Java is Simple

Java was designed to make it much easier to write bug free code. According to Sun's Bill Joy, shipping C code has, on average, one bug per 55 lines of code. The most important part of helping programmers write bug-free code is keeping the language simple.

Java has the bare bones functionality needed to implement its rich feature set. It does not add lots of syntactic sugar or unnecessary features. Despite its simplicity Java has considerably more functionality than C, primarily because of the large class library.

Because Java is simple, it is easy to read and write. Obfuscated Java isn't nearly as common as obfuscated C. There aren't a lot of special cases or tricks that will confuse beginners.

About half of the bugs in C and C++ programs are related to memory allocation and deallocation. Therefore the second important addition Java makes to providing bug-free code is automatic memory allocation and deallocation. The C library memory allocation functions malloc() and free() are gone as are C++'s destructors.

Java is an excellent teaching language, and an excellent choice with which to learn programming. The language is small so it's easy to become fluent. The language is interpreted so the compile-run-link cycle is much shorter. The runtime environment provides automatic memory allocation and garbage collection so there's less for the programmer to think about. Java is object-oriented unlike Basic so the beginning programmer doesn't have to unlearn bad programming habits when moving into real world projects. Finally, it's very difficult (if not quite impossible) to write a Java program that will crash your system, something that you can't say about any other language.

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Copyright 1997-2006 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified September 2, 1997