JDK 7 Update Adds Diagnostic, Monitoring, Security and Deployment Capabilities

On Tuesday Oracle announced the latest update of version 7 of the Java Development Kit.

Update 40 (JDK 7u40) adds a number of new features, including advanced monitoring and diagnostic capabilities, a new security policy, improved performance and efficiencies for Java on ARM servers, and support for Mac OS X retina displays.

This release bears the fruit of Oracle's ongoing efforts to merge the HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and the JRockit JVM into the JDK. Oracle inherited JRockit when it acquired BEA Systems in 2008, and it had been the strategic JVM for the Oracle WebLogic Suite. The company announced in 2011 that it would merge JRockit with Sun's Hotspot, which has been more broadly adopted.

Specifically, this release bundles Java Mission Control and the Java Flight Recorder into the JDK. The Flight Recorder is a profiling and event-collection framework designed to allow developers and administrators to assemble detailed low-level information about how the JVM and the app are behaving. Java Mission Control comprises a set of tools for detailed analysis of the data collected by the Flight Recorder. Together, these tools allow for the collection and analysis of data from Java apps running locally or deployed in production environments.

Both Java Mission Control and the Java Flight Recorder are available as commercial features of Oracle's enterprise-targeted Java SE Advanced package (licensed under the Oracle Binary Code License Agreement). But developers can download them for free for development and evaluation purposes in JDK 7u40.

The new security feature in this release is essentially a set of deployment rules that desktop administrators can create to address the issue of security and compatibility in browser applets. Desktop admins can create a deployment rule set that allows them to control which applets or Java Web Start apps an end user is permitted to execute and which version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is associated with them. These deployment rules also address issues around end-user awareness of who created an app and their default interactions. As Oracle explains it, "By seeing the actual company or signer, the user is protected from running code by someone that they do not know."

Oracle provides instructions for creating a deployment rule set on its Java Platform Group blog.

This release of the JDK adds full certification for version 7 of ARM-based embedded chip architectures, including new support for "hard-float" (hardware floating point), which is designed to improve performance and responsiveness for GUI apps and Java server apps running on ARM servers.

JDK 7u40 also allows Java to recognize Mac OS X retina displays and automatically generate higher resolution graphics.

Oracle noted in its announcement that JDK7 is now the default Java version for the latest generation of Oracle Fusion Middleware products.

JDK 7u40 is available now for download from the Oracle Technology Network.

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].