1.9.7 includes a lot of work around the support infrastructure for the project. Previously we used a hard-to-maintain patched version of Eclipse JDT but we've moved that project to be a more streamlined variant and we actually release artifacts from this patched repo now and depend on those in AspectJ rather than a crude zip of the patched repo being dumped the AspectJ repo (the new patch report is here: https://github.com/eclipse/aspectj.eclipse.jdt.core - it replaces https://github.com/eclipse/org.aspectj.shadows). This should enable us to keep up with JDT much much more easily.
Also we have updated the infrastructure of the AspectJ project itself - there are no binary jars in the project now, its all been promoted to real dependencies. We don't use a locally renamed ASM now, we use maven shade properly and depend on the real ASM versions.
All this makes the project feel like a much more modern project and it should be much more approachable by the community because it is based on standard development patterns.
With the ease of jumping to the latest JDT 1.9.7 supports Java 15 and 16 (1.9.6 AspectJ supported Java 14). We expect we can quickly support 17 when that is released in JDT core due to this new setup.
The release process is now much more automated too so I don't have to manually create artifacts and upload them to central.
(A shoutout here to Alexander Kriegisch who did all the heavy lifting to make this happen, after being a long time supporter of the project - I expect to ask for commit rights for him shortly).
From the outside (apart from the jump in Java supported versions) AspectJ operation is exactly the same as before.
With all this change it seemed worth doing the detailed IP review to verify nothing was messed up during the overhaul and I believe that has all been reviewed in https://gitlab.eclipse.org/eclipsefdn/emo-team/emo/-/issues/41#note_21775