Java 8 Features: After the great success of Java 7, many developers were waiting for the next version of one of the best languages in the tech world. Moreover, on 18th March 2014, the prior version of Java 8 was released. Of course, that is a long time ago, but many applications and projects are still working on Java 8. It is because it was a significant release in Java development which comes with a bunch of innovative features. Therefore, Java 8 is considered a vital feature release in JAVA programming language development. 

In this version, Java implemented supports for practical programming. In addition, Java 8 comes with a brand-new JavaScript engine. Furthermore, many new APIs for date-time manipulation was also developed in Java 8. Finally, Java SE 8 took the Java programming language to another level by delivering the tech giant’s most predictable upgrade, i.e., the lambda expressions.It add-on characteristic eventually brought the development principles to the forefront of practical programming.

Features in Java 8

Java 8 provides numerous specialties for Java programming language development. Let us glance through some of the innovative features of Java 8. 

  • It is Faster: In Java SE 8, the applications run faster than previous Java versions. The applications transferred to Java 8 have some speed enhancement without any particular work or tuning. There are plenty of speculations that help in concluding why Java 8 is faster and performs better. These are: 
  • Improvements in the performance of Common Data Structures. 
    • Improvements in Garbage collector.
    • Speed improvements of Fork/Join framework.
  • Fewer Lines of Code: Many developers always blamed Java for making simple work look more challenging by writing more lines of code. However, eventually, Java 8 version provides many functions and APIs that helps in writing the same code smoothly and in fewer lines. 
  • Lambda Expressions: Lambda Expressions are trendy and common in other programming languages like Python, Scala, etc. Lambda Expression or Lambda function is just an unnamed function written as a parameter to some other function. Lambda expression helps in writing a code in a realistic style. It is advantageous in the collection framework library, which allows iteration, filtration, and extraction of data. Lambda Expressions also adds functional processing capacity to Java. Single Abstract Methods (SAM) interface can be implemented more concisely and effectively using these Lambda Expressions.
  • Streams API:After Lambda expressions, Streams API was the most helpful change introduced in Java SE 8. Streams API provides flexibility to the users to manipulate and handle the data. It delivers lazy computation. So, it performs only when requires. It provides a mechanism for preparing a set of data in numerous ways that can involve filtering, conversion, or any different way that may be beneficial to an application. 
  • Java Date/Time API: It has constantly been troublesome to operate with Date, Time, and Time Zones in the Java programming language. In Java, any API or conventional method for handling date and time has never existed before Java 8. One of the excellent extensions in Java SE 8 is java.time package, which helps in streamlining the process of operating with date and time in Java.
  • Default Methods:To promote the functionality of lambda expression, default methods were advanced in Java 8. Java SE 8 provides the facility to append non-abstract methods in interfaces. These non-abstract methods must be declared as default methods first to add them to interfaces. These methods are described inside the interfaces and marked with a default keyword. Default methods can have a method body.
  • Functional Interface:A functional interface is an interface that includes only a single abstract method. Because of this only, functional interfaces can also be called Single Abstract Method interfaces (SAM interfaces). The functional interfaces can have any number of static and default methods. 
  • Method References: A group of statements that delivers a particular task and passes the result to the function caller is known as a method. The method references are the specific kind of lambda expressions or functions. Method references are usually used to build accessible lambda functions by referencing existing methods.
  • forEach() method:Java 8 made iteration very easy by providing a new method for iterating the elements. This method is called the forEach() method. It defined in the Iterable and Stream interface. It accepts only a single parameter that is a functional interface, which allows a user to pass a lambda expression as an argument to the method.
  • Optional Class:Java SE 8 has also implemented an Optional class that stresses on the most beneficial practices to manage null values accurately. It is public and final. It is practiced to deal with the NullPointerException in the Java program and application. It belongs tojava.util package. The class gives a method to check whether there is a value present for a particular variable or not.
  • Java Base64: Java also introduced the Java Base64 class in the Java SE 8. This Java Base64 class helps in encryption and decryption. In order to use the encoding and decoding feature of Java Base64, a user should import the java.util.Base64 class in the source file of the project or application. The Java Base64 class contains three different types of encoders and decoders, which helps in encrypting and decrypting the data at every level of the application.

These are –

  • URL
    • Simple
    • MIME
  • Stream Filter:As we have discussed about the Java Streams API earlier, Java SE 8 also implements a method known as filter() inside the Java Streams. It helps in filtering stream components based on a provided word or predicate. This filter() method is an intermediary process that renders the information from a stream and passes a new stream after changing the data based on the provided situation.
  • Type Annotations:Lambda expressions are by far the most important feature of Java 8, but another feature of Java 8 which has been very useful since its introduction is type annotations. The type annotations are the annotations that can be used anywhere a user uses a type. The type annotations include various elements like new operator and type casts. It also involves clauses like throw clauses and implement clauses. The type annotations are used to improve the Java code analysis, and it helps in ensuring more robust type checking.
  • StringJoiner:Java SE 8 has introduced many methods and classes under java.util package. Another class, which was introduced in Java 8 under java.util package was the StringJoiner class. As the name suggests, the StringJoiner class is used for joining a sequence of characters (or String) by making use of a prefix and suffix. The primary function of the StringJoiner class is to build a string (a sequence of characters) that is distributed by a delimiter such as a comma(,); hyphen(-); etc. The StringJoiner constructor returns NullPointerException if the delimiter is empty or null.
  • Arrays Parallel Sorting:Java SE 8 introduced a new method, i.e., parallelSort() inside the Arrays class. An extra feature is applied to sort the elements of an array in a parallel manner. The method has been computed inside the java.util.Arrays package. The parallelSort() method is an overloaded method, and this method can also be used for all types of primitive data types and all the types of comparable objects.

Summary 

Java SE 8 was a big release for Java, with many syntax changes, new methods, and under-the-cover innovations. The significant changes that helped in the Java programming language development growth are the Lambda Expressions, Method References, Streams, Functional Interface, and Type annotations. These changes allowed the developers to make their applications and projects more efficient and faster. 

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