Java is one of the most used programming languages in the world. since its release, the developers are contributing significantly to the development of this language. JDK’s keep releasing with the extraordinary features embedded into it. Programmers always wait to see what new they will get from the language. The latest iteration in the JDK family with newly added nine features is Java 18. Let’s discuss what are the newly added Java 18 features and its release date.
1. Vector API
Vector API was first introduced as an incubating API in JDK 16, which was upgraded into a second round of incubating integrating into JDK 17. It was introduced with the AIM to provide an API to express vector computations that compile at runtime, which will achieve performance superior to scalar computations.
In Java 18, Vector API has been upgraded with added ARM Scalar Vector Extension (SVE) platform. JDK 18 will provide a degree of parallelization which will enable the user to do more work in a single CPU cycle. It will also improve the performance of vector operations on masking supported hardware. It will provide the advantages such as Clear and concise API, reliable real-time compilation and performance on x64 and AArch64 architectures, graceful degradation (i.e., issuing warnings if vector computation cannot be effectively compiled to vector instructions).
2. UTF-8 by default
As you will be familiar with UTF-8, which is a variable-wide character encoding for electronic communication. It is the default charset on the internet. But now onwards, it will also be the default charset for standard Java APIs. With this change, the APIs which depend on UTF-8 will behave consistently on the operating systems, locales, and configurations.
The primary target of this update is to make programs written using Java more predictable and portable. As these programs depend on UTF-8 charset, now they can easily run on different operating systems easily. It will standardize UTF-8 throughout the standard Java APIs, except for console I/P.
3. Code Snippets in Java API documentation
This update includes the @snippet tag for Javadoc’s Standard Doclet. It will simplify the inclusion of example source code in the API documentation. JDK 18 will enable modern stylings, such as syntax highlighting and automatic linkage of names to declarations. It will enable IDE support for creating and editing snippets.
Java 18 will facilitate fragments for source code validation. It will provide API access to the fragments. This will help the author to achieve correctness as enhanced support in Javadoc will make it easier.
4. Pattern Matching for Switch
Pattern Matching for Switch was first introduced in JDK 17 as a preview feature. This update is the second preview of this feature. It has minor refinements based on the user’s experience and feedback over the first preview. It was first introduced with the AIM to enhance the Java language program with pattern matching for switch expressions and statements, along with extensions to the language of patterns.
The enhancements to the first preview include enforcement of constant case labels to appear before a guarded pattern of the same type by dominance checking. It will increase the readability. Exhaustiveness checking of switch blocks will now be more precise with sealed hierarchies.
5. Simple Web Server embedded in Java 18
This feature will provide a command-line tool to start a minimal web server that will serve static files only. No CGI or servlet-like functionality will be available. It will be useful for prototyping, ad-hoc coding, and texting purposes, particularly in educational contexts.
JDK 18 will offers an out-of-box static HTTP file server with easy setup and minimal functionality. It will make JDK more approachable. It will provide a default implementation via the command line with a small API for programmatic creation and customization.
6. Internet-Address Resolution SPI in Java 18
It will define a service-provider interface (SPI)for hostname and address resolution. So, java.net.InetAddress can make use of resolvers. It will not force API to use the system’s native resolver. InetAddress API defines multiple methods for lookup operations like getALLbyName for forwarding lookup and mapping hostname to set of IP address, getByName which serves as above but map a hostname to the only first address.
7. Deprecate Finalization for Removal
Deprecate Finalization which remains turned on by default, but now can be turned off. It will facilitate early testing. Moreover, in future releases, it will be off by default. And later it will be moved permanently. It will help developers to understand the danger of finalization. This upgrade will make the developers prepared for finalization removal in future versions of Java. It will also provide simple tooling to help detect reliance upon finalization.
8. Foreign Function and Memory API
This feature was first introduced in JDK 17 as an incubating API. It was the API that combined the two APIs: Foreign-Memory access API and Foreign linker API. The previous API has been re-incubating and added to JDK 18 by making changes such as support for more carriers, a more general dereference API, a simpler API to obtain downcall method handles. It is a simple API to manage temporal dependencies between resource scope. It will be an API that will copy Java arrays to and from memory segments.
9. Reimplement Core Reflection with Method Handles
This feature includes reimplementation of java.lang.reflect.Method, Constructor, and Field on top of java.lang.invoke method handles. It will make the method handle underly mechanism for reflection. It will reduce the maintenance and development costs of both java.lang.reflect and java.long.invoke APIs.
Release Date of Java 18
Java 18 had entered the Ramp down Phase One on 9th December 2021. It is now in the Ramp down Phase Two-stage, which began on January 20, 2022. Now the feature set is frozen, and there is very little possibility of any changes in it. Its’ Initial Release Candidate will be available on 10th February 2022. Following it, the Final Release Candidate will be available on 24th February 2022. However, all the Java 18 features will be available to the programmers to use on 22 March 2022.
So did you find Java 18 features amazing? And which feature update do you think is the most beneficial? Tell us in the comments below!!