Java remains one of the most popular programming languages, so many professionals who develop with the language need to stay on top any changes that occur. Java 9, which was released in September 2017, does have some notable shifts, even when compared to its predecessor, Java 8.
To help you stay up to date, here’s what you need to know about Java 9.
Say Hello to Modules
While Java 8 was all about lambdas, Java 9 is essentially focused on modularity, or Java Platform Modules.
Modules reflect a new way of building and deploying software, which brings certain benefits, like helping developers create software with a better underlying architecture and a smaller runtime footprint.
However, like any technological change, there are some challenges. For example, migrating a project from Java 8 to Java 9 does involve a few hurdles, such as the changes to the behavior of the “public” keyword.
In Java 9, if a class is not included in the module API, including public methods, then it cannot be called in the software. Further, reflection and method handles provide little help, as these calls can also be prevented based on the new runtime. This can result in an “illegal access” error, which is likely to be present in any migrated project.
A Series of Upgrades and Retests
Based on the arrival of modules, changes to items may be required. For example, particular major libraries must be upgraded to function properly with Java 9, leading to the issue commonly referred to as the “library lockstep” problem. Since multiple upgrades are involved, specific applications being transitioned to Java 9 may require a full retest, and remediation work will likely be a necessity along the way.
Additionally, not everything in Java 9 is backward-compatible. This means certain classes for Java 9 features will have to be addressed, typically by shipping a jar, if the software also needs to work on Java 8. “Multi-release jars” allows a multi-release flag to be set, giving the runtime the ability to include version-specific paths for the classpath resolution. Since the flag isn’t known by Java 8, the system ignores it, keeping the versioned directories from being involved.
Ultimately, Java 9 represents a modernization of the language through its use of modules, allowing developers to craft apps with well-built architectures. However, the changes do have a learning curve associated with them, so not every team or project will automatically see the benefit in the update immediately.
However, familiarizing yourself with Java 9 now allows you to prepare for the future of Java development, ensuring your skill set remains on the cutting edge.
If you are interested in finding a new position as a Java developer, the professionals at The Armada Group can assist you by connecting you with opportunities throughout the area. Contact us today to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff and see how our services can help you advance in your Java career.