Java Enterprise Edition 7 Released

Oracle on Wednesday announced the public release of Java Platform Enterprise Edition 7 (Java EE 7) and the Java EE 7 SDK. This is the first release of the enterprise framework since Oracle took over the stewardship of Java, and it is being seen as one of the most expansive updates, particularly because of its improved support of HTML5.

"Java EE 7 brings this widely used enterprise framework to the modern age of HTML5 and also brings significant improvement in developer productivity that will have windfalls in code quality," IDC analyst Al Hilwa told ADTmag. "In this age of the polyglot programmer, Java EE will allow Java to remain one of the most widely deployed technologies for server applications on the planet."

This release of the enterprise Java spec emphasizes simplification, productivity, and support for a number of web standards, including HTML5, Web Sockets, JSON, and a modern HTTP client API. WebSockets, which supports simultaneous two-way (full-duplex) communication channels over a TCP, reduces the response times of HTML5 apps. JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), the text-based standard for human-readable data interchange based on JavaScript, simplifies data parsing and exchange.

This release comes with some significant improvements for developers that are part of "a simplified application architecture" with "a cohesive, integrated platform," Oracle said. Among other things, Java EE 7 broadens the use of annotations and enhances application portability with standard RESTful Web Services client support. This release also delivers improvements to Contexts and Dependency Injection (CDI), a Java standard for dependency-injection-based module configuration at runtime, which Red Had pioneered in Java EE 6. It aims to reduce boiler-plate code using dependency injection and default resources. The new platform also updates the Java Message Service (JMS). Version 2.0 supports annotations and CDI Beans, reducing significantly the code required to send and receive messages.

The Executive Committee (EC) of the Java Community Process (JCP), the Java spec governing body, approved the Java Specification Request (JSR 342) for the next release of the platform in March 2011. The public review process of the new spec began in January 2013.

"Java has a unique process of governance in the industry," Hilwa said, "one that is a hybrid of vendor ownership and massive community involvement in specification, testing and validation. The complexity of this process is justified by the need to tighten compatibility, which is the hallmark of the technology, and strong funded investment intended to benefit the entire ecosystem. Oracle certainly went through a bit of a learning curve in running Java, but it is heartening to see that Java's unique democratic process is more democratic than over, yet able to deliver powerful innovations for the massive base of stakeholders."

Oracle has "a strong vested interest in the success of Java," said Cameron Purdy, Oracle's vice president of development, in a statement. "[W]e are firmly committed to working with the community to deliver a consistent, high-performance, high-quality Java EE implementation."

Java EE 7 is supported in the 7.3.1 version of the NetBeans IDE, and, according to Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, will be supported in early builds of Eclipse Kepler. Kepler is the latest annual synchronized launch of multiple Eclipse projects, better known as the Release Train.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].