Switching between multiple JDKs on a Mac

java, java 10, java 11, java 8, java 9, technology

Blog post date: 2018-May-18
Relevant versions of Java: Java 1.7, 8, 9, 10, 11

We often work with different versions of Java. There are times when we would like to test our application/program against different JDKs. Or … we just love to collect all versions of Java released just to show off.

Either of these would mean some kind of control of the JAVA_HOME and the PATH environment variables.


Many developers have successfully overcome this with innovative scripts to quickly switch Java versions. I am one such developer and below is an explanation of my setup.

Current installations of JDK on my Mac:

  • JDK 1.7.0_80
  • JDK 1.8.0_172
  • JDK 9.0.4
  • JDK 10.0.1
  • JDK 11-ea+14

How does one determine the current installations of JDK?

On your Mac terminal run the command:

/usr/libexec/java_home -verbose

Sample output:

Matching Java Virtual Machines (5):
11, x86_64: "OpenJDK 11-ea" /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-11.jdk/Contents/Home
10.0.1, x86_64: "OpenJDK 10.0.1" /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-10.0.1.jdk/Contents/Home
9.0.4, x86_64: "OpenJDK 9.0.4" /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-9.0.4.jdk/Contents/Home
1.8.0_172, x86_64: "Java SE 8" /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_172.jdk/Contents/Home
1.7.0_80, x86_64: "Java SE 7" /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.7.0_80.jdk/Contents/Home

Simple ! Quite easy to determine the current JDKs available.

How can I switch Java versions easily?

Aliases. That’s it. If you know this, you can skip the remaining part of this blog. What is really cool is how a single JVM exec command can be used to switch JDK versions.

Sharing an excerpt from a .bash_profile:

alias jdk11="export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 11` && export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH; java -version"
alias jdk10="export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 10` && export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH; java -version"
alias jdk9="export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 9` && export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH; java -version"
alias jdk8="export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.8` && export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH; java -version"
alias jdk7="export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 1.7` && export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH; java -version"

Note how the Java versioning from 9 onwards is a full digit? The same applies with the default directory names of the installed JDKs. This was a deliberate change toshake off the 1.x naming style of prior versions of Java.

JDK switching output

A picture would do this more justice.
Switching JDKs at Terminal

Maintenance of JDKs

Needs Admin rights on the Mac !

Keeping the JDK versions up-to-date is in everyone’s best interest, both for the new features as well as any security patches. A few steps that can help with maintaining:

  1. Extract the latest build/patch of the JDK into the directory: /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines.
    • If an installer was used, most likely the directories are created.
    • If a tarball was extracted from, make sure to move the extracted directory under the parent mentioned above.
  2. Post-installation, open a new terminal shell (current shell will not pick up the latest patch of an existing version of the JDK).
    • Add the appropriate alias, if this is a new version of Java
    • If existing version being patched, then no further action is needed.
  3. Type in the appropriate alias and verify that the build/patch is what shows.
  4. Once verified, the options for removing the prior patch present themselves:
    • delete older build/patch since it is no longer useful to reclaim space.
    • retain older build/patch, for other usage. It is possible to manually switch to this build/patch:
      • export JAVA_HOME=/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/<Selected_JDK>
      • export PATH=$JAVA_HOME/bin:$PATH

That’s a wrap on Switching JDKs on a Mac. Hope this post was helpful.

Java 9 Features – Changes to Optional

java, java 9, technology


In Java 8, a new class named Optional was introduced. Or rather in the word-style of Douglas Adams, “in the beginning null was created. This made a lot of people angry and was widely regarded as a bad move“. Optional was introduced to alleviate some of that anger.

Optional relieved developers of the grief of null checks and the “fun” of a NullPointerException popping up when failing to null check.

In Java 8, the Optional already had very useful methods:

  • of – Wrap the non-null value into an Optional.
  • ofNullable – Wrap and return an Optional of the current value, if current value is null, return Optional.empty()
  • isPresent – Checks and returns a boolean indicating the presence of a non-null value in the Optional.
  • ifPresent – Checks and invokes the specified Consumer instance upon the presence of a non-null value in the Optional.
  • get – Fetch the value in the Optional if it is not null, else throw a NoSuchElementException
  • orElse – Fetch the value in the Optional if it is not null, else return the other element passed in.
  • orElseGet – Fetch the value in the Optional if it is not null, else return invoke the other Supplier to fetch an element instead.
  • orElseThrow – Fetch the value in the Optional if it is not null, else throw the passed in Exception.
  • filter – If the value exists, test the filtering Predicate on it and if true return result wrapped in an Optional, else return Optional.empty().
  • map – If the value exists, apply the mapping Function to it and return any non-null result wrapped in an Optional, else return Optional.empty().
  • flatMap – If the value exists, apply the Optional-bearing mapping Function to it and return any non-null result wrapped in an Optional, else return Optional.empty().

