Java (not to be confused with Javascript) is a general-purpose programming language, designed to have as few dependencies on the underlying computer platform as possible. One of its original marketing messages was “Write once, run anywhere.”

Java is both a compiled and interpreted language. What that means is that the actual Java program is first transformed, or “compiled”, into an optimized platform-independent intermediate form, which is then read and and executed by a platform-specific runtime or VM (for Virtual Machine).

Java is most commonly used in one of two ways:

  • for traditional desktop applications
  • for web-based or web-hosted applications.

In the later case, a web page hosting a Java-based application will first require that the Java runtime be installed and add-ons integrated into the web browser. For desktop applications, the Java runtime is typically installed as part of the application installation process.

Java has come under fire in recent years, as programming errors or bugs in the runtime have been discovered and subsequently exploited by malware. Common advice is to uninstall Java, as it is not required by many programs. However, it is easily installed and left on a computer by even once visiting a website that happens to use it.

Java (Wikipedia)
Native name:
Jawa  (Indonesian)
ꦗꦮ  (Javanese)
ᮏᮝ  (Sundanese)
Java Topography.png
Topography of Java
Java Locator.svg
Coordinates7°29′30″S 110°00′16″E / 7.49167°S 110.00444°E / -7.49167; 110.00444Coordinates: 7°29′30″S 110°00′16″E / 7.49167°S 110.00444°E / -7.49167; 110.00444
ArchipelagoGreater Sunda Islands
Area129,904 km2 (50,156 sq mi)
Area rank13th
Highest elevation3,676 m (12060 ft)
Highest pointSemeru
Special Capital Region of Jakarta,
West Java,
Central Java,
East Java,
Yogyakarta Special Region
Largest settlementJakarta (pop. 10,562,088)
Population147,795,436 (2020)
Pop. density1,121/km2 (2903/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsJavanese (inc. Tenggerese, Osing, Banyumasan, Cirebonese),
Sundanese (inc. Bantenese, Baduy, Cirebonese),
Madurese (inc. Pendalungan)
Betawi etc.

Java (Indonesian: Jawa, Indonesian pronunciation: [ˈdʒawa]; Javanese: ꦗꦮ; Sundanese: ᮏᮝ) is one of the islands of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia, bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea on the north. With a population of 147.7 million (Java mainland) or 151.8 million (including the inhabitants of its surrounding islands, principally Madura), Java constitutes 56.1 percent of the Indonesian population and is the world's most-populous major island. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is on its northwestern coast. Much of the well-known part of Indonesian history took place on Java. It was the centre of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was also the center of the Indonesian struggle for independence during the 1930s and 1940s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally. Four of Indonesia's eight UNESCO world heritage sites are located in Java: Ujung Kulon National Park, Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and Sangiran Early Man Site.

Formed mostly as the result of volcanic eruptions from geologic subduction between the Sunda Plate and Australian Plate, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest in Indonesia by landmass at about 138,800 square kilometres (53,600 sq mi). A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east–west spine along the island. Four main languages are spoken on the island: Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, and Betawi, where Javanese and Sundanese are the most spoken. Only two ethnic groups are native to the island—the Javanese in the central and eastern parts and Sundanese in the western parts. The Madurese in the Eastern salient of Java are migrants from Madura Island, while the Betawi in the capital city of Jakarta are hybrids from various ethnic groups in Indonesia. Most residents are bilingual, speaking Indonesian (the official language of Indonesia) as their first or second language. While the majority of the people of Java are Muslim, Java's population comprises people of diverse religious beliefs, ethnicities, and cultures.

Java is divided into four administrative provinces: Banten, West Java, Central Java, and East Java, and two special regions, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

« Back to Glossary Index