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Yesterday, Oracle announced the general availability of Java SE 13 (JDK 13) and that its binaries are expected to be available for download today. In addition to improved performance, stability, and security, this release comes with two preview features, switch expressions and text blocks. This announcement coincides with the commencement of Oracle’s co-located OpenWorld and Code One conferences happening from September 16-17 2019 at San Francisco.

Oracle’s director of Java SE Product Management, Sharat Chander, wrote in the announcement, “Oracle offers Java 13 for enterprises and developers. JDK 13 will receive a minimum of two updates, per the Oracle CPU schedule, before being followed by Oracle JDK 14, which is due out in March 2020, with early access builds already available.

This release is licensed under the GNU General Public License v2 with the Classpath Exception (GPLv2+CPE). For those who are using Oracle JDK release as part of an Oracle product or service, it is available under a commercial license.

Read also: Oracle releases open-source and commercial licenses for Java 11 and later

What’s new in JDK 13

JDK 13 includes the implementation of the following Java Enhancement Proposals (JEPs):

Dynamic class-data sharing archives (JEP 350)

JEP 350 improves the usability of application class-data sharing to allow the dynamic archiving of classes once the execution of a Java application is completed. The archived classes will consist of all loaded application classes and library classes that are not present in the default, base-layer CDS archive.

Uncommit unused memory (JEP 351)

Previously, the z garbage collector did not uncommit and returned memory to the operating system, even if it was left unused for a long time. With JEP 351 implemented in JDK 13, the z garbage collector will return unused heap memory to the operating system.

Read also: Getting started with Z Garbage Collector (ZGC) in Java 11 [Tutorial]

Reimplement the Legacy Socket API (JEP 353)

In JDK 13, the underlying implementation used by the ‘java.net.Socket’ and ‘java.net.ServerSocket APIs’ is replaced by “a simpler and more modern implementation that is easy to maintain and debug,” as per JEP 353. This new implementation aims to make adapting to user-mode threads or fibers, that is currently being explored in Project Loom, much easier.

Switch expressions preview (JEP 354)

The switch expressions feature proposed in JEP 354 allows using ‘switch’ as both a statement or an expression. Developers will now be able to use both the traditional ‘case … : labels’ (with fall through) or new ‘case … -> labels’ (with no fall through). This preview feature in JDK 13 aims to simplify everyday coding and prepare the way for the use of pattern matching (JEP 305) in a switch.

Text blocks preview (JEP 355)

The text blocks preview feature proposed in JEP 355 makes it easy to express strings that take up several source code lines. This preview feature aims to improve both “the readability and the writeability of a broad class of Java programs to have a linguistic mechanism for denoting strings more literally than a string literal.

Check out the official announcement by Oracle to know what else has landed in JDK 13.

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