Before you become a Java programmer, you must understand every aspect of this language. One of the most crucial aspects of Java is the Java architecture. Another technical topic in this regard is knowing the components of JVM. So, we’ll cover both of these critical topics in this write-up.
This article assumes that you have a general understanding of Java’s basics. Even if you aren’t familiar with Java’s fundamentals, you can ask any questions you might have in the comment section below. Let’s get started:
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Java Architecture Explained
Java has two processes, compilation, and interpretation. The Java Compiler converts the code present in Java into byte codes. The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) converts the byte codes into machine code which the machine executes directly.
We can describe this process in the following steps:
- The source code goes to the Java Compiler
- The Java Compiler converts it into byte codes
- The byte codes go to the Java Virtual Machine
- Finally, it goes to the OS (operating system)
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Now that we’re a little familiar with how the Java architecture works, we can take a look at its different components:
JVM (Java Virtual Machine)
The creators of Java wanted it to be WORA (Write Once Run Anywhere). This means you can run its applications on any platform, but the thing that gives Java this quality is JVM. The JVM provides the environment to execute Java code. It interprets the bytecode and converts that into machine code so the machine could run the Java program.
JVM loads verify and execute the code. It also provides the runtime environment to the code so it could run in the machine.
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JRE (Java Runtime Environment)
The JRE builds a runtime environment where you can execute the Java programs. It takes the Java code and combines the same with the required libraries. The JRE also initiates the JVM for its execution. The Java Runtime Environment has the required software and libraries so you can run the programs.
JDK (Java Development Kit)
You’d use the JDK to develop Java apps and programs. It is a software development environment and contains multiple development tools including the JRE, a compiler, an interpreter, a documentation generator, and an archiver with others.
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Components of JVM
Now that you’re familiar with the Java architecture let’s take a look at the components of JVM so we can understand it better. As the JVM performs one of the most crucial tasks for Java, it has many parts for that purpose. We’ll discuss each element in detail:
ClassLoader is a subsystem of the Java Virtual Machine which loads class files. It’s the first component of the architecture as it loads the program so other tasks can take place. It also links and initializes the class files. We can divide its working into the following three sections:
This component loads the classes. It has the BootStrap ClassLoader for loading classes belonging to the bootstrap classpath. The Extension ClassLoader loads classes situated inside the ext folder, and the Application ClassLoader loads path mentioned Environment Variable and similar files.
Here, the subsystem has a verifier to verify if the bytecode is correct or not. If the bytecode isn’t proper, it will generate the verification error. The linking section allocates all static variables memory and assigns the default values. It also replaces the symbolic references of memory with original ones.
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In this section of ClassLoading, the system assigns the static variables to the original values and executes the static block.
Runtime Data Area
This section of the JVM has the following components:
The method area stores all the class-level data. Every JVM has only one method area.
The heap area stores all the Objects and their instance arrays and variables. Like the method area, a JVM has only one heap area.
This section creates unique runtime stacks for every threat and makes an entry for every method call in the stack memory (also known as Stack Frame). It has a Local Variable Array which is related to the method, the operand stack, which acts as a workspace for intermediate operations, and the frame data, where all symbols related to the method remain stored. The frame data maintains the catch block information unless there’s an exception.
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Every thread has separate PC Registers which hold the address of the running instructions. Once an instruction has completed execution, the PC register updates itself with the next one.
Native Method Stacks
As the name suggests, this section holds information about the native method. It creates a unique native method stack for every threat.
You should note that the first two components of the Runtime Data Area (method area and heap area) are shared resources while the stack area is not.
The Execution Engine executes the bytecode. It reads and executes it piece by piece. It also has different components:
This component interprets the bytecode quickly but is a little slow in execution. It has a significant drawback as when the system calls one method multiple times, and it requires a new interpretation every time. This drawback of the interpreter damages the efficiency of the process substantially.
The JIT Compiler doesn’t have the drawback the interpreter has. So, when the Execution Engine finds repeated code, it uses the JIT Compiler instead of the interpreter. The JIT Compiler converts the bytecode into native code after compiling it. The system uses the native code directly.
The JIT Compiler has the intermediate code generator for producing intermediate code and the code optimizer for optimizing the same. It also has a target code generator that produces the native doe and a profile that finds hotspots.
