Java 9 is the next major version of the Java programming language. It is due for release in July 2017 but early builds are available for testing right now. Java is an open source language and the beauty of that kind of platform is that the public can take part in the fun. It’s also a good way to find out bugs and other areas that need improvement.
Currently, Java 8 build 112 is the latest version of the language. It was released in October 2016. That said, the JRE for this version will expire when a patch for new security vulnerabilities will be released on January 17, 2017.
In case the Oracle servers can’t be reached on the said date, an alternative mechanism will expire the JRE on February 17. In the event that an update still wasn’t made after that date, the JRE will keep issuing prompts to update to a newer version.
Java 9 Release Date
Java 9 was supposed to be released in 2016. At least, that was the plan during the JavaOne conference in 2011. In the early stages of 2016, a release date of March 2017 was set but that was postponed further to July 2017.
According to The Register, developers are having difficulties with Project Jigsaw which will see the Java SE platform as a standard module system and see that system applied to the platform itself and the JDK. In short, Jigsaw needs more time to be developed. Java has been a force in the programming world and it makes sense for developers to make sure components work before shipping them off for the use of the public.
Helping with Java 9
A blog post on the Oracle (now the owners of Java) site announced that the public can take part in contributing to JDK 9. The announcement was made on December 13, 2016 and sessions will be held until Java 9 is released in July 2017.
Individuals can help by joining the Java Community Process program which is also open to corporations and non-profits. Those interested in testing out Java 9 can get an early access build by heading to jdk9.java.net/download. As of this writing, the current build number is 148. Downloading this version allows you to see the new additions to Java 9.
Java 9 Learning Sessions
A couple of videos are up on YouTube from livestreamed sessions that introduce you to Java 9. First, Mani Sarkar teaches you how to test with the latest build and also discusses jdeps, a tool that tests program dependencies.
A series of lessons on JShell is also available. Topics covered include what is JShell along with variables and methods, functionality and HTTP calls.
An introduction on the module system in Java 9 is also available along with a question and answer portion regarding the features, module system and performance – among others – of Java 9.
Going through all the videos is a good way to get acquainted with Java 9 so you can contribute to the platform. But in case you just want to stick with a stable build, Java 8u112 is available for free.