Differences between JDK, JRE, and JVM: Java Toolkit

Shailendra Chauhan  5 min read
22 Sep 2023

Differences between JDK, JRE, and JVM: An Overview

It's essential to understand the differences between Java's three fundamental components, JDK (for development), JRE (for running), and JVM (for code execution). If you want to enhance your expertise in Java and gain recognition, Java Certification Training. is highly recommended. The JDK is used to create Java applications and includes coding and debugging tools. You can launch Java apps and the JVM is part of the JRE. The main distinction is that JDK is used for development, JRE is used for runtime, and JVM runs Java code. So, if you're looking to learn Java, this information will be helpful to you.

What is JVM?

  • JVM is an abstract machine that assists a computer in running Java programs which include different types of arrays in Java.  
  • 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" and it has another feature of loops in Java.
  • 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 that 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.


1. What is the difference between JDK JRE and JVM JVM?

  • Java programs are developed using the JDK (Java Development Kit). It comes with coding, debugging, and compilation tools.
  • The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is used to run Java programs. The JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and essential libraries are included.
  • Code written in Java is executed by the JVM. It executes Java programs and is a part of the JRE.

2. Can I install the JDK without the JRE?

The JDK cannot be installed without the JRE. When you install the JDK, you also receive the JRE because the JRE is part of the JDK.

3. Is it possible to run a JAR file without having the JDK installed?

Yes, a JAR file can be run without the JDK. Only the JRE is required to run Java apps. The JVM needed to run JAR files is part of the JRE.

4. How can I find out the latest version of Java available?

The most recent version of Java can be found by visiting the official Oracle or OpenJDK websites, or by using command-line tools like "java -version."

5. Is the JDK primarily a compiler for Java code?

A Java compiler is included with the JDK, but it does more than that. It also includes a variety of libraries, development tools, and documentation for Java programming.

6. Is it feasible to execute a JAR file without the presence of the JDK on my system?

If you have the JRE installed, you can run a JAR file without the JDK. The JVM required to run JAR files is part of the JRE.


Java Online Training is a valuable resource for individuals seeking to enhance their knowledge of the Java platform. 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. This article also contains the differences between jdk vs jre vs jvm.

About Author
Shailendra Chauhan (Microsoft MVP, Founder & CEO at DotNetTricks)

Shailendra Chauhan is the Founder and CEO at ScholarHat by DotNetTricks which is a brand when it comes to e-Learning. He provides training and consultation over an array of technologies like Cloud, .NET, Angular, React, Node, Microservices, Containers and Mobile Apps development. He has been awarded Microsoft MVP 8th time in a row (2016-2023). He has changed many lives with his writings and unique training programs. He has a number of most sought-after books to his name which has helped job aspirants in cracking tough interviews with ease.
Accept cookies & close this