Version 1.4.0 of the Java 2 SDK, Standard Edition was a major feature
release. The features listed below are those introduced in 1.4.0 (since 1.3).
Version 1.4.2 is a maintenance release and introduces the minor enhancements and
changes (since 1.4.1) listed at
and Changes in J2SE 1.4.2 on the web site.
The full list of features, including features brought forward
from previous versions, is available at
Guide to Features.
can be used for securely exchanging messages between communicating
applications using the Kerberos V5 mechanism.
JavaTM Certification Path API
includes new classes and methods in the java.security.cert
package that allow you to build and validate certification paths
(also known as "certificate chains").
Due to import control restrictions, the JCE jurisdiction policy files
shipped with the Java 2 SDK, v 1.4 allow "strong" but limited cryptography
to be used.
An "unlimited" version of these files indicating no restrictions on
cryptographic strengths is available.
The JSSE implementation provided in this release includes
strong cipher suites. However, due to U.S. export control
restrictions, this release does not allow alternate "pluggable"
SSL/TLS implementations to be used.
For more information, please see the
JSSE Reference Guide.
With the integration of JAAS into the Java 2 SDK, the
java.security.Policy API handles Principal-based queries,
and the default policy implementation supports Principal-based
grant entries. Thus, access control can now be based
not just on what code is running, but also on who
is running it.
Support for dynamic policies has been added. In Java 2 SDK
releases prior to version 1.4, classes were statically bound with
permissions by querying security policy during class loading. The
lifetime of this binding was scoped by the lifetime of the class
loader. In version 1.4 this binding is now deferred until needed by
a security check. The lifetime of the binding is now scoped by the
lifetime of the security policy.
The graphical Policy Tool utility has been enhanced to
enable specifying a Principal field indicating what user is to
be granted specified access control permissions.
Java 2D includes many new features including: performance
improvements, support for hardware acceleration for offscreen images,
a pluggable image I/O framework, a new print service API, and several new
The Java Image I/O Framework provides a pluggable architecture
for working with images stored in files and accessed across the network.
It offers substantially more flexibility and power than the current APIs
for loading and saving images.
Changes to the AWT package center on improving the robustness,
behavior, and performance of programs that present a graphical
A new focus architecture replaces the previous implementation and
addresses many focus-related bugs caused by platform inconsistencies,
and incompatibilities between AWT and Swing components.
The new full-screen exclusive mode API supports high performance
graphics by suspending the windowing system so that drawing can be
done directly to the screen; a benefit to applications like games,
or other rendering-intensive applications.
is now enabled by new graphics environment methods that
indicate whether a display, keyboard, and mouse can be supported in a
graphics environment. The ability to disable native frame decorations
is now available for applications which need to take full control of specifying how a frame will look; when
enabled this prevents the rendering of a native titlebar, system menu, border, or other
native operating system dependent screen components.
The oft-requested mouse wheel, with a scroll wheel in place of
the middle mouse button, is enabled with new built-in Java support
for scrolling via the mouse wheel. Also, a new mouse wheel listener
class allows customization of mouse wheel behavior. The AWT package
has been modified to be fully 64-bit compliant and now runs on
Solaris machines with 64-bit and 32-bit addresses.
Many new features have been added to Swing. The new spinner component
is a single line input field that allows the user to select a number or
a value by cycling through a sequence of values using a tiny pair of up/down arrow buttons.
The new formatted text field component allows formatting of dates,
numbers, and strings, such as a text field that accepts only decimal money values.
The Windows look and feel implementation is updated to track features
available in the 2000/98 versions.
A new drag and drop architecture provides seamless drag and drop
support between components as well as an easy way to implement drag and
drop in your customized Swing components - writing a couple of methods
which describe the particulars of your data model is all that is required.
Swing's progress bar component has been enhanced to support an
indeterminate state; rather than showing the degree of completeness,
the indeterminate progress bar uses constant animation to show that
a time-consuming operation is occurring. Due to great customer demand,
the tabbed pane component has been enhanced to support scrollable tabs.
