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Technical Communique 
September 27, 2018 
Pre-Release BBj for Java 11 Testing

The current BBj nightly builds are now available for testing with Java 11, which was released on September 25. A BASIS license with an active SAM feature line is required for testing the nightly builds with either Oracle Java 11 or OpenJDK 11.

The release of Java 11 by Oracle represents a significant departure from past Java releases in several aspects. For example, it is noteworthy that Oracle has released both an open source version of Java 11, OpenJDK 11 as well as Oracle Java 11 and that with Oracle Java 11's release Oracle will no longer provide public updates to Java for commercial use. Similarly, after January 2019, Oracle will also end public updates for Oracle Java 8 for commercial use.

Read on to understand the direction and impact of this release.

Key Components of the Java 11 Release Announcement:
  • The cadence and support of Java releases are changing. Oracle has introduced six month incremental releases with every third release receiving commercial long-term support (LTS).
    • Oracle is providing a free version, OpenJDK, and a chargeable version, Oracle JDK
  • Java 11 and beyond exclude several key components previously packaged with Java amongst which, most notably for BASIS developers, are Web Start and JavaFX
  • BASIS is providing a smooth transitionary path forward for its customers to accommodate these changes, read on to learn more

BASIS Recommended Alternatives
Long-Term Public Updates of OpenJDK
Oracle has announced that they do not intend to offer public updates for OpenJDK beyond the six-month lifecycle of each release. Others in the open-source community are planning to provide long-term public updates to OpenJDK that mirror Oracle's long-term support releases. One such release roadmap has been announced by the AdoptOpenJDK foundation. The foundation includes in their Tier-1 Sponsor list companies such as major Java industry players IBM, Azul Systems, and Microsoft Azure, to name a few. BASIS will provide BBj support for both the commercial Oracle JDK as well as OpenJDK.

Oracle's Java 11 is Missing Java Web Start and JavaFX
Java Web Start has been conveniently used for updating and deploying BASIS' thin client to desktops via a simple URL. It has been included in the Oracle Java Runtime Environment (JRE) since 2001. 

BASIS is testing alternatives including an implementation of Java Web Start,  IcedTea-Web, an open source project supported by Red Hat and other major players.

BASIS already provides a JNLP.exe Packer plug-in to create a Windows-only desktop executable to launch the BBj thin client as an alternative to Java Web Start.

Benefits of the JNLP.exe Packer include:
  • obviating the need for certificates
  • faster thin client startup times
  • elimination of the end user inadvertently designating the wrong version of Java for use by the thin client
  • uses the JNLP configuration infrastructure
A drawback is:
  • packaging and deployment to the desktop needs to be managed by the System Administrator 
An update on Java Web Start alternatives will be provided by BASIS when their evaluation and testing have concluded.

JavaFX has been open sourced as OpenJFX and redesigned to be available as a stand-alone library rather than being included with the JDK. BASIS has successfully tested BBj with OpenJFX. JavaFX/OpenJFX is leveraged by two key components of BASIS technology: the BBjHtmlEdit and BBjHtmlView controls.

Applications using the BBjHtmlEdit control require JavaFX or OpenJFX in order to function.

The BBjHtmlView control, however, can use either JavaFX/OpenJFX or the alternative Chromium Engine that BASIS now ships. In our testing, it has proven to have superior performance and better HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript support than Oracle's JavaFX/OpenJFX.

The BBjHtmlView control is a complete web browser with support for HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Its capabilities represent a significant leap forward for the BBj language by allowing developers to write BBj code that can interact with and respond to JavaScript events. HERE is a brief video of some of its capabilities.

This announcement updates BASIS' August 14, 2018 communication regarding "BASIS Plans Support for OpenJDK"
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