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27 Java Reflection

Monday, 27 October – 13:30-17:00 Afternoon

Ira Forman, IBM, formani@us.ibm.com
Nate Forman, Ticom Geomatics, nforman@austin.rr.com

Reflection can help to improve productivity by promoting the development of programs that are easily adapted to requirements changes. Reflection facilitates testing and problem determination by permitting the automation of more tedious tasks. In general, reflection improves the flexibility, extensibility, and reusability of code.

The Java programming language (version 1.4) contains a highly effective reflection facility. This tutorial explains the concept of reflection, the Java metaobjects (including both introspective and intercessional interfaces), the proxy class, and dynamic compilation and class loading. The limits of Java reflection are addressed in the context of what reflection is capable of in general. In addition, the tutorial demonstrates the efficacy of the Java reflection facility for solving practical problems. Such problems include: program/application testing, generation of code, inspection of code, and use of dynamic class loading in a framework for application extension. Finally, we will cover the performance impact of using reflection.

This tutorial is the basis of a book titled "Java Reflection" to be published by Manning Publications.

Attendee background

Prerequisites: Attendees must be competent Java programmers.




Dr. Ira R. Forman works for IBM in Austin. As a member of IBM's Object Technology Products Group, which produced the SOMobjects Toolkit, he worked on the SOM Metaclass Framework. From 1984 to 1991, he worked on distributed systems design in the MCC Software Technology Program. He started working in the area of object-oriented programming in 1982 at the ITT. Dr. Forman received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, where he studied under Harlan Mills. His specialties are object-oriented programming, distributed systems, and object composition. He is the coauthor of two books: "Interacting Processes: A Multiparty Approach to Coordinated Distributed Programming" and "Putting Metaclasses to Work: A New Dimension in Object-Oriented Programming."

Nate Forman works for Ticom Geomatics where he designs and programs application frameworks for their products. His specialties are patterns and object-oriented programming. Forman holds a MSE in Software Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a BS in Computer Science from the College of Engineering at Cornell University.