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Enumerations
Enhanced, for-each style for loop
Variable-length arguments (varargs)
Static import
Formatted I/O
Concurrency utilities
This is not a list of minor tweaks or incremental upgrades. Each item in the list represents
a significant addition to the Java language. Some, such as generics, the enhanced for, and
varargs, introduce new syntax elements. Others, such as autoboxing and auto-unboxing,
alter the semantics of the language. Annotations add an entirely new dimension to
programming. In all cases, the impact of these additions went beyond their direct effects.
They changed the very character of Java itself.
The importance of these new features is reflected in the use of the version number
"5." The next version number for Java would normally have been 1.5. However, the new
features were so significant that a shift from 1.4 to 1.5 just didn't seem to express the
magnitude of the change. Instead, Sun elected to increase the version number to 5 as a way
of emphasizing that a major event was taking place. Thus, it was named J2SE 5, and the
developer 's kit was called JDK 5. However, in order to maintain consistency, Sun decided
to use 1.5 as its internal version number, which is also referred to as the developer version
number. The "5" in J2SE 5 is called the product version number.
Java SE 6
The newest release of Java is called Java SE 6, and the material in this topic has been updated to
reflect this latest version of Java. With the release of Java SE 6, Sun once again decided to
change the name of the Java platform. First, notice that the "2" has been dropped. Thus, the
platform now has the name Java SE, and the official product name is Java Platform, Standard
Edition 6. As with J2SE 5, the 6 in Java SE 6 is the product version number. The internal,
developer version number is 1.6.
Java SE 6 builds on the base of J2SE 5, adding incremental improvements. Java SE 6
adds no major features to the Java language proper, but it does enhance the API libraries,
add several new packages, and offer improvements to the run time. As it relates to this
topic, it is the changes to the core API that are the most notable. Many of the packages have
new classes, and many of the classes have new methods. These changes are indicated
throughout the topic. In general, the release of Java SE 6 serves to further solidify the
advances made by J2SE 5.
A Culture of Innovation
Since the beginning, Java has been at the center of a culture of innovation. Its original release
redefined programming for the Internet. The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and bytecode
changed the way we think about security and portability. The applet (and then the servlet)
made the Web come alive. The Java Community Process (JCP) redefined the way that new
ideas are assimilated into the language. The world of Java has never stood still for very
long. Java SE 6 is the latest release in Java's ongoing, dynamic history.
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