Java 7 features revisited

As we know Oracle  released Java 8 in its Annual conference Java One recently . So before saying  adieu  to java 7 let us revisit the features of it again , that differentiate it from earlier versions .

Given below are the list of wonderful features  added as part of Java 7 .

1.  Diamond Operator
2.  Using strings in switch statement
3.  Automatic resource management
4.  Numeric literals with underscore
5.  Improved Exception Handling
6.  New File System API (NIO 2.0)
7.  Fork and Join

Read Also :  Java 8  features : Biggest change to Java since Java  

1.   Diamond Operator

     We used to have declarations like below until java 1.6

     Map<Object,Object>  mpObj = new HashMap<Object,Object>();

                       Here,if you would observe , there is a repetition of 
                       both on the left hand side and right hand side
    Hence with Java 1.7 , you don't have to do a repeat on the right hand side
    This means you can do something like this on the code 

    Map<Object,Object>  mpObj = new HashMap<>();

                      Because  of the symbol  hence created , the name "Diamond Operator" 
                      was coined in by Ronaldinho               

2.  Using Strings in switch statements

    Until Java 1.6 ,  we have only  int values (convertible) , enum's as contestants of switch cases . Starting  
    Java 1.7  , we have even  java.lang.String was nominated to be a contestant for the switch cases .

  for example :

  String caseContestant= "Apple";

  switch(caseContestant){ the location i was talking about is  this position . This position only convertible ints
                                        and enums had the keys to enter into the gates , now in java 1.7 ,duplicate key     
                                        has been given to even java.lang.String     
    case  "Apple" :
     System.out.print("I am apple");

  case  "Mango" :
     System.out.print("I am mango");


3. Automatic Resource Management

 This means that the management of resources will not be anymore done by developers, but will be
 automatically taken care by Java (JVM)

                     Resource 1 passed as argument                                 Resource 2 passed as argument 
try ( FileOutputStream fos=new FileOutputStream("movies.txt") ; DataOutputStream dos= new  DataOutputStream(fos); )       This is the way we specify JAVA/JVM , mentioning that we want
this  list of resources separated by semi colon to be handled .       
   //  try  block code

  Now the question arises How the hell JVM come to know anything about the elements mentioned in the above argument list separated by semi colons.

The answer to the question is that all of the above mentioned elements in the list implement an interface called  java.lang.AutoCloseable . This interface declares a method called "void close() throws Exception"  . This method is completely used for management of resources .

4.  Numeric literals with underscores

   This means that we can have underscores  in between the numbers for readability purposes .

   int thousand  =   1_000  ;                            We can introduce underscores in between the numbers for
                                                                      readability purposes; still the value remains the same  
   int tenthousand =  10_000 ;

5.  Improved Exception Handling

    In Java 7 , This is technically called multi-catch clause

     catch(Exception1 |  Exception 2 | Excception 3 | Exception 4   exceptionObject)
                                               In the catch block you can pass multiple exceptions separated by
                                               " | "  separator . If there any exceptions happening fall in this list ,
                                               it will all be caught by this catch block .

6.  New File System API (NIO 2.0)

     NIO stands for  New Input Output .
     There is complete change in the framework when it comes to file handling , input/output operations
     and others .

     All elements that make up the new framework  are all placed under the package   java.nio   .

   To give a brief understanding on this , let's try to  understand below picture

platform based architecture nio interface in java

As described in the  above figure , the architecture/framework  always gives you a component that is strongly coupled with the underlying architecture. But these components  still share a common interface . We will call it as "Platform  based architecture" , actually it is Factory Pattern  exemplified at its best .Having this in mind lets analyze the new wonderful things that come as part of java.nio


The first change is the introduction of the Path (java.nio.file.path) component in the place of File (
.And for Paths , Paths (Java.nio.file.Paths) act as the Component provider . The Component structure of the
Path looks like this

nio package in java 7

Now the  component provider for the same would be Paths from java.nio.file package

Hence the file object instantiation which had been like

    File file= new File ("fileName");

  Would now look like
   Path path= new Paths.get("fileName");
                             Paths is the Component provider

Note that there is something common between the above two statements , both are just object /virtual entities . No  links exists between these objects  and the storage devices , until some action like create ,
delete , modification of the file is done .

For example ,  in the old API , it would be something like the below to create a file.


In the new API it is something like ,

                             This being the utility class from the java.nio.file package

Accordingly we have delete,deleteExists,copy,move,createSymbolicLink(for creating shortcut for files) for different actions from the java.nio.file.Files  utility class .

File Change Notification: 

Consider a scenario :

You as a policeman  (the program you write) , call out on a FBI (who is the WatchService in java terms)
to monitor a robber (directory/file) . The FBI informs you back using signals (WatchKeys in this case) .

Steps involved in accomplishing the file notification functionality .

1. Create a WatchService .This service consists of a queue to hold WatchKeys.
2. Register the directory/file  you wish to monitor with this WatchService .
3. While registering ,specify the types of events you wish to recieve (create , modify or delete events) .
4. You have to start an infinite loop to listen to events .
5. When an event occurs , a WatchKey is placed into the queue.
6. Consume the WatchKey and invoke queries on it .

Code example :

Path path =  Paths.get("C:\\Temp\\temp\\");
WatchService     watchService  = FileSystems.getDefault().newWatchService();
WatchKey key=null;
      for(WatchEventkey : key.pollEvents())
             Kind kind=event.kind();
             System.out.println("Event on" + event.context().toString() + "is"  +kind);

   catch(InterruptedException e)
     System.out.println("InterruptedException:" + e.getMessage());
   key.reset();    To restart the Watching duty

7.  Fork and Join

This is a mechanism through which you make the best use of the processors available in your systems .
Fork   a term coined by the  UNIX bad boys , saying to create a child process .
Join also a term  coined by the UNIX bad boys , saying to wait for a child process to complete and join

Following are the steps  you do to make the dangerous move with Fork and Join mechanism  of Java

Step 1:

ForkJoinPool   pool = new ForkJoinPool(Runtime.getRunTime().availableProcessors())

The first step informs the master (ForkJoinPool) , the number of processors available in the system for it to manage with .

Step 2:


Here you will give the task you want to be executed to the ForkJoinPool ,and it will take care of delegating this work to the free processor.

About The Author

Subham Mittal has worked in Oracle for 3 years .
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