The nucleus of the Java(TM) 2 platform, the Java(TM) virtual machine is the technology that enables the Java 2 platform to host applications on any computer or operating system without rewriting or recompiling. The Java virtual machine is also responsible for the compactness of applications targeting the Java 2 platform, and is the basis for its security capabilities. This book was written by those directly responsible for the design and implementation of the Java virtual machine, and is the complete and definitive specification for the technology. It is an essential reference for writers of compilers for the Java programming language and implementors of the Java virtual machine. This second edition specifies the newest version of the Java virtual machine and provides a fascinating view into the inner workings of the Java 2 platform. In this book you will find comprehensive coverage of the class file format, the hardware, operating system, and implementation-independent binary format for compiled code. The authors fully describe the instruction set of the Java virtual machine. You will find an entire chapter of examples that demonstrate how to compile code written in the Java progr
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If you're writing a Java bytecode interpreter--or a compiler that generates binary files for such an interpreter--The Java Virtual Machine Specification has the information you need. It's the definitive document on Java compilers and runtime environments.
The first part of The Java Virtual Machine Specification discusses the relationships among Java program elements like objects, variables, data types, arrays, exceptions and threads, and compile and run time. Implementers of Java compilers and interpreters need to understand this stuff, but it also makes fascinating reading for Java programmers--it'll help with writing more efficient applications.
From there, the authors dig into the binary .class file format. They provide information on creating such a file as output from a Java compiler, and also give lots of data on how a Java interpreter should examine a .class file to verify its validity and trustworthiness. The authors explain how to carry out loading and linking operations on the objects a .class file defines.
The latter half of The Java Virtual Machine Specification is pure reference--it's a list of all Java opcodes, their purposes, formats, and accepted operands. There's also information about the exceptions each opcode can throw during compilation and execution.
Helpfully, the authors provide a peek at how Sun's Java compiler (javac) and Java interpreter (java) work, complete with source code. These examples promise to provide developers with hints as they implement their own compilers and runtime environments. --David WallFrom the Inside Flap:
The Java(TM) virtual machine specification has been written to fully document the design of the Java virtual machine. It is essential for compiler writers who wish to target the Java virtual machine and for programmers who want to implement a compatible Java virtual machine. It is also a definitive source for anyone who wants to know exactly how the Java programming language is implemented.
The Java virtual machine is an abstract machine. References to the Java virtual machine throughout this specification refer to this abstract machine rather than to Sun's or any other specific implementation. This book serves as documentation for a concrete implementation of the Java virtual machine only as a blueprint documents a house. An implementation of the Java virtual machine (known as a runtime interpreter) must embody this specification, but is constrained by it only where absolutely necessary.
The Java virtual machine specified here will support the Java programming language specified in The Java(TM) Language Specification (Addison-Wesley, 1996). It is compatible with the Java platform implemented by Sun's JDK(TM) releases 1.0.2 and 1.1 and the Java(R) 2 platform implemented by Sun's Java(R) 2 SDK, Standard Edition, v1.2 (formerly known as JDK release 1.2).
We intend that this specification should sufficiently document the Java virtual machine to make possible compatible clean-room implementations. If you are considering constructing your own Java virtual machine implementation, feel free to contact us to obtain assistance to ensure the 100% compatibility of your implementation.
Send comments on this specification or questions about implementing the Java virtual machine to our electronic mail address: email@example.com.The evolution into its present form occurred through the direct and indirect efforts of many people and spanned Sun's Green project, FirstPerson, Inc., the LiveOak project, the Java Products Group, JavaSoft, and today, Sun's Java Software. The authors are grateful to the many contributors and supporters.
This book began as internal project documentation. Kathy Walrath edited that early draft, helping to give the world its first look at the internals of the Java programming language. It was then converted to HTML by Mary Campione and was made available on our Web site before being expanded into book form.
The creation of The Java(TM) Virtual Machine Specification owes much to the support of the Java Products Group led by General Manager Ruth Hennigar, to the efforts of series editor Lisa Friendly, and to editor Mike Hendrickson and his group at Addison-Wesley. The many criticisms and suggestions received from reviewers of early online drafts, as well as drafts of the printed book, improved its quality immensely. We owe special thanks to Richard Tuck for his careful review of the manuscript and to the authors of The Java(TM) Language Specification, Addison-Wesley, 1996, for allowing us to quote extensively from that book. Particular thanks to Bill Joy whose comments, reviews, and guidance have contributed greatly to the completeness and accuracy of this book. Notes on the Second Edition
The second edition of The Java(TM) Virtual Machine Specification brings the specification of the Java virtual machine up to date with the Java(R) 2 platform, v1.2. It also includes many corrections and clarifications that update the presentation of the specification without changing the logical specification itself. We have attempted to correct typos and errata (hopefully without introducing new ones) and to add more detail to the specification where it was vague or ambiguous. In particular, we corrected a number of inconsistencies between the first edition of The Java(TM) Virtual Machine Specification and The Java(TM) Language Specification.
We thank the many readers who combed through the first edition of this book and brought problems to our attention. Several individuals and groups deserve special thanks for pointing out problems or contributing directly to the new material: Carla Schroer and her teams of compatibility testers in Cupertino, California, and Novosibirsk, Russia (with special thanks to Leonid Arbouzov and Alexei Kaigorodov), painstakingly wrote compatibility tests for each testable assertion in the first edition. In the process they uncovered many places where the original specification was unclear or incomplete.
Jeroen Vermeulen, Janice Shepherd, Peter Bertelsen, Roly Perera, Joe Darcy, and Sandra Loosemore have all contributed comments and feedback that have improved this edition.
Marilyn Rash and Hilary Selby Polk of Addison Wesley Longman helped us to improve the readability and layout of this edition at the same time as we were incorporating all the technical changes.
Special thanks go to Gilad Bracha, who has brought a new level of rigor to the presentation and has been a major contributor to much of the new material, especially chapters 4 and 5 and the new "Appendix: Summary of Clarifications and Amendments." His dedication to "computational theology" and his commitment to resolving inconsistencies between The Java(TM) Virtual Machine Specification and The Java(TM) Language Specification have benefited this book tremendously.
Java Software, Sun Microsystems, Inc. References --IEEE Standard for Binary Floating-Point Arithmetic, ANSI/IEEE Std. 754-1985. Available from Global Engineering Documents, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, Colorado 80112-5704 USA, +1 800 854 7179.
--Hoare, C.A.R. Hints on Programming Language Design. Stanford University Computer Science Department Technical Report No CS-73-403, December 1973. Reprinted in Sigact/Sigplan Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, October 1973.
--Unicode Consortium, The. The Unicode Standard: Worldwide Character Encoding, Version 1.0, Volume 1, ISBN 0-201-56788-1, and Volume 2, ISBN 0-201-60845-6. Updates and additions necessary to bring the Unicode Standard up to version 1.1 may be found at unicode --Unicode Consortium, The. The Unicode Standard, Version 2.0, ISBN 0-201-48345-9. Updates and additions necessary to bring the Unicode Standard up to version 2.1 may be found at unicode 0201432943P04062001
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