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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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5.1. The Run-Time Constant Pool

The Java Virtual Machine maintains a per-type constant pool (§2.5.5), a run-time data structure that serves many of the purposes of the symbol table of a conventional programming language implementation.

The constant_pool table (§4.4) in the binary representation of a class or interface is used to construct the run-time constant pool upon class or interface creation (§5.3). All references in the run-time constant pool are initially symbolic. The symbolic references in the run-time constant pool are derived from structures in the binary representation of the class or interface as follows:

• A symbolic reference to a class or interface is derived from a CONSTANT_Class_info structure (§4.4.1) in the binary representation ...

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