Oracle Proposes Roadmap for JDK 8; Release Set for Sept. 2013

Oracle has proposed several new implementation milestones for version 8 of the Java Development Kit (JDK 8), beginning with Milestone 1 on April 24 and ending with Milestone 6 on Jan. 30, 2013. The new JDK 8 roadmap was posted by Mathias Axelsson, Oracle's Release Manager for the JDK, on the OpenJDK mailing list.

Axelsson, who is based in Stockholm, Sweden, proposed the following high-level release dates for the JDK 8 project:

  • M1: August 2011 - April 24, 2012
  • M2: Ends June 14, 2012
  • M3: Ends July 30, 2012
  • M4: Ends September 11, 2012
  • M5: Ends November 26, 2012
  • M6: Ends January 30, 2013

On this schedule, the JDK 8 would be feature complete (FC) by the end of January 2013, Axelsson suggested, meaning that all features and new test development would cease at that time. "Since there are a lot of features going into JDK 8," Axelsson wrote, "I think we need at least as much time to stabilize JDK 8 as was needed in JDK 7. That leads us to a target release date in September 2013."

In order to stick to this roadmap and avoid the last-minute discovery of critical bugs (which he noted was the case with JDK 7), Axelsson suggested that the Java community "raise the bar in steps" during the bug fixing phase of the release. That approach would keep the process focused on "critical issues," he said. The steps Axelsson proposed include:

  • General bug fixing from early February till early April 2013.
  • In early April 2013 the bar is raised to only allow P1-P3 bugs to be fixed.
  • By mid-June 2013 the bar is raised even higher and only showstopper bug
    fixes are considered.

Oracle unveiled JDK 7 last summer. It was the first major release of the Java Standard Edition (Java SE) platform and the first new version of Java to make it out of the open source Java community in five years. It was also the first version published since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems and became the corporate steward of the Java language and platform.

JDK 8 is the open source reference implementation of Java SE 8. The umbrella Java Specification Request (JSR) for JDK 8 is JSR 337. The Java SE 8 spec is being built on the Java Language spec, the Java Virtual Machine spec and the Java SE APIs defined in Java SE 7. The new version of the Java core platform emphasizes three themes: productivity, performance, and modularity.

JDK 8 is part of "Plan B," which is the second of two plans proposed last year by Mark Reinhold in his blog. Plan B includes the Lambda Project ("closures") and a Java-native module system called Project Jigsaw.

Proposals for JSR 337 should be submitted to the JCP by the beginning of May 2013. Axelsson said he wants to get feedback from anyone working the project by April 17.

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].