There are four platforms of the Java programming language:
- Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE)
- Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE)
- Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME)
All Java platforms consist of a Java Virtual Machine (VM) and an application programming interface (API). The Java Virtual Machine is a program, for a particular hardware and software platform, that runs Java technology applications. Each Java platform provides a virtual machine and an API, and this allows applications written for that platform to run on any compatible system with all the advantages of the Java programming language: platform-independence, power, stability, ease-of-development, and security.
Java SE’s API provides the core functionality of the Java programming language. It defines everything from the basic types and objects of the Java programming language to high-level classes that are used for networking, security, database access, graphical user interface (GUI) development, and XML parsing.
In addition to the core API, the Java SE platform consists of a virtual machine, development tools, deployment technologies, and other class libraries and toolkits commonly used in Java technology applications.
Java EE’s differs from the Java SE in that it adds libraries which provide functionality to deploy fault-tolerant, distributed, multi-tier Java software, based largely on modular components running on an application server.
In other words, if your application demands a very large scale, distributed system, then you should consider using Java EE. Built on top of Java SE, it provides libraries for database access (JDBC, JPA), remote method invocation (RMI), messaging (JMS), web services, XML processing, and defines standard APIs for Enterprise JavaBeans, servlets, portlets, Java Server Pages, etc.
The Java ME platform provides an API and a small-footprint virtual machine for running Java programming language applications on small devices, like mobile phones. The API is a subset of the Java SE API, along with special class libraries useful for small device application development. Java ME applications are often clients of Java EE platform services.
JavaFX is a platform for creating rich internet applications using a lightweight user-interface API. JavaFX applications use hardware-accelerated graphics and media engines to take advantage of higher-performance clients and a modern look-and-feel as well as high-level APIs for connecting to networked data sources. JavaFX applications may be clients of Java EE platform services.