Oracle Festivities Big on New Java 8 Language Strengths

Oracle held a coming-out party for Java 8, focusing on key new features of the language and platforms like lambda expressions and the JVM.

Although it shipped a week ago, Oracle formally launched Java 8 with major fanfare, including a highly polished Webcast March 25 that delved into key features of the new platform.

As part of the most significant Java technology release by Oracle, the company hosted a Java 8 launch Webcast to tout Java Platform, Standard Edition 8 (Java SE 8), Java Platform, Micro Edition 8 (Java ME 8) and the related releases of Oracle's Java Embedded products.

Members of the Oracle Java development team, as well as other industry leaders, took part in the festivities. In addition, Oracle made more than 30 technical videos covering Java SE 8, Java ME 8, Java Embedded and the Internet of Things available on demand.

"This release is a giant leap forward for Java," said Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, in the Webcast. "The introduction of Lambda Expressions and the related Streams API is the largest upgrade to the Java Standard Edition Platform. It is the largest upgrade to the programming model ever done.

"By making it convenient to express code as data, we have enabled the creation of more powerful APIs, which in turn can improve your productivity by reducing boilerplate code and providing a simpler model for leveraging today's multicore processors," he said.

However, Java 8 is more than about lambdas; it also includes a new and vastly improved date and time API, Reinhold said.

And Java SE 8 can run on a wider range of hardware configurations than ever before, he noted. "It includes a set of compact profiles that are official well-defined subsets of the platform, the smallest of which fits into just 11MB of memory and is ideal for use in embedded computers," Reinhold said. "For even smaller devices, and in particular for the rapidly evolving Internet of things (IoT), Java 8 includes the simultaneous release of Java Micro Edition 8. This major upgrade brings modern language features and APIs to the Java ME platform yet retains the ability to fit an implementation into just a few hundred kilobytes."

In addition, Oracle announced the availability of JDK 8, a production-ready implementation of the Java SE 8 Platform Specification, which was recently approved through the Java Community Process (JCP). This release includes the largest upgrade to the Java programming model since the platform was introduced in 1996. JDK 8 was developed collaboratively in the OpenJDK Community.

"Java is the global standard for developing and delivering applications everywhere—from small devices to the cloud," said Nandini Ramani, vice president of development for the Java Platform at Oracle, in a statement. "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 Java 8 launch will showcase the innovative features of Java SE 8 and Java ME 8 and demonstrate how the latest Java platform releases can revolutionize application development, harmonize enterprise IT and empower the Internet of Things."

Oracle also announced Oracle Java SE Embedded 8, which leverages the new Java SE 8 features and is optimized for mid- to high-end embedded systems. Oracle JDK 8 and Oracle Java SE Embedded 8 are now available to download. Java SE 8 and Java ME 8 are on a strong convergence path, with Java ME 8 scheduled for availability later this spring, Oracle said.

"ARM and Oracle are working together to define and integrate technology components to make the Internet of Things more viable for businesses and developers," said Ian Drew, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of business development at ARM, in a statement. "The Oracle JDK 8 release showcases our collaboration that will drive standards and an open ecosystem enabling developers to create applications from smart IoT devices to servers."

With a consistent Java 8 platform across embedded devices, desktops, data centers and the cloud, customers can deploy applications faster, process and analyze in-flight data and act on events as quickly as they occur, the company said. Leveraging Java's cross-platform benefits, the Oracle Java Embedded implementations are designed to increase hardware flexibility and platform choice, allow easier application portability and help extend product lifecycles.