Java Development Kit (JDK) 9 is packed with new features, including modularisation, ahead-of-time compilation, a read-eval-print loop and a memory-saving improvement.

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Java 9 has now been released!

Java 9 has finally been released, after chief architect at the Java Platform Group Mark Reinhold announced delays citing "additional time required to move through the JCP process" as the cause. 

This news is a relief for many developers after an array of irritating setbacks, mainly due to issues with its modularisation effort left out of Java 8, which was released three years ago, making modular Java a feature in Java 9 instead.

Oracle did offer early availability for those wanting to download and test the new platform, but now a final version has been made available.

Download Java 9 here.

New features

We've been waiting a long time for Java 9, so as you can imagine, there are a lot of new features, perhaps to make up for the delay in release.

Java 9 will provide a 'feature complete' platform including improvements in:

  • Modularity
  • Developer Convenience
  • Strings
  • Diagnostics
  • JVM options
  • Logging
  • Javadoc
  • JavaScript/HTTP
  • Native Platform
  • JavaFX
  • Images
  • Unicode

The biggest improvement is its modularity, which should make the Java platform more scalable while improving its deployments on smaller devices.

As we've already established modularisation was meant to be in place in Java 8, with it being pushed back to 9. This is probably due to the significant changes that it makes to the way the Java platform has been operating since day one, or Java 1.0.

Java 9 developers will also find the old HttpURLConnection is finally being replaced with a new HTTP client, which should provide greater improvements and support both HTTP/2 protocol and WebSocket handshake.

In addition, Java 9 will introduce 'jShell', a tool that will provide read-eval-print loop functionality, allowing developers to evaluate statements and expressions along with an API, meaning other applications can use these capabilities also. 

In terms of security, Java 9 will see a new version string scheme, which should make distinguishing between security updates and other major or minor updates a lot easier.

For a full list of new features and updates, see here.