Java vs JavaScript: Which is Better?

June 6, 2024

Java vs JavaScript Which is Better

As two popular programming languages (that also resemble names), Java and JavaScript are often confused with each other.

While they do share some similarities, there are also significant differences between them.

In this blog, we’ll examine these two languages in more detail and compare their features to determine which one is better for your software development project.

What is Java?

Java was created by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems in 1995. Later on, Oracle Corporation acquired the company, making Oracle the official owner of the Java SE platform.

“Write once, run anywhere” is Java’s motto, meaning you can run the code on any platform without needing to recompile it. As an object-oriented programming language, Java focuses on creating and manipulating objects to perform tasks. It also acts as a platform, allowing Java code to run on any computer with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

As one of the most versatile programming languages, Java is used across various platforms, technologies, and economic sectors. It is the most popular backend language in mobile development (primarily Android) and is common in cloud-based solutions, IoT, and Big Data.

Java is widely used by tech giants like Google and Amazon, making it ideal for large enterprise software solutions. While it can handle smaller applications, it may be too heavy for quick DevOps scripts. Either way, Java remains a top choice in the enterprise and mobile sectors and is likely to maintain this position.

Features of Java:

Some notable features of Java include:

  • Platform-independent: As mentioned earlier, Java’s “write once, run anywhere” concept allows it to run on any platform with a JVM, making it highly versatile and adaptable.
  • Multithreading Support: Java’s built-in multithreading allows you to run multiple threads simultaneously.
  • Rich Standard Library: Java’s extensive standard library (Java API) includes many useful classes and methods, simplifying development.
  • Classes: Classes in Java let you create objects with attached data and behavior. For instance, a person’s class might have two data fields: name and age. It could also have methods to get the person’s current age or convert their name to uppercase letters.
  • Data Types: Java offers a range of data types, including numeric, string, boolean, byte (a small integer), char (single characters), long (larger integers), and others.

Pros of Using Java:

There are several reasons why Java is a widely used programming language. Some of its pros include:

  • High Performance: Java might take a bit longer to start since it’s a compiled language, but once it’s running, it’s really fast. Thanks to bytecode, Java can run on any platform with a JVM, making it super efficient.
  • Versatility: The ability to run on different platforms makes Java versatile and adaptable for various software development needs.
  • Large and Active Community: With tons of developers out there, Java has plenty of resources and support. If you hit a snag, chances are someone has already solved it on StackOverflow.

Cons of Using Java:

Despite its many advantages, Java has a few drawbacks. These include:

  • Memory Intensive: Java requires more memory than other programming languages, making it unsuitable for some embedded systems or devices with limited resources.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Java’s long history means its security vulnerabilities are well-known to both professionals and hackers. Java developers must follow best practices, like updating tools and libraries, to maintain security.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript originated in the early days of the web. As internet access grew in the 1990s, tech pioneers raced to build efficient browsers. Microsoft and Netscape aimed to dominate the market with Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. And, in 1995, Brendan Eich created JavaScript while at Netscape Communications Corporation.

JavaScript is a versatile, high-level, and dynamic programming language that has taken the tech world by storm. Traditionally seen as a front-end language running in browsers to handle client-side interactions, JavaScript’s role dramatically expanded with the introduction of Node.js, allowing it to power server-side operations as well.

But JavaScript isn’t just confined to web development. It can also create games, animations, app development, and even simple utilities. Running seamlessly across desktops, servers, and mobile devices—with a little help from a browser’s JavaScript engine.

Today, JavaScript reigns supreme in modern frontend development. It breathes life into nearly every website, adding interactivity, animations, and rich dynamic features. Thanks to its versatility and user-friendly nature, JavaScript has soared in popularity, becoming an indispensable tool in any developer’s toolkit.

Features of JavaScript:

Some notable features of JavaScript include:

  • Client-side scripting: Unlike Java, which runs on a server or platform, JavaScript runs on the client side within a web browser.
  • Functional programming support: While primarily an object-oriented language, JavaScript also supports functional programming concepts like first-class functions and closures.
  • Dynamic Typing: JavaScript is a dynamically typed language, meaning the data type can change during runtime. Types of variables are defined based on the stored value.
  • Platform-Independent: JavaScript, a prototype-based scripting language, is platform-independent. Unlike Java, which uses classes and inheritance, JavaScript relies on prototypes to create objects.
  • Object-Oriented Programming Support: JavaScript may not be a pure object-oriented programming language, but it still supports essential features like encapsulation and inheritance.

Pros of Using JavaScript:

JavaScript has many benefits that make it an appealing programming language. Some pros include:

  • Easy to Learn: JavaScript code is easy to learn, especially for those familiar with Java or C. Many beginners in IT choose it for its simple syntax and ability to create rich interfaces.
  • Compatibility with All Browsers: One of the biggest perks of JavaScript is its ability to support all modern browsers while delivering consistent results across the board.
  • Client-Side Security: Being a client-side language, JavaScript is inherently more secure than server-side languages like PHP or Ruby on Rails. It runs only in the browser and cannot access any system resources.

