back to article I got 99 problems but a switch() ain't one: Java SE 13 lands with various tweaks as per Oracle's less-is-more strategy

Oracle on Monday announced the release of Java SE 13 (JDK 13), saying it shows the tech titan's continued commitment to make innovation happen faster by sticking to a predictable six-month release cycle. No evidence was provided to demonstrate that enterprise innovation is actually accelerating as a consequence of biannual …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    The new switch is nice.

    The option to release memory to the OS quickly should help small devices, like cellphones. Hopefully Google hasn't forked the Android JVM innards so it's technologically stuck again.

    Preparation for Project Loom (back to the old many:many ratio between Java and Kernel threads) is ambitious but I still need some convincing that the complexity is really worth it. I haven't run out of native threads since 1998. WebSockets involve massive numbers of idle TCP/IP connections but they're message-based so non-blocking I/O isn't too complex for them.

  2. JohnFen Silver badge

    But it should be

    "because waiting three or four years between major releases just isn't done anymore, for the most part."

    But it should be. In my opinion, rapid release beings all sorts of unnecessary badness and is currently one of the major things causing the decline of software quality.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But it should be

      There are LTS releases in the mix as well, for those of us rightly inclined towards using software with support windows measured in years and not months. The big advantage of the increased cadence means you don't have to wait for a big-bang release if you *need* a new feature, you don't have to take your chances on nightly builds to develop for future-state features and the APIs are versioned more frequently, so we're not stuck with bad decisions for as long.

      It's a nice balance so far.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: But it should be

        Yeah, LTS releases help a bit, but not nearly as much as I'd wish.

      2. redpawn Silver badge

        Re: But it should be

        It's always great fun to hit a moving target, think skeets. Bet you wish you had a shotgun for all the different versions.

      3. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: But it should be

        My personal belief is that all Enterprise software should always be LTS with bug fixes and security patches (that you need for support) and the occasional feature release that you can take or leave without affecting support.

        Home users, whilst often less technically adept, can make for ideal late-beta testers (but absolutely not pre-Alpha/Alpha/early Beta testing which seems to be far more the norm right now).

        This rush to release what are often pointless "features" just to hit some arbitrary bi-annual deadline that they've created for themselves is what is leading to so many code quality problems.

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: But it should be

          NO JUST NO, its always people like me who have to deal with stuff like Chrome no longer running Farmville, a tablet update changing the interface and icons so they don't know what they are pressing on!

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: But it should be

          "Home users, whilst often less technically adept, can make for ideal late-beta testers"

          Why do you hate home users so much?

      4. pogul

        Re: But it should be

        > The big advantage of the increased cadence means you don't have to wait for a big-bang release if you *need* a new feature

        True, but it's not like you get to pick just that feature - you get all or nothing, so if people are rushing out half-baked "features" (because, errr, marketing) then you'll get them too, bugs and all.

      5. baud Bronze badge

        Re: But it should be

        The downside with going from LTS to LTS is that each time you get 3 versions worth of breaking change each time. On the other hand you're only doing this every few years.

        Even then, I don't really see the point of having such a quick release schedule for a language that's supposedly mature.

      6. Ilsa Loving

        Re: But it should be

        Except they're *not* LTS. They just hang around slightly longer than the squirrel-on-methamphetamines schedule that the devs would prefer. Until Windows 10, windows lifetimes were about a decade. As the article mentions, C++ is only updated once every 3 years. Many linux distros LTS releases go 5 years.

        The problem here is a matter of attitude. The newer generation is composed of devs for whom ADHD is considered a goal to strive for. They think it's entirely reasonable to do a complete rewrite of whatever they've done, because the framework they used is now a week old and is now boring.

        Meanwhile those of us who have real jobs that require us to not dick around, are getting completely crushed by the overwhelming churn because there are simply no resources available to keep up.

