Java 8 is now due in Spring 2014
What has been hinted at over the last week is now official – the next version of Java will not be released until next year. Mark Reinhold, the engineer in charge of Java at the platform's owner Oracle, has confirmed that the new release date for JDK 8 will be 18 March 2014. Until very recently, the release was still scheduled for this September.
It has been clear for some time that the state of development meant that Java developers were going to have their work cut out to meet this deadline. As this January's milestone came and went, developers were forced to admit that they were a long way from having incorporated all of the planned features for that milestone. This in turn resulted in the release date for the developer preview being pushed back. The biggest concern has been the new functions being developed as part of Project Lambda, for which the required development time has proved greater then anticipated. The aim of this much anticipated project was to add lambda expressions – anonymous functions and all the associated syntax and capabilities – to the language
Efforts to make the language more secure also appear to have also led to delays in development. Java has attracted a lot of recent attention as a result of a range of different security vulnerabilities. The engineering effort pulled many resources from the Java development team onto the security work, amplifying delays in Java 8's Lambda project. Oracle's security response has been a series of scheduled and unscheduled updates but, at least so far, it has failed to dispel concerns.
The new schedule means that the JDK 8 should be feature complete by 23 May 2013 and that a developer preview should be available in early September. The first release candidate could be released in late January 2014 and if everything goes smoothly the new version should be released in mid March. That's still some way off however and Oracle's Java development has yet to shake off Sun Microsystems' reputation of missing self-imposed deadlines.