This chapter introduces the API Check Tool. Chapter 8 describes how to use the tool.
The API Check tool tracks API changes and checks for source and binary compatibility. Much like Signature Test tool, it compares the reference implementation of an API recorded as golden signature file with a tested implementation. Unlike Signature Test tool, which requires that all classes (and the classes they depend on) be specified to the tool, API Check tool does not require dependencies to be specified. For that reason, API Check tool is faster than Signature Test tool, but less rigorous.
As an example of how this can be useful, consider the case of an developer who uses the JavaMail API. The developer might wish to check whether a new implementation of the JDK software contains all members that the JavaMail API calls — essentially a quick signature check that looks for missing signatures. API Check tool provides a fast and simple way to generate a report to show this.