The Java Virtual Machine Specification, Java SE 8 Edition

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-05-07
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
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Written by the inventors of the technology, The Java® Virtual Machine Specification, Java SE 8 Edition is the definitive technical reference for the Java Virtual Machine.


The book provides complete, accurate, and detailed coverage of the Java Virtual Machine. It fully describes the new features added in Java SE 8, including the invocation of default methods and the class file extensions for type annotations and method parameters. The book also clarifies the interpretation of class file attributes and the rules of bytecode verification.


Author Biography

Tim Lindholm is a former Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems. He was a contributor to the Java programming language and the senior architect of the Java Virtual Machine, later working on Java for mobile devices. Prior to Sun, he worked on virtual machines and runtime systems for Prolog at Argonne National Laboratory and Quintus. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College.


Frank Yellin is a former Staff Engineer at Sun Microsystems. He was an original member of the Java project and spent a decade working on runtime systems for interpreted and compiled languages. Prior to Sun, he worked on the compilation of Common Lisp at Lucid. He holds an A.B. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard and an M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford.


Gilad Bracha is the creator of the Newspeak programming language and a former Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems. Prior to Sun, he worked on Strongtalk, the Animorphic Smalltalk System. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Utah.


Alex Buckley is the Specification Lead for the Java programming language and the Java Virtual Machine at Oracle. He holds a Ph.D. in Computing from Imperial College London.


Table of Contents

Preface to the Java SE 8 Edition


Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 A Bit of History

1.2 The Java Virtual Machine

1.3 Organization of the Specification

1.4 Notation

1.5 Feedback


Chapter 2: The Structure of the Java Virtual Machine

2.1 The class File Format

2.2 Data Types

2.3 Primitive Types and Values

2.4 Reference Types and Values

2.5 Run-Time Data Areas

2.6 Frames

2.7 Representation of Objects

2.8 Floating-Point Arithmetic

2.9 Special Methods

2.10 Exceptions

2.11 Instruction Set Summary

2.12 Class Libraries

2.13 Public Design, Private Implementation


Chapter 3: Compiling for the Java Virtual Machine

 3.1 Format of Examples

3.2 Use of Constants, Local Variables, and Control Constructs

3.3 Arithmetic

3.4 Accessing the Run-Time Constant Pool

3.5 More Control Examples

3.6 Receiving Arguments

3.7 Invoking Methods

3.8 Working with Class Instances

3.9 Arrays

3.10 Compiling Switches

3.11 Operations on the Operand Stack

3.12 Throwing and Handling Exceptions

3.13 Compiling finally

3.14 Synchronization

3.15 Annotations


Chapter 4: The class File Format

4.1 The ClassFile Structure

4.2 The Internal Form of Names

4.3 Descriptors

4.4 The Constant Pool

4.5 Fields

4.6 Methods

4.7 Attributes

4.8 Format Checking

4.9 Constraints on Java Virtual Machine code

4.10 Verification of class  Files

4.11 Limitations of the Java Virtual Machine

Chapter 5: Loading, Linking, and Initializing

5.1 The Run-Time Constant Pool

5.2 Java Virtual Machine Startup

5.3 Creation and Loading

5.4 Linking

5.5 Initialization

5.6 Binding Native Method Implementations

5.7 Java Virtual Machine Exit


Chapter 6: The Java Virtual Machine Instruction Set

6.1 Assumptions: The Meaning of "Must"

6.2 Reserved Opcodes

6.3 Virtual Machine Errors

6.4 Format of Instruction Descriptions


Chapter 7: Opcode Mnemonics by Opcode




Appendix A: Limited License Grant

Rewards Program

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