Java™ Platform
Standard Ed. 6

java.security
Interface Key

All Superinterfaces:
Serializable
All Known Subinterfaces:
DHPrivateKey, DHPublicKey, DSAPrivateKey, DSAPublicKey, ECPrivateKey, ECPublicKey, PBEKey, PrivateKey, PublicKey, RSAMultiPrimePrivateCrtKey, RSAPrivateCrtKey, RSAPrivateKey, RSAPublicKey, SecretKey
All Known Implementing Classes:
KerberosKey, SecretKeySpec

public interface Key
extends Serializable

The Key interface is the top-level interface for all keys. It defines the functionality shared by all key objects. All keys have three characteristics:

Keys are generally obtained through key generators, certificates, or various Identity classes used to manage keys. Keys may also be obtained from key specifications (transparent representations of the underlying key material) through the use of a key factory (see KeyFactory).

A Key should use KeyRep as its serialized representation. Note that a serialized Key may contain sensitive information which should not be exposed in untrusted environments. See the Security Appendix of the Serialization Specification for more information.

See Also:
PublicKey, PrivateKey, KeyPair, KeyPairGenerator, KeyFactory, KeyRep, KeySpec, Identity, Signer

Field Summary
static long serialVersionUID
          The class fingerprint that is set to indicate serialization compatibility with a previous version of the class.
 
Method Summary
 String getAlgorithm()
          Returns the standard algorithm name for this key.
 byte[] getEncoded()
          Returns the key in its primary encoding format, or null if this key does not support encoding.
 String getFormat()
          Returns the name of the primary encoding format of this key, or null if this key does not support encoding.
 

Field Detail

serialVersionUID

static final long serialVersionUID
The class fingerprint that is set to indicate serialization compatibility with a previous version of the class.

See Also:
Constant Field Values
Method Detail

getAlgorithm

String getAlgorithm()
Returns the standard algorithm name for this key. For example, "DSA" would indicate that this key is a DSA key. See Appendix A in the Java Cryptography Architecture API Specification & Reference for information about standard algorithm names.

Returns:
the name of the algorithm associated with this key.

getFormat

String getFormat()
Returns the name of the primary encoding format of this key, or null if this key does not support encoding. The primary encoding format is named in terms of the appropriate ASN.1 data format, if an ASN.1 specification for this key exists. For example, the name of the ASN.1 data format for public keys is SubjectPublicKeyInfo, as defined by the X.509 standard; in this case, the returned format is "X.509". Similarly, the name of the ASN.1 data format for private keys is PrivateKeyInfo, as defined by the PKCS #8 standard; in this case, the returned format is "PKCS#8".

Returns:
the primary encoding format of the key.

getEncoded

byte[] getEncoded()
Returns the key in its primary encoding format, or null if this key does not support encoding.

Returns:
the encoded key, or null if the key does not support encoding.

Java™ Platform
Standard Ed. 6

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For further API reference and developer documentation, see Java SE Developer Documentation. That documentation contains more detailed, developer-targeted descriptions, with conceptual overviews, definitions of terms, workarounds, and working code examples.

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