One characteristic of Java is portability, which means that computer programs written in the Java language must run similarly on any hardware/operating-system platform. This is achieved by compiling the Java language code to an intermediate representation called Java bytecode, instead of directly to platform-specific machine code. Java bytecode instructions are analogous to machine code, but are intended to be interpreted by a virtual machine (VM) written specifically for the host hardware. End-users commonly use a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on their own machine for standalone Java applications, or in a Web browser for Java applets.
Standardized libraries provide a generic way to access host-specific features such as graphics, threading, and networking.
A major benefit of using bytecode is porting. However, the overhead of interpretation means that interpreted programs almost always run more slowly than programs compiled to native executables would. Just-in-Time compilers were introduced from an early stage that compile bytecodes to machine code during runtime.
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