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Celebrating 25 years of Java innovation

By Georges Saab, VP Software Development, Java Platform Group, Oracle

25 years ago, we couldn’t have imagined how much we’d have at our fingertips today. Everything we need is only a few clicks away – and right now, this way of life is more important than it’s ever been.

Much of this is due to the innovation Java brings to our lives. 25 years ago, when Java was first introduced to the world, the team had lofty ambitions. Through continuous delivery of modern development features, Java has influenced applications all around us – usage in autonomous vehicles, one-click online payment systems, entertainment streaming services, space exploration and much more.

We have millions of Java developers to thank for this. Without their passion and ingenuity, the world may be a very different place. The ongoing commitment to Java innovation by Oracle has empowered countless developers to think well beyond those initial ambitions, and execute ideas using the language they have always trusted.

Nowadays, we’re relying on Java to live our lives to their fullest, and to innovate more and more every day. Here are just some of the ways Java has been used since its launch in 1995.

Back in 2004, Java enabled NASA to run Spirit, the robotic rover tasked with finding signs of water and life on Mars. NASA used Java to create the remote-controlled rover, taking the raw data from their mission database to create a ‘point and click’ 3D terrain in which scientists could command the rover’s every move. Java is not only able to handle the enormous amounts of data necessary for the mission, but is also the one language that scientists working on the project around the world speak – making it a true collaboration.

With more than 400 million tweets a day on the platform, in 2015, Twitter needed to focus on improving its performance to support a growing user base. Twitter moved to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) run-time environment to tackle its performance issues, also helping the team behind the platform spot errors as they happen, and better understand why. Since the move, Twitter has been able to keep improving the service day after day, giving its users the real-time, ‘live’ experience they know and love.

Also in 2015, Java helped Netflix as it scaled its service to more than 57 million subscribers streaming for 1 billion hours a month. Netflix built the services within its architecture on Java and the JVM, and also use Java-based open source tools to constantly monitor, upgrade, and scale these services. Now, the data it collects recommends shows and films for more than 180 million subscribers worldwide – and the ability to innovate quickly and at scale keeps viewers coming back for more, answering the question: ‘Are you still watching?’

Uncovering what the universe is made of and how it works is no mean feat. For decades, CERN has relied on Java as the software foundation of the Large Hadron Collider – and its 100,000 devices and 2 million endpoints. In 2016, CERN came to Java with another problem to solve: managing its IT infrastructure, specifically an extensive ERP system that helps the team spend their billion-dollar research budget efficiently. Java is now the stable and trusted system that ensures the world’s largest machine is running smoothly, and that CERN’s mission is being fulfilled.

In 2019, Minecraft, written using the Java programming language, took over the lives of millions of children, becoming the best-selling video game of all time. Seeing the opportunity for children to do more than just play, Codakid created a Minecraft Coding course, where children can create their own custom blocks, weapons, enemies, and more – all while learning to code using Java. Through Minecraft, Java is growing the next generation of computer scientists and programmers, who may one day go from building their own sword to building something that could change the world.

Looking back is one thing, but going forward, Oracle remains committed to delivering Java innovation. This way, millions of developers who use Java can continue building applications that shape the world we live in – from entertainment, to nuclear physics, social media, and discovering life on Mars.

After a quarter of a century, we’ve seen enormous positive change thanks to the modernization Java has brought us. The next 25 years – and beyond – look just as bright.  Our world moved by Java.

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