From the first version released in 1996 to the latest version 8.0 released in 2014, the Java platform has been actively being developed for about nearly 20 years. Many changes and improvements have been made to the technology over the years. The following table summarizes all versions of Java SE from its early days to the latest.

Version Name

Code Name

Release Date

JDK 1.0


January 1996

JDK 1.1


February 1997

J2SE 1.2


December 1998

J2SE 1.3


May 2000

J2SE 1.4


February 2002

J2SE 5.0


September 2004

Java SE 6


December 2006

Java SE 7


July 2011

Java SE 8

(Not available)

March 2014

From the table above we can see that the naming and the version number have been changing over times:

  • Versions 1.0 and 1.0 are named as JDK (Java Development Kit).
  • From versions 1.2 to 1.4, the platform is named as J2SE (Java 2 Standard Edition).
  • From versions 1.5, Sun introduces internal and external versions. Internal version is continuous from previous ones (1.5 after 1.4), but the external version has a big jump (5.0 for 1.5). This could make confusion for someone, so keep in mind that version 1.5 and version 5.0 are just two different version names for only one thing.

Major versions were released after every 2 years, however the Java SE 7 took 5 years to be available after its predecessor Java SE 6, and 3 years for Java SE 8 to be available to public afterward.


Recommended Book: Java, A Beginner's Guide, 5th Edition (Include Java SE 7)

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