        Applications updating frequently is one thing. They need to adapt to changing user needs, and yes, those can change wildly. But IT Infrastructure? The exact opposite. People depend on infrastructure. People's *lives* depend on infrastructure. Their *money* depends on infrastructure. Infrastructure, and by extension, things like programming languages, MUST be stable. This isn't a philosophical viewpoint. This is hard and gritty reality, which anyone who has done IT work for more than a few years will have learned.

        All you need to do is look at the most long-term successful technologies and you see one very common factor: They are stable. The HTTP protocol is a perfect example. Do people honestly think the web would exist as it currently does, if people made major changes to the HTTP protocol every 6-weeks to 6 months? No, it wouldn't. And until people start remembering this lesson, we are headed into a technological dark ages where entire technology stacks will be invented, implemented, and dropped again without so much as leaving a footprint in history (except maybe as a bad idea).

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    All for nothing

    The language will never evolve beyond Java SE 8 Update 202 due to Oracle's licencing shenanigans.

  4. elvisimprsntr

    Disabled Java years ago. Don't even miss it. Java needs to be put out to pasture, with Flash.

    It's just another vulnerability to be exploited. https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/java-biggest-security-hole-your-computer/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are showing your ignorance - the core use of Java isn't on the front-end, it's server-side - and it's HUGE. Financial circles and big enterprises in particular.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >You are showing your ignorance - the core use of Java isn't on the front-end, it's server-side - and it's HUGE. Financial circles and big enterprises in particular.

        Keeps those busy and employed in cybersecurity I guess just as British Leyland cars were once an excellent source of income for garage mechanics.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          the cost of replacement parts in modern cars has gone up (I don't mean the main ancillaries/parts like alternators, starter motors, brake discs/pads etc which can be shared across a range of cars and manufacturers), but the more bespoke parts for a given model - making the less frequent dealer visit a still profitable transaction for the dealer/vehicle manufacturer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >the cost of replacement parts in modern cars has gone up

            FYI, Unipart which was the spares division of British Leyland was the only bit of it that turned a profit.

      2. boltar Silver badge

        " Financial circles and big enterprises in particular."

        I worked at a large corp where some new manager joined and immediately decided to replace the C/C++ system with Java. His "vision" (or myopia in reality) took 3 years to create, ended up running at 1/4 the speed on the same hardware and used 10x more memory than the system it replaced. It was summarily dumped wasting almost a million quid in development costs and he left before he was kicked out on his arse.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Disabling Java on the web (in the browser), yes - that is a very, very good idea. Unfortunately some cretinous web application developers use Java instead of a genuine web application (hmmm: Oracle) which does cause security issues - as well as usability issues due to developers pretending that a website is a modal rich client application.

      On the other hand, having Java installed on a system to run software written in Java... that is no less safe that any other execution of a local application. Often annoying juggling all the incompatibly Java versions, but that is different to security.

    3. Blank Reg

      Even if you've disabled Java you are likely still using it every day.

      Your sim card is almost certainly a JavaCard. Use the internet? You won't get far before hitting a site with Java on the back end somewhere. Most Android apps are written in Java. Blueray players use Java. It's embedded in all kinds of devices, it's everywhere.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      I think you might be confusing Java with JavaScript. They're two entirely different things.

    5. devTrail Bronze badge

      Funny. Several of people jumped in to reply how uninformed was the comment, but nobody was able to point out the difference between a Java Applet and a Java Application. Furthermore nobody dares to notice that the much touted HMTL5 from a security point of view is worse than the various Java plugins for the browser. It may not be unsafe as Flash, but ditching the Applets in favour of Javascript made things worse, really worse.

  5. Jakester

    Fortunately, the company I provide pc support for only needs Java on 3 computers. I wish it were zero.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      I don't mind if Java applications exist. I just wish I could avoid having to do development work with the language.

  6. pip25
    Meh

    Remind me of the last major feature that was added in since this release cycle began

    Because I honestly can't recall one since the module system that was introduced in Java 9, and thus doesn't count. Oracle had trouble shipping major Java features in the old release cycle, and it seems to me the new one did not improve on this at all. Maybe it's for the best though, since the last few major features had some significant problems.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Remind me of the last major feature that was added in since this release cycle began

      One thing I'm moderately interested in watching evolve is the GraalVM, which hasn't been getting a lot of press. We were having issues (core dumps in fact, which are most un-Java) and switching to the GraalVM got rid of them with no impact on performance, and it's rock solid. So that's good.

