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Java 22 Brings Major Enhancements for Developers

Java 22 brings significant enhancements for developers, including language improvements, concurrency updates, native interoperability, and performance optimizations.



On March 19, 2024, Oracle announced the release of Java 22, the latest version of the popular programming language and development platform. This significant update delivers a wide range of new features and improvements that Java developers should be excited about. Let's examine the most important enhancements in Java 22 and what they mean for the Java development community.


Language Enhancements from Project Amber

One of the key focus areas in Java 22 is Project Amber, which aims to evolve the Java language and make it more expressive and concise. Here are the notable language features introduced in this release:

1. Statements Before Super (...)

With JEP 447, developers now have more flexibility in expressing constructor behavior. Statements that do not reference the created instance can now appear before an explicit constructor invocation. This allows for a more natural placement of logic and preserves the top-down execution order of constructors.

2. Unnamed Variables and Patterns 

JEP 456 introduces unnamed variables and patterns, which can be used when variable declarations or nested patterns are required but never used. This enhancement improves code readability, reduces errors, and enhances the codebase's maintainability.

3. String Templates

The second preview of JEP 459 simplifies the development of Java programs by making it easier to express strings that include runtime-computed values. String templates improve security when composing strings from user-provided values and enhance the readability of expressions mixed with text.

4. Implicitly Declared Classes and Instance Main Methods

JEP 463, also in its second preview, provides a smooth on-ramp for Java beginners by allowing them to write their first programs without needing to understand complex language features. This feature enables streamlined declarations for single-class programs and allows students to expand their programs as their skills grow gradually.


Concurrency Improvements With Project Loom

Project Loom, which focuses on making it easier to write and maintain concurrent and parallel code, brings two significant features to Java 22:

1. Structured Concurrency

JEP 462, in its second preview, introduces an API for structured concurrency. This feature helps developers streamline error handling, cancellation, and observability in concurrent programming. It promotes a style that eliminates common risks such as thread leaks and cancellation delays.

2. Scoped Values

The second preview of JEP 464 introduces scoped values, which enable the sharing of immutable data within and across threads. Scoped values improve concurrent code's ease of use, comprehensibility, performance, and robustness.


Native Interoperability With Project Panama

Project Panama aims to improve Java's interoperability with native code and data. Java 22 includes two key features from this project:

1. Foreign Function and Memory API

JEP 454 introduces an API that allows Java programs to efficiently invoke foreign functions and safely access foreign memory without relying on the Java Native Interface (JNI). This feature increases ease of use, flexibility, safety, and performance when interoperating with native libraries and data.

2. Vector API

The seventh incubator of JEP 460 provides an API to express vector computations that can be compiled into vector instructions on supported CPU architectures. This enables developers to achieve superior performance compared to equivalent scalar computations.


Core Libraries and Tools Enhancements

Java 22 also brings several improvements to core libraries and tools:

1. Class-File API

JEP 457, in preview, introduces a standard API for parsing, generating, and transforming Java class files. This feature aims to improve developer productivity when working with class files.

2. Launch Multi-File Source-Code Programs

JEP 458 enhances the Java application launcher to enable running programs supplied as multiple files of Java source code. This gives developers more flexibility in configuring build tools.

3. Stream Gatherers

The preview of JEP 461 enhances the Stream API to support custom intermediate operations. This feature makes stream pipelines more flexible and expressive, allowing developers to write more efficient and maintainable code.


Performance Improvements

Java 22 includes a notable performance update with JEP 423: Region Pinning for G1. This feature reduces latency by allowing garbage collection during specific native library calls. By pinning only the regions containing objects that need to be blocked, garbage collection can continue generally in unpinned areas, improving overall performance.


Cloud Support and Java Management Service

Java 22 is optimized for deployment in the cloud, particularly on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). OCI is one of the first hyperscale clouds to support Java 22 and offers free access to Oracle Java SE, Oracle GraalVM, and the Java SE Subscription Enterprise Performance Pack.

Additionally, Java 22 is supported by the Java Management Service (JMS). This OCI-native service provides a unified console and dashboard for managing Java runtimes and applications across on-premises and cloud environments.


JavaOne Returns in 2025

In exciting news for the Java community, Oracle announced that JavaOne, the flagship event for Java developers, will return to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2025. From March 17-20, JavaOne 2025 will allow attendees to hear about the latest Java developments and interact with Oracle's Java experts and industry luminaries.


Conclusion

Java 22 is a significant release that brings many enhancements and new features to the Java platform. From language improvements and concurrency updates to native interoperability and performance optimizations, this release offers something for every Java developer.


With the return of JavaOne in 2025 and the continued support for Java in the cloud through services like JMS, the future looks bright for the Java ecosystem. Developers should explore the new capabilities offered by Java 22 and leverage them to build more efficient, secure, and scalable applications.


As always, Java 22's release results from collaboration between Oracle and the global Java developer community through OpenJDK and the Java Community Process (JCP). The Java community's commitment to innovation and continuous improvement keeps the platform vibrant and relevant, even after nearly three decades.


Embrace the power of Java 22 and unlock new possibilities in your development projects.

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