Key new capability: Better multicore and parallelism support
A multicore-ready API in the release, from the Fork/Join Framework, lets developers more easily decompose problems into tasks for parallel execution across multiple processor cores. IDC analyst Hilwa calls the multicore and parallels capabilities "the most innovative additions" in Java SE 7, and they will let developers "harness underlying multicore processors better."
Key new capability: Compiler optimizations for developer productivity
Developer productivity also is aided in Java SE 7, via Project Coin, which adds language changes to simplify common programming tasks and reduce coding. It clarifies syntax and makes the code easier to read, says Austin User Group chief Ratcliff.
Project Coin's diamond syntax for constructor calls lets the compiler infer type arguments, and the try-with-resources statement helps the compiler make reliable code by automatically closing files, sockets, and database connections when developers forget to do this, Ratcliff says: "That's something that's been tripping up developers -- especially young developers -- for years. That'll be a good productivity improvement and will reduce bugs."
Key new capabilities: File I/O, graphics, and sound boosts
"I'm particularly a fan of the NIO2 [file-system capabilities]," says Java founder Gosling. The new NIO2 capabilities provide an interface for working with file systems that can access more file attributes and offer more information about errors, Oracle's documentation says.
Java advocate Peter Lawrey, author of the Vanilla Java blog, cites Sockets Direct Protocol (SDP) capabilities as important for network file I/O. "SDP is really there to improve support for Infiniband," he says. Infiniband is a competitor to iSCSI that has been making some headway in virtualization environments.
Java SE 7 also features the XRender pipeline for 2D graphics rendering; it runs on top of the X Window system and can access modern graphics processors.
A new sound engine, called Gervill, enables multiple applications on Linux to play sound using Audio Synthesis Engine Project MIDI synthesizer.
This story, "Java 7: What's in it for developers," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in programming at InfoWorld.com. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.