Developers Embrace Java 8 Features While Looking Forward to Java 9 - Page 4

Meanwhile, beyond Java 9, Oracle is looking at "some further extensions of the language, in particular to introduce Value Types, which are a way of defining a very lightweight class that never needs to be allocated in memory and therefore can be laid out very efficiently in arrays," Reinhold said.

According to the Typesafe survey, nearly 30 percent of respondents said they were already looking forward to Java 9 with "strong interest." Two major Java 9 features were of particular interest with 48 percent of respondents stating they were most excited about Value Types, while 43 percent said they are most interested in Project Jigsaw.

Open-source Java tools developers are also expressing support for Java 9. "Eclipse will be shipping full support for Java 9 once it is available," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of The Eclipse Foundation, which provides some of the most popular tools available for Java developers.

"Java 9 will require even more work than Java 8, because modularity will require enhancements to the tools for application building and packaging as well as compiler and editor enhancements," Milinkovich said. "We will be shipping interim feature packs over the next year and a half so the community can try out Eclipse with Java 9 during development."

In fact, it looks like modularity will be an important factor for Java 9 adoption. "I think the most exciting and broadly anticipated thing coming to Java 9 is modularity," said Al Hilwa, and analyst with IDC. "I think this will have a long-term impact in terms of the longevity of the language and its ability to be evolved to accommodate new requirements. But Java 9 has many other improvements coming, as well, like the JSON [JavaScript Object Notation] API and the process API."

Yet, with Java being such a mature language and platform, how much more room is there for innovation? Reinhold said there is plenty.

However, "we will continue to evolve the language and the platform within the conservative pattern that we've established," he said. "We will not be breaking the code, but over the years, we've learned how to essentially lift up the house and pour a new foundation underneath it, Reinhold said.

"Overall, the complexity budget of the language has a bit more room to grow, not a whole lot, but I think there's a bit more to go," he said.