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Java Platform, Standard Edition[edit]

Java Platform, Standard Edition or Java SE is a widely used platform for programming in the Java language. It is the Java Platform used to deploy portable applications for general use. In practical terms, Java SE consists of a virtual machine, which must be used to run Java programs, together with a set of libraries (or "packages") needed to allow the use of file systems, networks, graphical interfaces, and so on, from within those programs.

Nomenclature, standards and specifications[edit]

Java SE was known as Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition or J2SE from version 1.2 until version 1.5. The "SE" is used to distinguish the base platform from Java EE and Java ME. The "2" was originally intended to emphasize the major changes introduced in version 1.2, but was removed in version 1.6. The naming convention has been changed several times over the Java version history. Starting with J2SE 1.4 (Merlin), Java SE has been developed under the Java Community Process. JSR 59 was the umbrella specification for J2SE 1.4 and JSR 176 specified J2SE 5.0 (Tiger). Java SE 6 (Mustang) was released under JSR 270.

Java Platform, Enterprise Edition is a related specification which includes all of the classes in Java SE, plus a number which are more useful to programs which run on servers as opposed to workstations. Java Platform, Micro Edition is a related specification intended to provide a certified collection of Java APIs for the development of software for small, resource-constrained devices such as cell phones, PDAs and set-top boxes.

The JRE and JDK are the actual files that are downloaded and installed on a computer in order to run or develop java programs, respectively.