How to Decide What Java Platform to Use: SE, EE or ME

January 19, 2017

There are a variety of Java platforms to pick from, namely SE, ME and EE. Which one you pick depends on your needs.

If you are like me, it was a little overwhelming when I wanted to download Java so I could start doing some programming.  When you go to the Oracle download site, you see so many options, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to find out which one you should choose:

I remember thinking, “Do I need all of these? Or just one, and if so, which one". Needless to say, my head was spinning.

So, let me see if I can shed some light on the subject. The three main platforms are Java SE, Java ME and Java PE (and if you want a more detailed explanation of each, please check out my Linkedin Learning course, Java Platforms Compared: SE vs EE vs ME). 

So which one is best for you? Well, it depends on your needs. Java SE provides the core functionality for both Java ME and Java EE platforms, where ME is better for mobile and EE better for enterprise developers.

Here's a full breakdown of each one:

Java SE

What makes it unique: Provides baseline functionality for all platforms.


  • Easy to use
  • Used for desktop applications
  • Can be used for embedded systems
  • Used for game programming

Target Audience: Beginning Java developers.

Java EE

What makes it unique: Provides robust application development.


  • Provides user authentication
  • Multi-user support
  • Data preservation
  • Client-tier communications
  • Communication with other enterprise and legacy applications
  • Large-scale business applications
  • Handles the need for a distributed, transactional and portable application
  • EJB Components (Enterprise Java Beans)
  • Web server support

Target Audience:  Enterprise Java developers.

Java ME

What makes it unique: Provides support for mobile devices.


  • Best for building wireless, Java-based cell phone and PDA apps
  • Robust, flexible environment for applications running on mobile and embedded devices
  • Technology includes: mobile phones, set-top boxes, blu-ray disc players, digital media devices, mobile-to-mobile, modules, printers and more.

Target Market: Mobile device Java developers

I hope this helps you make an informed decision regarding which version of Java to download when the time comes!

Peggy Fisher is a staff author for LinkedIn Learning in the developer segment, covering topics like fundamentals for C++Java and ArduinoSee all of Fisher's classes here