2018 was a big year for Java because of the changes to the language’s release schedule and the transfer of Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation. Last year, Oracle announced that it would be releasing major versions of Java twice per year, and Java 10 was the first release in that new schedule.
Java 10 was released in March and included features such as extending type inferences to local variable declarations, GC parallelization, optimized startup time, and the ability to use Graal as an experimental JIT compiler on Linux/x64.
Java 11 was released in September and was a Long Term Support (LTS) release, which means that it will be supported by Oracle via security and bug-fixing updates until at least 2026.
Sometime between the release of Java 10 and Java 11, the JVM Ecosystem Survey Report revealed that Java 8 was still the most widely used version of Java. The report found that 79 percent of developers use Java 8, four percent use Java 9, and four percent use Java 10.
In February, Java EE was renamed to Jakarta EE after being moved to the Eclipse Foundation from Oracle. The name is a reference to the Jakarta Project, which was an early Apache open-source project. A new specification process called the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process was also created. Other renamed Java projects include Glassfish, which is now Eclipse Glassfish, and Oracle development management, which is now Eclipse Enterprise for Java Project Management Committee.
The Eclipse Foundation also added 16 new members to support the growth of the Jakarta EE and IoT communities.
In March, Oracle split off JavaFX into its own module. It was previously part of the JDK, and will continue to be supported as part of JDK 8 until at least 2022, but starting with Java 11 it was available as its own module. Oracle revealed that it would work with third parties to make it easier to maintain JavaFX as an open-source module.
Other cuts made by Oracle include removing support for Applets in 2019 and removing Java Web Start starting with Java 11. According to the company, Java Web Start will be supported in Java 8 until 2025, and products with Web Start dependencies will be supported on a to-be-determined timeline.
In June, the Eclipse Foundation released the latest version of the Eclipse IDE. Eclipse Photon expanded on polyglot capabilities. New features include C# editing and debugging capabilities, support for Java 10 and Java EE 8, dark theme improvements, and support for building, debugging, running, and packaging Rust apps.
The next month, Google released Jib, which is a method that Java developers can use to containerize applications. The reasoning behind creating Jib was that Java developers are often not container experts, making it difficult to containerize their apps.
Amazon also released a no-cost distribution of OpenJDK in an effort to make sure that Java is available for free to its users in the long term. Amazon Corretto is available with long-term support, and Amazon will continue making performance enhancements and security fixes.