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Java SE 13 adds performance, security, stability features

Java SE 13 provides developers with new features to make the Java language and platform more secure and stable. Oracle has also rolled out free cloud services and developer tools.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Java SE 13 is generally available along with new programs to attract more developers to the Oracle cloud and Linux platforms.

Java SE 13 (JDK 13), the latest version of the Java language and platform, provides features to improve the performance of Java at startup and during processing, as well as to improve security and stability of the platform, said Georges Saab, vice president of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, during the Oracle Code One conference here this week.

In addition to core new features, including Dynamic CDS Archives, Uncommit Unused Memory and a reimplementation of the Legacy Socket API, Java SE13 also delivers two new preview features. One is Switch Expressions, which extends Java switch so it can be used as either a statement or an expression. It also helps to prepare Java for future features, such as pattern matching, said Brian Goetz, a Java language architect at Oracle. The other preview feature is the addition of text blocks to the Java language. This simplifies the task of expressing strings that span several lines of source code. It also improves the usability of Java's Application Class-Data Sharing feature, which improves startup and footprint, Goetz said.

Developers influence Java releases via previews

Just a couple of years ago, Oracle moved to a faster release cadence of every six months for new versions of Java. Previously, Oracle released new versions of Java every few years. The addition of preview features allows developers to test new features and provide feedback to Oracle. That feedback shapes how new features look when released in a new version.

The Java preview features have worked well for Oracle, such that no preview feature has been rejected, but developer input has influenced Oracle to delay adding a feature or to modify the feature to better suit developer needs, said Donald Smith, senior director of product management at Oracle.

Java SE13 is proof that the new six-month release cycle is effective, said Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research.

The Java community should not be disappointed about the fewer features compared to the older release strategy. The key thing is now to see if enterprises adopt new Java features faster for their 'next-gen' apps.
Holger MuellerAnalyst, Constellation Research

"As a consequence, the community should not be disappointed about the fewer features compared to the older release strategy," he said. "The key thing is now to see if enterprises adopt new Java features faster for their 'next-gen' apps.

Gil Tene, CTO of Azul Systems, said he was skeptical of the sped-up Java release cadence, but the stability of the Java Community Process (JCP) along with the Java reference implementation and the Java Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) gave him assurance that the speedier cadence would work just fine.

Bruno Souza, president of SouJava, a Java user group based in Brazil, concurred. In moving to the six-month cadence, Oracle and the JCP kept its commitment to a fast, open source development model, but also kept the same standards of compatibility and quality, he said.

OpenJDK, the open source version of Java SE, is where innovation will occur, Souza said. "And the TCK lets us verify that all these implementations run the same way," he added. Meanwhile, Java tools vendors have begun to take the Java release cadence into account for their products and services. For instance, Mala Gupta, a developer advocate at JetBrains, which produces the popular IDEA IntelliJ Java IDE, said JetBrains has a four-month release cycle that is tuned to keep up with each new release of Java.

Moreover, enterprise users such as Sabre, a Southlake, Texas travel tech company, use Java after migrating many of their applications from the mainframe to Java environments.

"The adoption of Java SE allows us to innovate at a rate that is required in the travel space," said Kenny Kon, director of site reliability at Sabre.

Free Oracle cloud services for developers

Meanwhile, to attract new developers to Oracle's platforms, the company introduced Oracle Cloud Free Tier, which includes new "always free" services for developers to try the Oracle Autonomous Database and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure including Compute VMs, Block and Object Storage, and Load Balance for an unlimited time, said Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of software development at Oracle.

Oracle also includes a set of developer tools to help developers build apps on the Oracle platforms. These tools include Oracle Application Express for low-code web application development, SQL Developer Web for user interaction with the database, Machine Learning Notebooks, REST APIs for publishing database data and drivers for all popular programming languages.

Oracle's Free Tier program has two components: the Always Free services, which provide access to Oracle Cloud services for an unlimited time; and a free trial, which provides $300 in credits for 30 days for developers to try additional services.

The new Always Free program includes:

  • Two Autonomous Databases (Autonomous Data Warehouse or Autonomous Transaction Processing), each with 1 OCPU and 20 GB storage
  • Two Compute VMs, each with 1/8 OCPU and 1 GB memory
  • Two Block Volumes, 100 GB total, with up to 5 free backups
  • 10 GB Object Storage, 10 GB Archive Storage and 50,000/month API requests
  • One Load Balancer, 10 Mbps bandwidth
  • 10 TB/month Outbound Data Transfer
  • 500 million ingestion Datapoints and 1 billion Datapoints for Monitoring Service
  • One million notification delivery options per month and 1000 emails per month

"We want to bring as many developers to the Oracle platform as possible and these free offerings make it attractive for developers to try Oracle," Coekaerts said.

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