We always knew that Java 9 would arrive in 2017 but what wasn’t expected was a further delay. The upcoming Java version was slated for a 2016 release but that was postponed given the amount of work needed to be done. The last 2017 release date was March but lately Oracle admitted it needs more time, hence the July 2017 release date.
Mark Reinhold, the chief architect of the Java Platform Group of Oracle, announced in a mailing list that while progress on Java 9 is fine, they could not deliver by the original scheduled date of March 2017.
The most difficult aspect of the Java 9 development is Project Jigsaw. The goal of this project is the design and implementation of a standard module system for Java SE. In addition, that system would also be applied to both the platform and the JDK.
According to Reinhold, critical feedback was given to them regarding Jigsaw that prompted them to redesign the package export feature of the module system. But apart from that issue, there are still a number of bugs that need to be addressed and those will definitely take time. Reinhold also says that the number of unresolved bugs is much larger compared to when Java 8 was released. Because of this, the team is asking for an extension on Java 9’s final delivery date.
Project delays are not unusual when it comes to software delivery. Developers would rather release a product that is functional than one that is riddled with bugs. And above all, they need to release a product that actually delivers on the main features it promised. In Java 9’s case, that is the module system and that needs to be functional before final delivery. So it’s perfectly understandable that the development team would need more time to address the issue.
Reinhold also mentioned that the package export feature needed to be redesign based on critical feedback. A redesign is not easy and that takes time as well.
The arrival of Java 9 has been planned since 2011 but it’s been set back so many times. It was supposed to arrive in 2016 but that was pushed back to March 2017 and finally to the middle of 2017 in July. Hopefully, there would be no more delays.
But the good news is that those who want to test out Java 9 without waiting for July 2017 can do so by getting an early build. These builds change frequently so you should be updated on that. Also, keep in mind that these are early builds, not stable ones. There’s a huge difference. In short, there’s a risk involved but doing so also helps the community.
Those who want to contribute to Java 9 can participate in the Java Community Process program which is open to corporations, non-profits and individuals. Oracle has also put up links to YouTube videos regarding Java 9 on their blog so you can check that out if you wish to participate.
As you wait for Java 9 to arrive, you can enjoy Java 8 which is the current stable version.
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