Both Java and JavaScript are major parts of the programming industry. Experts and beginners alike will stumble across either programming language at some point. Even those who are not in the programming industry have probably seen or heard of both Java and JavaScript.

Oftentimes, Java and JavaScript may get confused with one another. People may think these two separate programming languages are the same thing, but this is far from the case. There are similarities between Java and JavaScript, but they are actually quite different.

Understanding the key features of Java and JavaScript and how they are different from one another can help developers decide on which is the best option. The features and differences between Java and JavaScript can be found below.

What Is Java?

Java is a multiplatform programming language. It is object-oriented and network-centric. In the programming industry, Java is one of the most commonly used languages.

Java is also a computing platform. In 1995, Java was released by Sun Microsystem. The Oracle Corporation later acquired it.

Features of Java

Java allows software developers to write a code once and then run it on almost any computing platform. It was specifically created to build applications that are object-oriented.

Java’s multithreaded language allows for automatic memory management. Since it is network-centric, Java also facilitates distributed computing.

Uses for Java

Java can be used to develop many different things. It is commonly used to develop Android applications and Enterprise software. Scientific computing applications and big data analytics can also be developed with Java.

It can be used when programming certain hardware devices. Java is also used to develop server-side technologies, such as Apache, JBoss, GlassFish, and more.

Pros and Cons of Java

There are upsides and downsides to every programming language, and Java is not exempt from this. Java has many advantages. It provides detailed documentation.

Java also has a large pool of skilled developers accessible. The programming language offers a large arrangement of third-party libraries. The multithreaded environment enables tasks to work at the same time within a program.

Java can form standard programs and reusable codes. Its performance quality is fantastic. The libraries are also very simple to navigate through.

There are also disadvantages to using Java. The JIT compiler causes programs to run relatively slower. Java also has high memory and processing requirements, which often increases the hardware costs.

There is no support provided for low-level programming constructs, such as pointers. Java also offers no control over the garbage collection because there are no functions like delete() or free().

What Is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a scripting language that enables developers to create interactive web pages. It follows the rules of client-side programming.

JavaScript runs in the user’s web browser. It has no need to get resources from a web server. The scripting language can be used with other technologies, such as REST APIs, XML, and more.

Features of JavaScript

JavaScript is a cross-platform language that is extensively used for client and server-side programming. It provides a strong testing workflow.

JavaScript is simple for developers to learn and easy to code with. The scripting language offers added dependencies, as well.

Uses for JavaScript

JavaScript has many useful functions. It can be used in dynamic single-page applications or SPAs. JavaScript also provides the basis for certain frontend technologies, such as jQuery, AngularJS, Ember.js, and ReactJS.

Many server-side technologies, such as Node.js, Express.js, and MongoDB, are based on JavaScript, as well. The scripting language is also used in mobile application development when using things like PhoneGap, React Native, or other software frameworks.

Pros and Cons of JavaScript

Just like Java and any other computing language, JavaScript also has several upsides and downsides. JavaScript offers many advantages to developers looking to use it. To start, it is an open-source project with patronage from Microsoft.

JavaScript is a tool created specifically for working with small scripts. The scripting language supports classes, interfaces, and modules. It also runs in any browser.

Cross-compilation is allowed through JavaScript. It can even extend for large application writing. JavaScript allows for information on a user’s computer to be stored and retrieved when necessary.

Immediate feedback can be provided to visitors. JavaScript allows developers to create interfaces that react when a user hovers with their computer mouse.

JavaScript is not without its disadvantages, though. On the client-side, JavaScript does not allow the reading and writing of files. This is strictly for security reasons.

The scripting language is not ideal for networking applications, as there is not a lot of support available. JavaScript also provides no multithreading or multiprocessing features.

Key Differences

Before getting into a complete rundown of how Java and JavaScript are different, there are key differences that truly separate the two. Java is a compiled and interpreted language, while JavaScript codes are directly executed by a browser.

Java is an OOP programming language, while JavaScript is an OOP programming script. This key difference is actually listed right on Java’s website.

