Moving Towards Java 11

Hello! My name is Federico Russo and I am the director of software development in Antea. Welcome to my tech blog where I plan to discuss software technologies and how they impact our daily work in Antea.

So, let us start from the basics: Java.

Java is the main programming language we use in Antea. In fact, we used Java to write the Antea Platform. We started about ten years ago on Java 7 and we moved to Java 8 in 2015 with version 1.0 of the Antea Platform, which, at that time, was named Palladio Web; however, Java 8 reached the end of its life more than a year ago. So, why are we still using it?

Well, it turns out, a lot of people are still there! According to the Snyk JVM Ecosystem Report 2020, 64% of the industry still uses Java 8 in production systems. This is because a few related things happened:

  • Oracle, the Java provider, changed the licensing of its Java runtime platform. Now, if you want to use commercially supported Oracle Java more than six months after its release, you must pay whereas, before, you needed not.
  • Oracle introduced a lot of breaking changes in Java 9 (well, good changes, but expensive to migrate to for Java developers).

The sum of the two made us, and many other Java based software companies within the industry, hesitate on Java 8.

But fear not! There are plenty of solutions out there. First, even if Oracle ended its support for Java 8, many other companies haven’t. This is because Java is an open source which includes the Java reference implementation and OpenJDK. It is an open source effort led by Oracle where many companies use OpenJDK to provide their own certified version of Java and many of them continue to maintain their Java 8 implementations until 2026.

Besides all this, we are moving towards Java 11. Version 1.27 of the Antea Platform, released on March 6, 2020, was the first release to be built that can run in both Java 8 and Java 11.

Why are we moving on? There should be no hurry if Java 8 will be among us for another 6 years, right? You might be saying that one should never change their bets from a winning horse! Sure, but winning horses age too, and fresh horses will begin to win. Simply put, the world around us changes and every year more of the tools we use will soon drop the support for Java 8. One central fact remains though; our mission to provide new technologies and possibilities to our customers. To do so we need the best, and the newest, technology that our industry can provide.

In any case, Java 8, you served us well.