Waiting on nine

Java 9 features announced!

Coman Hamilton

New APIs, performance features and modular source code are the first features to be confirmed for Oracle’s next major Java release

Oracle has taken its development of Java 9 up a gear.
A preliminary set of Java Enhancement Proposals (JEPs) for the next
major release 9 has
appeared on OpenJDK
. And this time, Oracle are talking real
Previous early access releases
of JDK9 were restricted
exclusively to “bug fixes and small enhancements only”.

New APIs and performance features

The next release is to feature three new APIs:

  1. A lightweight JSON API for
    consuming and generating JSON documents and data streams

  2. A HTTP 2
    that will bring HTTP 2.0 and websockets, while replacing
    the legacy HttpURLConnection

  3. Process API
    to improve controlling and managing operating-system
    process (developers were often forced to use native code with the
    current API)

Along with several other smaller features, as well as
dozens of proposals already being tracked by the JEP Index, Oracle has also
promised another trio of performance features:

  1. Improve
    contended locking
    , which aims at improving performance when
    threads compete over access to objects

  2. Segmented
    code cache
     with better performance, shorter sweep times,
    less fragmentation and further extensions to come

  3. The Smart Java compiler, or
    sjavac, will be improved to allow default use in the JDK build and
    general use for building larger projects

Java’s native interface will also be revisited as part
of the Java Native Runtime
, which was hinted at during the JavaOne in 2011, when
Oracle also discussed
a Java 9 release in 2016 featuring improved support for
multi-gigabyte heaps and a self-tuning JVM.

Modular Source Code

If these features haven’t already whet your appetite,
then Oracle’s promise of modular source code surely
will. JEP 201 is aiming to reorganise the source code of the JDK
into modules, and thereby essentially lay the foundations for a
structured implementation of Project Jigsaw.

Jigsaw, which was
dropped from Java 7 and pushed back to Java 9, remains one of the
biggest talking points of Oracle’s next release. The chief goals of
the project are to provide to scalability for smaller devices,
improved security for the JDK and Java SE, enhanced performance and
easier construction of libraries and large applications. Meanwhile,
the Penrose
is exploring interoperability between Jigsaw and the
Open Source Gateway initiative.

Georges Saab, VP of Software Development at Oracle’s
Java Platform Group previously
told JAXenter
that work is progressing on the Jigsaw project
and the the development team “is exploring and prototyping a
simplified approach” to ensure that it’s ready in time for Java

A turbulent release history

However Oracle has been know to struggle with the
punctuality of its Java releases. Numerous setbacks, such as the
trickier-than-expected Project
and the infamous
applet-based security issues
forced the company to push back
the release of Java 8 by a total of two years. And even since then,
an update of Java 8 has reportedly been
causing numerous dev tools to break down

is it so hard to find a good Java developer?

Java 9 is currently planned for 2016, giving Oracle
less than two years (as opposed to the usual three) to ready the
new release, but also leaving plenty of time for requests,
feature announcements and the inevitable delays.

Coman Hamilton
Before becoming Editor of JAXenter.com (S&S Media Group), Coman completed an M.A. in Cultural Studies and wrote for numerous websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies. // Want to submit a story? Get me at coman[AT]jaxenter.com or linkedin.com/in/comanhamilton
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