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What's new and interesting in Java?

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

If I haven't been paying very close attention to the Java landscape, what am I missing? What advancements/releases are afoot?

Discussion (34)

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wmeddie profile image
Eduardo Gonzalez
  • I would say Graal with its support for many languages and compiling bytecode to a native executable is the most exciting thing to happen to the Java world in a while.
  • The new ZGC and ShenandoahGC are allowing us to have large heaps while keeping GC latency consistent.
  • With Docker being used more and Java 10 adding support for Docker, it's pretty easy to use the latest versions of Java without having to wait years for the official every-5-year Java upgrade.
  • The latest versions of Java incorporate many language features from Kotlin and Scala (both awesome) which is making it a nicer looking language than it was before.
  • Java EE (JakartaEE) and JavaFX being spun out into independent open source projects is looking like a very positive step, as they are both getting love from the community and are better than ever.
  • Quarkus is a new framework that is trying to bring in all this new cool stuff together in a single place and its performance numbers are looking awesome already.
  • DL4J 1.0 is coming soon and brining a new auto-differentiation library that is as powerful as all the python libraries out there.
  • Spring Boot/Spring Cloud DataFlow is making it easier than ever to create really powerful enterprise systems.
  • jOOQ is and awesome embedded Java-DSL that gives you the almost the full power of SQL without relying on concatenating strings together to make a query.

Tons of cool stuff going on.

greenroommate profile image
Haris Secic

I get the cool part of the Quarkus but I'm also a fan of Micronaut. It's like Spring but less proxying (if any at all) and cool new features. Now it has some difference in syntax but I'm fine with that.

stojakovic99 profile image
Nikola Stojaković

I'm currently learning Java EE (I find name JakartaEE horrible) because I'm planning to move on Java web development position; I already knew about GraalVM but I had no idea about other new stuff, I'm even more motivated now!

_darrenburns profile image
Darren Burns

jOOQ made working with databases in Java fun again for me!

citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

The animated GIF here sums it up quite nicely, especially if you haven't seen Java 8 and newer:

rhymes profile image
varunbarad profile image
Varun Barad

I'd say Kotlin is the biggest thing that happened to Java in the last few years.

vitalipom profile image
Vitali Pomanitski

What is Kotlin?

nektro profile image
Meghan (she/her)

Google's Java

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cjbrooks12 profile image
Casey Brooks

Kotlin is made by JetBrains, the brilliant folks behind Android Studio and IntelliJ, not Google. Google just encourages using Kotlin for Android development, but they do not develop it.

But yes, Kotlin is like a better syntax for Java, and fully interoperable with it. In my (very strong) opinion, new projects targeting the JVM should be written in Kotlin, not Java.

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gklijs profile image
Gerard Klijs

If it's a new project I would still much rather use Clojure instead. Part because it's more functional and has easier syntax, but mostly since it's more stable than Kotlin. I also don't like how tightly coupled Kotlin is to IntelliJ.
Also using Spring and Lombok Java is not that bad/verbose.

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cjbrooks12 profile image
Casey Brooks • Edited

I have my strong opinion because Kotlin feels very comfortable to a traditional Java dev. It's syntax, while different, has a lot of similarities and doesn't feel like an entirely new thing. Lombok is great, but you can't deny how hacky it is; Kotlin feels more like a non-hacky version of Lombok, and ultimately has a lot of similar goals: work well with normal Java code and normal Java devs, but reduce a lot of boilerplate.

I've never used Clojure, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but I do think it is more of a departure from traditional Java development, and requires a new way of thinking about code. Kotlin just encourages that new way of functional thinking, but you're more than welcome to keep doing things "the Java way".

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val_baca profile image
Valentin Baca

I've used all three, and your assessment is spot-on.

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gklijs profile image
Gerard Klijs

I think you're pretty correct about closure, it demands another way of thinking about code in a way. I just think it's a better way, but it certainly takes more effort then using Kotlin.

awwsmm profile image
Andrew (he/him)

Java SE 12 has been out since March.

JDK 13 is on its way. New features to be included in 13:


Improved switch statements as a precursor to pattern matching.

Improved APIs for sockets and improved garbage collection and memory management.

JDK 12 had more exciting new features like:

tee-ing streams:

double average = Stream.of(1, 4, 2, 7, 4, 6, 5)
        summingDouble(i -> i), 
        (sum, n) -> sum / n));

Java Microbenchmark Harness (JMH) is now a part of JDK. Great for benchmarking code.

...essentially, two or three new syntax features, a few API updates, and some JVM updates each release.

kenbellows profile image
Ken Bellows

Those switch expressions are super cool, and if pattern matching is coming too, that will be awesome.

Fun fact, there's a proposal for pattern matching for JavaScript/ECMAScript as well:

jckuhl profile image
Jonathan Kuhl

My favorite "new" thing in Java is something as simple as var.

