Today Sun released the Java Platform Standard Edition 6 Update 10. Despite Sun's inexplicable version naming scheme, this is a major new release that all Java developers should know about. Some of the features of Java 6u10 include:
- Java Quick Starter -- A background process (jqs.exe) that touches the Java system files periodically so they will be kept in the operating system's disk cache.
- Java Kernel -- A lazy downloader for Java SE that fetches just enough Java libraries from the network to run a particular then gets the rest in a background thread.
- New Java Plug-in -- Runs in its own process so it can't crash the browser, and lets users drag-n-drop applets from the browser onto their desktop to install them locally.
- Faster graphics -- On Windows, 2D graphics operations can be accelerated by Direct3D.
- Nimbus -- Off by default, this new cross platform look-n-feel (application skin) uses vector graphics for scalability to any resolution.
According to Danny Coward, Chief Architect of the Client Software Group responsible for Java SE, making applets more competitive with Adobe Flash was a major goal of 6u10. Installs are faster and startup time has been slashed. While applets won't be making a big comeback any time soon, 6u10 is a step in the right direction.
A few last minute problems delayed the release, but now that's been cleared up. Danny says that Java SE 6u10 will be pushed via auto-update immediately to all Java 6 beta testers, and then a "couple of months later" to other Java desktop users on Windows. Or, you can visit java.sun.com and get your copy today.