Oracle has released Java Development Kid (JDK) 16. The new version of the popular programming language contains 17 improvements that should benefit the developer’s productivity.

In an announcement on its website, Oracle explains what the changes are in the latest version of Java. For example, thousands of improvements are said to have been made to Java’s performance and stability, as well as numerous security updates. Oracle mentions that some of the improvements had already been shared with developers in the form of Incubator modules, a way for developers to gain early access to an api so that they can provide feedback on it.

17 new features in 6 categories

Oracle divides the 17 new features into 6 categories. Two of the improvements are to the programming language itself, namely the possibility of pattern matching for instanceof operators and the addition of records. The Java Virtual Machine has also received two improvements: ZGC Cuncurrent Thread Processing and Elastic Metaspace.

In the Tools and Libraries category, Oracle has added Unix-Domain Socket Channels and the Packaging Tool. Also two new features are added for future-proofing work. These features consist of a warning for value-based classes and a technique to encourage developers to make more use of standard APIs instead of internal elements.

There are also four new features for Incubator and Preview, namely the Vector API, the Foreign Linker API, Foreign Memory Access API and Sealed Classes. Finally, there are five new features to improve the productivity of OpenJDK developers. These are making C++14 language features available in JDK, the ability to migrate from Mercurial to Git, the ability to host source code on GitHub, a port for Alpine Linux and a port for the 64bit ARM version of Windows.

Shorter update cycle

In recent years, Oracle has considerably increased the pace of updates to Java. Whereas the company used to release a major update about once every three years, in 2018 it switched to a cadence of one update every six months. As a result, developers don’t have to deal with a huge load of changes every now and then, but instead get a predictable stream of gradual updates.

Tip: Oracle announces Java 15 on the language’s 25th birthday