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What's in store for the next Java

Fresh from the long-awaited release of Java Development Kit (JDK) 9 on September 21, Oracle is mapping out planned upgrades for Java, including for the Java 18.3 version due in March 2018 as part of a new, six-month release schedule for standard Java.

Here is what Oracle has said is under consideration for the next and later versions of Java SE:

  • The Amber Project, which has been an incubator for smaller, productivity-oriented language features that include local-variable type inference, to decrease the ceremony associated writing Java code; enhanced enums, to improve expressiveness of the enum construct by allowing type variables in enums and performing sharper type-checking for enum constants; and lambda leftovers, to boost the usability of lambda and method references.
  • Project Panama, to interconnect JVM and native code, featuring native function calling from the JVM and native data access from the JVM.
  • Valhalla, an incubator project for advanced Java VM and language feature candidates including value types and generic specialization.
  • Project Loom, to reduce complexity in writing concurrent applications. The plan calls for adding alternative, user-mode thread implementations, delimited continuations, and other constructs involving call-stack manipulation. The main goal of this proposal is to offer an alternative implementation of threads, managed by schedulers written in Java. The Java programming model of ordinary Java threads would be preserved while performance is improved and the footprint reduced.

With the new six-month release schedule, features that miss one release may be delayed as few as six months, when the next release comes out. Oracle has not committed to when any of the new proposed features will actually be made available in Java.

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