Oracle kicked off the JavaOne conference yesterday by shedding light on upcoming editions of Java and unveiling JavaFX 2.0, a new release of Oracle's platform for building rich client applications. The Java upgrades -- Java 8 and Java 9 -- promise improved support for multicore processing and big data, while JavaFX 2.0 tightens the focus on enterprise Java developers and data-driven business applications.
With Java 9, Oracle is developing an ambitious feature set. Capabilities the company is considering include a self-tuning Java Virtual Machine, improved native integration, and increased memory support for "big data" processing. Big data involves analyzing massive amounts of data, and it's good to hear Oracle is paying attention to the need to stretch Java's limits. "Two gigabytes is sometimes not big enough for an array of data," said Mark Reinhold, chief architect for the Java Platform at Oracle, referring to the current constraints of the JVM. Other capabilities eyed for Java 9 include meta-object protocol capabilities, to improve integration across language boundaries, and multitenancy, to allow several applications to dwell together.
There is still plenty of time for Oracle to flesh out the Java 9 to-do list. Meanwhile Java 8, which is due next year, is expected to provide capabilities such as modularization via Project Jigsaw and Lambda expressions via Project Lambda, the latter aimed at improving support for multicore programming. The forthcoming Java EE (Enterprise Edition) 7 release, meanwhile, has a cloud computing bent and would enable pruning of capabilities such as JAX-RX (Java API for Restful Web Services) by platform vendors if they so choose.
JavaFX, a lagging rival to Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight for the consumer Web and mobile devices, is now looking to carve out a niche in Java shops and enterprise client applications. With version 2.0, JavaFX becomes a set of Java libraries and APIs, allowing developers to create rich clients purely in Java -- as well as in other JVM languages such as Groovy and Scala. Version 2.0 also brings support for 3D graphics and effects, GPU-based graphics acceleration, integration into Swing applications, and an XML-based markup language for defining user interfaces called FXML.
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