      But the ability to mix up code from different languages on the same VM is potentially quite interesting. Found a nice NodeJS implementation of something you need in Java? Don't port it, just call it directly.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Remind me of the last major feature that was added in since this release cycle began

        ". Found a nice NodeJS implementation of something you need in Java? Don't port it, just call it directly."

        Wow, calling javascript from java, the efficiency must be just off the scale. I bet your stuff just flies!

        /sarcasm

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Remind me of the last major feature that was added in since this release cycle began

          Plus, it'll really keep the maintenance cheap and easy!

        2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Remind me of the last major feature that was added in since this release cycle began

          A week late. But given both languages are running on the same VM using the same bytecode and garbage collector, can you explain to me why a properly designed, properly written JS library cannot run as well as the same in Java?

          Yes, I realise finding a properly written JS library is a bigger problem than in most languages, which is probably the point you're trying to make. But that's not really the fault of the language.

  7. Gwaptiva

    As long as the JDKs continue to support compiling and running to Java 8, I'm fine with release schedules. Java 9's Jigsaw is a nightmare that will stop uptake (by most significant legacy applications, at least) of any new features post that; until the powers that be admit it was a mistake and remove it again

  8. Joeman
    Pint

    got a long way to go...

    C# came along to wipe out Java. its not managed to (yet), but C# has certainly evolved far quicker than Java.

    Java has a long was to go before it catches up with C#.

  9. boltar Silver badge

    Quantum Java?

    Given how Oracles Java strategy seems to be in more than 1 place at a time its certainly plausible.

    As an aside - IMO frequent core language updates do no one any favours. It helps to get people using the current revision and find any issues before chucking another update over the wall. Also constantly having to play catch-up gets old really fast especially when you have a full time job to do at the same time and the language already has all the functionality you need anyway. The C++ commitee have the right idea - once every 3 years gives the current iteration a chance to get out into the wild and be used properly and time for people to actually learn it! 6 months is too quick and every few weeks for web stuff is just absurd.

  10. Christian Berger Silver badge

    One should note that changes in a programming language aren't always a good thing

    Slow or absent changes mean that your code will work for a long time. Any change in the language can mean that your code breaks resulting in more of a motive to replace it. That's why the slow development of COBOL caused it to be indispensible for many banks. If Java was changing every couple of years no bank would seriously consider it.

    I mean Java didn't even include the really sensible feature ideas of J2K yet.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    App managament

    A question to anyone who attended the event from someone whose Java involvement ended years ago...

    Was there much discussion of Weblogic? Is it still necessary? Is it likely to get replaced by Docker / Kubernetes? Or some (un)happy compromise?

    1. james_smith

      Re: App managament

      I used Weblogic on my last contract. It was a legacy system, and being phased out in favour of a Spring Boot based alternative, which seems to be a pretty common transition and I certainly wont miss Weblogic or any of the other "enterprise" containers.

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: App managament

        Some would say Spring is legacy too. It's an incredibly heavy and tightly integrated framework that never works the way anyone wants it to. Its annotations and conventions spread into your entire codebase, making a horrible mess and causing lock-in. Forget about debugging any of it.

        Newer architectures are more utility based. You use what you want and only when you want it. You start off writing a bit more code but it is eventually much cleaner and easier to maintain. DropWizard would be the newer model, though it's just a collection of other things with a bit of integration code. You can remove DropWizard from a DropWizard app, and I like that.

  12. regbadgerer

    RedHat?

    I thought RedHat were now the stewards of Java, or did I misunderstand that?

    (also enjoying the slew of comments that appear on all java related articles from people who try to show their expertise by saying that java should be binned with flash, but in fact demonstrate their complete ignorance of what java is really used for!)

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