Differences between JDK, JRE, and JVM: Java Toolkit

07 Feb 2023

Differences between JDK, JRE, and JVM: Java Toolkit

Java is an incredibly popular programming language, and an essential part of understanding it is knowing the difference between three key components: the JDK (Java Development Kit), JRE (Java Runtime Environment), and JVM (Java Virtual Machine). The JDK is a software development kit designed to build and run applications for the Java platform. It includes a set of tools that are used to compile and debug Java code, as well as documentation on how to work with it. The JRE is a technology that allows users to run applications written in Java; it runs on top of the JVM and contains all of the necessary components for running Java-based programs. 

What is JVM?

  • JVM is an abstract machine that assists a computer to run Java programming.
  • Java virtual machine is the finite engine that anticipates a "run time environment" to generate the codes for Java.
  • JVM or Java virtual machine is a major part of "Java Runtime Environment".
  • The primary job of JVM is to convert "bytecode" to "machine language".
  • The activities, which are done by JVM, are "Loading", "Linking" and "Initialization".

What is JRE?

  • JRE or Java runtime environment is an important part of the "Java development kit".
  • The source code of Java is compiled and converted into byte code in this Java Runtime Environment.
  • To run any bytecode, one needs to have access to JRE.
  • Java Runtime Environment behaves like a layer on the top of any operating system.
  • JRE is very commonly available on devices, and it is also free of cost including "Java class libraries", "specific tools", and "a standalone JVM".

What is JDK?

  • JDK or Java development kit is an objective-oriented software demerit that helps to develop applications in Java.
  • JDK offers a collection of libraries and tools that are necessary for the development of Java-based applications.
  • Java development kit has its own private "Java virtual machine" and other resources which are valuable for the development of any Java application.
  • JDK contains a Java runtime environment, a compiler, an interpreter, an achiever, and many more.

Difference between JDK, JRE and JVM (jdk vs jre vs jvm)

Java Development Kit (JDK) is a software development kit used to develop Java applications. Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is a software package that provides Java Virtual Machine (JVM), class libraries and other components to run applications in Java. Java Virtual Machine (JVM) is an abstract machine that provides an environment for the execution of Java ByteCodes.
JDK contains tools for developing, monitoring and debugging java codes. JRE contains class libraries and other supporting files required by JVM for executing Java programs. JVM does not include any software development tools.
It is platform-dependent, i.e. different platforms require different JDK. It is also platform dependent as JDK. It is platform independent.
It is primarily used for creating Java programs that JRE and JVM can execute. It is mainly responsible for creating an environment for the execution of Java programs. JVM specifies all the implementations and is responsible for providing them to JRE.
JDK = JRE + Development tools JRE = JVM + Class libraries

JVM = provides a runtime environment.


Java Development Kit (JDK), Java Runtime Environment (JRE), and Java Virtual Machine (JVM) are all important components of the Java platform. In summary, JDK enables developers to compile programs, JRE is essential for running those programs on multiple platforms, and the JVM takes charge of executing them.

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