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Friday, 5 December 2014

What gives Java its write once and run anywhere nature

What gives Java its write once and run anywhere nature?

The bytecode. Java is compiled to be a byte code which is the intermediate language between source code and machine code. This byte code is not platform specific and hence can be fed to any platform.


  • While the performance of interpreted bytecodes is usually more than adequate, there are situations where higher performance is required. The bytecodes can be translated on the fly (at run time) into machine code for the particular CPU the application is running on.
  • If we use an interpreter to execute the bytecodes, “high performance” is not the term that we would use. However, on many platforms, there is also another form of compilation, the justin-time (JIT) compilers. These work by compiling the bytecodes into native code once, caching the results, and then calling them again if needed. This approach speeds up commonly used code tremendously since one has to do the interpretation only once. Although still slightly slower than a true native code compiler, a just-in-time compiler can give us a 10- or even 20-fold speedup for some programs and will almost always be significantly faster than the Java interpreter. This technology is being improved continuously and may eventually yield results that cannot be matched by traditional compilation systems. For example, a justin-time compiler can monitor which code is executed frequently and optimize just that code for speed.


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