Java was originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which has since been acquired by Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform. The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++, but it has fewer low-level facilities than either of them.
Since J2SE 1.4, the evolution of the Java language has been governed by the Java Community Process (JCP), which uses Java Specification Requests (JSRs) to propose and specify additions and changes to the Java platform.
Java Version SE 8
Java Version SE 7
Code named Dolphin and released on July 28, 2011.New features in Java SE 7 Strings in switch Statement Type Inference for Generic Instance Creation Multiple Exception Handling Support for Dynamic Languages.
Java Version SE 6
Code named Mustang and released on December 11, 2006. New features in Java SE 6 Scripting Language Support JDBC 4.0 API Java Compiler API Pluggable Annotations Native PKI, Java GSS, Kerberos and LDAP support. Integrated Web Services. Lot more enhancements.
Java Version SE 5.0
Code named Tiger and released on September 30, 2004.New features in J2SE 5.0 Generics Enhanced for Loop Autoboxing/Unboxing Typesafe Enums Varargs Static Import Metadata (Annotations) Instrumentation.
Java Version SE 1.4
Code named Merlin and released on February 6, 2002 (first release under JCP).New features in J2SE 1.4 XML Processing Java Print Service Logging API Java Web Start JDBC 3.0 API Assertions Preferences API Chained Exception IPv6 Support Regular Expressions Image I/O API