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What is Java 8 and Why You Need It: Download Java for Windows Now


Java 8: A Comprehensive Guide




Java is one of the most popular and widely used programming languages in the world. It is a general-purpose, object-oriented, and platform-independent language that can run on various operating systems and devices. Java has been evolving since its inception in 1995, and each new version brings new features and improvements to the language and the platform.




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Java 8 is a major release of the Java platform that was launched in March 2014. It introduced many new features and enhancements that make Java more expressive, concise, functional, and powerful. In this article, we will explore some of the most important features and benefits of Java 8, as well as provide a step-by-step guide on how to install and use it.


Java 8 Language Enhancements




One of the main goals of Java 8 was to make the language more functional, which means that it supports programming with functions as first-class citizens. Functions are objects that can be passed as arguments, returned from methods, or stored in variables. Functional programming enables us to write more concise, readable, and maintainable code, as well as to leverage parallelism and concurrency more easily.


To support functional programming, Java 8 introduced several new language features, such as lambda expressions, method references, functional interfaces, default methods, optional class, and stream API.


Lambda Expressions and Functional Interfaces




A lambda expression is a short and anonymous way of defining a function that can be passed as an argument or assigned to a variable. It consists of a list of parameters, a lambda operator (->), and a body that contains an expression or a statement block. For example:


// A lambda expression that takes two integers and returns their sum (a, b) -> a + b // A lambda expression that prints "Hello World" to the standard output () -> System.out.println("Hello World")


A functional interface is an interface that has only one abstract method. It can be used as a type for lambda expressions or method references. For example:


// A functional interface that represents a function that takes two integers and returns an integer @FunctionalInterface interface IntFunction int apply(int a, int b); // A lambda expression that implements the IntFunction interface IntFunction add = (a, b) -> a + b;


Lambda expressions and functional interfaces enable us to write more concise and elegant code, especially when working with collections, streams, or event handlers. For example:


// Without lambda expressions List names = Arrays.asList("Alice", "Bob", "Charlie"); Collections.sort(names, new Comparator() @Override public int compare(String s1, String s2) return s1.length() - s2.length(); ); // With lambda expressions List names = Arrays.asList("Alice", "Bob", "Charlie"); Collections.sort(names, (s1, s2) -> s1.length() - s2.length());


Method References and Default Methods




A method reference is a shorthand notation for a lambda expression that calls an existing method. It consists of a class name or an object reference, followed by a double colon (::) and a method name. For example:


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// A method reference that calls the static method parseInt of the Integer class Integer::parseInt // A method reference that calls the instance method length of a String object String::length


Method references can be used wherever a functional interface is expected. They make the code more readable and concise by avoiding unnecessary lambda expressions. For example:A default method is a method that has a default implementation in an interface. It allows the interface to define a common behavior for its subclasses without forcing them to override it. It also enables the interface to evolve by adding new methods without breaking the existing implementations. For example:


// A default method that prints a greeting message interface Greeting default void sayHello() System.out.println("Hello, this is a default method"); // A class that implements the Greeting interface class GreetingImpl implements Greeting // No need to override the default method // A test class public class DefaultMethodsTest public static void main(String[] args) Greeting greeting = new GreetingImpl(); greeting.sayHello(); // calling the default method


Output:


Hello, this is a default method


An optional class is a wrapper class that represents a value that may or may not be present. It is used to avoid null pointer exceptions and to write more expressive and readable code. It provides methods to check if a value is present, to get the value if present, or to provide an alternative value if absent. For example:


// An optional that contains a string value Optional name = Optional.of("John"); // An optional that is empty Optional empty = Optional.empty(); // A method that takes an optional as a parameter and prints the value if present public static void printName(Optional name) // Check if the optional has a value if (name.isPresent()) // Get the value and print it System.out.println(name.get()); else // Print a default message System.out.println("No name provided"); // A test class public class OptionalTest public static void main(String[] args) printName(name); // calling the method with a non-empty optional printName(empty); // calling the method with an empty optional


Output:


John No name provided


A stream API is a set of classes and methods that allow us to process collections of data in a declarative and functional way. It supports various operations such as filtering, mapping, sorting, reducing, and parallelizing. It also supports lazy evaluation, which means that the elements are only processed when needed. For example:


// A list of numbers List numbers = Arrays.asList(1, 2, 3, 4, 5); // A stream that filters the even numbers and doubles them Stream doubledEvens = numbers.stream() .filter(n -> n % 2 == 0) // filter the even numbers .map(n -> n * 2); // double them // A stream that sums up the elements of another stream int sum = doubledEvens.reduce(0, Integer::sum); // sum up the elements // Print the result System.out.println(sum);


Output:


12 Java 8 Platform Enhancements




Besides the language features, Java 8 also introduced several new and improved APIs and tools that enhance the functionality and performance of the Java platform. Some of the most notable ones are the date and time API, the Nashorn JavaScript engine, the parallel array sorting, and the type annotations.


Date and Time API and Nashorn JavaScript Engine




The date and time API is a new set of classes and interfaces that provide a comprehensive and consistent way of handling date and time values in Java. It is based on the ISO 8601 standard and supports various calendar systems, time zones, units, and formats. It also provides methods for manipulating, parsing, formatting, and calculating date and time values. For example:


// A date object that represents the current date LocalDate today = LocalDate.now(); // A date object that represents the first day of 2020 LocalDate firstDayOf2020 = LocalDate.of(2020, 1, 1); // A date object that represents the 100th day of 2020 LocalDate hund


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