I hate duck typing. I hate HTTPConnectionManager httpConnectionManager = new HTTPConnectionManager().

var trims some of that away.

var httpConnectionManager = new HTTPConnectionManager() is still redundant but less so.

rossdrew profile image
Ross • Edited

The problem arrises when devs use it too much and end up with nonsense like

var n = getValue();  //Integer, Map, int?

whereas old Java it would be clearer what was happening

Integer n = getValue();
Map<Integer> n = getValue();

Conciseness will always be abused to create unreadable code.

jckuhl profile image
Jonathan Kuhl

Yeah, it's my philosophy to not use var if it's not already obvious to the reader what the type is, even if it is obvious to the compiler.

For example I'd never do:

var thing =;

Because it's not clear to the reader what the other side is returning

But I would do

var thing = new Thing();

because the type information just gets obnoxiously redundant and it's obvious to the reader.

I know people will abuse it, but I'd prefer to not waste time typing the obvious out

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rossdrew profile image

I'd love to use these features but I prefer they weren't there because most programmers will overuse them and lead to a headache for me.

I find the choice in production code tends to be dealing with forced verbosity or dealing with the absolute crazy stuff people will do when allowed to be more concise. I know which one wastes more time. It's sad but it's true

rrampage profile image
Raunak Ramakrishnan • Edited

Great thread. A few more interesting things which are in the pipeline:

  • Project Loom brings light-weight threads (fibres) to give the JVM the ability to spawn millions of threads like BEAM (Erlang VM) and Go. More info
  • Project Valhalla aim to bring value types in Java. This will potentially reduce the memory consumption of programs.
  • Project Amber brings syntax improvements like pattern matching and data classes which will make Java more expressive and less boilerplate-y!
petros0 profile image
Petros Stergioulas

Surprisingly no one mentioned Project reactor.
Also, keep an eye on Spring Webflux and R2DBC.

Well, it's all about reactive. 😏

vitalipom profile image
Vitali Pomanitski

Java started releasing every few months versus every few years. I think it is now OpenJDK. Yet Oracle owns that. Recently new way to deal with Generics and maps was declared, now you don't have to do Map on the other side, you'd say just var a, like in JavaScript.

rhymes profile image

According to JetBrains's The State of Developer Ecosystem 2019 Java is the most popular primary language

thebouv profile image
rhymes profile image

So weird that VB.NET is so high in the chart :D

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vinceramces profile image
Vince Ramces Oliveros

Legacy code still haunts them. Oh! and technical debt too!

lankydandev profile image
Dan Newton

Nice to see a Java/JVM related post. Hopefully, more people will start writing about Java/Kotlin/JVM languages here. Most posts I see are for JS, which is fine, just means me and my JVM folks are left on the side 😩. Get writing if you got something cool to show!

itsjzt profile image
Saurabh Sharma • Edited

The most important things for me are:

JavaFX: javafx is a cross platform GUI toolkit that was shipped with jdk before java 11 but now it is extracted in to a seprate library. Which means it's development will be independent of jdk release cycles.

NO JRE: Which means you will only be bundling necessary modules instead of whole JRE while making native build of your GUI Apps which means smaller builds.

pieohpah profile image
Joe Chasinga

I'd say it's probably Kotlin. I learned a lot about Java writing in it. However, I had this epiphany/deja vu with CoffeeScript and JavaScript. Yes, anyone remembers CoffeeScript, the super hip language that people were hoping to replace JS? Ended up ES6 has beaten it out of existence because it's just very cool to write but impossible to read.

fultonbrowne profile image
Fulton Browne

one thing i tell my friends about is the intellij ide. you can find it here

tiguchi profile image
Thomas Iguchi

IntelliJ IDEA and all spin-off IDEs from Jetbrains are definitely a game changer for me. Incredible productivity booster. Code analysis, automatic code suggestions and refactoring are top notch. I learned a lot about Java just by using IntelliJ.

cjbrooks12 profile image
Casey Brooks

Java is finally coming to terms with the fact that every project is going to need modern Javascript, and they're working to make it less painful to work with the two ecosystems in the same project.

GraalJS is the replacement of their poorly-supported Nashorn engine (which itself was a replacement of the poorly-supported Rhino engine), supporting the full ES2019 specification and all NodeJS APIs, which runs directly inside the JVM. This makes it easier to use Javascript code from a JVM application.

In addition, Kotlin has been working to give Java developers a nicer way to write Javascript code with Kotlin/JS. The latest version of Kotlin, 1.3.40, even included Webpack bundling and NPM dependency management directly in Gradle. So now, Kotlin/JS developers can just work with their normal Gradle build tooling and get a browser app bundled or NodeJS app fully working without needing to actually learn and set up the Javascript tooling. This makes it easier for a Java developer to develop apps for the browser or Node.

dukemagus profile image

for the really, really, REALLY new, Java 12 tested a more compact way of writing case methods:

it's small, simple and kinda dumb for experienced developers, but for the new kid on the block, looks very cool