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Oracle releases Java JDK 18 with enhanced source code documentation

Short-term release includes Simple Web Server, pattern matching for switch expressions, and more

Oracle's Java 18 development environment has hit the streets, with Big Red promising nine enhancements including the ability to add sample source code to API documentation.

Other new features include Simple Web Server (JEP 408) for prototyping and testing, two incubating modules, as well as the preview of Pattern Matching for switch (JEP 420).

Java 18 JDK (Java Development Kit) is set to be a short-term release, supported for six months until the next one appears every March and September. The most recent long-term support release is JDK 17, which came out last September, the previous being JDK 11 from 2018.

According to Oracle, JDK 18 "delivers thousands of performance, stability, and security improvements."

Georges Saab, Java Platform Group's vice president of development, said: "The release of Java 18 demonstrates Oracle's continued commitment to provide enterprises and developers faster access to enhancements with the six-month feature release cadence."

According to James Governor, principal analyst at RedMonk, Java developers want continued innovation with modern programming language features, developer experience enhancements, cloud managed services, and stability.

"With Java's consistent six-month release cadence Oracle is meeting those demands, helping to keep Java relevant for modern applications and workloads," he said.

Updates and improvements to libraries include "UTF-8 by Default," which means APIs that depend on the default charset will behave consistently across all implementations, operating systems, locales, and configurations, Oracle said.

It also promises a command-line tool and API to start a minimal web server that serves static files only, known as JEP 408.

In preview for the next release is JEP 420, which enhances Java with pattern matching for switch expressions and statements, along with extensions to the language of patterns. The update is set to allow an expression to be tested against a number of patterns, each with a specific action, so that complex data-oriented queries can be expressed concisely and safely.

Java 18 is available via the Oracle Java SE Subscription, which Big Red describes as "a predictable pay-as-you-go offering" that "provides customers with best in class support, entitlement to GraalVM Enterprise, access to the Java Management Service, and the flexibility to upgrade at the pace of their business." It is also a way of selling software that Oracle has just begun to audit.

First released in 1995 by Sun Microsystems, Java remains the world's second most popular programming language, according to the PYPL Index. ®

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