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Java 8 released with Lambda support

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Oracle has released Java Standard Edition 8 – its first major release in two years – with a host of new features.

“Two years, seven months, and eighteen days after the release of JDK 7, production-ready builds of JDK 8 are now available for download!” announced Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle in a blog post.

Delayed because of a slight detour which Oracle pursued last year to secure the platform, Java 8 is a first major release after July 2011 when Java 7 was released. Alongside Java 8, Oracle has also released Java Developer Kit 8 (JDK 8) and the Java SE 8 Runtime Environment (JRE 8).

Some of the new features and enhancements included in the updated platform are efficient use of multi-core processors, simpler parallel programming models, application performance increases, enhanced developer productivity, and improved collections and annotations.

“A major new release of a software system as large as the JDK is the direct work of many hundreds of developers, with indirect contributions from thousands more”, added Reinhold.

The best feature of Java 8 is support for Lambda expressions – a new language feature – that enables developers to treat functions as method arguments or code as data. Single method interfaces also known as functional interfaces can be described more compactly with Lambda expressions.

According to a recent study undertaken by Typesafe wherein over 2,800 developers were surveyed, 83 percent of the respondents selected lambda expressions as their favourite feature of Java 8.

Java 8 also brings with it support for Nashorn – a high-performance yet lightweight JavaScript runtime – that is written in pure Java enabling Java developers to embed JavaScript in Java applications.

“Over 400 of the more than 8,000 bug and enhancement issues addressed in JDK 8 were reported externally”, added Reinhold.