The Java Development Kit (JDK), or Java Software Development Kit (Java SDK) is a suite of programs and libraries used to program in the Java language. It is a superset of the Java Runtime Environment or JRE. The central components of the JDK are the Java bytecode compiler, javac, and the Java Virtual Machine, java, as well as the Java debugger, jdb. Since version 1.2, it has included the Swing GUI toolkit.

The Sun Microsystems JDK is the reference implementation of the Java language. Since version 1.2 and the introduction of the 'Java 2 Platform], there have been two different 'editions' of the JDK, the 'Java 2 Standard Edition' (J2SE) and the 'Java 2 Enterprise Edition' (J2EE). The J2SE is simpler and is designed for for client applications, while the J2EE adds servlet, database, and other high-end features to the J2SE library and is intended for writing server applications. Particularly with the J2EE, other groups have released compatible JDK releases, notably the IBM Blackdown JDK for J2SE, and the JBoss open source J2EE implementation.

Besides the bytecode compiler, the virtual machine, and the debugger, the JDK includes:

There have been several versions of the JDK, the most recent being JDK 1.4.2. JDK 1.3.1 and JDK 1.2.2 are still available for those who still use the older versions of the language. Sun provides binary versions of the JDK for

although it is available for other platforms, either through recompilation or foreign ABI support (e.g. FreeBSD). For platforms on which Sun provides the JDK in binary form, it is available in a bundle with the NetBeans IDE. All Sun JDK versions and Java documentation are available at

This writeup is copyright 2003-2004 D.G. Roberge and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. Details can be found at .

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