Java update spotlights JavaScript, memory usage

Java Development Kit 8, Update 40 from Oracle addresses memory management, native packaging, JavaScript compatibility, and usability

Java programming language

With a planned update to Java today, Oracle looks to improve memory management, native packaging, JavaScript compatibility, and usability.

Java Development Kit 8, Update 40 (JDK 8u40), which arrives nearly a year after the introduction of Java SE 8 itself, touches up the popular enterprise application platform in a number of ways, including garbage collection, for memory management. Garbage collection enhancements would limit the likelihood of long pauses while system resources are freed. Reliance on full garbage collections for class unloading or other critical operations has been reduced.

In addition, the amount of memory can be reduced in systems leveraging multiple JVMs, and native memory tracking has been improved to allow it to run without significant performance impacts, Oracle said. This feature allows for diagnosis of JVM memory leaks.

Native packaging improvements, Oracle said, enable development of “native-feel applications” that do not require clients to have an existing Java runtime installed. “These self-contained applications can then be deployed into areas like the Mac app store. The application developer has full control over the runtime and application entry points,” Oracle said in a statement.

Update 40 covers JavaScript and dynamic languages capabilities in Java as well. Optimizations based on Java’s Nashorn JavaScript runtime include support for dynamic languages and a class filter for fine-grained access to Java classes from JavaScript code through a filtering interface. A lambda form reduction and caching enhancement, meanwhile, reduces the necessary memory footprint for applications and improves performance of dynamic languages. Lambda capabilities have been a highlight of Java 8.

Regarding JavaFX, new features enable modernization of the JavaFX stack on Mac OS and accommodate the Mac App store; the JavaFX media stack has been ported on Mac OS from QTKit and QuickTime to the newer AVFoundation Framework. “With this, developers using the JavaFX media stack can now gain Mac App Store acceptance and have the opportunity to have their applications released on the Mac App Store,” Oracle said.

To simplify usability for Oracle Java SE Advanced users, the software can now be dynamically enabled from the command line or Java Mission Control without regard to original start-up parameters, Oracle said. Java SE Advanced offers capabilities intended to minimize costs of deployment, monitoring, and maintenance.

To assist with updating time zones in the JDK, Update 40 features a new updater tool that can consume “raw” data rules from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority registry and convert them to the necessary format required by the Java Runtime Environment.

Oracle in April will end public updates to the nearly four-year-old Java SE 7 platform. Customers who want these must sign up for a support agreement, according to the company. Existing Java SE 7 downloads will remain accessible. Java SE 7 was launched in July 2011.

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