Julia v1.8 Release Notes

New language features

  • Mutable struct fields may now be annotated as const to prevent changing them after construction, providing for greater clarity and optimization ability of these objects (#43305).
  • Type annotations can now be added to global variables to make accessing them type stable (#43671).
  • Empty n-dimensional arrays can now be created using multiple semicolons inside square brackets, e.g. [;;;] creates a 0×0×0 Array (#41618).
  • try-blocks can now optionally have an else-block which is executed right after the main body only if no errors were thrown (#42211).
  • @inline and @noinline can now be placed within a function body, allowing one to annotate anonymous function (#41312).
  • @inline and @noinline can now be applied to a function at callsite or block to enforce the involved function calls to be (or not to be) inlined (#41328).
  • , , and are now allowed as identifier characters (#42314).
  • Support for Unicode 14.0.0 (#43443).
  • Module(:name, false, false) can be used to create a module that contains no names (it does not import Base or Core and does not contain a reference to itself) (#40110, #42154).

Language changes

  • Newly-created Task objects (@spawn, @async, etc.) now adopt the world age for methods from their parent Task upon creation, instead of using the global latest world at start. This is done to enable inference to eventually optimize these calls. Places that wish for the old behavior may use Base.invokelatest (#41449).
  • Unbalanced Unicode bidirectional formatting directives are now disallowed within strings and comments, to mitigate the "trojan source" vulnerability (#42918).
  • Base.ifelse is now defined as a generic function rather than a builtin one, allowing packages to extend its definition (#37343).
  • Every assignment to a global variable now first goes through a call to convert(Any, x) (or convert(T, x) respectively if a type T has been declared for the global). This means great care should be taken to ensure the invariant convert(Any, x) === x always holds, as this change could otherwise lead to unexpected behavior (#43671).
  • Builtin functions are now a bit more like generic functions, and can be enumerated with methods (#43865).

Compiler/Runtime improvements

  • Bootstrapping time has been improved by about 25% (#41794).
  • The LLVM-based compiler has been separated from the run-time library into a new library, libjulia-codegen. It is loaded by default, so normal usage should see no changes. In deployments that do not need the compiler (e.g. system images where all needed code is precompiled), this library (and its LLVM dependency) can simply be excluded (#41936).
  • Conditional type constraints are now be forwarded interprocedurally (i.e. propagated from caller to callee). This allows inference to understand e.g. Base.ifelse(isa(x, Int), x, 0) returns ::Int-value even if the type of x is not known (#42529).
  • Julia-level SROA (Scalar Replacement of Aggregates) has been improved: allowing elimination of getfield calls with constant global fields (#42355), enabling elimination of mutable structs with uninitialized fields (#43208), improving performance (#43232), and handling more nested getfield calls (#43239).
  • Abstract call sites can now be inlined or statically resolved as long as the call site has a single matching method (#43113).
  • Inference now tracks various effects such as side-effectful-ness and nothrow-ness on a per-specialization basis. Code heavily dependent on constant propagation should see significant compile-time performance improvements and certain cases (e.g. calls to uninlinable functions that are nevertheless effect free) should see runtime performance improvements. Effects may be overwritten manually with the Base.@assume_effects macro (#43852).
  • Precompilation (with explicit precompile directives or representative workloads) now saves more type-inferred code, resulting in reduced time-to-first task for packages that use precompilation. This change also eliminates the runtime performance degradation occasionally triggered by precompilation on older Julia versions. More specifically, any newly-inferred method/type combinations needed by your package–regardless of where those methods were defined–can now be cached in the precompile file, as long as they are inferrably called by a method owned by your package (#43990).

Command-line option changes

  • The default behavior of observing @inbounds declarations is now an option via auto in --check-bounds=yes|no|auto (#41551).
  • New option --strip-metadata to remove docstrings, source location information, and local variable names when building a system image (#42513).
  • New option --strip-ir to remove the compiler's IR (intermediate representation) of source code when building a system image. The resulting image will only work if --compile=all is used, or if all needed code is precompiled (#42925).
  • When the program file is - the code to be executed is read from standard in (#43191).

Multi-threading changes

  • Threads.@threads now defaults to a new :dynamic schedule option which is similar to the previous behavior except that iterations will be scheduled dynamically to available worker threads rather than pinned to each thread. This behavior is more composable with (possibly nested) @spawn and @threads loops (#43919, #44136).

