20 September 2019

The Hacker's Tribute Vol. 23: Oracle, GraalVM, and Java 13


Greetings, Digital Disciples! There’s a change in the air – a revolution.

We stand at the cliff edge of immense technological progress. Gradually, through decimal-level updates, Alphas, Betas, and peer reviews, we finally attain that final product; a whole number, if you will.

Change is good. It’s like a fresh breeze of clarity. Sometimes we need it, and sometimes, we must prepare for it. In this issue, we’d like to focus on changes, and more precisely, the mechanism of changes. Oracle is particularly active, so we’ll be taking a close look at them.

Developers will understand that sometimes an unpredictable update can be a spanner in the works. I want to help manage this change and control the chaos.

Here’s to predicting the unpredictable!


Dan ‘the Man’ Kowalski

Editor-in-Chief, the Hacker’s Tribute, Change-master, Regulator of Random

You’re Flattering Me, Flutter

It’s not quite 2.0, but its 95 per cent of the way there – Flutter 1.9 is an impressive collection of features and widgets designed to make you forget that the remaining 5 per cent is even necessary. Look out for the selectable text widget, colour filter, iOS 13-style updates, 24 language supports, Dart 2.5, better development support, … well, you get the idea.

Let Your Feature Flag Fly!

These innovations boost release times but must be more easily defined. So, how do we configure them both locally and from a safe distance? Jeroen Mols has all the answers, and he’ll guide you through the why’s, blasting through the how’s of creating and consuming, before finally demonstrating what constitutes successful architecture.

Java the 13th

Developers and enterprises of the world unite! The all-new rendition of Java 13 is thanks to the efforts of unsung heroes and independent volunteers from other organisations in addition to Oracle – and the results are awe-inspiring. We explore five new enhancements; JEP 350 Dynamic CDS Archives, JEP 351 ZGC: Uncommit Unused Memory, JEP 353 – Reimplement the Legacy Socket API, JEP 354 – Switch Expressions (Preview), and JEP 355 – Text Blocks (Preview). An intricate team effort!

Open JDK: JEP 354 Sneak Peek

Sometimes, in the spirit of going that extra mile, we look at some intricate features of our line-up of new updates. This time, we bring you the JEP 354: Switch Expressions preview language feature. It’s a potential breakthrough marked by ease of coding, with simplified use of pattern matching, in the form of JEP 305. For more insight and in-depth analysis (oh yes, there’s more!), then consult OpenJDK here.

On the Oracle of the Species

The hit which we’ve all be craving is finally here. Oracle JDBC is now available via the Maven Central repository. For now, users can enjoy the release, with a wider variety coming soon! As a bonus, the JDBC drivers will come with companion jars, as well as some optional dependencies to artifacts. This is only the beginning, as we’re expecting a wide range of new capabilities!

Oracle & VMware: Clearly Cloudy

In what we can describe as a very cloud-heavy announcement, Oracle presents an extensive catalogue of cloud references – 39 to be exact. Our patience for repetition is finite, but for this release, we can make an exception. That’s because, for those with a hybrid cloud strategy, Oracle and VMware will support your habit. The new Oracle Cloud VMware solution will enable customers to run VMware workloads on Oracle Cloud, with improved infrastructure, and extensive support. Remember, every cloud has a silver lining.

An Initialised Class of its Own

A high number of unsolved mysteries plague the science & technology sphere; the 1937 disappearance of Amelia Earhart’s plane, the top score in Pac-Man, and the initialisation of GraalVM native image generation. We’re happy to provide an answer for ahead-of-time compilation. Changing the default behaviour, as you’ll see here is a necessary evil, a shock therapy, or disgusting-but-helpful medicine. Choose your metaphor, enjoy the improved build time, you’re welcome.

It all started here…

Quarkus is not your typical coming-of-age story. In this vivid transcript of an interview with Sanne Grinovero, we uncover the Quarkus backstory and its inner workings such as Hibernate ORM and compatibility with GraalVM native libraries. It’s an insightful read for those passionate about GrallVM – and we know that you are. Booting Hibernate at Supersonic Speed, Subatomic Size – it’s a title that says it all!

Knowledge is free and shared. We’re always on the lookout for new insights into the world of App Development. Get in touch with us, and we’ll give you a heads up on your next big idea.

We’ll be in touch with more news, as it happens!


Hackers of the world dream to be him. And that’s an understatement. With methods decades ahead of cyberspace, he’s proceeded only by his own reputation. ‘The Man’ infamous for single-handedly causing the ’08 global financial meltdown, he dropped off-grid searching for purpose. He twice-dominated each of the Himalayan peaks, negotiated the rift valleys of Africa, and swam the Amazonian Basin end-to-end. It was in Siberia where we caught up to him – convincing him to work for the ‘good guys’. The veteran’s veteran of coding, now confidently within our ranks, is finally a force for good. Just don’t test him.