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Busy Developers’ Guide to Java 9, 10, …, 21, 22, and All Recent Java Versions

This article is supposed to be an up-to-date source of curated information about changes that arrived in Java recently and those that are about to – everything condensed into just a few minutes of reading.

After adopting a new cadence-based release cycle, new Java versions started appearing like crazy, and if you haven’t caught up yet – this is an excellent place to start.

Last update: May 2024

Main Source of Confusion: New Release Cycle

In the past, Java releases were driven by prominent features like Lambda Expressions or Generics. Unfortunately, this approach was quite harmful since numerous improvements could not be released until the main feature was ready.

Now, a Java version appears every six months, and all the ready features get released, which speeds up the evolution of Java – which is a great thing on its own but can generate confusion for people who got used to the fact that one would expect a new Java version to be released after years not months of waiting. We’re also more likely to see more Preview, Incubating, and Experimental features.

But not all Java versions are made equal – only one release every three years can be considered LTS (Long Term Support), with the last LTS being Java 17.

Note: since that time, Java moved to a two-year-based LTS release cycle!

Java 9

Java 9 was the last feature-oriented Java release ever and featured an impressive number of 81 JEPs.

The most important addition was JPMS (also known as Project Jigsaw), but besides that, we got:

Release date: 21 September 2017

All JEPs can be found here.

Java 10

Java 10 was the first one to be released under the new release cycle. Hence it featured only 12 JEPs and various small API additions accumulated within six months after Java 9 was released.

The most notable changes involved an introduction of local-variable-type-inference(var), Garbage Collector interface, G1 improvements (parallel full GC), and application class-data sharing.

Among other stuff, we received new handy Collectors to be used with unmodifiable collections:

  • Collectors.toUnmodifiableList()
  • Collectors.toUnmodifiableSet()
  • Collectors.toUnmodifiableMap()

Release date: 20 March 2018

All JEPs can be found here.

Java 11 (LTS)

Java 11 was the first Long-Term-Support release and featured 17 JEPs.

The most notable changes involved the addition of HTTPClient, Flight Recorder, an experimental low-pause garbage collector(ZGC), and an experimental no-op garbage collector(Epsilon). Additionally, Java EE and CORBA modules got removed, and Nashorn deprecated.

We also got a tiny addition to Optional API: isEmpty(), which is the opposite of isPresent().

And a few interesting methods in String API:

Release date: 25 September 2018

All JEPs can be found here.

Java 12

Another relatively small release featuring only 8 JEPs.

Language-wise Switch Expressions were introduced as a preview feature, we got two G1 improvements(1, 2), and a new experimental low-pause garbage collector – Shenandoah.

Release date: 19 March 2019

All JEPs can be found here.

Java 13

The smallest release to date, bringing only 5 JEPs.

Switch Expressions were refined, Text Blocks got introduced as a preview feature, and Socket API reimplemented. Additionally, we got Linux/AArch64 support for ZGC.

Release date: 17 September 2019

All JEPs can be found here.

Java 14

Java 14 had quite a few interesting additions:

Release date: 17 March 2020

All JEPs can be found here.

Java 15

Java 15 is already out and has brought a few interesting additions:

As well as second previews of:

And the second incubator release of Foreign Memory Access API!

Release date: 17 September 2020

All JEPs can be found here.

Java 16

Java 16 brought some cool additions:

Other than this, OpenJDK development took a huge leap of faith… and migrated to Git and Github. Which makes the whole project much more accessible.

Other than this, we’ll see newer C++ constructs in JVM’s code and Java internals are now encapsulated by default.

All JEPs can be found here.

Release date: 16 March 2021

Java 17

Java 17 is another LTS release. This means you can safely migrate from Java 11 and not worry about the next migration for a couple of years (at least if you choose to take the blue pill).

The most notable features involve:

Other than that, we can anticipate enhanced pseudo-random numbers generators, deprecation of the Applet API, and… a controversial decision to remove experimental support for AOT and Graal(don’t mix with GraalVM) JIT compiler and deprecate the Security Manager for removal.

There’s also quite interesting last-minute change:

All JEPs can be found here.

Release date: 14 September 2021

Java 18

Java 18’s feature set is frozen. Let’s have a look at the most notable additions:

Surprisingly… we’ll even be getting a simple web server!

All JEPs can be found here.

Release date: 22 March 2022

Java 19

Java 19 was full of exciting new features. Unfortunately, all of them were introduced in preview mode, but it’s still a huge step forward.

Let’s have a look at the most notable additions:

All JEPs can be found here.

Release date: 20 September 2022

Java 20

It seems like Java 20 will be another release full of experimental and preview features. Most of those will be revised JEPs from Java 19, but there’s one totally new feature:

Besides it:

Let’s have a look at the most notable additions:

All JEPs can be found here.

Release date: 21 March 2023

Java 21

Java 21 is out and is pretty packed! Let’s have a look:

And a couple of interesting previews:

All JEPs can be found here.

Release date: 19 September 2023

Java 22

Key mentions:

However, there’s a myriad of preview features included. Most popular ones:

All JEPs can be found here.

Release date: 19 March 2024

Java 23

This is still quite early, but things that are likely to hit JDK23, are:

All JEPs can be found here.

Release date: ~ September 2024

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