They are each used for different program types. Java is used to create applications on different devices or in browsers. JavaScript is primarily used for HTML documents and browsers.

Both Java and JavaScript use different plug-ins. Even the file extensions are different, with Java being “.Java” and JavaScript being “.js”.

Basically, Java is a multiplatform programming language that is object-oriented and network-centric, while JavaScript is a scripting language that allows developers to create interactive web pages.

Java vs JavaScript

While there are a handful of key differences, Java and JavaScript have several distinctions that set them apart from each other. Java is a strongly typed language that requires the variable to be declared before actually using it in the program. JavaScript is a weakly typed language that allows the variable to be declared wherever it is used.

Java is an object-oriented programming language, and JavaScript is an object-based scripting language. In Java, objects are class-based, meaning developers are unable to create a program without developing a class. Objects in JavaScript are prototype-based.

The compilation process for Java involves interpreting and compiling. The programming language translates source code into bytecodes and is executed by Java Virtual Machine or JVM.

Every browser has a JavaScript interpreter, which allows it to execute the JavaScript code. Java programs need to be compiled on the server before they can be executed by the client. JavaScript code is interpreted by the client and not compiled.

Java is an object-oriented code type that provides applets that are made up of object classes with inheritances. No classes or inheritances are necessary for JavaScript because it is an object-based code type that uses built-in, extensible objects.

The syntax for Java requires that data types must be declared, while JavaScript’s syntax does not need this. Also, Java is a static language, and JavaScript is dynamic.

Some of the most important aspects of Java are that it provides fantastic libraries, is widely used, and has great tooling. The key features of JavaScript are that it can be used on the frontend and the backend, it is found everywhere, and it provides an amazing framework.

There are many companies that use Java in their programs, such as Airbnb, Uber, Google, PayPal, Tesla, Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, NASA, Spotify, and even Minecraft. Some popular websites that use JavaScript include Reddit, eBay, and Coursera.

Even the salary a developer will make is different depending on whether they are a Java developer or JavaScript developer, though not by much. Java developers make an average of $113,888 per year in the United States. Developers that work with JavaScript make a little more, bringing in around $114,046 per year in the United States.

Understanding the Features of Java and JavaScript

Java and JavaScript are wildly different. Even the TIOBE ratings vary, with Java being a 3 and JavaScript being a 7. Since Java and JavaScript have a ton of different features, it can be hard to understand just exactly what those features mean and how they impact the language itself.

Compiling vs Interpreting

Java is a compiled language, meaning that it checks the code of the whole project and also optimizes and converts the source code into bytecode. This bytecode can be read later on by JVM. This allows most of the syntactical errors to be found, and the developers will be alerted at the time of compilation.

While this is heavily beneficial, it will not prevent logic errors from happening in the programming. However, it does offer an opportunity to fix any syntactical errors immediately.

Compiled languages also often resolve the problem of an intellectual property’s security. While Java will not innately protect a program’s code, there are ways to protect its output.

An interpreted language, like JavaScript, reads through a program’s source code during the run time, interpreting as it goes. Oftentimes these interpreters are fast and powerful enough to provide a barely noticeable performance hit from the interpretation itself.

With that being said, larger projects will require a ton of organization and discipline to build and maintain them using an interpreted language. There are also no great options to make the code inaccessible and executable, which can cause issues with the security of the intellectual property.

Static vs Dynamic

Static typing, which is used in Java, locks variables into a certain type. If there are mismatches within the code, a program will be unable to execute the code until the problem is fixed. This makes good coding habits a necessity and requires that intentions align throughout the entire project.

There is a disadvantage to this, which is that prototyping becomes more difficult. Rapid development is often slowed down in the beginning stages of the creation of a product.

Dynamic typing, which is used in JavaScript, allows developers to define variables, objects, data structures, and functions wherever they are needed. The code may seem problematic, but everything is in its desired place.

