Oracle Upgrades to Java 19 for Speed ​​and Stability

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The official distribution of Java 19 made its appearance today at Oracle’s JavaOne conference in Las Vegas. The new release incorporates several key improvements to make life easier for developers while speeding up some of the complex server-side tools so they can take advantage of modern hardware, especially the more parallel options.

If the Java version number seems to be increasing faster than in the past, that’s intentional. Oracle commits to rolling out new official versions of the language twice a year. Maintaining this pace allows further improvements to work their way through the ecology and reach deployment.

“We are thrilled with this release,” said Georges Saab, senior vice president of Java development at Oracle. “This is the 10th release we’ll have done under the six-month cadence and we’ve been doing it now for about five years. We’re very pleased that all of these releases have arrived predictably, on schedule, on time. they were supposed to arrive in. We’re really happy with the process, which has allowed us to get new features into the hands of Java developers faster.

The rivalry of programming languages

Java competes with several other major programming languages ​​for the hearts and minds of C-level developers and executives who write the checks. The language has a reputation for being a bit verbose while offering solid and fast performance on a wide variety of chips and architectures.

Over the past decade, other languages ​​like JavaScript, PHP, and Python have gradually borrowed many successful ideas from the core of the Java stack. They now offer much better performance by mimicking some of the Java Virtual Machine (VM) just-in-time compilation techniques. At the same time, they may offer a more modern syntax that appeals to some developers, especially new ones learning the trade.

An open community and a closed enterprise version

The deployments of the official version become a little more ceremonial. The improvements have been widely released for some time as experimental builds. Oracle wants to engage developers through what it calls the Java Community Process so that the language evolves with the needs of the developer community. Some of the larger improvements are labeled with words like “Preview” or “Incubator” to signal that they may change faster than other, more stable parts of the code base.

“This comes from our commitment to building trust in the Java ecosystem,” Saab explained. “Things being done in the open JDK community led by Oracle engineers and developers can see all of this work happening as it happens. They can read mailing lists, understand, listen to design discussions, and see every change in code as it happens.

As Oracle continues to emphasize and nurture the open source community of developers that has grown around Java, they also offer a paid option for enterprise customers who are willing to pay for better performance. and better care. The Java SE Subscription option entitles paying customers to the GraalVM Enterprise version of the VM, as well as access to Java Management Service, a deployed code monitoring system.

Virtual threads and other improvements

Teams building server-side stacks will want to evaluate the virtual threads and structured concurrency tools emerging from what Oracle has called Project Loom. These virtual threads can be easier to start and stop. In the past, the standard model of Java assigned an operating system thread to each incoming request to a server, an architectural pattern that allowed all requests to be handled independently. The problem, however, is that each thread consumes memory, and the size of RAM effectively limits the number of requests a server can handle.

Lately, some simpler technologies like Node.js have gained conversions by avoiding the threading model, allowing them to handle much higher loads of simple queries with often much less RAM. The new virtual threads allow Java developers to match this performance.

Another area that will attract attention will be the ability to reach new forms of hardware. First, Oracle will deploy a version of the Java Virtual Machine for RISC-V, a chip architecture that is increasingly found in some of the new highly parallel chip designs. It is not uncommon for some chip designers to talk about containing more than 1,000 RISC-V cores that can operate independently of each other. Java’s new virtual machine allows Java developers to write code for this platform, which should attract the attention of artificial intelligence (AI) researchers who often want to use highly parallel chips like this to train AI models.

At the same time, the new version of the language includes a vector API that makes it easier for programmers to write code that will process large chunks of data. The JVM will be able to assign them to the correct cores in compatible hardware, allowing code to run much faster when the correct hardware is available.

Some of the other new features include revisions to the Java language itself which simplifies some of the syntax and also adds more structure which can help prevent bugs. Java 19 marks the final rollout of some of the new ideas that were part of what Oracle calls Project Amber. New record templates are now available in Java 19 as a preview. These can simplify the creation and maintenance of some of the data structures juggled by software.

Oracle is also adding better tools to connect Java code with code written for other languages. They reinforce the interface of foreign functions, making it easier for programmers to create hybrid software packages that take advantage of the best features of different languages.

Java platform: both stable and scalable

While much of the focus will be on reaching development milestones, Oracle also wants to highlight its continued dedication to building an open community around the language. They understand that the decision to invest in software languages ​​evolves over the years and that programmers are looking for a platform that is both stable and constantly evolving to meet the latest needs. Oracle invests as much in building this community as it does in the software improvements that flow from it.

“We’ve reached our 1,000,000th Certified Java Developer, so this is an exciting milestone,” said Chad Arimura, vice president of Java Developer Relations at Oracle. “We think part of our technology and innovation strategy around trust, innovation, predictability – you know, important core values ​​– we also think that applies to the community as well. Trust that there will be a community around you, innovation and ensuring that we continue to innovate the channels we use to reach these developers, and predictability to ensure that we continue to invest in existing programs that Java developers can use.

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