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After a lengthy gestation, the faster version of Java that Sun Microsystems has been promising, is finally here. They company first talked about it prior to the 2007 JavaOne conference as the answer to make its planned JavaFX client side technology feasible.
Sun posted the release, officially dubbed Java SE 6 Update 10, last night for general availability. It features a more modular kernel for faster loads, a rewritten browser plug-in and new updating technologies.
Rich Internet Appications a main driver
"We changed a lot of runtime deployment attributes and really focused on reinvigorating Java as a platform for consumer content," Danny Coward, chief architect in the client software group told InternetNews.com. "I think the desire for RIAs is the main driver of this release, and it's also the underpinnings of our JavaFX release." The official, public release of JavaFX is expected by the end of this year.
The improved start time is thanks to a two-pronged fix: the first is Java Quick Starter, an enhanced runtime to speed start time, and the new Java Kernel, which was rewritten to be less monolithic. Instead of having to load the full 13.5 megabyte kernel, just a 4.5 megabyte kernel is loaded, and other pieces are loaded as needed.
The result is startup is down to as low as two seconds, as opposed to an average of eight seconds for load and startup, according to Coward.
Update 10 also includes a completely rewritten Java plug-for browsers that will be much faster, more secure, and will allow consumers to drag and drop applets from a browser onto their desktop; that applet will run just like a locally-installed application. This new plug-in lets applets run in their own processes, so if one crashes, or is malicious, it won't affect the rest of the system.
Sun has also revised the Java Deployment Toolkit so installing Java applets or Java Web Start programs will be much easier, and the Deployment Toolkit will ensure that the appropriate and latest version of the JRE is currently installed.