Java Platform, Standard Edition
Java Platform, Standard Edition is a computing platform for development and deployment of portable code for desktop and server environments. Java SE was formerly known as Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition.
The platform uses Java programming language and is part of the Java software-platform family. Java SE defines a range of general-purpose APIs—such as Java APIs for the Java Class Library—and also includes the Java Language Specification and the Java Virtual Machine Specification. OpenJDK is the official reference implementation since version 7.
Nomenclature, standards and specificationsThe platform was known as Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition or J2SE from version 1.2, until the name was changed to Java Platform, Standard Edition or Java SE in version 1.5. The "SE" is used to distinguish the base platform from the Enterprise Edition and Micro Edition platforms. The "2" was originally intended to emphasize the major changes introduced in version 1.2, but was removed in version 1.6. The naming convention has been changed several times over the Java version history. Starting with J2SE 1.4, Java SE has been developed under the Java Community Process, which produces descriptions of proposed and final specifications for the Java platform called Java Specification Requests. JSR 59 was the umbrella specification for J2SE 1.4 and JSR 176 specified J2SE 5.0. Java SE 6 was released under JSR 270.
Java Platform, Enterprise Edition is a related specification that includes all the classes in Java SE, plus a number that are more useful to programs that run on servers as opposed to workstations.
Java Platform, Micro Edition is a related specification intended to provide a certified collection of Java APIs for the development of software for small, resource-constrained devices such as cell phones, PDAs and set-top boxes.
The Java Runtime Environment and Java Development Kit are the actual files downloaded and installed on a computer to run or develop Java programs, respectively.
General purpose packages
java.langThe Java package contains fundamental classes and interfaces closely tied to the language and runtime system. This includes the root classes that form the class hierarchy, types tied to the language definition, basic exceptions, math functions, threading, security functions, as well as some information on the underlying native system. This package contains 22 of 32
Errorclasses provided in JDK 6.
The main classes and interfaces in
- – the class that is the root of every class hierarchy.
- – the base class for enumeration classes.
- – the class that is the root of the Java reflection system.
- – the class that is the base class of the exception class hierarchy.
- ,, and – the base classes for each exception type.
- – the class that allows operations on threads.
- – the class for strings and string literals.
- and – classes for performing string manipulation.
- – the interface that allows generic comparison and ordering of objects.
- – the interface that allows generic iteration using the enhanced
- ,,,, and – classes that provide "system operations" that manage the dynamic loading of classes, creation of external processes, host environment inquiries such as the time of day, and enforcement of security policies.
- and – classes that provide basic math functions such as sine, cosine, and square root.
- The primitive wrapper classes that encapsulate primitive types as objects.
- The basic exception classes thrown for language-level and other common exceptions.
java.langare automatically imported into every source file.
java.lang.refThe package provides more flexible types of references than are otherwise available, permitting limited interaction between the application and the Java Virtual Machine garbage collector. It is an important package, central enough to the language for the language designers to give it a name that starts with "java.lang", but it is somewhat special-purpose and not used by a lot of developers. This package was added in J2SE 1.2.
Java has an expressive system of references and allows for special behavior for garbage collection. A normal reference in Java is known as a "strong reference." The
java.lang.refpackage defines three other types of references—soft, weak, and phantom references. Each type of reference is designed for a specific use.
- A can be used to implement a cache. An object that is not reachable by a strong reference, but is referenced by a soft reference is called "softly reachable." A softly reachable object may be garbage collected at the discretion of the garbage collector. This generally means that softly reachable objects are only garbage collected when free memory is low—but again, this is at the garbage collector's discretion. Semantically, a soft reference means, "Keep this object when nothing else references it, unless the memory is needed."
- A is used to implement weak maps. An object that is not strongly or softly reachable, but is referenced by a weak reference is called "weakly reachable". A weakly reachable object is garbage collected in the next collection cycle. This behavior is used in the class. A weak map allows the programmer to put key/value pairs in the map and not worry about the objects taking up memory when the key is no longer reachable anywhere else. Another possible application of weak references is the string intern pool. Semantically, a weak reference means "get rid of this object when nothing else references it at the next garbage collection."
- A is used to reference objects that have been marked for garbage collection and have been finalized, but have not yet been reclaimed. An object that is not strongly, softly or weakly reachable, but is referenced by a phantom reference is called "phantom reachable." This allows for more flexible cleanup than is possible with the finalization mechanism alone. Semantically, a phantom reference means "this object is no longer needed and has been finalized in preparation for being collected."
java.lang.refalso defines the class, which can be used in each of the applications discussed above to keep track of objects that have changed reference type. When a
Referenceis created it is optionally registered with a reference queue. The application polls the reference queue to get references that have changed reachability state.
java.lang.reflectis a constituent of the Java API that lets Java code examine and "reflect" on Java components at runtime and use the reflected members. Classes in the package, along with
java.lang.Classand accommodate applications such as debuggers, interpreters, object inspectors, class browsers, and services such as object serialization and JavaBeans that need access to either the public members of a target object or the members declared by a given class. This package was added in JDK 1.1.
