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Java 8 Features with Examples

Java 8 was released in 18th March 2014, so it’s high time to look into Java 8 Features. In this tutorial, we will look into Java 8 features with examples.

Java 8 Features

Some of the important Java 8 features are:-

  1. forEach() method in Iterable interface
  2. default and static methods in Interfaces
  3. Functional Interfaces and Lambda Expressions
  4. Java Stream API for Bulk Data Operations on Collections
  5. Java Time API
  6. Collection API improvements
  7. Concurrency API improvements
  8. Java IO improvements
  9. Miscellaneous Core API improvements

Let’s have a brief look on these Java 8 features. I will provide some code snippets for better understanding, so if you want to run programs in Java 8, you will have to setup Java 8 environment by following steps.

  • Download JDK8 and install it. Installation is simple like other java versions. JDK installation is required to write, compile and run the program in Java.
  • Download latest Eclipse IDE, it provides support for java 8 now. Make sure your projects build path is using Java 8 library.

1. forEach() method in Iterable interface

Whenever we need to traverse through a Collection, we need to create an Iterator whose whole purpose is to iterate over and then we have business logic in a loop for each of the elements in the Collection. We might get ConcurrentModificationException if iterator is not used properly.

Java 8 has introduced forEach method in java.lang.Iterable interface so that while writing code we focus on business logic only. forEach method takes java.util.function.Consumer object as argument, so it helps in having our business logic at a separate location that we can reuse. Let’s see forEach usage with simple example.

The number of lines might increase but forEach method helps in having the logic for iteration and business logic at separate place resulting in higher separation of concern and cleaner code.

2. default and static methods in Interfaces

If you read forEach method details carefully, you will notice that it’s defined in Iterable interface but we know that interfaces can’t have method body. From Java 8, interfaces are enhanced to have method with implementation. We can use defaultand static keyword to create interfaces with method implementation. forEach method implementation in Iterable interface is:

We know that Java doesn’t provide multiple inheritance in Classes because it leads to Diamond Problem. So how it will be handled with interfaces now, since interfaces are now similar to abstract classes. The solution is that compiler will throw exception in this scenario and we will have to provide implementation logic in the class implementing the interfaces.

Notice that both the interfaces have a common method log() with implementation logic.

As you can see that Interface1 has static method implementation that is used in MyClass.log()method implementation. Java 8 uses default and static methods heavily in Collection API and default methods are added so that our code remains backward compatible.

If any class in the hierarchy has a method with same signature, then default methods become irrelevant. Since any class implementing an interface already has Object as superclass, if we have equals(), hashCode() default methods in interface, it will become irrelevant. Thats why for better clarity, interfaces are not allowed to have Object class default methods.

3. Functional Interfaces and Lambda Expressions

If you notice above interfaces code, you will notice @FunctionalInterface annotation. Functional interfaces are new concept introduced in Java 8. An interface with exactly one abstract method becomes Functional Interface. We don’t need to use @FunctionalInterface annotation to mark an interface as Functional Interface. @FunctionalInterface annotation is a facility to avoid accidental addition of abstract methods in the functional interfaces. You can think of it like @Override annotationand it’s best practice to use it. java.lang.Runnable with single abstract method run() is a great example of functional interface.

One of the major benefits of functional interface is the possibility to use lambda expressions to instantiate them. We can instantiate an interface with anonymous class but the code looks bulky.

Since functional interfaces have only one method, lambda expressions can easily provide the method implementation. We just need to provide method arguments and business logic. For example, we can write above implementation using lambda expression as:

If you have single statement in method implementation, we don’t need curly braces also. For example above Interface1 anonymous class can be instantiated using lambda as follows:

So lambda expressions are means to create anonymous classes of functional interfaces easily. There are no runtime benefits of using lambda expressions, so I will use it cautiously because I don’t mind writing few extra lines of code.

