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Oracle speeds up development process with Java 8

Analysis Converges versions as the Internet of Things beckons
Wed Mar 26 2014, 17:50
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IN WHAT IT DESCRIBED AS "the most significant upgrade to the Java Programming Model Ever", Oracle has launched Java SE 8 and Java ME 8 with an eye on convergence between the two platforms.

As we reported last week, key additions to the new Java include the long-awaited addition of lambda expressions to allow users to create subroutines without the need for an identifier - as one programmer put it to us, basically enabling twice the code in half the number of lines, a new "Nashorn" Javascript Engine, a new date and time API capable of supporting a number of world calendar types, Compact Profiles, and the removal of "permanent generation" from the Hotspot Java Virtual Machine.

Brian Goetz, Java Language Architect at Oracle, described the new platform as offering opportunities for "more expressive, readable, maintainable, performing code that's also a lot of fun to use". Compact profiles have been added to allow users to shrink down Java implementations without superfluous code and APIs to shrink the footprint of their applications.

This shrinking footprint was central to many of the day's announcements, as Oracle also used the launch to announce Java SE 8 Embedded, designed wih the Internet of Things in mind and capable of running with as little as 10MB static footprint and 16MB of RAM.

The previously announced Java ME 8, which alongside its Embedded version is designed for Internet of Things services and is capable of running at fast speeds on low power devices, has been made available for a range of machines and architectures including ARM chips and Raspberry Pi kits.

During the launch yesterday, Roger Riggs, who worked on both SE and ME, confirmed that while it was not possible to include lambda expressions in Java ME 8, it is being prepared for future editions.

Also announced was general availablity of Netbeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) 8.0, the free open-source IDE which enables developers to build apps across platforms including PHP, C/C++ as well as Java and HTML5.

The launch of Netbeans open source reflects Oracle's emphasis on leveraging the nine million strong developer community and the firm used the launch as an opportunity to promote not only the products but the active user groups around the world, which will be encouraged by code convergence that will see more code overlap between Java ME and Java SE.

Nandini Ramani, Oracle VP of development for Java explained, "Java is the global standard for developing and delivering applications everywhere, from small devices to the Cloud. The convergence of Java SE 8 and Java ME 8 is intended to provide a consistent development environment that improves developer productivity and application performance, along with the ability to 'right-size' the platform for deployment across an even wider range of use cases."

The firm will be hoping that the latest release will avoid any of the security issues that affected previous versions, which led some security vendors to advise switching away from Java completely. Oracle took the decision last year to delay the release of Java 8 to free up its developers to instead focus on fixing any security bugs.

The Java Development Kit, JDK 8, and the Java SE Runtime Environment, JRE 8, are available for download along with the Netbeans IDE 8.0, with the micro edition (ME) to become available this spring. µ


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