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Difference Between Java and .NET

August 18, 2022 No Comments

Article by Natallia Sakovich 

In the ocean of programming technologies, languages and tools, Java and .NET are, probably, the most well-known. Despite the fact that Java is a programming language and .NET is a development framework, people often compare them to discover which one is better for a particular situation. For example, a newbie would try to make the right choice to start their software developer career, while a business owner would decide on the right technology to meet the requirements of a new project.

So if you hesitate whether you need a Java mobile app or should develop a .NET-based solution, read this article to explore the differences and similarities of these tools. 

Brief Java overview

Everybody knows Java as a programming language. It was released in 1995 by Sun Microsystems, which is now a subsidiary of Oracle Corporation. But we should note that Java is also a platform, comprising a package of software products for developing and running programs in the Java language. Java Standard Edition (SE) is a solid basis you need to create and run applications. It includes: 

  • * Java Virtual Machine (JVM)
  • * Java Class Library (JCL)
  • * Java Runtime Environment (JRE)
  • * Java Development Kit (JDK)

There are also Java Micro Edition (ME) for mobile and embedded solutions and Java Enterprise Edition (EE) for complicated enterprise-grade systems.

Speaking about the key characteristics of Java, we should say that this is an object-oriented language for high-level programming that can operate on multiple platforms. The development of literally all application types is possible with this language, including desktop, web, mobile, embedded, IoT, games, etc.

Brief .NET overview

Now let’s look at .NET. Compared to Java, .NET is a younger technology — it was released in 2002 by Microsoft. This is an open-source platform or framework for developing various types of applications. C# is a traditional language used to build .NET solutions. However, other languages such as F# and Visual Basic are also appropriate options for the platform.

Initially, .NET focused on Windows applications only, but now the technology is platform-agnostic. The same as Java, .NET is used for various types of apps, from web, desktop and mobile to cloud, IoT and machine learning.

.NET vs. Java comparison item by item

To decide which technology is better for your particular case, you should examine them from various aspects. Let’s begin.

Learning curve

Java is pretty hard to learn. You may need a year (or more) of daily training and practicing before you feel confident with this language. It has a rich set of libraries you’ll need to investigate, and its syntax is relatively verbose. However, the thing is not so bad because the language is well-structured and there are many automated steps. In addition, there is high-quality documentation that has been developed over many years by a huge global community. So it is unlikely that you will face a question for which there will not be a ready answer.   

To get a good hand on .NET, you also have to climb a pretty steep learning curve. First, you have to master one of the languages it works with (C# is preferable) and then, delve into the numerous platform tools and capabilities. Luckily, Microsoft provides comprehensive documentation and training materials for .NET.  

Code reusability

Both Java and .NET focus on modular programming, which means that software is divided into independent modules. The core benefit of this development practice is that you can reuse parts of code across the project instead of writing everything from scratch. The modular code structure adds flexibility to your project and allows you to fix issues much easier. Thus, both Java coding speed and .NET software development are fast enough.


.NET is traditionally considered to be faster than Java because C# is a more concise language and consumes less memory. Shorter code means easier debugging and, consequently, faster performance. 

However, Java is not so sluggish as it used to be. Its modern virtual machines have really powerful compilers and garbage collection algorithms that provide very good performance for regular applications.


A prominent difference between the two technologies is the operating systems they support. Thus, Java has initially been platform-agnostic, i.e., it can work on various systems, including Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Solaris.

.NET initially could operate on Windows only, which was a significant disadvantage. In 2014, .NET Core was released, and the technology became cross-platform. Today, you can develop .NET apps for Linux, MacOS, iOS, and other systems, but still, Windows remains the target platform.  

Supported IDEs

Java works with a wide range of integrated development environments (IDEs) such as NetBeans, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, and more. This gives freedom of choice to software engineers and adds flexibility to the development process.

For .NET developers, Visual Studio and VS Code are the top integrated development environments. They support C#, Visual Basic, F#, and other languages by default and enables developers to create all types of applications. However, .NET programming is not limited to Visual Studio IDE. You can also use Rider, Codeanywhere, MonoDevelop and other environments.   


Today, Java is a highly secure language, though there were security issues in the past. It provides a wide range of tools, APIs and mechanisms that protect your apps and make them resistant to various types of cyberattacks. 

The .NET platform also offers numerous services that help developers create secure code. They include type-safe code, the role-based security model, cryptographic services,  authentication mechanisms, and many more.


From the mid-90s to the present day, a huge global community has formed around Java technologies. It includes approximately 10 million developers. An impressive number, isn’t it? This means that you will never be alone if you have to deal with Java.

Since .NET appeared 7 years later, it hasn’t managed to gather such a huge community as Java yet. Still, there are about 2 million estimated .NET developers worldwide now, which is a real power of like-minded people.  

To sum up

It is always hard to compare technologies that are good in their own way. Both Java and .NET enable you to write secure and stable code for all possible types of applications. In terms of performance, .NET is considered to be faster; regarding the number of talent pool, Java is an undisputed leader. So, the choice would mostly depend on your business requirements and personal preferences.    

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