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The Java® Language Specification, Java SE 7 Edition, Fourth Edition by Alex Buckley, Gilad Bracha, Guy Steele, Bill Joy, James Gosling

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4.12. Variables

A variable is a storage location and has an associated type, sometimes called its compile-time type, that is either a primitive type (§4.2) or a reference type (§4.3).

A variable’s value is changed by an assignment (§15.26) or by a prefix or postfix + + (increment) or -- (decrement) operator (§15.14.2, §15.14.3, §15.15.1, §15.15.2).

Compatibility of the value of a variable with its type is guaranteed by the design of the Java programming language, as long as a program does not give rise to compile-time unchecked warnings (§4.12.2). Default values (§4.12.5) are compatible and all assignments to a variable are checked for assignment compatibility (§5.2), usually at compile time, but, in a single case involving arrays, a run-time ...

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