Cons of Using JavaScript:

Despite its popularity, JavaScript does have some drawbacks. Some cons include the following:

  • Lack of Static Type Checking: As a dynamically typed language, JavaScript doesn’t offer static type checking capabilities. This can make it challenging to catch errors early on in the development process.
  • Slower Rendering Than Other Languages: JavaScript is generally slower than lower-level languages like C++ or Java due to its interpreted nature, which executes code line-by-line instead of compiling it into machine code.

Key Differences Between Java and JavaScript

While both Java and JavaScript share some similarities, users must remember that Java and JavaScript were developed to serve entirely different purposes.

Java was created as a general-purpose language for standalone applications, while JavaScript is a scripting language designed for web technologies like HTML.

So, let’s take a closer look at the key differences between these two languages:

Java vs JavaScript Performance

  • Compiled vs Interpreted: Java is a compiled language, and its code is converted into bytecode before execution. In contrast, JavaScript is interpreted, meaning the code is executed line-by-line.
  • Platform Independence: While both languages can run on different platforms, this capability works differently for each. Java relies on the JVM to provide platform independence, while JavaScript runs within a browser’s JavaScript engine.
  • Object-Oriented Programming Support: While both languages support OOP concepts like encapsulation and inheritance, they differ in their implementation. Java uses classes and objects as building blocks for programs, while JavaScript relies on prototypes.

Syntax Differences Between Java and JavaScript

In terms of syntax, some key differences between Java and JavaScript syntax include:

  • Class Structure: Java code must be organized into classes, while JavaScript does not require this structure.
  • Data Types: In Java, data types are statically defined, meaning they cannot change during the program’s execution. In comparison, JavaScript is dynamically typed, so variables can hold different types of data at different points in time.
  • Variable Declaration: Unlike Java, where variable declarations start with a data type like int or string, JavaScript uses var or let to declare variables.

Popularity and Job Market

Despite being two separate languages, both Java and JavaScript have seen significant growth over the years. While Java remains the most popular programming language in terms of job market demand, JavaScript has gained tremendous popularity due to its use in web development.

According to Statista, JavaScript reigns as the most popular programming language among developers worldwide, while Java holds the seventh spot. With the surge of powerful front-end frameworks like React.js and Angular.js, JavaScript isn’t just leading—it’s dominating the job market for frontend developers.

Security Differences

While both Java and JavaScript have built-in security features, they differ in how they handle security.

Common Java security vulnerabilities include SQL injection and XML external entities (XEE). SQL injection occurs when user input isn’t sanitized, allowing attackers to execute SQL commands. Prevent it by sanitizing inputs and using prepared statements.

Meanwhile, XEE exploits weakly configured XML parsers to access sensitive data or perform attacks. Prevent it by disabling DTD processing and configuring XML parsers securely.

On the flip side, JavaScript security vulnerabilities include Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and code injection. XSS attacks occur when a website fails to implement the same origin policy, allowing attackers to deliver malicious code. Preventive measures include filtering input, encoding output data, and using appropriate response headers and content security policies.

Meanwhile, code injection involves injecting JavaScript or Node.js code into web forms. Preventing this requires input sanitization best practices, such as whitelisting allowable characters.

Learning curve

All programming languages come with their own learning curve. Java is often seen as tougher to learn than JavaScript. Even the basics of Java, like data abstraction, encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism, involve a lot of concepts. And just understanding these isn’t enough to start building real programs.

JavaScript, on the other hand, is often seen as the easiest modern programming language to pick up. Actually, it’s not strictly a programming language. It’s more of a scripting language because it runs scripts in the web browser, which has a built-in JavaScript engine to execute the code. You can grasp the main concepts and basics of JavaScript in just a few days.

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Java vs JavaScript: Which Should You Pick?

Strictly speaking, there is no right answer when it comes to choosing which language, Java or JavaScript, is better. The choice depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

If you want to build standalone applications for different platforms, then Java might be a better option because of its strong performance and platform independence.

But if you’re looking to become a web developer, learning JavaScript is essential as it’s the language of the web.

Let’s break it down:

Think about using Java if your project involves:

  • Android apps
  • Financial applications and banking systems
  • Big data analysis
  • Enterprise-level development

On the other hand, consider using JavaScript for:

  • Front-end web development
  • Building interactive user interfaces
  • Server-side scripting with Node.js
  • Mobile app development with React Native or hybrid frameworks like Ionic

However, instead of choosing one over the other, many developers choose to learn both languages. Yes, you read that right. There are many reasons why learning both Java and JavaScript can be beneficial:

  • Wider job opportunities: By knowing both languages, you open yourself up to a wider range of job opportunities.
  • Complementary skills: While Java is used for building back-end systems, JavaScript is the go-to language for front-end development. By learning both, you can become a full-stack developer with knowledge of both server-side and client-side programming.
  • Versatility: Knowing two languages means you can choose which one best fits your project’s needs.

But, you can always hire professionals to do the job for you. So, if you’re not sure where to start, think about your project’s requirements and go from there.

Hire Developers from StarTechUP!

Whether you need Java developers or JavaScript experts, StarTechUP can provide you with the team you need.

As a web development company in the Philippines, we have a team of experienced and skilled developers who can handle various languages, frameworks, and platforms. Our team has expertise in Java and JavaScript, among others. With our agile approach, we can deliver high-quality software solutions that meet your project’s unique needs!

Visit our website to learn more about our services and how we can help bring your project to life.

Contact us today!

About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin