Java roadmap: Oracle's two-year plan

The company is planning aggressive moves for the critical software platform in the next few years. Here's a rundown

Java, first launched at Sun Microsystems in 1995, remains a critical part of the technology landscape. It is entrenched atop Tiobe's monthly index of the most popular programming languages, besting C and all others. Two years ago, Oracle acquired Sun and thus became the vendor in charge of Java, even though Java does remain a community effort.

Oracle has an ambitious plan for Java for the next two years, with intentions to upgrade the Standard, Micro, and Enterprise versions with capabilities ranging from Mac OS X backing to cloud functionality. Part of that plan, however, involves the end of life for Java Platform, Standard Edition 6, so Oracle's roadmap might ruffle some feathers.

Here is what is on tap from Oracle for Java.

2012: JDK 7u4 (Java Development Kit 7 upgrade 4) Developer Preview for Mac OS X

This incremental upgrade for Java Platform, Standard Edition 7, released in mid-January, features a Mac OS X port for developers.

2012: Last public update of JDK 6

According to Oracle, Java SE 6 will no longer be publicly available after this July. But customers who want to continue accessing critical bug and security fixes as well as general maintenance can purchase Oracle Lifetime Support.

2012: JDK 7u6

In this upgrade, users get a Mac OS X Java Runtime Environment. OS integration and auto-update are featured as well.

2012: Java ME 7 (Java Platform, Micro Edition)

The miniature version of Java, geared to devices and embedded systems, is set to align with Java SE 7 and be fitted with new embedded and mobile APIs as well as adherence to the CDLC (Connected Limited Device Configuration)  specification.

Summer 2012: Java EE (Java Platform Enterprise Edition) 7

Versions 7 and 8 of the enterprise version of Java are to focus on capabilities in the cloud, modularity, and HTML5 realms. Whatever does not make it into Java EE 7 will be deferred to Java EE 8. Java EE 7 is slated to be featured in the GlassFish Server 4 application server later this year.

Summer 2013: JDK 8

This release features modular capabilities via Project Jigsaw, as well as JavaScript interoperability, Java Virtual Machine convergence, JavaFX 3.0, and Java closures capabilities and bulk parallel operations via the Lambda project.

Summer 2013: Java SE 8 Embedded

This release is set to feature convergence of Java SE and Java CDC (Connected Device Configuration) technology, which is geared to devices. Oracle also plans a subsequent release of Java ME, now termed release 8.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.