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What is J2SE?

By David White
Updated May 16, 2024
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One of the most dynamic programming languages used by computer programmers today is Java™. This language has advanced through the years in both functionality and reach. Current editions are on the Java 2 Platform, which is, not surprisingly, the second main incarnation of Java™ software. It has various incarnations as well, including Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE). J2SE is used primarily for writing applets and other applications.

Especially in the case of servers and mainframes and big-picture systems, Java™ makes business processes happen. Technically and historically, it is the creation of Sun Microsystems, a computer company that produces both hardware and software. Other companies now create Java™ applications, but Sun was there first.

One well-known type of Java™ application is the applet, a sort of fast-working subroutine that is largely platform-independent and can work within other frameworks. Applets are mini applications that perform a variety of functions, large and small, mundane and dynamic, within the framework of larger applications. Technically, an applet is like an application lite, as its name suggests. A software developer who is proficient at developing applets is in significant demand.

A prime example of an applet is a browser-based plugin, such as the one that allows users to see Flash® movies or hear audio files by clicking on a Web page link. Such a click keeps the user in the browser environment, while simultaneously launching the application-within-an-application that is the applet, showing the requested video or playing the requested sound. Many online games are applet-based as well.

The Java 2 Platform has three basic Editions: Micro, Standard, and Enterprise. They have increasing amounts of functionality and flexibility, with the Micro Edition being used for small-range applications and the Enterprise Edition being used for large, server-based functions. In the middle is the Standard Edition, or J2SE, which has applications up and down the requirements ladder, filling needs for both individual and complicated users.

One of the primary uses of J2SE is the development of Java™ applications for individual computers. Web-based activity sometimes lives and dies by the successful integration of applets into e-commerce and other Web-specific functions. J2SE applets and other applications make these functions run smoothly; without them, many transactions and other Internet interactions would not take place. In this way, this edition is a tremendous enabler of Web activity.

Another important functionality made possible by this incarnation of the language is JavaBeans. These are reusable applications that can be developed and assembled easily in order to create more sophisticated applications. Basically, they are the building blocks of personalized applications. Java™ may be the base technology, but JavaBeans are what makes J2SE functionality and individuality really click.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon143279 — On Jan 15, 2011

i have both java 2 and j2se on my computer. i am running out of disk space and cannot run updates to my security system. can i delete one of these without regret?

By anon122912 — On Oct 30, 2010

i want to learn j2se programming.

By anon79728 — On Apr 24, 2010

static method only works with static function. A non-static method can't be used with this.

By anon73851 — On Mar 29, 2010

I would like to know if J2SE is free.

By anon54575 — On Dec 01, 2009

You don't exactly need java to run your pc. But you will need it to view some multimedia in your browser, and even some games and software also need a java runtime environment(jre).

By anon35310 — On Jul 03, 2009

is java needed for my pc to operate?

By adokye — On Jun 23, 2009

I want to compare the following platforms and the environment provided by each J2SE, J2EE, J2ME, Java Card Technology, and Java Web Services.

By anon27128 — On Feb 24, 2009

I have you beat. 8 copies of "J2SE Runtime Environment 5.0 Update 6.msi" scattered in various user profiles, even though they haven't logged on.

By udaymuk — On Oct 25, 2008

If I have a Machine where this is Installed how do I know whichflavor is installed ( J2ME, J2SE and J2EE )could anyone please let me know?

By anon15739 — On Jul 20, 2008

can you overload or override a static method with a non static method???

By ggarnier — On Jun 17, 2008

I have 7 copies of the file "J2SE Runtime Environment 5.0 Update 6.msi" in C:\. One is in c:\i386

Other extras are under folders associated with other people who have logged in on my system. How many of these do I need?

By anon12695 — On May 12, 2008

Bisadout, its only for j2se and not for j2ee.

By Biswadout — On May 07, 2008

i am beginner in java. i ve a confusion. whether the book the complete reference JAVA 2 is the book for j2se or it is for both j2se and j2ee. please suggest a good book (not necessarily complete reference) to have a thorough knowledge of java.

By anon3745 — On Sep 14, 2007

Can i remove java(tm)6 update 2 and update 1?

By Zibani — On Jun 13, 2007

I want to compare the following platforms and the environment provided by each J2SE,J2EE,J2ME

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