Java 9 will be lightweight and modular

Oracle wants Java to look like a Lego set

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Modularity is one of those buzz words that doesn't look like going away any time soon and Oracle has explained its vision for the future of Java will adopt that very approach.

Speaking at the EclipseCon conference in Burlingame, California, Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform at Oracle, explained that Java 9 will introduce modularity in order to bring a platform that is both highly scalable and more secure than before.

Reinhold envisions, according to Computer World, a version of Java that is "a box of Lego parts" with developers only needing to install the elements of Java they require. Potentially this would be a lighter weight solution compared to the current situation where the entire platform has to be installed no matter how small a part is being used.

Java's modularity will be enabled as part of Project Jigsaw, which was originally announced in 2012 and focuses on the modularisation of Java including proposals for creating a modular Java Development Kit, source code and runtime images.

Creating a modular version of Java will give improved startup times through various mechanisms like ahead-of-time completion. It can also solve the Java class path issues, which gives a path for the Java runtime environment to find classes and resource files.

Following Java 9's expected release in 2016, the next versions of Java could then be given value types through Project Valhalla and Project Panama, connecting the Java Virtual Machine to native code such a C programmer interfaces.

What are Valhalla and Panama?

Project Valhalla is a Java incubator, which has been looking for technologies of the future for Java 10 and beyond since June 2014. Panama, meanwhile, has been attempting to create a connection between Java and C/C++ since the same time last year.

Java 9 will eventually see the light of day in 2016 instead of its expected release this year. So far, it's shaping up to be a very different beast compared to the versions that came before it.

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