With the eagerly-awaited Java 9’s release date pushed back to July 2017, it’s time to remind ourselves just why we fell in love with Java SE 8 in the first place.
Java support has - over time - become ubiquitous amongst all major OS’s. Full integration or planned integration. Major web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari) support Java. You cannot go anywhere on the ‘net today without coming across Java.
There are a lot of technical conversations revolving around this complex topic, but to keep it simple and basic, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to “Smart devices.” Think Smart Watches, TVs, etc. If a device has Bluetooth (similarto wifi microwaves or headsets), or if devices such as smart appliances, smart meters, sports-enhancing wristbands and data-tracking shoes… these are all a part of IoT. On a base level, the IoT is a wireless mainframe that fully capitalises on the cloud’s capabilities.
How does this correlate with Java 8? In a rather inconspicuous way: Both Java SE 8 and Java ME 8 (the two platforms that create the whole of Java 8) provide a secure development platform for IoT. In fact, some could argue that Java 8 is the platform of choice for IoT.
Some have gone so far as to argue that that the third IT revolution is in full effect. Given the amount of IoT devices and hardware on the market, it’s easy to understand exactly why people say that.
Here is a small list of IoT products currently on the market today:
● Nest Cam Outdoor
● Ray Super Remote: Touchscreen Universal Remote
● Amazon Echo
● Smart Door Locks
● Smart Outlet Plugs
● Wifi Lighting
● and Wifi Thermostats.
There’s no shortage of products that make today an exciting time to be alive, to witness the developing IoT world.
One of the biggest selling points behind Java 8 is that it’s one of the economical Java language. It simply takes less code to perform the same function as before. The language is concise and pared down compared to previous instalments; meaning you use less boilerplate code.
This is possible thanks to Lambdas expressions, a highly-anticipated feature in Java SE 8. Lambdas allows developers to simplify their daily codes, using less time to code and more time testing their applications and running beta tests. Lambdas means the codes that are written are more compact, concise, and require less maintenance.
From the get-go, Oracle has focused on Java being secure.This means that any Java code, applet, servlet, Beans component, or app is executed with restricted permissions. This prevents host systems from being damaged. Security experts around the world have worked hard and tirelessly on the security of Java.
Given the serious of hacks and malicious bugs in the past, we feel a bit safer with current security updates and upgrades. Regardless of the flack Java has received during the past few years (such as being disabled on many YouTube videos in favour of HTML5), hardly another language and platform has withstood the duress of time that Java has. Even so, the Java platform lets users download untrusted code over a network, and execute that code in a secure environment.
One security update (out of several) is the use of stronger algorithms, allowing for password-based encryption. These include PBEWithSHA256 And AES_128 and PBEWithSHA512 And AES_256, and have been added to the SunJCEProvider.
For those who don’t know, or need to be reminded, Java programs are basically compiled into a portable form known as byte codes. The Java Virtual Machinethen runs a Java program by interpreting these byte codes. As fast as Java programs are, they’re typically a lot slower than C and C++ programs that are compiled to native machine languages.
Yes, it’s true that Java’s early releases were plagued with performance problems. That’s bound to happen when anything new and innovative hits the market. Just as each newly-released GTA game is better than its predecessor, with each release of Java VM the speed has significantly improved and increased.
In addition to the upgrades, a few other implementations include real-time compilers, which convert Java byte codes to native machine instructions - in real time. Thanks to JIT compilers, Java programs can now run at speeds similar to native C and C++ apps. For those who know, a tremendous feat like this was difficult to achieve in the early stages of Java.
From the beginning, Java (both language and platform) were designed with the world’s usage in mind. Being the only programming language with internationalization features at the heart of it, Java is different than other languages. Also, separating Java “from the pack” is its use of 16-bit Unicode characters, whereas other languages take full advantage of 8-bit characters (which pitifully represent only English and Western European languages).
The benefits of this, of internationalization, is that it makes it easier to write programs intended for international audiences. Behind Java 8 is a worldwide community – and certain cultures no longer have to feel ostracised for not understanding. The OpenJDK community helped developers collaborate on open source implementations. Not only that: IBM, Intel, and Red Hat (courtesy of the Java Community Process) gave organizations and individuals opportunity to contribute to the Java platform. This collaboration effort is huge, as there are no shortage of user groups who gave feedback, uncovered bugs, and spotted and fixed code errors.
Given all the listed reasons, it’s easy to see why Java has been rated as one of the top programming platform and languages out there. With the release of Java 8, which is optimal for developers to build for the IoT, it’s only a matter of time before we see some MORE truly innovative uses of Java 8… well before the release of Java 9.