Java 8 developer preview ready for testing

The upgrade's biggest feature is the addition of multiprocessor accommodations

Even though a general-release development kit for Java SE (Standard Edition) 8 is not due until next year, Oracle is offering a preview build for developers to test right now.

In a blog post, Oracle's Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java Platform Group, urges developers to test out the developer preview for JDK (Java Development Kit) 8, which became available on Monday. JDK 8 is a based on Java SE 8.

"We've run all tests on all Oracle-supported platforms and haven't found any glaring issues. We've also fixed many of the bugs discovered since we reached the feature-complete mileistone back in June," wrote Reinhold. The key feature of the release is Project Lambda, which is intended to make it easier to write code for multiprocessors. "It adds lambda expressions, default methods, and method refer­ences to the Java programming language and extends the libraries to support parallelizable operations upon streamed data."

Oracle had planned to release JDK 8 this month, but the company postponed availability until early next year, to focus on security improvements. Security has been a thorn in the side of Java recently, with many issues arising although Oracle has worked to take care of the problems. Oracle became the steward of Java when it acquired Java founder Sun Microsystems in 2010.

"If you've been watching JDK 8 evolve from afar, then now is an excellent time to download a build and try it out -- the sooner the better," Reinhold said. "Let us know if your existing code doesn't compile and run correctly on JDK 8, if it runs slower than before, if it crashes the JVM, or if there are any remaining design issues in the new language and API features."

Other features of JDK 8 include a new date and time API, compact profiles, and the Nashorn JavaScript engine. It also has new "anti-features," as Reinhold describes them, like removal of the permanent generation from the HotSpot virtual machine. "This is part of the JRockit and Hotspot (JVM) convergence effort. JRockit customers do not need to configure the permanent generation (since JRockit does not have a permanent generation) and are accustomed to not configuring the permanent generation," Oracle said in documentation on this feature.

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