Reflection is used to instantiate classes and invoke methods using their names, a concept that allows for dynamic programming. Classes, interfaces, methods, fields, and constructors can all be discovered and used at runtime. Reflection is supported by metadata that the JVM has about the program.
TechniquesThere are basic techniques involved in reflection:
- Discovery – this involves taking an object or class and discovering the members, superclasses, implemented interfaces, and then possibly using the discovered elements.
- Use by name – involves starting with the symbolic name of an element and using the named element.
Classobject has several methods for discovering the contents of the class, for example:
- – returns an array of objects representing all the public methods of the class or interface
- – returns an array of objects representing all the public constructors of the class
- – returns an array of objects representing all the public fields of the class or interface
- – returns an array of
Classobjects representing all the public classes and interfaces that are members of the class or interface
- – returns the
Classobject representing the superclass of the class or interface
- – returns an array of
Classobjects representing all the interfaces that are implemented by the class or interface
Use by name
Classobject can be obtained either through discovery, by using the class literal or by using the name of the class. With a
Fieldobjects can be obtained using the symbolic name of the member. For example:
- – returns the
Methodobject representing the public method with the name "methodName" of the class or interface that accepts the parameters specified by the
- – returns the
Constructorobject representing the public constructor of the class that accepts the parameters specified by the
- – returns the
Fieldobject representing the public field with the name "fieldName" of the class or interface.
Fieldobjects can be used to dynamically access the represented member of the class. For example:
- – returns an
Objectcontaining the value of the field from the instance of the object passed to
- – returns an
Objectcontaining the result of invoking the method for the instance of the first
Objectparameter passed to
invoke. The remaining
Object...parameters are passed to the method.
- – returns the new
Objectinstance from invoking the constructor. The
Object...parameters are passed to the constructor.
Arrays and proxies
java.lang.reflectpackage also provides an class that contains static methods for creating and manipulating array objects, and since J2SE 1.3, a class that supports dynamic creation of proxy classes that implement specified interfaces.
The implementation of a
Proxyclass is provided by a supplied object that implements the interface. The
InvocationHandler's method is called for each method invoked on the proxy object—the first parameter is the proxy object, the second parameter is the
Methodobject representing the method from the interface implemented by the proxy, and the third parameter is the array of parameters passed to the interface method. The
invokemethod returns an
Objectresult that contains the result returned to the code that called the proxy interface method.
java.ioThe package contains classes that support input and output. The classes in the package are primarily stream-oriented; however, a class for random access files is also provided. The central classes in the package are and, which are abstract base classes for reading from and writing to byte streams, respectively. The related classes and are abstract base classes for reading from and writing to character streams, respectively. The package also has a few miscellaneous classes to support interactions with the host file system.
StreamsThe stream classes follow the decorator pattern by extending the base subclass to add features to the stream classes. Subclasses of the base stream classes are typically named for one of the following attributes:
- the source/destination of the stream data
- the type of data written to/read from the stream
- additional processing or filtering performed on the stream data
Xxxis the name describing the feature and
StreamTypeis one of
The following table shows the sources/destinations supported directly by the
Other standard library packages provide stream implementations for other destinations, such as the
InputStreamreturned by the method or the Java EE class.
Data type handling and processing or filtering of stream data is accomplished through stream filters. The filter classes all accept another compatible stream object as a parameter to the constructor and decorate the enclosed stream with additional features. Filters are created by extending one of the base filter classes,,, or.
Writerclasses are really just byte streams with additional processing performed on the data stream to convert the bytes to characters. They use the default character encoding for the platform, which as of J2SE 5.0 is represented by the returned by the static method. The class converts an
Readerand the class converts an
Writer. Both these classes have constructors that support specifying the character encoding to use. If no encoding is specified, the program uses the default encoding for the platform.
The following table shows the other processes and filters that the
java.iopackage directly supports. All these classes extend the corresponding
|"push back" last value read||in||,|
|read/write primitive types||in, out||,|
|object serialization||byte||in, out||,|
Random accessThe class supports random access reading and writing of files. The class uses a file pointer that represents a byte-offset within the file for the next read or write operation. The file pointer is moved implicitly by reading or writing and explicitly by calling the or methods. The current position of the file pointer is returned by the method.
File systemThe class represents a file or directory path in a file system.
