Java 11 and IntelliJ IDEA
IntelliJ IDEA already supports the latest version of Java — Java 11. Check out this post to learn more about IntelliJ IDEA, Java 11, and new features.
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Java 11 was just released! It feels like only yesterday that we were saying the same thing about Java 9. This new, six-monthly release cadence is a big change for the Java community. Java developers are getting small drops of interesting new features regularly, which is exciting.
Java 11, like Java 10, has a fairly short list of new features, which is a good thing for us developers, as it's much easier to see what may be interesting and useful to us. From an IntelliJ IDEA point of view, there's really only one feature that benefited from some extra support in the IDE, and that was JEP 323: Local-Variable Syntax for Lambda Parameters. We've already blogged about this in the context of Java 11 support in IntelliJ IDEA 2018.2, but let's cover it again quickly.
When lambda expressions were introduced in Java 8, you could write something like this:
BiConsumer<Processor, String> consumer1 = (Processor x, String y) -> x.process(y);
The type information is included for the x and y parameters. But, you didn't need to include this type of information, as it was already known. In this case, the BiConsumer on the left declares these two types with generics. IntelliJ IDEA lets you remove these types, if you wish:
Java 10 introduced
var for local variable types, which we'll talk about a bit later in this post, and Java 11 took this further to allow
var on lambda expression parameters. The main use case for this is when a parameter requires an annotation. Annotations appear next to the type, so prior to Java 11, this would have meant code with an annotation that might look something like this:
BiConsumer<Processor, String> consumer = (@NotNull Processor x, @Nullable String y) -> x.process(y);
In Java 11, we can make this a little shorter using
var instead of the parameter types, and IntelliJ IDEA can do this conversion for you. Note that this is suggested when you press Alt+Enter on the type, it's not flagged as a warning in the code.
Java 11: Be Aware — APIs May Not Be There Anymore
As well as new language features, it's important to understand that Java 11 actually removes features. This step not only affects deprecated features and functionality that wasn't used much before, but it also aims to simplify the core of the language by moving some large sections into separate dependencies (e.g. JavaFX) or expecting applications to use external dependencies that were already available (e.g. Java EE).
Both the Java EE and CORBA modules have been removed. While CORBA is probably not highly used, many applications do, of course, make use of Java EE. Usually, this is in the context of an application server, or some other specific implementation of Java EE, but some applications and libraries make use of small sections of Java EE for specific purposes. For example, JAXB is now not in the core language; you'll need to add a specific dependency on it. There's more information on possible replacement dependencies on this StackOverflow question.
Java 10 was released only six months ago, and many of us may not have even started using it yet.
As a reminder, the main new feature from Java 10 was the introduction of var, which, as we saw above, allows us to use
var instead of a specific type. This is not introducing dynamic typing into Java, instead, it's continuing a trend of reducing boilerplate in Java, similar to the introduction of the diamond operator, which meant that we no longer had to declare generic types on both sides of the equals sign.
IntelliJ IDEA supports
var in a number of ways. Firstly, inspections give you the option of replacing types with
var with types.
By default, the inspection won't give you a warning about code that can use
var (or code that should have an explicit type), but as usual, the inspection can be configured according to your team's style.
IntelliJ IDEA can also help you to navigate code that uses
var. Holding down Ctrl/⌘ and hovering over
var will show the type of the variable.
Like any other type, we can click here and navigate to the declaration, or we can use Ctrl+B/⌘B to navigate to the declaration via
var. We can also use Quick Documentation (Ctrl+Q/F1) or Quick Definition (Ctrl+Shift+I/⌥Space) on
var to see the type.
We covered using
var in quite a lot of depth in our webinar on IntelliJ IDEA and Java 10.
Last September's Java 9 release was a big one, and people may be surprised to learn that both 10 and 11 effectively replace 9. Some JDK providers (e.g. Oracle) will not be offering long-term support for Java 9 (or Java 10). Teams looking to jump straight from Java 8 to Java 11, skipping out the versions without long-term support, still need to understand the changes that came into Java 9 because they'll be part of Java 11.
We have already covered Java 9 and IntelliJ IDEA a number of times on this blog, and we have a recording of a webinar that covers many Java 9 features that may be interesting to developers. Of course, modularity is the most famous feature, but there are lots of other additions, including the new Convenience Factory Methods for Collections. Personally, this is my favorite feature from Java 9, and conveniently, IntelliJ IDEA inspections can offer to migrate code to use the new methods.
A Note on Migration
While the goal of this post has been to show features in IntelliJ IDEA that make working with Java 9, 10, and 11 easier, and not specifically to help developers to migrate their code to these versions, we can't help but throw in a bit of advice in this area. If you are looking to use Java 11 in the near future, you should start by making sure all of your dependencies are up to date. Many JVM languages, libraries, and frameworks had to make big changes to work with Java 9, and yet, there is more to do to keep up with changes from Java 10 and Java 11. You should be able to update the versions of the libraries you're using with minimal impact on your own application and be a significant step closer to being able to use the latest version of Java.
If you are interested in migrating from Java 8, I wrote a couple of articles on the topic elsewhere, specifically tackling migrating to Java 9 (which will, of course, also apply to Java 11):
- Migrating from Java 8 to Java 9 from Oracle’s Java Magazine, using IntelliJ IDEA, of course.
- Painlessly Migrating to Java Jigsaw Modules – a case study for InfoQ, looking at introducing modularity to your application.
Java 11 may only have only just been released, but IntelliJ IDEA already fully supports it and makes it easier to use the new features in Java 11, 10, and 9.
Try it out today! You can download the open source OpenJDK build (provided by Oracle), which is ready for production use now.
Please note that I have suggested the OpenJDK build here, as Oracle has changed their license and now produce a commercial and open source JDK. Please do read this post for more information, it's very important to understand!
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