Together, the Java Development Kit (JDK), the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) form a powerful trifecta of Java platform components for developing and running Java applications. I’ve previously introduced the JDK and JVM, and in this quick tutorial you’ll learn about the JRE, which is the runtime environment for Java.

Practically speaking, a runtime environment is a piece of software that is designed to run other software. As the runtime environment for Java, the JRE contains the Java class libraries, the Java class loader, and the Java Virtual Machine. In this system:

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