Java 9 changes

  • ifPresentOrElse – Checks and returns a boolean indicating the presence of a non-null value in the Optional, or else, invokes the Runnable action.
  • or – Wrap and return an Optional of the current value if not null; if current value is null, return Optional by invoking the specified Supplier
  • stream – Returns a sequential stream containing only the value, if the value is non-null.


Consider a situation where the code is to either run a Consumer if the value exists or else run a different action. This is not possible in the Java 8 Optional behavior. Optional in Java 8 provides an orElse or an orElseGet method, both of which actually return an unwrapped value, rather than act as an execution block.

Source at: https://github.com/c-guntur/java9-examples/blob/master/src/test/java/samples/java9/optional/OptionalIfPresentOrElse.java

Pre-Java 8 :

if(preference != null) { 
} else {

In Java 8 :

if(optionalPreference.isPresent()) { 
} else {


// orElseGet returns a non-optional value
// it cannot be used to simply execute an action.
Preference p = optionalPreference.orElseGet(callAbsenceSupplier());

In Java 9 :



Per the Java 8 API, both the orElse and the orElseGet do not return an Optional, rather return the unwrapped value. It is possible that such a value is null. The or method is introduced as a means to execute a supplier on absence of an unwrapped value in the container, and returns an Optional, rather than the unwrapped value.

Source at: https://github.com/c-guntur/java9-examples/blob/master/src/test/java/samples/java9/optional/OptionalOr.java

Pre-Java 8 :

Preference preference = findPreference(name); 
if(preference == null) {
    preference = createPreference(name, description);
// preference can still be null !!!

In Java 8 :

Preference preference = 
            .orElseGet(getPreferenceSupplier(name, description));
// preference can still be null !!!

In Java 9 :

Optional<Preference> optionalPreference = 
            .or(getOptionalPreferenceSupplier(name, description));
// optional preference, so, protected from being null !!!


Given a situation where a stream or collection of Optionals exist, and we need to extract values from each, if they contain non-null values. Optional::stream returns a stream with a single non-null value if the Optional has a non-null value, or returns an empty stream otherwise.

Source at: https://github.com/c-guntur/java9-examples/blob/master/src/test/java/samples/java9/optional/OptionalStream.java

Pre-Java 8 :

List preferences = new ArrayList();
for (String preferenceName : PREFERENCE_NAMES) {
    Preference aPreference = findPreference(preferenceName);
    if (aPreference != null) {

In Java 8 :

List preferences =
                .map(preferenceName -> findOptionalPreference(preferenceName))

In Java 9 :

List preferences =
                .map(preferenceName -> findOptionalPreference(preferenceName))

That’s a wrap on the Optional changes in Java 9. Hope this post was helpful.

Java 9 Features – Private Interface Methods

java, java 9, technology


A blog on Java 9 changes for interfaces.

Evolution of interfaces in Java:

Until Java 7, all versions of Java maintained the same set of features for interfaces. Interfaces can

Interfaces contained method signatures and were useful for storing public constants. Since then, constants have remained a staple of the interface. Recent changes have been more focused on methods.

Java 7

  • abstract methods – Method signatures as contracts that had to be implemented by the class that implemented the interface.

Java 8

  • default methods – Methods with an implementation in the interface, providing an option to the implementing class to override.

    This change allowed for extension and growth of existing APIs without major refactoring and without harming backward-compatibility. Best example of this is the Java 8 collection framework that introduced new features on the root interfaces without having to make significant changes to any of the implementations.

    See http://docs.oracle.com/javase/8/docs/api/java/util/List.html for sort(...) or spliterator() or replaceAll(...).

  • static methods – Methods with the static modifier with an implementation, which thus belong to the interface.

    These methods cannot be overwritten in implementing classes. Adding static methods allows the interface to control some behavior without allowing for an implementation to alter such behavior.

    See http://docs.oracle.com/javase/8/docs/api/java/util/Map.Entry.html for comparingByKey() or comparingByValue().

Java 9

  • private methods – Methods with implementation in the interface that remain private to the interface alone.

    These methods are useful from an encapsulation perspective to hold some logic that the implementations should not override.

    While there is no concrete example in the JDK API that I could immediately find, there are several existing interfaces which have workarounds for encapsulating private methods via private inner classes. Such workarounds can be circumvented with private methods.

Java support in interfaces

  Java 7 Java 8 Java 9
abstract methods
default methods
public static methods
private methods
private static methods

Modifier combinations in Java 9

Combination Comment
[public] (naturally abstract) supported
[public] default supported
[public] static supported
private supported
private static supported
private abstract compile-time error
private default compile-time error