Build system changes

New library functions

  • New function eachsplit(str) for iteratively performing split(str) (#39245).
  • New function allequal(itr) for testing if all elements in an iterator are equal (#43354).
  • hardlink(src, dst) can be used to create hard links (#41639).
  • setcpuaffinity(cmd, cpus) can be used to set CPU affinity of sub-processes (#42469).
  • diskstat(path=pwd()) can be used to return statistics about the disk (#42248).
  • New @showtime macro to show both the line being evaluated and the @time report (#42431).
  • The LazyString and the lazy"str" macro were added to support delayed construction of error messages in error paths (#33711).

New library features

  • A known concurrency issue of iterate methods on Dict and other derived objects such as keys(::Dict), values(::Dict), and Set is fixed. These methods of iterate can now be called on a dictionary or set shared by arbitrary tasks provided that there are no tasks mutating the dictionary or set (#44534).
  • @time and @timev now take an optional description to allow annotating the source of time reports, e.g. @time "Evaluating foo" foo() (#42431).
  • range accepts either stop or length as a sole keyword argument (#39241).
  • precision and setprecision now accept a base keyword argument (#42428).
  • TCP socket objects now expose closewrite functionality and support half-open mode usage (#40783).
  • extrema now accepts an init keyword argument (#36265, #43604).
  • Iterators.countfrom now accepts any type that defines + (#37747).
  • @time now separates out % time spent recompiling invalidated methods (#45015).
  • An issue with order of operations in fld1 is now fixed (#28973).

Standard library changes

  • Keys with value nothing are now removed from the environment in addenv (#43271).
  • Iterators.reverse (and hence last) now supports eachline iterators (#42225).
  • The length function on certain ranges of certain element types no longer checks for integer overflow in most cases. The new function checked_length is now available, which will try to use checked arithmetic to error if the result may be wrapping. Or use a package such as SaferIntegers.jl when constructing the range (#40382).
  • Intersect returns a result with the eltype of the type-promoted eltypes of the two inputs (#41769).
  • Iterating an Iterators.Reverse now falls back on reversing the eachindex iterator, if possible (#43110).

Package Manager

  • New and indicators beside packages in pkg> status that have new versions available. indicates when new versions cannot be installed ([Pkg#2906]).
  • New outdated::Bool kwarg to Pkg.status (--outdated or -o in the REPL mode) to show information about packages not at the latest version ([Pkg#2284]).
  • New compat::Bool kwarg to Pkg.status (--compat or -c in the REPL mode) to show any [compat] entries in the Project.toml ([Pkg#2702]).
  • New pkg> compat (and Pkg.compat) mode for setting Project compat entries. Provides an interactive editor via pkg> compat, or direct entry manipulation via pkg> Foo 0.4,0.5 which can load current entries via tab-completion. i.e. pkg> compat Fo<TAB> autocompletes to pkg> Foo 0.4,0.5 so that the existing entry can be edited ([Pkg#2702]).
  • Pkg now only tries to download packages from the package server in case the server tracks a registry that contains the package ([Pkg#2689]).
  • Pkg.instantiate will now warn when a Project.toml is out of sync with a Manifest.toml. It does this by storing a hash of the project deps and compat entries (other fields are ignored) in the manifest when it is resolved, so that any change to the Project.toml deps or compat entries without a re-resolve can be detected ([Pkg#2815]).
  • If pkg> add cannot find a package with the provided name it will now suggest similarly named packages that can be added ([Pkg#2985]).
  • The julia version stored in the manifest no longer includes the build number i.e. master will now record as 1.9.0-DEV ([Pkg#2995]).
  • Interrupting a pkg> test will now be caught more reliably and exit back to the REPL gracefully ([Pkg#2933]).

InteractiveUtils

  • New macro @time_imports for reporting any time spent importing packages and their dependencies, highlighting compilation and recompilation time as percentages per import (#41612,#45064).

LinearAlgebra

  • The BLAS submodule now supports the level-2 BLAS subroutine spr! (#42830).
  • cholesky[!] now supports LinearAlgebra.PivotingStrategy (singleton type) values as its optional pivot argument: the default is cholesky(A, NoPivot()) (vs. cholesky(A, RowMaximum())); the former Val{true/false}-based calls are deprecated (#41640).
  • The standard library LinearAlgebra.jl is now completely independent of SparseArrays.jl, both in terms of the source code as well as unit testing (#43127). As a consequence, sparse arrays are no longer (silently) returned by methods from LinearAlgebra applied to Base or LinearAlgebra objects. Specifically, this results in the following breaking changes:
    • Concatenations involving special "sparse" matrices (*diagonal) now return dense matrices; As a consequence, the D1 and D2 fields of SVD objects, constructed upon getproperty calls are now dense matrices.
    • 3-arg similar(::SpecialSparseMatrix, ::Type, ::Dims) returns a dense zero matrix. As a consequence, products of bi-, tri- and symmetric tridiagonal matrices with each other result in dense output. Moreover, constructing 3-arg similar matrices of special "sparse" matrices of (nonstatic) matrices now fails for the lack of zero(::Type{Matrix{T}}).

