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Java Virtual Machine (Java Series) Paperback – April 11, 1997

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This book is a comprehensive programming guide for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It gives the reader a strong overview and reference of the JVM so that they may create their own implementations of the JVM or write their own compilers that create Java object code.

Perhaps the most important reason for learning about the Java Virtual Machine is that it gives you additional tools for solving programming problems in Java. The Java architecture is very open -- its easy to add programatic extensions to Java, once you have learned the basic rules of the Java Virtual Machine. And the Java Virtual Machine is portable, so you only have to write the extension once.

So if you don't like how a particular feature of the Java language works, why not create an extension library which operates in the way you need it to? Its not as hard as you might think, and this book gives you all the details you need.

From the Publisher

The Java Virtual Machine is the software implementation of a "CPU" designed to run compiled Java code. This includes stand-alone Java applications, as well as "applets" that are downloaded and run in Web browsers such as the NetScape Navigator. This book is a comprehensive programming guide for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The book is divided into two sections: the first section includes information on the semantics and structure of the JVM; the second section is a reference of the JVM instructions, or "opcodes." This book is intended to give readers a strong overview and reference of the JVM so that they may create their own implementations of the JVM, or write their own compilers that create Java object code. The programming guide includes numerous examples written in Java assembly language. A Java assembler is provided with the book, so the examples can all be compiled and executed. The reference section offers a complete description of the instruction set of the VM and the class file format, including a description of the byte-code verifier. Perhaps the most important reason for learning about the Java Virtual Machine is that it gives you additional tools for solving programming problems in Java. The Java architecture is very open -- it's easy to add programatic extensions to Java, once you have learned the basic rules of the Java Virtual Machine. And the Java Virtual Machine is portable, so you only have to write the extension once. So if you don't like how a particular feature of the Java language works, why not create an extension library that operates in the way you need it to? It's not as hard as you might think, and this book gives you all the details you need. For example, if your application has a lot of matrix manipulation code in it, you probably want to write the matrix equations using operators like *, +, / and -. But Java doesn't let you override these operators. The solution? Create a simple parser that compiles the matrix expressions into efficient JVM code directly. You can then call the resulting methods from any Java program, in any interpreter. Alternatively, you might be writing a rule-based application and want to express the rules using easy-to-read syntax. Create a JVM interface that lets you do this quickly, elegantly, and efficiently. Using JVM unleashes the true power of Java -- making it possible to develop additional syntaxes for expressing the problems you want to solve, and giving you the ultimate control over the performance of your application. So if you want to be ahead of the competition, get started on the JVM. Create applications that include operator overloading, user-extensible syntax words, dynamic generation of classes and methods, and much more. You can overcome design features of the Java language, or even create your own languages. And because of the architecture of the Java Virtual machine, you can do this simply, portably, and efficiently: your work will be accessible from any Java application, in any Java interpreter on nearly any computer.
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Product Details

  • Series: Java Series
  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565921941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565921948
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,767,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Roedy Green on July 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
I know of only one book that covers the JVM and the binary codes, the classfile format etc. It is known as the goldfish bowl book because of its cover, but is officially called The Java Virtual Machine. The book is frustrating because it spends so much time with the irrelevant Jasmin assembler and its syntax. You are interested in generating byte codes directly, not assembler. It leaves out much you must discover by experiment looking at generated class files, such as whether offsets are signed or absolute, where the base is etc. In its next revision, it should set the Jasmin aside in an appendix, and include examples and more precise documentation on the binary formats. The book is still valuable because it gives a fair bit of background exposition you will not find in the vmspec itself. You would use this book to understand the VM, then the vmspec to actually write code that generated or modified class files.
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Format: Paperback
This is a good book for those that are interested in learning the bytecode structure of the Java Virtual Machine and its class file structure. It comes with a bytecode assembler, called Jasmin. Some reviewers felt that the assembler is completely useless. I liked having it as it helped me to learn and test my knowledge of java bytecode without having to write an interpreter first.
This book is misleading, however, as most books on this subject do a pretty good job of explaining the internals of the Java Virtual Machine. This book does not. If you are looking to understand java bytecode and class file format better, this may be your book. But, if you are looking to get the full explaination of the workings of the Java Virtual Machine (especially if you are trying to write your own), then "Inside the Java Virtual Machine" is a much better book.
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By A Customer on May 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book provides a good tutorial introduction to the Java Virtual Machine. It even includes an "assembler" so that you can practice writing Java bytecode yourself. Unfortunately, there are no exercises provided so that it takes a great deal of motivation and creativity to write JVM programs that will test your knowledge of the book's material.
But by far the worst problem of this book is that it covers only the very first version of the JVM and the Java language. Now that there are new editions of the JVM spec and language spec, as well as the other JVM tutorial books, the time for updating this book is overdue.
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By A Customer on September 26, 1997
Format: Paperback
JAVA Virtual Machine is an impressive technical reference. The book provides a wealth of detailed nuts-and-bolts information relating to Java and the JVM. A Java *assembler*, called "Jasmin", provided with this book makes it especially practical for power programmers.
In spite of a variety of typing errors in the text (it is hard for copy editors to stay on top of technology apparently!), JAVA Virtual Machine is a must for every Java hacker's reference library!
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