JDK update

Java Development Kit 8u20 update arrives with new enterprise features

While most of us were still busy discussing the latest Java 9 feature announcements, Oracle brought out another update to the Java 8 Development Kit. The latest JDK, available for download here, brings a number of new features, tools and enhancements, along with the obligatory bug fixes – most of which are focused on Java’s commercial products.

The 8u20 highlights

The two big new features are an improved Mission Control and an Advanced Management Console, together with a host of medium to small-sized performance updates and changes.

The Advanced Management Console has arrived for Java SE users. This commercial product gives programmers information about which JREs and applications are being used with details about each one.Java Mission Control 5.4 features new plug-in IDE launcher integration (notably for Eclipse 4.4) as well as a JFR plug-in and several other improvements. There’s also the MSI compatible installer which allows sysadmins to “provide automated, consistent installation of the JRE across all desktops in the enterprise, free of user interaction requirements”.

8u20 also brings with it a number of performance updates, in particular String De-Duplication and improved support for apps running in Garbage Collector G1. Additional features include security and applet changes to the Control Panel and the new flags MinHeapFreeRatio and MaxHeapFreeRatio.

For a full list of all changes, big and small, check out the 8u20 release notes.

Java 8? Pfft, who cares anymore?

Although there’s plenty of reasons for mild feelings of excitement at these updates, most of the buzz in the Java community has since moved on to the chatter about Java 9, which received its first big news this week – since the appearance of early releases JDK 9 earlier this month.  

Among the latest features to be confirmed for Java’s next major release are three new APIs: a lightweight JSON API, a HTTP client and updates to the process API. In addition, Oracle also announced they want to improve performance when threads compete over access to objects, as well as introduce a segmented code cache for less fragmentation and shorter sweep times. Of course that’s all nothing compared to Project Jigsaw (Java 9’s equivalent of Java 8’s lambdas), which is focusing on scalability for smaller devices, improved security for the JDK and Java SE, enhanced performance and easier construction of libraries and large applications.

Coman Hamilton

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