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Onward and Upward: Porting Apps to Higher JDK Versions

Porting an existing Java-based application to a new JDK version is not as easy as many assume. Learn a comprehensive, systematic approach that can ensure a smooth process.

he IT industry is synonymous with change. Every day sees some new software version or specification released, which necessitates constant upgrades. Programming professionals often must upgrade business applications to the new versions of the software upon which they are built. To accommodate these rapidly changing business requirements, Sun Microsystems releases a JDK version with some new capabilities, enhancements, and improvements nearly every year.

This article describes the process of porting an existing Java-based application to a new JDK version and prescribes a porting process that ensures the functionality of the ported application will remain unchanged (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Porting Process Diagram

Porting is the process of making software that was written for one operating environment work in another operating environment that offers new value-added features and improved performance. Porting requires changing the programming details, which can be done at the binary (application) level or the source code level. The target configuration may include a new operating system, compiler, database, and/or other third-party software that will be integrated with the base product.

Before making the decision to port, one must determine the why, what, and how of the task. Answering the following questions in the given order will help:

  1. Why migrate the existing application and/or product?
  2. What in the existing application and/or product has to be migrated?
  3. How do I migrate the application and/or product?

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