Understated (but happy) developers launch Java7

Oracle last night drew in the great and the good from the global software development community to listen to a global webcast to celebrate the first release candidate of JDK7.

Key new features will include several relatively subtle improvements, as well as a better level of suitability for multicore-driven parallelism in programming structures.

As viewers tuned in to Oracle’s live online broadcast from Redwood City, California, Java chief architect Mark Reinhold kicked off by saying that the most significant thing about the new release was that, “We’re finally shipping it!”

After what is around five years since the release of Java 6, the new version was (as a whole) not glorified as “ground breaking” by its own development team gurus.

“We all know that for various business and political reasons, this release has taken some time,” said Reinhold.

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Image credit: http://kenai.com/

Describing this release as more “evolution than revolution”, Reinhold said this release candidate is said to feature 13 major changes since the time of the last build and roughly half of these are described as “administrative” in nature.

“We finally have a real file system API that will let you do things like manipulate symbolic links and access filesystem-specific operations,” he said.

New “showstopper” features include fixes to several hard VM crashes and a JIT correctness bug with its roots in Eclipse.

According to Oracle’s Java 7 website info, “A large-scale effort to refactor, or break up, the Java SE platform into smaller, separate, interdependent modules. Individual modules can then be downloaded as required by the Java virtual machine and/or Java applications. This effectively shrinks the size of the runtime on the user’s machine.”

“One benefit of modularisation is that the platform is a smaller download, potentially improving start-up performance. Having a smaller memory footprint also enables significant performance improvements, especially for desktop applications. A smaller platform also means it can now fit on devices with less memory,” said the company on its developer web portal zone.

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