Oracle Reunifies Java via Massive Upgrade

Michael Vizard
Mar. 25 2014, 12:00PM EDT

Moving to reunify Java in a way that will make it easier for developers to build applications spanning everything from the Internet of Things (IoT) to sophisticated backend Web applications running in the cloud, Oracle today released Java Platform, Standard Edition 8 and Java Platform, Micro Edition 8. The latest versions of Java 8 reduce the number of primary instances of Java down to two.

As the largest update to Java since it was first launched in 1996, the latest incarnations of Java means that applications built using Java 8 tools will be able to span everything from IoT sensors to the latest in-memory computing servers.

Java SE 8 provides reduced boilerplate code, improved collections and annotations, simpler parallel programming models and more efficient use of multicore processors.

Key features that are now included in the Java development kit (JDK) are Project Lambda (JSR 335) multicore processor extensions, the Nashorn JavaScript Engine, a new Date and Time API (JSR 310), a set of  JSR 310, a set of Compact Profiles and the removal of “permanent generation” from the HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Developers looking to start working with the latest versions of Java can download version 8.0 of the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment and the open source Eclipse team. The Eclipse team will add support for Java SE 8 in a Luna release scheduled for June 2014.

New features and enhancements have also been added to the latest JavaFX release within JDK 8; including an embedded specific graphics stack, new UI controls, a Modena theme, functionality to enable developers to embed Swing content into JavaFX applications, new 3D graphics features and additional HTML 5 support.

Peter Utzschneider, vice president of Java product management for Oracle, says that while Java has a major presence within existing Web applications; IoT represents the next big frontier. As IoT devices evolve, Utzschneider says that built in support for multithreading across multicore processors is going to make Java a preferred language for developing IoT applications.

Of course, the security of those applications is also going to be a major concern. While Java has been knocked for security issues associated with the Java plug-in for browsers, the security that Java has provided within embedded systems remains very high, says Utzschneider.

Naturally, there is no shortage of programing languages in the world today. After taking over the stewardship of Java following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems a fair amount of criticism has been lobbed at Oracle over the pace of development and innovation around a programming language that is widely used across the Web.

With this release Oracle looks to be making a concerted effort to restore faith in both Java as write once, run anywhere platform that can address everything from sensors to the most complex cloud computing applications.

Michael Vizard

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