Java Development Kit 9: What to Expect

Java Standard Edition (SE) 8 was initially released on March 18, 2014, introducing several features into the general-purpose programming language, some of which includes language-level support for lambda expressions, a runtime environment in which developers can embed JavaScript code, annotation for Java Types, repeating annotations, linked JNI libraries, and the ability to remove permanent generation. But many developers are already looking towards the future, asking the question: what’s next for Java?

While Java SE 9 isn’t expected to be released until 2017, some details have been released regarding the next-generation Development Kit used to build apps, applets, and components.

Modularity

Java SE Development Kit 9 will reportedly feature modularization, which should improve performance, scalability and maintability. Modularization is based on Project Jigsaw, breaking down the components of a program or application into classes, packages, and larger units. As noted by Alex Buckley, they are more connected to the tools ecosystem than lambdas. Mark Reinhold, chief architect of Oracle’s Java platform group, said modularity is designed to replace the error-prone class-path mechanism to streamline efficiency.

Of course, modularization isn’t new concept by any means, as Oracle has planned to use it in Java SE Development Kit 8. Due to setbacks, however, the feature was postponed until the next, ninth-generation of Java.

Modules are about shapes of programs in the large. We deal with classes and packages and get bigger from there,” said Alex Buckley, Specification Lead for the Java programming language and the Java Virtual Machine at Oracle.Modules affect all phases of development. Compiling, testing, packaging, deploying, running. So they’re much more connected to the tools ecosystem than a feature like lambdas.

Say ‘Goodbye’ to Java Browser Plugin

It’s been a long time in the making, but it appears that Oracle is finally giving its Java Browser plugin the boot. When Java SE Development Kit 9 is released next year, it will no longer support the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI). So, why is Oracle finally ditching its Java Browser plugin after all of these years? The company released a statement, in which it cited two primary reasons: security and market forces.

Because Java code running in NPAI has full permissions (it’s not sandboxes), it poses a serious security risk. In fact, Java browser plugin vulnerabilities remain one of the most targeted exploits used by hackers. Towards the end of last year, many web browsers removed or announced the removal of plug-ins for Flash, Silverlight and Java. You can learn more about Oracle’s decision to ditch support for its Java Browser plugin by clicking here.

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