Application Development with Java

Being a widespread programming language, Java is currently used to develop digital solutions for various businesses across industries. This article discusses why Java is so popular among software developers and business owners, what types of applications you can build with this language, and how to get started with Java.

What Is Java?

Java is a general-purpose, open-source, platform-agnostic programming language released in 1995 by Sun Microsystems. Currently, the company’s owner is Oracle. Java is also a platform comprising a set of libraries and tools for efficient Java app development.

The annual State of the Octoverse report showed that in 2021, Java was in the top three popular programming languages, together with JavaScript and Python. The popularity of Java can be explained by the fact that Google supports it as an official language for Android app development. According to statistics, there are currently 3.48 million applications available for Android users on Google Play, and most of them are written with Java. The number of Java developers exceeds 9 million people worldwide.

Core Java features

  • Object-oriented: the Java code is based on classes and objects.
  • Platform-independent: the code is portable and can run on various software platforms(Windows, Linux, macOS) and on any hardware with a compliant JVM.
  • Multithreaded: it executes multiple functions of one app simultaneously.
  • Distributed: an application can be divided into parts that will be stored on different machines.
  • Syntax takes many features from C/C++ but removes the complexity of these languages.
  • The basis for Android app development.

The reason why Java remains highly competitive for over twenty years and is not inferior to younger programming languages is in its continuous development and updating. The language is fast, highly secure, and reliable. The fact that global IT giants participate in the technology development proves that Java will be in demand by many businesses and programmers for years to come.

Types of Applications You Can Develop with Java

Initially, Java was used exclusively in the digital and cable television industry. Today, this is an extremely versatile programming language, enabling you to develop projects in various domains and for practically any tasks.

Let’s see what categories of apps you can write with Java.

  • Desktop apps

    Numerous desktop programs are based on Java. For example, these are software development tools such as the Eclipse IDE or the ThinkFree Office suite. To develop such GUI apps, you can choose from a range of user interface toolkits, including AWT, Swing, SWT, or JavaFX.
    Though the demand for desktop products is declining under the impact of new technologies (e.g., PWA), you can still find them in many industries, such as healthcare, banking and education.

  • Web apps

    Traditionally, businesses and developers turn to Java to create complex web applications. There is a range of efficient tools you can use for this purpose. For example, Play Framework ensure efficient development of robust web applications with Java.
    Due to provided security, scalability and high performance, Java becomes the basis for web applications of many governmental, medical, insurance, banking, educational and defense organizations. Among the world’s popular Java-based web apps are Spotify and Twitter.

  • Mobile apps

    Using the Android Studio IDE, you can write mobile applications with Java. Although there are many other Android development tools, most of the solutions are written in Java based on this environment.
    A Java mobile app ensures the high level of security and performance efficiency, that’s why this is a preferable option for many businesses. Examples of popular Java-based mobile applications are Uber and Minecraft.

  • Enterprise apps

    Large global companies have been choosing Java for their corporate mobility IT projects for a long time. These solutions provide reliability, resilience, flexible integration with other systems, and allow companies to scale up easily.
    A specific set of APIs called Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) ensures efficient scripting and aims at developing enterprise applications. As a result, large businesses get streamlined services and seamless integration of numerous departments.

    Technological IT giants, such as IBM and Google, have chosen to use Java as the primary programming language for their key software products. The contribution of such corporations accelerated the language evolution. That’s why the technology is now at the very center of commercial development.

  • Embedded and IoT apps

    The Internet of Things (IoT) concept has been around for a long time. Along with big data, AI and machine learning, IoT is a rapidly developing industry. And it makes the future.
    Most IoT software developers use Java as the main programming language in this niche. One of the reasons why Java and IoT are such a great combination is that initially, this language was invented to write the code for small personal devices with limited RAM-memory and computing resources. Hence, applications written in Java can work with minimal processing power, which is one of the conditions for IoT and embedded devices.

