Java EE 8 is here: What you need to know

Support for the cloud, HTML5, and HTTP/2 highlight the changes in the enterprise Java platform

Credit: trophygeek

Java EE 8—formally, Java Platform Enterprise Edition version 8—is now available. The release represents the first phase in Oracle’s two-phase plan to embrace modern computing paradigms, particularly cloud deployments, in enterprise Java.

Where to download the Java EE 8 JDK

Oracle has posted the Java EE 8 JDK and documentation for download by developers.

Approved by the Java Community Process just a month ago, Java EE 8’s chief focus is support for HTML5 and the HTTP/2 standard, as well as enhanced simplification and managed bean integration and improved infrastructure for applications in the cloud. Java EE is built atop Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE), which was also upgraded today with the release of Java SE 9 and its JDK 9.

New features in Java EE 8

Java EE 8 supports many new Java technology specifications, including:

  • JSON-B (JavaScript Object Notation Binding), providing a binding layer for converting Java objects to and from JSON messages.
  • Updates to JSON-P (JSON Processing API), improving the object model.
  • JAX-RS (Java API for RESTful Web Services) 2.1 reactive client API.
  • JAX-RS support for server-sent events, offering a one-way channel from a server to a client.
  • HTTP/2 support in Java Servlet. Java Servlet provides a programming class to extend server capabilities.
  • Java EE Security API, supporting cloud and PaaS paradigms.
  • Bean Validation 2.0, leveraging Java 8 language constructs for use in validation. Bean Validation enables expression of constraints on object models using annotations.
  • JavaServer Faces 2.3, for building server-side user interfaces.
  • CDI (Contexts and Dependency Injection) 2.0, emphasizing asynchronous events.

Last year, prominent members of the enterprise Java community rose up to protest what was perceived as stalled progress on Java EE. Oracle then rolled out its plan to revitalize the platform, noting the company had desired to retreat from earlier Java EE plans it deemed inadequate for modern computing paradigms.

One of the rebel efforts led to the development of MicroProfile, providing a baseline platform definition for microservices. The Eclipse Foundation has since taken over MicroProfile, but it remains a mechanism to accelerate adoption of Java EE 8. (Tat’s especially true now that the Eclipse Foundation has also taken on ownership of Java EE itself.) The current 1.1 version of MicroProfile provides a stack that includes CDI, JSON, JAX-RS, and a configuration API.

Java EE upgrades to come faster

Java EE 8 will be followed next year by Java EE 9, as part of a two-phase effort to retool the platform for modern-day cloud and microservices deployments. Java EE 8 is centered on accommodations to configure services and on health-checking to manage services. The follow-up EE 9 release is slated to promote deployment of smaller units of services and a reactive programming model for building large-scale, event-based systems.

Built on top of Java SE, Java EE offers an API and runtime environment for building and running large-scale, multitiered network applications, with security and reliability serving as key goals of the platform.

As part of its Java EE 8 development process, Oracle has been working on GlassFish 5, the open source application server that has served as a reference implementation for the Java EE platform. The intent is to have two GlassFish 5 promotion builds weekly to catch integration issues sooner.

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