Thursday, September 30, 2021

Chasing Java's release train: JDK-17, the next big thing

Here we go, JDK-17, the next LTS release, just became generally available. It is an important milestone for the OpenJDK for years to come but sadly, Project Loom, the most anticipated improvement of the JVM platform, was not able to make it, despite the extraordinary progress being made. Well, if you are still on JDK-8, like the majority of us, who cares, right?

Not really, for example Spring Framework had made an announcement quite recently to support JDK-17 as a baseline. It is very likely others will follow, leaving JDK-8 behind. So what is new in JDK-17?

And what is happening on the security side of things? Besides SecurityManager deprecation (JEP-411), it is worth to mention:

JDK-17 is an important release. First of all, it is going to become the de-facto choice for green field projects for the next couple of years. Second, the ones who are still on JDK-8 would migrate straight to JDK-17, skipping JDK-11 entirely (there are hardly any reasons to migrate to JDK-11 first). Consequently, the third, migration from JDK-11 to JDK-17 requires comparatively low efforts (in most cases), it is logical to expect seeing the JDK-17 kicking out JDK-11.

Are we done yet? Luckily, not at all, the JDK release train is accelerating, shifting from three years LTS releases to two years. Hopefully, this strategic decision would speed up the pace of migration, specifically for enterprises, where many are stuck with older JDKs.

And let us not forget, the JDK-18 is already in early access! It comes with the hope that Project Loom is going to be included, in some form or the other.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Chasing Java's release train, from 8 to 16. Part 3: The avalanche of releases ...

Undoubtedly, JDK-11 was an import milestone but once the dust settled, another target appeared on the horizon, JDK-17, the next LTS release. But between those, the avalanche of new releases and features was unleashed.

JDK 12

JDK-12 didn't have too many features packed into it nonetheless it includes considerable number of improvements, especially to G1 garbage collector.

Besides the changes we have talked about, JDK-12 has delivered quite a number of the security enhancements, notably:

JDK 13

Just when the excitement after JDK-12 release faded away, the JDK-13 was ready to come along. By all means, it was a minor one from the features perspective.

A fair amount of the security enhancements in JDK-13 is certainly worth checking out.

JDK 14

Going further, the JDK-14 kept the steady pace of innovation and was bundled with quite a useful set of changes. Let us take a look at the most interesting ones.

The JDK-14 was not without the security enhancements, the most disruptive of those was probably the removal of the java.security.acl APIs (see please JDK-8191138).

JDK 15

Arguably, the JDK-15 was a major one for the reasons that many experimental and preview features had finally graduated to mainstream and became ready for production use. Let us start from those.

Besides JEP-339 (EdDSA), there are quite a few security enhancements in JDK-15, the ones that deserve mentioning are:

JDK 16

If JDK-15 qualified as a major one then JDK-16 could be easily stamped as huge, packed with new language features, tooling and GC improvements. Let us dig right in.

Many security enhancements were baked into JDK-16, just to mention a couple:

JDK 17: Mostly There

Nonetheless the JDK-17 is not out yet, it has entered Rampdown Phase Two, meaning its feature set is frozen and no further JEPs will be targeted to this release. In the upcoming part we are going to cover it right when its release is announced. Stay tuned!