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The final component of the Execution Engine is the garbage collector which gathers and gets rid of unreferenced objects. You can trigger it by calling system.gc() however that doesn’t guarantee its execution.
Apart from these components the JVM also has the JNI (Java Native Interface) and the Native Method Libraries. The former interacts with the latter and provides the necessary Native Libraries for execution.
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Is Java platform independent?
Any type of programming language can be considered platform-independent at certain points, including the Java architecture. Well, if and only if it can be developed and compiled to work on every operating system that is now in use.
Now, merely due to the bytecode, Java also seems to be platform-independent. Let me explain what bytecode is in more detail. Bytecode is the JVM’s machine-understandable code, to put it simply. Java’s bytecode execution demonstrates the language’s platform independence. Here are the steps involved in making the Java platform independent –
sample.java → javac (sample. class) → JVM(sample.obj) → final output
Java compiler uses the original code, which is then translated into a ‘.class file’. The class file code is stored in byte code format, and JVM uses this class file to transform it into an object file. You will then view the finished product on your screen.
Advantages of Java Architecture
Java has long been the most popular programming language out of all others. Although several other languages have been created, Java’s popularity is still rising. Java has dominated the overall programming languages for more than 20 years.
Most experts agree that components of Java or Java as a whole, is one of the most potent and successful languages ever created and that it is the most widely used programming language across various industries.
Here are some of the advantages of the architecture of Java–
- The fundamental benefit of using components of Java as a language is its ease and accessibility. Java’s straightforward language makes it easier to comprehend and debug. Additionally, because a large number of complicated concepts like pointers have been removed from Java, it has become less complex than other slightly complicated languages like C and C++.
- Java reduces security risks and worries by using fewer pointers. Additionally, the security feature in any Java application enables us to define the rules of class access.
- It is a platform-independent language, as was already said. Other operating systems that support Java include CentOS, RedhatLinux, Ubuntu, Sun Solaris, etc., in addition to Mac Os and Windows.
- Parts of Java applications are inexpensive to build and maintain since they need a certain hardware infrastructure to run. Any system may have them done fast, which reduces the cost of maintenance.
- Java is a multithreaded language, and parts of Java allow for simultaneous operation of several threads. We may maximize the processing capability of our computer by using multithreading.
- The software is more adaptable and reusable since it adheres to the principles of object-oriented programming language. The Java Virtual Machine controls autonomous virtual memory in Java. Unused objects are automatically destroyed by Java with the aid of the automated garbage collection mechanism.
- The architecture of Java is regarded as a reliable and exportable language because it offers a mechanism for several computers to exchange data and programmes, enabling the system to function more quickly and effectively.
Some of the best applications of Java –
- Java is used by Linkedin for both server-side assistance and the development of its Android OS mobile app.
- ‘World Wind’ is a licensed open-source application developed by NASA. The programmer was created in Java and is compatible with any OS that has the OpenGL stack installed.
- Java is used by many of Google’s applications. Although it’s most frequently used for backend development, it may also be advantageous for creating user interfaces.
We’ve tried to keep this article concise and helpful, and we’re confident that you found this informative. If you have any questions about the components of JVM or the Java architecture, you can ask us the same by contacting us through comments.
You can learn more about Java and its applications on our blog. We have numerous helpful guides and articles that cover various aspects of this robust programming language.
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Which is tougher, Java or C++?
There is no definite answer to this question - it primarily depends on how the learner conceptualizes and understands the basics. However, according to general opinion Java is considered simpler and more readable than C++, as far as the syntax is considered. Besides, Java comes with an advanced API with graphics and sounds, which is not the case with C++; this makes Java more interesting and appealing to learn. Next, the garbage collection feature of Java makes it ideal for novice programmers who might find memory management difficult while learning how to code. Java is hugely popular and remains relevant even today, making it always in demand.
Which is easier to learn among Python and Java?
Python and Java are two of the most in-demand object-oriented programming languages today. Each comes with their unique features and advantages, and applications. Most programmers say that Python is more coder-friendly than Java since it comes with an intuitive syntax that is easily readable and comprehensible. It takes less time to develop a Python program, but it runs slower than a Java program. Java is considered ideal for beginners and is great as a low-level implementation programming language. But moving on to learn Java after learning Python can prove to be rather tough owing to the extreme simplicity of the latter.