Discovering the Name and Attributes of a Class

The first step to find out anything about a class or interface is to retrieve its Class object. There are three main ways to obtain a Class object:

  • Use the getClass() method on an instance of an unknown class—for example, Class class = someInstance.getClass();

  • Use the .class suffix on a known class—for example, Class class = java.awt.TextEvent.class;

  • Use the Class.forName method with a String that contains the name of the class—for example, Class class = Class.forName(stringNameOfClass);

The best approach to use depends upon whether the class is known at compile time (use the .class suffix), is known only at runtime (use Class.forName()), or is a mystery object reference (getClass()).

Using Reflection ...

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