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Understanding the Java Virtual Machine: Class Loading and Reflection

by Kevin Jones

This course covers some of the fundamentals and inner workings of the Java Virtual Machine. This class will be the first in the series and will examine class loading.

What you'll learn

Java is built around classes; these classes have to be loaded into memory and loading that is the responsibility of class loaders. The first part of this course will look at this class loading mechanism and how to write class loaders. Once you understand this, several scenarios become available, such as hot deployment of classes and the side-by-side loading of classes. Java has a rich type system and rich metadata. Reflection is the mechanism by which you can examine that metadata at runtime, and use that information to build rich applications. In the second part of this course, we will see how to use reflection to both examine this metadata at runtime and use it within our applications.

About the author

A long time ago in a university far, far away Kevin fell in love with programming. Initially on the university's DEC20 computer doing BASIC and Pascal and a little bit of Fortran. His first job had him writing batch PL/1 on an IBM mainframe where he also discovered the arcane delights of JCL. He soon realized the multiuser systems were not for him after discovering the delights of dBase IV on IBM PCs. From here it was all downhill as he became addicted to C and the Windows API. Just missing out ... more

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