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Component Development for the Java™ Platform by Stuart Dabbs Halloway

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2.7. Bootclasspath, Extensions Path, and Classpath

Java provides several mechanisms for configuring how classes are loaded, which do not require any explicit class loader code. One of these mechanisms, the classpath, is the only interaction with class loaders that some Java applications will ever need. The classpath provides a simple mechanism to specify a set of locations where your code can be found. Despite its simplicity, the classpath is the source of a great many headaches, even for experienced Java developers. By understanding the classpath in terms of the class loader architecture, though, you can avoid these problems or quickly troubleshoot them when they occur.

The classpath is only one part of Java's class loader configuration options. ...

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