A Brief History of Java and Vampires

31 Oct

Episode 42

As you may have noticed, my focus in this blog is shifting away from Java itself to more general topics related to software development, despite having “Java” word in the blog name. Well, two months ago I even changed the name from JEE to Java, because I felt JEE was too specific. Let’s get back to roots and explore a bit of history of the Java platform.

As a Halloween guest stars, the article will feature the story of creatures of the darkness, as portrayed in role-playing game Vampire the Masquerade. Lets look at their hierarchy, from oldest to youngest.


Said to be vampires of incalculable power, each of whom survived the Biblical Deluge. Considered to be the founders of the thirteen clans and members of the third generation.

1990 – In December, Patrick Naughton starts the Stealth Project which will later become what we now know as Java. The aim is to create a platform that will speed up software development and render C++ language and its tools obsolete.

1991 – The Green Project is the new name of the platform, James Gosling and Mike Sheridan are also on the team, which now consist of 13 people in total. Gosling starts the work on the core platform language, then called the Oak.

1992 – First internal demonstration of the platform. Duke, the future Java mascot makes first appearance.

1993 – The team headcount is now 70.

1994 – Oak is renamed to Java, because of clash with Oak Technology. Reminds me when Apple sued a Polish grocery shop owner, for using unrelated apple image on his website. WebRunner is the first browser written in new language.

1995 – Alpha and Beta versions of the JDK. First public demo of Java. Time magazine called it one of the Ten Best Products of 1995.


Terrifying Elders, who have existed for at least a millennium or more, often worshiped as gods in ancient times. Fourth and most fifth Generation vampires are Methuselahs.

1996 – JDK 1.0 is released on 23th January.

1997 – JDK 1.1 is released, adding to the platform inner classes, JDBC, RMI, reflection and others. There are over 400 000 developers working with Java, and over 10 000 attended the second JavaOne conference.

1998 – JDK 2, originally called 1.2 is released. Addition of Swing, EJB 1.0, applets, the Collections framework and interoperability with CORBA. Java platform consists of 1520 classes. JDK was downloaded over 2 000 000 times.

1999 – JEE 1.2 is out, along with Servlet 2.2, JSP 1.1, EJB 1.1, JTA 1.0 and JavaMail 1.1. The platform is divided into three editions – standard, micro and enterprise.


Vampires who have experienced at least three or more centuries of unlife and possess vast power and influence over their domains. Usually members of sixth to eight generation.

2000 – JDK 3, code name Kestrel, originally called 1.3 is out. Addition of JNDI and JPDA.

2001 – JEE 1.3 is released along with EJB 2.0 and JAXP 1.1, JCA 1.0, JMS 1.0

2002 – JDK 4, code name Merlin, originally called 1.4 is out including regular expressions, IPv6 support, NIO, integrated cryptography, JWS and preferences API. Spring framework is born.

2003 – JEE 1.4 is released with JAXR 1.0, Jax-RPC 1.1, JSF 1.1 and JACC 1.0. The new coffee cup logo debuts.

2004 – JDK 5, code name Tiger is released, including generics, annotations, autoboxing, enums, varargs and foreach.  There are 1 500 000 000 devices running Java, including the Mars Rover. There are over 4 000 000 Java developers and 550 Java User Groups worldwide.

2005Glassfish project launched. Java is on more than 2 500 000 000 devices and has more than 4 500 000 developers.


Ranking below the Elders but above Neonates, they are vampires who have proven themselves as valuable members of Kindred society. Typically over a hundred years old.

2006 – JDK 6, codename Mustang is out with Rhino, Java Compiler API and dramatic performance improvements. JEE 5 is out with Servlet 2.5, EJB 3.0 and JPA 1.0 based on annotations. Platform is open sourced.

2007 – There are over 5 500 000 000 devices and 6 000 000 developers.

2008JavaFX, a software platform for creating and delivering desktop applications, meant to replace Swing, is out.

2009 – JEE 6 is released with many features borrowed from Spring framework, including dependency injection and aspect oriented programming. Sun Microsystems is bought by Oracle.


Recently embraced vampire that has passed through the initial stages of vampiric existence, the Fledgling. It is the sire’s responsibility to ensure that the childe does not embarrass itself or its sire in vampiric society.

2011 – JDK 7, code name Dolphin is out. JVM got support for dynamic languages. There are several improvements in Java core, including Strings in switch, automatic resource management, better type inference, multi catch and new IO library.

2012 – A new multi-core API with fork-join model is released. Hadoop wins the Duke’s Choice Award, marking the advent of Big Data revolution.

2013 – JEE 7 is released, easing HTML5 applications development with WebSockets, JSON parsing API, asynchronous Servlets and batch processing.


After the immediate Embracing of a mortal, the victim will become a Fledgling. The newly turned vampire must be able to stabilize The Beast within before gaining status.

2014 – JDK 8 is released with long awaited support for lambda expressions, streams and map-reduce framework. There are also default methods, repeating annotations, unsigned integer arithmetic, data and time API, new JavaScript engine and removal of the permanent generation.

2016 – There are over 9 000 000 Java developers in the  world. According to PYPL  Java has 23.4% of market share, with Python (13.6%), PHP (9.9%) and C# (8.8%) coming next.

The Unembraced

Java 9 is currently scheduled to be released in July 2017. JEE8 is expected by October 2017. In a few weeks, there will be an article about their new features. And if you get bored with programming, you can try how it feels to be the vampire yourself in a pencil and paper role-playing game. There was also a computer version, released sixteen years ago. By the way, did you know, that Odin was a vampire?

Stay tuned and don’t get bitten! Happy Halloween! :)



Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Misc, Technology


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2 responses to “A Brief History of Java and Vampires

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