  • Cloud Applications

    Today, large and small companies, as well as individual users, depend on cloud solutions. These are various services, from file storage and sharing systems to project management and software development tools.
    According to researchers, Java is the most popular language for cloud app development. One of the main reasons is the wide choice of libraries, which allows developers to implement new functions and build microservices.
    Another advantage is adaptability. Thanks to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), the code written in this language can be run on Windows, Linux and macOS. This makes it possible to implement the “written once, works everywhere” principle, which is crucial in the development of cloud applications.
    Scalability is also highly important for cloud solutions, as the number of app users can sometimes grow exponentially. And Java provides this scalability.
    A popular example of Java-based cloud apps is Gmail — an email service by Google.

  • Games

    The creation of entertaining applications and games is a promising direction in programming. Most modern game development platforms support Java. This language is a good choice for developing mobile games (particularly those for Android devices) and indie projects. Moreover, Java is used for the backend development of high-load online games.
    Minecraft, an outstanding example of indie games which gained so much prominence worldwide, is written with Java.

  • Scientific apps

    With Java, developers get access to powerful math calculations and can create robust scientific solutions. These solutions are used in the research activities across various fields: nature investigation, aerospace industry, healthcare, etc. The operation of scientific apps is based on data accuracy, reliable performance and security, and Java is the programming language ensuring these parameters.

Benefits of Java App Development

Why do software developers and business owners opt for Java in their projects? In a nutshell, the technology has been tested, improved, extended, and validated by the community members during its long history. It allows companies to develop high-performance applications on almost all computer platforms, and consequently, provide a wider range of services to end-users.

Now, let’s look at the benefits of this programming language in detail.


Simple and easy to use

Java is often the first programming language that newbies try to master. Its syntax is similar to the English language, which makes coding relatively simple and comprehensible. The static typing of the language allows you to timely detect bugs in the code during compilation.
Java is much simpler than, for example, C or C++, where it’s easy to make mistakes that will lead to further program failures. In addition, the language is easy enough for experienced developers. If a specialist is fluent in C and C ++, learning Java will not take much time.


Well-written documentation

Java is one of the most demanded programming languages. Therefore, there are many reference materials for studying it: well-structured documentation, guides, video tutorials. In open sources, you can find all kinds of guides and instructions that will help you understand any issues related to writing code.


Solid community

There is also a dedicated online Java community where you can get answers to any questions you may have, find support in difficult project situations or share your valuable experience.


A large set of development tools

Over the past decades, a vast ecosystem of development tools accumulated around the Java language. Programmers have utilities for any tasks and needs at the disposal: integrated development environments, debuggers, build automation tools, and many more. Such a varied supply of tools significantly increases the productivity of programmers, automates routine operations, and provides additional control over the product quality.


Safety and reliability

In conditions of increasing cyber threats, the requirements for application security are constantly growing. Java has a variety of built-in mechanisms and approaches that allow developers to write more secure programs. For example, Java does not provide direct access to memory addresses, unlike C/C++, which helps you avoid many unexpected situations. The language also implements an advanced memory management and garbage collection model.
In addition to built-in solutions, programmers can use various libraries and tools to provide the required level of security for applications and services. For example, implemented data encryption algorithms, libraries for network requests authorization and authentication, tools for sanitizing the incoming data. The presence of such capabilities allows Java to cope well with various cyber threats.



The essential feature of Java is its cross-platform nature — code can be written and run on almost all platforms and devices for which the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) exists. Thanks to this feature, Java is considered to be the most versatile and flexible programming language. For example, a written Windows program can run seamlessly on a device based on macOS or Linux.



The issues of efficient utilization of server capacities and improving app performance are urgent in modern software development. One option to address these issues is to write multithreaded applications. This approach allows you to parallelize the execution of various parts of the code and use the central processor resources more efficiently.
Java programmers have many tools at their disposal to conveniently use this method. The standard language library has both low-level and high-level primitives for writing multithreaded applications.


Backwards compatibility

Java is one of the few languages that provides backwards compatibility. In other words, you can easily run an application written ten years ago on a modern version of the JVM. This approach gives users the confidence that the developed solutions can be maintained for many years to come.


Active development

Although Java is quite old, it doesn’t stop evolving and keeps up with modern tech trends. Previously, the releases of new versions happened once in a couple of years. Since 2018, developers see fresh releases twice a year, which makes the development more dynamic.
What is more, language developers introduce new features as preview features, before adding them to the main branch. This way, users can try them in practice and provide feedback.