With this feature enabled, if all the tabs will not fit within a single tab run,
the tabbed pane component will display a single, scrollable run of tabs, instead
of wrapping the tabs onto multiple runs. The popup and popup factory classes,
which were previously package private, have been exposed and made public so
that programmers may customize or create their own popups. The new focus
architecture is fully integrated into Swing.
Swing has added support for data transfer between
applications. A drag and drop operation is a data transfer request
that has been specified by a gesture with a
graphical pointing device. In the case of copy/paste, data transfer
is often initiated with the keyboard. The ability
to transfer data takes two forms: Drag and drop (DnD) support and
clipboard transfer via cut/copy/paste. See
Swing Data Transfer.
The Java Logging APIs facilitate software servicing and maintenance
at customer sites by producing log reports suitable for analysis by
end users, system administrators, field service engineers, and
software development teams. The Logging APIs capture information
such as security failures, configuration errors, performance bottlenecks,
and/or bugs in the application or platform.
The Java Web Start product is a new application-deployment technology
that is bundled with J2SE 1.4.0.
With Java Web Start, you launch applications simply by clicking on a
Web page link. If the application is not present on your computer,
Java Web Start automatically downloads all necessary files. It then
caches the files on your computer so the application is always ready to
be relaunched anytime you want -- either from an icon on your
desktop or from the browser link. And no matter which method you
use to launch the application, the most current version of the
application is always presented to you.
The new persistence model is designed to handle the process of
converting a graph of beans to and from a persistent form.
The new API is suitable for creating archives of graphs of
JavaBeans components as textual representations of their properties.
Enhancements to the JavaBeans Component API.
The JDBC 3.0 API, comprised of packages java.sql and
javax.sql, provides universal data access from the Java programming
language. Using the JDBC 3.0 API, you can access virtualy any data
source, from relational databases to spreadsheets and flat files. JDBC technology also provides a common base on which tools and alternative interfaces
can be built.
New features include the ability to set savepoints in a transaction, to keep
result sets open after a transaction is committed, to reuse prepared statements,
to get metadata about the parameters to a prepared statement, to retrieve
keys that are automatically generated, and to have multiple result sets open
at one time. There are two new JDBC data types, BOOLEAN and DATALINK, with
the DATALINK type making it possible to manage data outside of a data source.
This release also establishes the relationship between the JDBC Service Provider
Interface and the Connector architechture.
An assertion facility has been added to the Java 2 Platform.
Assertions are boolean expressions that the programmer believes to be true
concerning the state of a computer program. For example, after sorting a
list, the programmer might assert that the list is in ascending order.
Evaluating assertions at runtime to confirm their validity is one of the most
powerful tools for improving code quality, as it quickly uncovers the
programmer's misconceptions concerning a program's behavior.
This new feature is a simple API for managing user preference and
configuration data. Applications require preference and configuration
data to adapt to different users, environments and needs. Applications
need a way to store, retrieve, and modify this data. This need is met
by the Preferences API. The Preferences API is intended to replace
most common uses of class java.util.Properties, rectifying many
of its deficiencies, while retaining its light weight.
An endorsed standard is a JavaTM
API defined through a standards process other than the
Because endorsed standards are defined outside the JCP, it
is anticipated that such standards may be revised between
releases of the Java 2 Platform. In order to take advantage of
new revisions to endorsed standards, developers and software vendors
may use the Endorsed
Standards Override Mechanism to provide
newer versions of an endorsed standard than those included
in the Java 2 Platform as released by Sun Microsystems.
This new facility provides
a common API to record the fact that one exception caused
another, to access causative exceptions, and to acess the
entire "causal chain" as part of the standard stack backtrace, ensuring that
preexisting programs will provide this information with no additional effort
on the part of their authors.
New features include
support for IPv6 in TCP- and UDP-based applications,
and support for unconnected/unbound sockets, allowing more flexible socket
creation, binding, and connection. A mechanism called Java Secure Socket
Extension provides encryption for data sent via sockets, and a new class,
URI, allows URI
construction and parsing without the presence of a protocol
handler. The FTP Protocol Handler has been overhauled for conformity to
current standards. The default character set is now UTF8, and APIs have
been added to enable other character schemes.