The disadvantage to this is the unpredictability of a variable’s contents at any specific time. If a variable is given the wrong content, it will not be discovered until the code is actually executed and the outcome is incorrect.

Object-Oriented Programming and Functional Programming

Java and JavaScript are used in both types of programming. Java requires the use of objects throughout the codebase. JavaScript, on the other hand, is much more lenient, as it offers simpler linear programming without the need for objects.

Both Java and JavaScript allow inheritance and polymorphism. However, JavaScript is more tricky because of its dynamic nature and the complex syntax that is needed to express the constructs.

JavaScript functions are first-class within its programs. They are treated like objects, can be passed into other functions, and can even carry variables of their own when it's needed. This provides some fascinating solutions and design patterns that can only be provided by languages that work with functional programming.

Java’s solution to functional programming was lambas, which were released in Java 8. This impressive method of filtering and manipulating data collections is quite effective. However, it is restricted solely to data manipulation and goes no further than that.

Libraries and Frameworks

Proper libraries are absolutely crucial for a language, regardless of its abilities. If a language has proper established support and braintrust, then it is able to trump any other language, even those that are well-constructed.

Java and JavaScript or both on par with each other when it comes to their libraries. Java has a well-built presence within the device market, which includes Android and others. It also has an established presence in server-side web development, especially in relation to Spring framework, particularly concerning the MVC offering.

JavaScript has NodeJS as its own solution for server-side web development. The scripting language also has AngularJS, which provides an entirely client-side MVVM offering.

Both Java and Javascript have solid support for a large majority of all types of data stores, which include SQL databases, block data cloud stores, NoSQL document stores, and queues.

Many of the graphical libraries that were created specifically for Java have been passed on to JavaScript. An example of this is Processing, which was developed for Java and was later ported to p5.js for JavaScript with complete featured support.

Integrated Development Environments and Test Tools

Similar to libraries, integrated development environments, or IDEs, can cause a language to be quite successful or aid in its demise. A proper IDE enables a developer to make their way through the codebase quickly and efficiently.

Java offers a great variety of IDEs that run on different platforms, including Eclipse, NetBeans, and IntelliJ IDEA. JavaScript is supported by all of the above IDEs and a majority of text editors, such as Notepad++ for PC.

Beyond IDEs, testing tools are a vital part of the software development process. JavaScript has a variety of solid options, such as Jasmine, Mocha, and JEST. AngularJS typically utilizes Protractor for its testing.

Java also has many test tools, most of which are intertwined with its IDEs, such as JUnit. This makes for fantastic test development. Results from the test are able to be reviewed in a specific window from an IDE that the developer desires, allowing them to go through each individual unit test and debug along the way.

Which Is the Best: Java or JavaScript?

With all of the information about both Java and JavaScript, their key features, and what makes them inherently different from one another, it is easy to understand which is the best choice.

Whether Java or JavaScript is better all depends on what a developer is trying to create. When designing web applications, both languages are perfectly acceptable to use.

Java is multithreaded and allows its code to be compiled at once, which provides an execution that is faster. However, it is carried out on the server-side, which can slow down user interaction.

JavaScript is the best choice when developing small and interactive web applications. It offers a lighter code that is executed on the client-side. This allows for speedy feedback and interactivity.

Developers will want to ensure they consider the time needed for development. JavaScript is quicker than Java. With that being said, for a larger and more complex desktop or mobile software, Java is the better option.

Java is often preferred for developing Android applications, Enterprise software, and server-side technologies. With APIs and third-party libraries being readily available, Java has a bit of an advantage.


It is important to understand the differences between Java and JavaScript before deciding which is best for a certain programming project. They may sound similar but are extremely different and unrelated. Both Java and JavaScript function uniquely.

There are advantages to either language, with each being suitable for certain developing and programming situations. Java is extensive, faster, and supports a better application development process. JavaScript is lighter and suited for interactive applications and web pages.

Developers should pick the language that fits their development needs instead of focusing on which is the better option overall.

Research & analytics team

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Java vs JavaScript: Key Differences and Which Is the Best Choice?