Difference Between JDK, JRE and JVM


Java Standard Edition platform has two main products: Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK). Both of these products contain Java Virtual Machine (JVM) along with a variety of other components.

Java Virtual Machine (JVM)

JVM is basically used to convert Bytecode into machine code with the help of JIT (Just In Time) compiler. JVM has an instruction set that helps manipulate memory at run time. Different JVMs are provided for different Operating Systems and bit lengths.

Java Runtime Environment (JRE)

Java Runtime Environment is a package of libraries and other components, along with the JVM, which are required to run applets and applications written in the Java programming language. A pre-compiled bytecode can be run and executed using tools provided with JRE but there is no tool provided to develop an application. Thus JRE is considered suitable for Testing purpose.

Java Development Kit (JDK)

Java Development Kit is the superset of JRE. It has all the components of JRE along with additional command-line development tools such as compilers and debuggers that are needed for development of applets and applications. The Javac compiler that comes with JDK is used to convert .java files into .class or bytecodes.

Primary Difference Between JRE and JDK

The main difference between JRE and JDK is the presence of additional tools in case of JDK and the extent of usefulness of both the products. Javac which comes with JDK is used to compile the source code and convert it into bytecode whereas Javac compiler is not provided with JRE kit, which makes it useful only in the case where a pre-compiled bytecode needs to be executed. The option to compile and debug a source code rests only with the JDK.


Here's a Java-conceptual-Diagram to visually explain the hierarchy of Java products and underlying layers

References : Oracle share on :        :  

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