Oracle has launched Java 7 and both put it’s mark on the language and made it certain that they are going to support and grow the technology as far as they can. The launch of Java 7 is a big event and while not a revolutionary change has a lot of changes and something for everyone.
The big changes for programmers are improvements in both writing and maintaining your code. Starting with switch statements now can use strings. And the improvements to how try catch and exception handling work made code a lot more readable. And readable means easier to code and easier to maintain. And the IDE and framework providers, Eclipse and others will have their java editors that will help to make and edit code that takes advantage of the new language constructs.
Add things like file diamond instancing, like
List strs = new ArrayList<>();
It automatically knows the ArrayList is String so no need to type all of that twice.
Other things include the new file system APIs and zip/jar file system provider. You can treat a file system as a tree and do tree actions on it and treat the contents of archives as files systems.
There are new things for multi core and concurrent and parallel programming, a fork/join concurrent thread and parallel processing framework. Allowing flexible synchronization and transfer. Other enhancements are XRender graphics pipeline providing access to your systems gpus, an updated swing look and feel and an updated sound synthesizer.
Yes there is a lot of updates, but they are more evolving the platform forward that revolutionizing the way it works. This means that what code you have now shoukd work just fine with the new version of Java and making new programs from now on will be easier and faster.
I know I haven’t touched everything but I will be as we go forward and I get a chance to work more with the new version and the new tools as they all become available. You can’t download the final version of Java 7 yet but the advanced release version is available to developers. The openJDK will be available as both GPL and the BCL and the Oracle JDK and JRE are both BCL.