A new class, NetworkInterface, allows enumeration of interfaces and addresses,
and JNDI DNS SP Support in InetAddress enables applications to configure a pure
Java name service provider. TCP out-of-band data provides support for legacy
applications; a UDP Connection function registers destination address with
the OS, enabling asynchronous errors to be returned on the UDP socket; and
full SOCkS V5 and V4 TCP support includes auto-negotiation with the proxy
for which version to use. In addition, there are improvements to streaming,
request and response headers processing, and error handling.
Server-side Stack Traces Now Retained in Remote Exceptions
The RMI runtime implementation will now preserve the server-side
stack trace information of an exception that is thrown from a
remote call, in addition to filling in the client-side stack
trace as it did previous releases. Therefore, when such an
exception becomes accessible to client code, its stack trace
will now contain all of its original server-side trace data
followed by the client-side trace.
Service Provider Interface for RMIClassLoader
Certain static methods of
java.rmi.server.RMIClassLoader now delegate their
behavior to an instance of a new service provider interface,
java.rmi.server.RMIClassLoaderSpi. This service
provider object can be configured to augment RMI's dynamic
class loading behavior for a given application. By default, the
service provider implements the standard behavior of all of the
static methods in RMIClassLoader. See the class
documentation of RMIClassLoader and
RMIClassLoaderSpi for more details.
Dynamic Server Host Name
The java.rmi.server.hostname property can now be
dynamically updated to indicate that future exports should use a
new host name. Therefore, the new host name value will be contained
in the stub for an object that is exported after the property is
An Internet Domain Naming System (DNS) service provider is part of the
Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition, v1.4. This component enables
applications to read data stored in the DNS.
The JNDI Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) service provider
has security enhancements that enable applications to
establish secure sessions over existing LDAP connections and
to use different authentication protocols.
The ORB shipping as part of Java 2 Platform now includes a Portable Object
Adapter (POA) functionality. An ORB makes it possible for client(s) to make
method invocations on the objects being supported by server(s) executing
on the same or different machine(s). ThePOA functionality
allows programmers to construct object implementations that are portable
between different ORB products, provide support for objects with
persistent identities, and much more. Other new features
include Portable Interceptors, Interoperable Naming Service,
GIOP 1.2 support, Dynamic Management of Any values, and
new tools that support a persistent naming service and other
features. To learn more about the new features in Java IDL
and RMI-IIOP between J2SE v.1.3 and J2SE v.1.4, link to
CORBA Features Between J2SE 1.3 and 1.4.
Full Speed Debugging Support
Java HotSpot[TM] virtual machine
now uses "full-speed debugging". In the previous version of HotSpot, when
debugging was enabled, the program executed using only the interpreter. Now,
the full performance advantage of HotSpot
Technology is available to programs running with debugging enabled.
The improved performance allows long running programs to
be more easily debugged. It also allows testing to proceed
at full speed and the launch of a debugger to occur on an exception.
This feature has been added to allow a class to be updated while under the control of a debugger.
Instance Filters EventRequests now have the capability of specifying an instance filter, which
restricts the events generated by the request to those in which the currently executing
instance is the object specified.
Support For Debugging Other Languages
The Java Platform Debugger Architecture has been extended so that non-Java programming
language source, which is translated to Java programming language source, can be debugged in the
A request can now be made to control target VM termination notification, allowing clean shutdown
Unicode 3.0 Support
Character handling in J2SE 1.4 is based on version 3.0 of the Unicode
standard. This affects the Character and String classes in the java.lang
package as well as the collation and bidirectional text analysis
functionality in the java.text package.
Support for Thai and Hindi
Thai and Hindi are now supported in all areas of functionality. See the
Supported Locales document
for complete information on supported locales and writing systems.
