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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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4.4. The Constant Pool

Java Virtual Machine instructions do not rely on the run-time layout of classes, interfaces, class instances, or arrays. Instead, instructions refer to symbolic information in the constant_pool table.

All constant_pool table entries have the following general format:

cp_info {     u1 tag;     u1 info[]; }

Each item in the constant_pool table must begin with a 1-byte tag indicating the kind of cp_info entry. The contents of the info array vary with the value of tag. The valid tags and their values are listed in Table 4.3. Each tag byte must be followed by two or more bytes giving information about the specific constant. The format of the additional information varies with the tag value.

Table 4.3. Constant pool tags

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