Do you speak Java?

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Some people claim programming languages are not bona-fide systems of communication, but merely types of code to issue instructions for machines.

Nevertheless, they are now a powerful medium in human-computer interaction. Until the late sixties, they had been created primarily for scientific computing. The situation changed with the emergence of Pascal and C, both of which are still used by professional programmers nowadays. Since there was also a need for a solution for absolute beginners to computer programming, BASIC (Beginner's All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) became popular as well, especially during the era of 8-bit computers (1980s).

However, BASIC could not be accepted by professionals, for its low speed and little support for structural programming. In fact, the possibility to organise a programme into functions and procedures was seriously limited. The two other languages mentioned, i.e. C and Pascal continued to develop, and both underwent a new revolution in the world of Information Technology - Object Oriented Programming (OOP). Functions, procedures and variables became parts of larger structures, namely classes of objects. Thus, the process of programming, especially within a team, gained new quality and a sense of organisation and hierarchy. In the nineties, Object Pascal was adopted in Borland Delphi, and C++ (i.e. C with classes) was simulaneously developed by Microsoft (Visual C++) and Borland (C++ Builder). At more or less the same time, Java, the third competitor, came along.

Java has been painstakingly developed by Sun Microsystems. From the very beginning, it was meant to be object-oriented. Its major advantage boils down to the fact that Java can be used to write applications for a variety of hardware platforms. It was achieved through the implementation of a special Java Virtual Machine - an intermediate stage between a machine and a programmer. Every piece of digital equipment - from a mobile phone to an intricate client/server system - can be programmed using Java, provided there is a version of Java Virtual Machine available for that particular environment. Moreover, the programming process becomes more simple and more automatised. The obvious assumption for the programmers, at the time Java was launched, was the fact of having to type fewer lines of code (higher level programming). Last but not least, those have had at least a little experience in C will appreciate the resemblance Java bears to it.

Although appearing as the ultimate programming tool, Java is not entirely deprived of disadvantages. The first problem is the Virtual Machine itself. No matter how helpful and innovative it might be, it makes the programmes run slowly. Secondly, a programmer can never ensure that his application works properly with each and every type of hardware, as platform-specific problems may occur. After all, the Virtual Machine needs to be available in a variety of versions, and their compatibility can never be fully maintained. Obviously, the problem can be eradicated by specifying the choice of target platforms and thorough testing. Even if you do not like Java at all, you may want to consider C#, which makes a reasonable alternative.

Słowniczek najtrudniejszych słów

bona-fide - prawdziwy
nevertheless - niemniej jednak
emergence - nadejście
however - jakkolwiek
structural programming - programowanie strukturalne
undergo (underwent - undergone) - przejść (zmianę, operację)
Object Oriented Programming (OOP) - programowanie zorientowane obiektowo
thus - tak więc
gain - zyskać
simultaneously - równocześnie
competitor - konkurent
painstakingly - starannie, pieczołowicie
boil down (to sth) - sprowadzać się (do czegoś)
hardware platform - platforma sprzętowa
intermediate stage - etap pośredni
provided - pod warunkiem, że
environment - środowisko
moreover - ponadto
assumption - założenie
launch - lansować, wypuszczać na rynek
bear a resemblance (to sth) - przypominać (coś)
ultimate - ostateczny
deprived - pozbawiony
eradicate - wyeliminować
thorough - dokładny, gruntowny
reasonable - rozsądny

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