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2.2. Comments

Java supports three types of comments. The first type is a single-line comment, which begins with the characters // and continues until the end of the current line. For example:

int i = 0;   // initialize the loop variable

The second kind of comment is a multiline comment. It begins with the characters /* and continues, over any number of lines, until the characters */. Any text between the /* and the */ is ignored by the Java compiler. Although this style of comment is typically used for multiline comments, it can also be used for single-line comments. This type of comment cannot be nested (i.e., one /* */ comment cannot appear within another one). When writing multiline comments, programmers often use extra * characters to make the comments stand out. Here is a typical multiline comment:

/*
 * Step 4: Print static methods, both public and protected,
 *         but don't list deprecated ones. 
 */

The third type of comment is a special case of the second. If a comment begins with /**, it is regarded as a special doc comment. Like regular multiline comments, doc comments end with */ and cannot be nested. When you write a Java class you expect other programmers to use, use doc comments to embed documentation about the class and each of its methods directly into the source code. A program named javadoc extracts these comments and processes them to create online documentation for your class. A doc comment can contain HTML tags and can use additional syntax understood by javadoc. For example:

/**
 * Display a list of classes, many to a line. 
 *
 * @param classes The classes to display
 * @return <tt>true</tt> on success,
 * <tt>false</tt> on failure. 
 * @author David Flanagan
 */

See Chapter 7, "Java Programming and Documentation Conventions", for more information on the doc-comment syntax and Chapter 8, "Java Development Tools", for more information on the javadoc program.



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