The class java.util.Currency was introduced so that currencies can be
referenced independent of locales. There are new methods on
java.text.NumberFormat and related classes to specify the currency for
formatting monetary values.
Java Plug-in 1.4 offers the following new features: support of HTTPS
through Java Secure Socket Extension (JSSE) rather than the browser;
enhanced applet caching so that other files, such as GIF, JPEG, AU,
etc., can be cached as part of the download in addition to JAR and
class files; applet persistence so that applets may persist across
browser page changes; various applet-compatibility
enhancements to allow most JDK 1.1 applets to run seemlessly in Java 2;
and on Microsoft Windows platforms, support in Java Plug-in for launching
applets using the <APPLET> tag.
Version 1.4 also provides access to the DOM via standard, w3c-defined
interfaces; assertion and logging support; applet usability enhancements,
including a customizable progress bar for applet loading; and enhanced
options in the Java Console to allow dynamic reconfiguration of proxy
settings, the policy file, etc., while the applet is running.
The collections framework has several enhancements in Java 2 SDK 1.4,
including a marker interface to advertise random access, an identity-based
(rather than equality-based) Map, insertion-order-preserving Map and
Set implementations, and several new algorithms for manipulating and
returning values from lists. See Collections Framework Enhancements for details.
A few changes have been made to JNI in v 1.4.
First, the version number has been incremented
and the specification of JNI_OnLoad updated accordingly.
Second, JNI has been enhanced to reflect a new feature of the
java.nio package: direct buffers. The contents of a
direct buffer can, potentially, reside in native memory outside
of the ordinary garbage-collected heap. Finally, the new Invocation Interface
routine AttachCurrentTreadAsDaemon allows native code to attach
a daemon thread to the virtual machine; this is useful when the VM should
not wait for this thread to exit upon shutdown.
See JNI Enhancements for
more on these enhancements.
Tools and Utilities
See Tool Changes for
details on the changes summarized here.
application launcher supports
command-line options for support of the new Assertions Facility.
On the SolarisTM Operating Environment
(SPARCTM Platform Edition) new
command-line options are available for specifying 64-bit or
32-bit operation. On all platforms, new option -Xloggc:file
logs each garbage-collection event in the specified file.
Also on all platforms, the new option -Xcheck:jni performs additional
checks for Java Native Interface (JNI) functions at the cost of some
tool has several new tags, a dozen new options, smarter inheriting
of doc comments, more control over HTML output, improvements to
the Doclet API, better error messages, dozens of bug fixes, and
is easier to run.
For more details, see What's
New in Javadoc 1.4.
Downloaded separately from the SDK, the
has had a major upgrade -- it generates API documentation
in FrameMaker and PDF format.
tool contains bug fixes to now correctly
process source files encoded with Unicode encoding.
The idlj tool now generates server-side bindings following the Portable Servant Inheritance Model.
This change involves producing new POA bindings by default. A new command-line
option is added to enable you to continue to generate backwards-compatible server-side
bindings. To learn more about the Portable Servant Inheritance Model, follow the link.
The orbd tool, or Object Request Broker Daemon, is a new alternative tool for the Transient
Naming Service, tnameserv. ORBD includes both a Transient Naming Service
and a Persistent Naming Service. The orbd tool is used to enable
clients to transparently locate and invoke persistent objects on servers in the
CORBA environment. The orbd tool incorporates the functionality of a Server Manager,
an Interoperable Naming Service, and a Bootstrap Name Server. When used in conjunction
with the servertool, the Server Manager locates, registers, and activates
a server when a client wants to access the server.
The servertool is new to this release. The servertool provides
an ease-of-use interface for application programmers to register, unregister,
startup, and shutdown a server.
The rmic compiler has a new option to enable Portable Object Adapter, or POA support for Remote Method Invocation. The POA enables portability among vendor ORBs, among other uses. To lea
rn more about the POA, follow the link. To enable POA support with the rmic compiler, use the arguments rmic -iiop -poa.
The graphical Policy Tool utility has been enhanced
to enable specifying a Principal field indicating what user is to be
granted specified access control permissions.