Java Versions Explained
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
By: Matthew Doucette

This might help someone:

I am installing the latest Java on my system for development, and currently it's Java SE 7. Now, let's dive into this "madness", as Joe Schneider put it...

All of these are the same (when developers are talking about Java for development):

  • Java SE 7
  • Java SE v1.7.0
  • Java SE Development Kit 7

Starting with Java v1.5:

  • v5 = v1.5
  • v6 = v1.6
  • v7 = v1.7

And we can assume this will remain for future versions.

Next, for developers, download JDK, not JRE.

JDK will contain JRE. If you need JDK and JRE, get JDK. Both will be installed from the single JDK install, as you will see below.

As someone mentioned in Java SE 6 vs. JRE 1.6 vs. JDK 1.6 - What do these mean?:

  • JDK = Java Development Kit (developers need this, this is you if you code in Java)
  • JRE = Java Runtime Environment (users need this, this is every computer user today)
  • Java SE = Java Standard Edition

Here's the step by step links I followed (one step leads to the next, this is all for a single download) to download Java for development (JDK):

  1. Visit "Java SE Downloads":
  2. Click "JDK Download" and visit "Java SE Development Kit 7 Downloads": (note that following the link from step #1 will take you to a different link as JDK 1.7 updates, later versions, are now out)
  3. Accept agreement :)
  4. Click "Java SE Development Kit 7 (Windows x64)": (for my 64-bit Windows 7 system)
  5. You are now downloading (hopefully the latest) JDK for your system! :)

Keep in mind the above links are for reference purposes only, to show you the step by step method of what it takes to download the JDK.

And install with default settings to:

  • “C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0\” (JDK)
  • “C:\Program Files\Java\jre7\” (JRE) <--- why did it ask a new install folder? it's JRE!

Remember from above that JDK contains JRE, which makes sense if you know what they both are. Again, see above.

After your install, double check “C:\Program Files\Java” to see both these folders. Now you know what they are and why they are there.

I know I wrote this for newbies, but I enjoy knowing things in full detail, so I hope this helps.


Based off my StackOverflow post:


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About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $180,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.

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