Java gets going with version 8

Refurbishment

Article from Issue 163/2014
Author(s):

In mid-March, Oracle released the eighth version of Java. In addition to small tweaks, the long-awaited release extends the core language, adding elements of functional programming – the first significant development since Java 5.

After two and a half years of work, long-serving Java development chief Mark Reinhold released version 8 of Java in March. Not only does it contain minor enhancements to the runtime library, it sees functional elements enter the Java universe in the form of lambdas.

Postponed

Development of the new version was fraught with the same kind of issues as were experienced in the previous release: In August 2010, Reinhold pulled the ripcord and reduced the planned Java 7 feature scope so it could be completed in July 2011. The postponed features were due in version 8 at the end of 2012, which eventually became the beginning of 2014 – again with a reduced feature set.

The reason for the delay was mainly the much needed improvement of the security deficiencies in applets and Java Web Start [1]. The language and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) were actually planned from the beginning to prevent malicious code from breaking out of the designated sandbox, but the implementation of the concepts had significant weaknesses, so many Windows users made the unwelcome acquaintance of the BKA ransomware installed by a Java applet [2].

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