James Gosling Biography – Father of Java Programming Language

James Gosling is the name that easily comes to one’s mind when we think of pioneers of programming language. Born in Canada, in May 1955, James Arthur Gosling went on to become the founder and lead designer of Java Programming Language.

Education & Early Life

Gosling studied at William Aberhart High School in Calgary, Alberta, which was also his hometown. Having completed his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, James Gosling did his Master’s and Ph.D. in the same major at Carnegie Mellon University. He did his doctoral thesis on ‘The Algebraic Manipulation of Constraints. Even before he joined his first organization Sun Microsystems, James Gosling had built a multi-processor version of Unix, and many compilers and mail systems, while he was at Carnegie Mellon University.

James Gosling Biography

How Was Java Created?

James Gosling chose Sun Microsystem after completing his Ph.D. for work in 1984. One day he came across a problem while trying to write a program to translate software code from one language to other, and like many inventions, this led to the creation of the Java programming language.

The idea behind its creation was to create a programming language that one can write once and it will run wherever else you want. This was achieved with the assistance of talented Mike Sheridan and Patrick Naughton, of course.

Earlier, James Gosling at Sun Microsystem worked on a project that helped the team with a windowing system, called SunDew, later renamed NeWS. This Network-extensible Windows System was designed to function with bitmapped displays on workstations, however, it was dropped over X-Windows.

What Was Java Called Originally?

James Gosling had named his programming language, Oak. However, over a copyright issue with the name Oak, he had to change it to Java.

Java Was Too Advanced for Its Time

That’s quite right, the programming language created by James Gosling was initially developed to serve digital interactive television. But, it proved to be a bit early for those days.

His Goals to Achieve While Creating Java?

Gosling and Co. aimed to attain the following goals while creating Java Programming Language:

  • The language should be able to deliver high performance.
  • The language should efficiently interpret, thread, and be dynamic in operation.
  • The language should be secure and proficient.
  • The language should be architecture-neutral/portable.
  • The language should be simple, objective, and familiar.

Rocketing to Success

It didn’t take time for computer scientist James Gosling Java to be a success story in the industry. It was widely used in web browsers, and Java applets were incorporated to perform more intriguing operations. Soon, APIs were developed for mobile, desktop, and enterprise applications. Not long, Java Virtual Machine was made free and open source software to the public, which led to further popularity and wider reach in the software industry.

Quitting Sun Microsystems

He left Sun Microsystems soon after Oracle acquired it in 2010. The reason for him leaving his metaphorical child behind was stated by the man himself later. James stated that he was not able to exercise autonomous decisions, which he found ‘ethically challenging’ to work at Oracle. He also later said that the new owners wanted him to be a public face of Java, which he found humorous, and turned down by cheekily saying, ‘he wasn’t going to be Myers-Briggs quadrant for that’.

Career Accelerated Even Post Java

Many considered James Gosling’s move as the end of his remarkable career, but this wasn’t to be. The creator of Java went on to work for Google on a high-level job and then took a lead software position at a startup with the name Liquid Robotics, now acquired by Boeing.

Presently, James Gosling is associated with Amazon Web Services as a Distinguished Engineer.

Achievements and Recognition

  • Popularly known as the Father of Java, James Gosling was honored as an Officer of Canada, which is the second highest civilian honor in Canada.
  • James Gosling was recognized as an ACM fellow and was also awarded IEEE John von Neumann Medal for his impeccable achievements in Computer Science.
  • He was elected to the United States National Academy of Engineering.
  • James Gosling had also written for the ‘bundle’ program, which was detailed in Brian Kernighan and Rob Pike’s book, The Unix Programming Environment.
  • James was honored with several prestigious awards, namely The Economist Innovation Award, and The Flame Award USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award.

James Gosling not only changed the programming world for the better, but he has also shaped and reshaped our world of technology with his contribution. Java programming language is among the most popular languages presently and is used in a wide range of applications, including embedded systems, mobile devices, enterprise applications, desktop computing, scientific studies, and computer science education.

His name will be remembered and honored among programmers and the world at large for the times to come.

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