Is Java a Programming or Scripting?


Larry Thompson

Is Java a Programming or Scripting Language?

When it comes to classifying programming languages, there are often debates about whether certain languages fall into the category of programming or scripting. Java, in particular, is a language that often sparks this discussion. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of Java and determine whether it should be considered a programming language or a scripting language.

The Nature of Java

Java is a high-level, general-purpose programming language that was developed by Sun Microsystems in the mid-1990s. It was designed to be platform-independent, meaning that programs written in Java can run on any operating system that has a compatible Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Programming Language Characteristics:

  • Compiled: One key characteristic of programming languages is that they are compiled. This means that source code is converted into machine code before execution. In the case of Java, the source code is compiled into bytecode, which can then be executed by the JVM.
  • Strong Typing: Another characteristic of programming languages is strong typing.

    With strong typing, variables must be declared with their data types and cannot be changed to incompatible types without explicit type conversion. Java enforces strong typing through its static type checking.

  • OOP Support: Object-oriented programming (OOP) is an important paradigm in modern software development. Programming languages like Java provide extensive support for OOP concepts such as encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism.

Javascript vs. Java

To further understand why there may be confusion regarding whether Java is a scripting language or not, it’s important to differentiate it from JavaScript.


JavaScript, often abbreviated as JS, is a scripting language that was developed to add interactivity to web pages. It is primarily used for client-side scripting and runs directly in the user’s web browser. JavaScript is dynamically typed and interpreted, meaning that source code is executed without a separate compilation step.


  • Execution Environment: Java programs typically run on a JVM, while JavaScript code executes within a web browser.
  • Type System: Java has a static type system, while JavaScript has a dynamic type system.
  • Primary Use Case: Java is commonly used for developing standalone applications and enterprise systems, whereas JavaScript is mainly used for web development.

The Verdict

In conclusion, based on its characteristics and usage, Java can be classified as a programming language. It exhibits the essential traits of programming languages such as being compiled, having strong typing, and providing support for OOP. Although it shares its name with JavaScript, these two languages have different execution environments and use cases.

If you are interested in learning Java or exploring its capabilities further, you can start by installing the JDK (Java Development Kit) on your computer and experimenting with writing simple programs. With its broad range of applications across various industries, Java continues to be one of the most popular programming languages.



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