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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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12.3. Linking of Classes and Interfaces

Linking is the process of taking a binary form of a class or interface type and combining it into the run-time state of the Java Virtual Machine, so that it can be executed. A class or interface type is always loaded before it is linked.

Three different activities are involved in linking: verification, preparation, and resolution of symbolic references.

The precise semantics of linking are given in Chapter 5 of The Java Virtual Machine Specification, Java SE 7 Edition. Here we present an overview of the process from the viewpoint of the Java programming language.

This specification allows an implementation flexibility as to when linking activities (and, because of recursion, loading) take place, provided ...

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