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The Java® Virtual Machine Specification, Java SE 7 Edition, Third Edition by Alex Buckley, Gilad Bracha, Frank Yellin, Tim Lindholm

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4.3. Descriptors and Signatures

A descriptor is a string representing the type of a field or method. Descriptors are represented in the class file format using modified UTF-8 strings (§4.4.7) and thus may be drawn, where not further constrained, from the entire Unicode codespace.

A signature is a string representing the generic type of a field or method, or generic type information for a class declaration.

4.3.1. Grammar Notation

Descriptors and signatures are specified using a grammar. This grammar is a set of productions that describe how sequences of characters can form syntactically correct descriptors of various types. Terminal symbols of the grammar are shown in bold fixed-width font. Nonterminal symbols are shown in italic type. The definition ...

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