Wide pool of developers

Since Java is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, hiring the developers is easier due to the wider pool of candidates.
If a company chooses a less popular programming language, it may be difficult to hire experienced specialists and, as a result, the project cost may increase.

How to Get Started with Java App Development

Before you can create a simple app in Java, you should gain insights on the basics of this language — object-oriented programming. Briefly speaking, a Java program is a set of objects that communicate via methods. Following are the basic terms:

  • Keywords - words that have predefined meanings in this programming language.
  • Class - a category that defines the properties, data types and methods of objects.
  • Object - an item within a class with certain properties and behavior.
  • Statement - a sentence that conveys an idea.
  • Method - a function (a set of statements) to perform a specific task.

For successful work in Java, you also need to know variables and constants, their types and how to work with them; arrays; type conversion; working with strings; input and output; logical and arithmetic operations and expressions; various operators (if-else branch operator) and loops (while and do-while loops).

Then, you should know tools, libraries, and frameworks needed to create a certain type of application.

Let’s consider the tools and development algorithm of developing a desktop app with Java.

Java desktop app development

Step 1. Download and install JDK

Java programming has three main technology packages:

  • JVM (Java Virtual Machine) for program execution
  • JRE (Java Runtime Environment) for running the code
  • JDK (Java Development Kit) for developing programs

You can download and use JVM and JRE as independent components for running pieces of code and executing programs. But to develop an app, you need JDK that contains JVM, JRE and several libraries.

So, to start the development, you first need to download JDK from the official Oracle website and install it on your computer. JDK is based on the Java compiler and class libraries. When downloading, you should choose the Java version (the latest release is preferable) and a package needed for the type of app you want to develop (Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, and Mobile Edition).

Step 2. Download and install IDE

Then, you need to choose and install an integrated development environment. Among the popular IDEs for Java are Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, NetBeans, and more. Since you intend to build a desktop app, you can install a free, open-source NetBeans IDE. It provides the drag-and-drop functionality so you can quickly add elements on the page without writing the code.

Step 3. Download and install GUI tool

You need a specific toolkit for designing a user interface. The most popular Java UI tools are Swing, SWT, AWT and JavaFX. For a desktop application, it’s best to go with Swing or JavaFX.

Step 4. Start a new project

Create a new project in the development environment and start adding components you need for your app. The essential user interface components are buttons, text fields, icons, lists, tables, etc. In the properties box, select style, size, location and other characteristics of these components. Using the layout manager, place the components as required on the window.

When the design is finished, make the components perform associated actions by applying relevant methods to them.

Step 5. Download and install the database

Any application needs a database to store data and allow users to manipulate with it. There are various databases available, such as PostgreSQL and Oracle Database. For a desktop app, you can install MySQL and build a database with required tables and fields. Now, you can perform various actions such as insert, edit, select and delete data.

Step 6. Integrate the app and database

To connect the database with the created application, you need the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) API. This tool bridges the gap between the interface and the database and allows end users to perform actions via the interface.

Step 7. Create a single app file

The final step is to aggregate all the created elements into one file — the JAR file. And that’s it, your desktop app is ready.

If you want to build a mobile application, you’ll need to download Android Studio and follow similar steps.


Since its introduction, Java has managed to compete with younger programming languages and remain the mainstream technology for developers and many of the world’s corporations.

Due to its flexibility, simplicity, security, and ability to adapt to different tasks, Java has become a universal solution for a variety of commercial projects. From laptops and data centers, to game consoles and IoT devices, Java is everywhere!

Regular updates and backward compatibility between versions also contribute to the competitive advantage. The long-term positive reputation of Java gives reason to believe that the language will not lose its relevance and will be in demand among companies and programmers for years to come.


Andreas Maier | CEO

Andreas is a result-oriented CEO who brings nearly 30 years of experience gained in the high-tech industry. His experience ranges up to leading positions in Fortune 100 companies such as (PCLN) or Intrasoft International, a leading EU based R&D software vendor. He holds a Ph.D. in Neural Networks from the University of Cologne, Germany.
In the past Andreas has successfully founded and co-founded several startups among others XXL Cloud Inc., eShopLeasing Ltd, and WDS Consulting SA. His expertise is strongly focused on modern headless Commerce and the optimization of processes in IT ecosystems.