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Java Language Reference

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5. Declarations

A declaration is a construct that associates a name with storage that contains specified data or a specified type of data. More specifically, declarations associate names with classes, interfaces, methods, and variables. In addition, the declaration of a class, interface, or method defines the actual class, interface, or method that is associated with the name. Methods and variables can only be declared within classes and interfaces, so this chapter covers method and variable declarations in the context of class and interface declarations.

Every name has a lexical scope. The scope of a declaration determines the portions of a program in which the declaration is applicable.

A declaration can be preceded by modifiers that specify attributes of the name or of the data associated with the name. One such attribute for a name is its accessibility. The accessibility modifiers specify the other classes that can access the data associated with the name. The static modifier specifies an attribute for data; it indicates whether the data is associated with a class or with individual instances of a class.

Because Java is an object-oriented programming language, this chapter also describes the object-oriented model used by the language. An understanding of this model is necessary for a complete understanding of class and interface declarations.

5.1 Naming Conventions

The Java language has no requirements for choosing names, aside from the lexical requirements for identifiers stated in Identifiers. However, there are certain conventions that you should follow when choosing names; these conventions are the ones used by Sun in much of the Java API. Following these conventions makes your programs easier to read, as many programmers are already accustomed to reading programs that use them:

  • If an identifier is logically made up of multiple words, the first letter of each word other than the first is uppercase and the rest of the letters are lowercase (e.g., aSimpleExample). Sun is consistent about following this convention.

  • The first letter of the name of a class or interface is uppercase, while the first letter of all other names is lowercase. Sun is also consistent about following this convention.

  • The names of final variables that are intended to represent symbolic constants are all uppercase; logical words contained in the name are separated by underscore characters (e.g., MAX_LEGAL_VALUE). Sun uses this convention quite often, but is not entirely consistent.

  • Some Java programmers have adopted the additional convention of beginning the names of instance variables with an underscore (e.g., _value).

  • Avoid the use of $ in names to prevent confusion with compiler-generated names. Sun is consistent about following this convention.

References Class Name; Identifiers; Interface Name; Interface Variables; Variables


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