A new package java.util.function has been added with bunch of functional interfaces to provide target types for lambda expressions and method references. Lambda expressions are a huge topic, I will write a separate article on that in future.

4. Java Stream API for Bulk Data Operations on Collections

A new has been added in Java 8 to perform filter/map/reduce like operations with the collection. Stream API will allow sequential as well as parallel execution. This is one of the best feature for me because I work a lot with Collections and usually with Big Data, we need to filter out them based on some conditions.

Collection interface has been extended with stream() and parallelStream() default methods to get the Stream for sequential and parallel execution. Let’s see their usage with simple example.

If you will run above example code, you will get output like this:

High Nums parallel=91
High Nums parallel=96
High Nums parallel=93
High Nums parallel=98
High Nums parallel=94
High Nums parallel=95
High Nums parallel=97
High Nums parallel=92
High Nums parallel=99
High Nums sequential=91
High Nums sequential=92
High Nums sequential=93
High Nums sequential=94
High Nums sequential=95
High Nums sequential=96
High Nums sequential=97
High Nums sequential=98
High Nums sequential=99

Notice that parallel processing values are not in order, so parallel processing will be very helpful while working with huge collections.

5. Java Time API

It has always been hard to work with Date, Time and Time Zones in java. There was no standard approach or API in java for date and time in Java. One of the nice addition in Java 8 is the java.timepackage that will streamline the process of working with time in java.

Just by looking at Java Time API packages, I can sense that it will be very easy to use. It has some sub-packages java.time.format that provides classes to print and parse dates and times and provides support for time-zones and their rules.

The new Time API prefers enums over integer constants for months and days of the week. One of the useful class is DateTimeFormatter for converting datetime objects to strings.

6. Collection API improvements

We have already seen forEach() method and Stream API for collections. Some new methods added in Collection API are:

  • Iterator default method forEachRemaining(Consumer action) to perform the given action for each remaining element until all elements have been processed or the action throws an exception.
  • Collection default method removeIf(Predicate filter) to remove all of the elements of this collection that satisfy the given predicate.
  • Collection spliterator() method returning Spliterator instance that can be used to traverse elements sequentially or parallel.
  • Map replaceAll(), compute(), merge() methods.
  • Performance Improvement for HashMap class with Key Collisions

7. Concurrency API improvements

Some important concurrent API enhancements are:

  • ConcurrentHashMap compute(), forEach(), forEachEntry(), forEachKey(), forEachValue(), merge(), reduce() and search() methods.
  • CompletableFuture that may be explicitly completed (setting its value and status).
  • Executors newWorkStealingPool() method to create a work-stealing thread pool using all available processors as its target parallelism level.

8. Java IO improvements

Some IO improvements known to me are:

  • Files.list(Path dir) that returns a lazily populated Stream, the elements of which are the entries in the directory.
  • Files.lines(Path path) that reads all lines from a file as a Stream.
  • Files.find() that returns a Stream that is lazily populated with Path by searching for files in a file tree rooted at a given starting file.
  • BufferedReader.lines() that return a Stream, the elements of which are lines read from this BufferedReader.


9. Miscellaneous Core API improvements

Some misc API improvements that might come handy are:

  1. ThreadLocal static method withInitial(Supplier supplier) to create instance easily.
  2. Comparator interface has been extended with a lot of default and static methods for natural ordering, reverse order etc.
  3. min(), max() and sum() methods in Integer, Long and Double wrapper classes.
  4. logicalAnd(), logicalOr() and logicalXor() methods in Boolean class.
  5. method to get an ordered Stream over the ZIP file entries. Entries appear in the Stream in the order they appear in the central directory of the ZIP file.
  6. Several utility methods in Math class.
  7. jjs command is added to invoke Nashorn Engine.
  8. jdeps command is added to analyze class files
  9. JDBC-ODBC Bridge has been removed.
  10. PermGen memory space has been removed

That’s all for Java 8 features with example programs. If I have missed some important features of Java 8, please let me know through comments.


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