Is Java a Programming or Scripting Language?


Heather Bennett

In the world of programming, there are various languages that serve different purposes. One common question that often arises is whether Java is a programming language or a scripting language. To answer this question, we need to understand the characteristics and features of Java.

Java: A Programming Language

Java is primarily considered a programming language. It was designed with the intention of creating a platform-independent language that could run on any device or operating system. Java was developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems in the mid-1990s and has since become one of the most popular programming languages in use today.

One of the key features that distinguishes Java as a programming language is its ability to compile code into bytecode, which can then be executed by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This compilation process makes Java highly efficient and ensures that it can run on any platform that has a JVM installed.

The Object-Oriented Paradigm

Java is also an object-oriented programming (OOP) language. This means that it follows the principles of encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism. OOP allows developers to create modular, reusable code by organizing data and behavior into objects.

The Power of Java Libraries

A major advantage of using Java as a programming language is its extensive collection of libraries. These libraries provide pre-written code for common tasks such as networking, database connectivity, user interface development, and more. By leveraging these libraries, developers can save time and effort in writing complex functionality from scratch.

Is Java Also a Scripting Language?

While primarily known as a programming language, Java does have some scripting capabilities. The introduction of the Java Scripting API in Java 6 allows developers to execute scripts written in other languages, such as JavaScript, Ruby, and Python, within a Java application.

The Java Scripting API provides a standard interface for executing scripts, making it easier to integrate scripting languages into Java applications. However, it’s important to note that the primary purpose of Java is still as a programming language rather than a scripting language.


In conclusion, Java is primarily considered a programming language. Its ability to compile code into bytecode and run on any platform with a JVM installed makes it highly versatile and platform-independent. While Java does have some scripting capabilities through the Java Scripting API, its main focus remains on being a powerful programming language used for a wide range of applications.

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