Fileobjects support the creation, deletion and renaming of files and directories and the manipulation of file attributes such as read-only and last modified timestamp.
Fileobjects that represent directories can be used to get a list of all the contained files and directories.
The class is a file descriptor that represents a source or sink of bytes. Typically this is a file, but can also be a console or network socket.
FileDescriptorobjects are used to create
Filestreams. They are obtained from
java.netsockets and datagram sockets.
java.nioIn J2SE 1.4, the package was added to support memory-mapped I/O, facilitating I/O operations closer to the underlying hardware with sometimes dramatically better performance. The
java.niopackage provides support for a number of buffer types. The subpackage provides support for different character encodings for character data. The subpackage provides support for channels, which represent connections to entities that are capable of performing I/O operations, such as files and sockets. The
java.nio.channelspackage also provides support for fine-grained locking of files.
java.mathThe package supports multiprecision arithmetic and provides multiprecision prime number generators used for cryptographic key generation. The main classes of the package are:
- – provides arbitrary-precision signed decimal numbers.
BigDecimalgives the user control over rounding behavior through
- – provides arbitrary-precision integers. Operations on
BigIntegerdo not overflow or lose precision. In addition to standard arithmetic operations, it provides modular arithmetic, GCD calculation, primality testing, prime number generation, bit manipulation, and other miscellaneous operations.
- – encapsulate the context settings that describe certain rules for numerical operators.
- – an enumeration that provides eight rounding behaviors.
java.textThe package implements parsing routines for strings and supports various human-readable languages and locale-specific parsing.
java.utils that aggregate objects are the focus of the package. Included in the package is the Collections API, an organized data structure hierarchy influenced heavily by the design patterns considerations.
Special purpose packages
java.appletCreated to support Java applet creation, the package lets applications be downloaded over a network and run within a guarded sandbox. Security restrictions are easily imposed on the sandbox. A developer, for example, may apply a digital signature to an applet, thereby labeling it as safe. Doing so allows the user to grant the applet permission to perform restricted operations, and removes some or all the sandbox restrictions. Digital certificates are issued by certificate authorities.
java.beansIncluded in the package are various classes for developing and manipulating beans, reusable components defined by the JavaBeans architecture. The architecture provides mechanisms for manipulating properties of components and firing events when those properties change.
The APIs in
java.beansare intended for use by a bean editing tool, in which beans can be combined, customized, and manipulated. One type of bean editor is a GUI designer in an integrated development environment.
java.awtThe, or Abstract Window Toolkit, provides access to a basic set of GUI widgets based on the underlying native platform's widget set, the core of the GUI event subsystem, and the interface between the native windowing system and the Java application. It also provides several basic layout managers, a datatransfer package for use with the Clipboard and Drag and Drop, the interface to input devices such as mice and keyboards, as well as access to the system tray on supporting systems. This package, along with
javax.swingcontains the largest number of enums in JDK 6.
java.rmiThe package provides Java remote method invocation to support remote procedure calls between two java applications running in different JVMs.
java.securitySupport for security, including the message digest algorithm, is included in the package.
java.sqlAn implementation of the JDBC API is grouped into the package.
javax.rmiThe package provides the support for the remote communication between applications, using the RMI over IIOP protocol. This protocol combines RMI and CORBA features.
javax.swingis a collection of routines that build on
java.awtto provide a platform independent widget toolkit. uses the 2D drawing routines to render the user interface components instead of relying on the underlying native operating system GUI support.
This package contains the largest number of classes in JDK 6. This package, along with
java.awtalso contains the largest number of enums in JDK 6. It supports pluggable looks and feels so that widgets in the GUI can imitate those from the underlying native system. Design patterns permeate the system, especially a modification of the model-view-controller pattern, which loosens the coupling between function and appearance. One inconsistency is that fonts are drawn by the underlying native system, and not by Java, limiting text portability. Workarounds, such as using bitmap fonts, do exist. In general, "layouts" are used and keep elements within an aesthetically consistent GUI across platforms.
javax.swing.text.html.parserThe package provides the error tolerant HTML parser that is used for writing various web browsers and web bots.
javax.xml.bind.annotationThe package contains the largest number of Annotation Types in JDK 6. It defines annotations for customizing Java program elements to XML Schema mapping.
org.omg.CORBAThe package provides the support for the remote communication between applications using the General Inter-ORB Protocol and supports other features of the common object request broker architecture. Same as RMI and RMI-IIOP, this package is for calling remote methods of objects on other virtual machines.
This package contains the largest number of
Exceptionclasses in JDK 6. From all communication possibilities CORBA is portable between various languages; however, with this comes more complexity.
These packages were deprecated in Java 9 and removed from Java 11.