If you are new to Java, you must be asking yourself a lot of questions as you continue to see many different terms starting with the letter “J”. Of course, Java programming language has all of its components named with “J” because of the branding purposes. While Java is a programming language, it exists in a world where there are hundreds of other languages that can do the same thing as it does. Now, when you start learning the basics of Java programming language, you will come across terms like JDK, JRE, JVM etc.
The difference between JDK and JRE is huge. It is only confusing for the people who have heard the terms for the first times with their definitions. It is better to explain JRE first because there is not much to learn about this. JRE stands for Java Runtime Environment and it is a tool that helps your computer run the applications created in Java. It is a tool needed not only by the developers but the end users of Java applications. If you don’t have JRE on your computer, you will not be able to run applications that have been developed using Java.
JDK is a bigger term and it stands for Java Development Kit. While Java runtime environment only consists of the files that support the running of Java applications, core classes and Java Virtual Machine (JVM), JDK is a bigger term that. JDK has a lot of stuff in it which is there to facilitate the creation of applications for developers. Java runtime environment comes as part of this kit because the developers have to check the applications after creating them. This is only possible when they have the Java runtime environment on their computers.
The best thing about working with Java programming is that it does not limit you to work with a particular system. When you have the JDK, you can work on any computer of the world. Once the JRE goes on that computer, you can run your programs on that computer with ease. So, you can create Java programs using Java development kit if you are a Windows, Mac, Linux or Solaris user. Where Java takes pride is that this is the most commonly used kit for developing programs since the launch of Java. The best thing about JDK happened nearly a decade ago when it became a free software.
When you start working as a Java developer, you will probably have to work with JDK and JRE. You will need to run these tools using the command prompt on your computers. Oracle makes it possible for developers to work in their own ways and thus there is a bundled package of NetBeans with JDK. Such bundled packages facilitate the developers by allowing them to use drag and drop, point and click etc. features for creating their programs. There are many different forms of JDK available today. They are different for many reasons but basic Java specifications are followed to work with any of them.