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Java EE 8 takes final bow under Oracle's wing: Here's what's new

Long-delayed update adds support for modern web tech

OpenWorld Java EE 8 arrived last month rather later than expected – but it landed in time for Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne, which are taking place this week in San Francisco, California.

Enterprise-flavored Java hasn't seen an update since June 2013. Linda DeMichiel, Java EE 8 specification lead at Oracle, recounted the long road to delivering the update in a session on Monday at the JavaOne conference.

"Java 8 is the next and probably last step in the Java EE brand for the enterprise platform here at Oracle," said DeMichiel, in reference to Oracle's plan to turn Java EE 8 over to the Eclipse Foundation.

The software's last step took a while as Oracle had other priorities. "Unfortunately, there was a period of hiatus as some of our spec leads got diverted to higher priority tasks," DeMichiel explained. "In 2016, when resources freed up we focused on how to get the release out."

For Java EE 8, she said, those working on the specifications prioritized web technology and making sure the platform has been modernized. The Java team wanted to continue making Java EE easier for development and to streamline its use in continuous deployment and integration pipelines (CDI). They also focused on modernizing and simplifying the security APIs.

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The business-oriented platform brings with it API updates, in the form of Context and Dependency Injection 2.0 (JSR 365) and Servlet 4.0 (JSR 369).

Support for HTTP/2, the successor to HTTP/1.1, was the "big ticket item" in Servlet 4.0, said DeMichiel, noting that HTTP/2 improves latency and support for parallelism without multiple connections, even as it retains HTTP/1.1 semantics.

Java EE 8 also includes new APIs, specifically the Java API for JSON Binding (JSON-B) 1.0 (JSR 367) and the Java EE Security API 1.0 (JSR 375).

"This is something that was requested for a long time," said DeMichiel, regarding the Security API. "A large part of the goal is simplification of security in Java EE."

Other additions to Java EE 8 include: Java API for RESTful Web Services (JAX-RS) 2.1; JavaServer Faces (JSF) 2.3; Java API for JSON Processing (JSON-P)1.1; Bean Validation 2.0; Common Annotations 1.3; Java Persistence 2.2; Java API for WebSocket 1.1; and JavaMail 1.6.

Highlighting the handoff of Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation, DeMichiel said: "There's a lot of excitement and I think we're off to a good start."

Other vendors with an interest in Java have expressed similar satisfaction with Oracle's decision to step back. Red Hat last month said "the future of Java EE looks brighter than it has for quite a while."

At the close of the session, Reza Rahman – a former Oracle Java EE evangelist, a Java consultant and a founder of the Java EE Guardians group – told The Register that he was generally satisfied with state of Java EE, saying it is about 90 per cent of where it needs to be.

Rahman was also guardedly optimistic about the platform's new home under the Eclipse Foundation. "This the first time such a large scale technology will become vendor-neutral," he said, even as he cautioned that the Java community will have to wait to see if Oracle makes things difficult by claiming ownership of Java-related branding or naming. ®

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