Printf

  • Now uses textwidth for formatting %s and %c widths (#41085).

Profile

  • CPU profiling now records sample metadata including thread and task. Profile.print() has a new groupby kwarg that allows grouping by thread, task, or nested thread/task, task/thread, and threads and tasks kwargs to allow filtering. Further, percent utilization is now reported as a total or per-thread, based on whether the thread is idle or not at each sample. Profile.fetch() includes the new metadata by default. For backwards compatibility with external profiling data consumers, it can be excluded by passing include_meta=false (#41742).
  • The new Profile.Allocs module allows memory allocations to be profiled. The stack trace, type, and size of each allocation is recorded, and a sample_rate argument allows a tunable amount of allocations to be skipped, reducing performance overhead (#42768).
  • A fixed duration cpu profile can now be triggered by the user during running tasks without Profile being loaded first and the report will show during execution. On MacOS & FreeBSD press ctrl-t or raise a SIGINFO. For other platforms raise a SIGUSR1 i.e. % kill -USR1 $julia_pid. Not currently available on windows (#43179).

REPL

  • RadioMenu now supports optional keybindings to directly select options (#41576).
  • ?(x, y followed by TAB displays all methods that can be called with arguments x, y, .... (The space at the beginning prevents entering help-mode.) MyModule.?(x, y limits the search to MyModule. TAB requires that at least one argument have a type more specific than Any; use SHIFT-TAB instead of TAB to allow any compatible methods (#38791).
  • New err global variable in Main set when an expression throws an exception, akin to ans. Typing err reprints the exception information (#40642).

SparseArrays

  • The code for SparseArrays has been moved from the Julia repo to the external repo at https://github.com/JuliaSparse/SparseArrays.jl. This is only a code movement and does not impact any usage (#43813).
  • New sparse concatenation functions sparse_hcat, sparse_vcat, and sparse_hvcat return SparseMatrixCSC output independent from the types of the input arguments. They make concatenation behavior available, in which the presence of some special "sparse" matrix argument resulted in sparse output by multiple dispatch. This is no longer possible after making LinearAlgebra.jl independent from SparseArrays.jl (#43127).

Logging

  • The standard log levels BelowMinLevel, Debug, Info, Warn, Error, and AboveMaxLevel are now exported from the Logging stdlib (#40980).

Unicode

  • Added function isequal_normalized to check for Unicode equivalence without explicitly constructing normalized strings (#42493).
  • The Unicode.normalize function now accepts a chartransform keyword that can be used to supply custom character mappings, and a Unicode.julia_chartransform function is provided to reproduce the mapping used in identifier normalization by the Julia parser (#42561).

Test

  • @test_throws "some message" triggers_error() can now be used to check whether the displayed error text contains "some message" regardless of the specific exception type. Regular expressions, lists of strings, and matching functions are also supported (#41888).
  • @testset foo() can now be used to create a test set from a given function. The name of the test set is the name of the called function. The called function can contain @test and other @testset definitions, including to other function calls, while recording all intermediate test results (#42518).
  • TestLogger and LogRecord are now exported from the Test stdlib (#44080).

Distributed

  • SSHManager now supports workers with csh/tcsh login shell, via addprocs() option shell=:csh (#41485).

Deprecated or removed

External dependencies

Tooling Improvements

  • GC.enable_logging(true) can be used to log each garbage collection, with the time it took and the amount of memory that was collected (#43511).

<!– manually added –> [Pkg#2284]: https://github.com/JuliaLang/Pkg.jl/issues/2284 [Pkg#2689]: https://github.com/JuliaLang/Pkg.jl/issues/2689 [Pkg#2702]: https://github.com/JuliaLang/Pkg.jl/issues/2702 [Pkg#2815]: https://github.com/JuliaLang/Pkg.jl/issues/2815 [Pkg#2906]: https://github.com/JuliaLang/Pkg.jl/issues/2906 [Pkg#2933]: https://github.com/JuliaLang/Pkg.jl/issues/2933 [Pkg#2985]: https://github.com/JuliaLang/Pkg.jl/issues/2985 [Pkg#2995]: https://github.com/JuliaLang/Pkg.jl/issues/2995