientific computing applications, like MATLAB.
  5. It is a valuable language for Big Data Analytics.
  6. It is found in embedded systems of vehicles, home appliances, and IoT devices.
  7. It is used to develop and maintain web servers.

Java Development Tools

A plethora of development tools is available to write, test, and run Java codes. And here are the popular ones –

  1. NetBeans
  2. Eclipse
  3. Apache Maven
  4. IntelliJ Idea
  5. Android Studio

Now, let’s have a brief view of JavaScript.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a lightweight programming language, also called scripting language. It usually runs in an Internet browser to make the web pages dynamic and interactive.

JavaScript has found usage in server-side technologies; however, it is primarily known as the browser language. It does not create standalone applications.

Features of JavaScript

  1. It is lightweight.
  2. It supports OOP concepts like polymorphism.
  3. It is a cross-platform language.
  4. It is mainly a client-side programming language.
  5. It controls website content, depending on the user’s actions and inputs.
  6. It uses an interpreter to check scripts.
  7. It complements and integrates with Java.

Applications of JavaScript

JavaScript is used for web-based applications that run on Internet/web browsers. But it has also been used in various applications beyond the web. And here are some important ones – 

  1. It is the preferred language to create interactive web pages.
  2. It is used to develop browser-based games and applications.
  3. It helps in mobile app development.
  4. It supports the development and control of server applications.
  5. It has been used in smartwatch apps and robots.

JavaScript Development Tools

JavaScript programming can be done with a simple text editor like Notepad. But to develop better apps, several sophisticated development tools with additional features have been designed. Some of them are –

  1. Sublime Text
  2. Gulp
  3. Apache Cordova

Major Similarities between Java and JavaScript 

Although Java development and JavaScript development are different, both have some inherent similarities in the underlying concepts and working style. Some of them are –

1 Both languages support Object-Oriented Programming

Both Java and JavaScript, require the programmer to code, following the concept of objects and their relationships to one another. Therefore, both languages support OOP concepts like classes, inheritance, abstraction, encapsulation, and polymorphism.

2 Both applications run in an Internet browser

JavaScript codes run on modern web browsers. They make websites interactive and dynamic. With JavaScript, browsers can perform form validations, calculations, and many other functions. Java applications, too, can run on the web browser in the form of applets. They read user input and modify the content as per the inlying code.

3 Both help in developing server applications

Java has been used in the server-side web applications to support the back-end of the websites. Java-based servers like Apache, JBoss, and WebSphere have been working behind many public sites and internal corporate networks. And with the development of back-end technologies like Node.js, JavaScript has also begun powering server applications.

4 Both have a wide range of libraries and frameworks

Language libraries and frameworks provide program developers access to various reusable general and purpose-specific codes. By using them, developers can reduce development time significantly. Java, as well as JavaScript, has a range of libraries and frameworks available for reuse in a variety of scenarios.

Though Java and JavaScript are similar in many ways, they have their differences too. Let’s have a look at their differences.

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Java vs. JavaScript: What’s the Difference? 

You read about the similarities between Java and JavaScript. Now, let’s explore Java vs. JavaScript difference. Well, the major difference is –

  • You can consider Java as a programming language, whereas JavaScript is a scripting language.
  • Java has found varied usage in Android application development, embedded computers, and enterprise applications. JavaScript, however, is popular as a tool to make web browsing experience interactive for the user.
  • Both languages are coded, assembled, and executed in a different way. While Java can develop standalone applications, JavaScript code resides in the <script>…</script> tag in a web page or browser-based/mobile application.
  • Java is used in a wide range of server-side applications too, as the backbone. JavaScript, instead, in most cases, runs in the client-side web browser. It does not exist independently or executes directly outside a browser or packaged app.

Here is an outline of various differences between Java and JavaScript –

java vs javascript difference

After going through both languages, are you thinking which one should be better for you? Before making the final judgment, you must know the advantages of using both languages.

Advantages of Using Java

Java has been the foundation of various web-based, mobile, and enterprise applications. And following are some advantages which have made it the most preferred programming language in the community –

  1. Java supports inheritance, as it is an object-oriented programming language. It facilitates the creation of reusable code and development of modular programs.
  2. Java is platform-independent, and programs written in one platform can be ported from one system to another.
  3. Java is multithreaded. It can perform numerous tasks together within a program.
  4. Java is a secure, highly scalable, and robust programming language. It verifies and detects errors before compiling, thus ensuring smooth running. Additional features like exception handling and garbage collection make it more robust.
  5. Java is network-centric, which makes it easy to design and develop distributed computing systems.
  6. Java offers various sets of commands – Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) – to speed up the process of application development.
  7. Java has several open-source tools. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like NetBeans and Eclipse, with their coding and debugging features, make app development simpler.
  8. Java first appeared in 1995. It is a mature language and, thus, more stable.

Advantages of Using JavaScript

JavaScript has been used to incorporate animations, interactive maps, and other dynamic content. And following are some advantages, which have made web designers and developers rely on JavaScript–

  1. JavaScript is a dynamic programming language. The executable files are smaller and do not take a huge memory to execute.
  2. JavaScript runs on the client device. The smaller number of server requests results in an enhanced user’s experience.
  3. JavaScript supports the storage and retrieval of information on the client-side device.
  4. JavaScript integrates with HTML and can be inserted in any web page. It works side-by-side with HTML and CSS for a richer web interface.
  5. JavaScript is compatible with all the known browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and others.

How to Choose the Best Language for Your Project Development? 

Now that you know all about Java vs. JavaScript difference, Java development tools, and JavaScript development tools, here’s how to decide which one is best suited to your project.

Well, it would depend on what you want to develop.

For web applications, both Java and JavaScript work fine. However, as Java is multithreaded and the code is compiled at once, the execution of Java applications is faster. But it needs to be carried on the server-side, which slows down the user interaction. Therefore, for small and interactive web applications, go for JavaScript. The code is lighter, and it is executed on the client-side, thus facilitating quick feedback and interactivity.

Another factor that works in favor of JavaScript is development time. JavaScript web development is quicker than Java. But, for large and complex desktop and mobile software, Java is the better option.

Java is preferred for developing Android applications, enterprise software, and server-side technologies. The availability of APIs and third-party libraries gives it an upper hand.

Wrapping up,

Hope, now you have got a profound idea about the differences between Java and JavaScript. While they share a few similarities, they are totally unrelated. They work differently.

However, both have their advantages, which make them suitable for one development scenario or the other. While Java is extensive, faster, and supports better app development process, JavaScript is lighter and better suited for interactive apps.

So, Java or JavaScript, pick the language as per your development need.

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Author's Bio

Ravindra Waghmare
Ravindra Waghmare

Ravindra Waghmare is the Co-founder and COO at Mobisoft Infotech. He is an expert in solutioning, software consultancy, process definition and improvements, business analysis, and project execution. He has 11+ years of experience in software development,consulting, delivery, company operations, talent acquisition, processes and sales.