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Java™ Platform
Standard Ed. 7

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Package java.beans

Contains classes related to developing beans -- components based on the JavaBeans™ architecture.

See: Description

Package java.beans Description

Contains classes related to developing beans -- components based on the JavaBeans™ architecture. A few of the classes are used by beans while they run in an application. For example, the event classes are used by beans that fire property and vetoable change events (see PropertyChangeEvent). However, most of the classes in this package are meant to be used by a bean editor (that is, a development environment for customizing and putting together beans to create an application). In particular, these classes help the bean editor create a user interface that the user can use to customize the bean. For example, a bean may contain a property of a special type that a bean editor may not know how to handle. By using the PropertyEditor interface, a bean developer can provide an editor for this special type.

To minimize the resources used by a bean, the classes used by bean editors are loaded only when the bean is being edited. They are not needed while the bean is running in an application and therefore not loaded. This information is kept in what's called a bean-info (see BeanInfo).

Unless explicitly stated, null values or empty Strings are not valid parameters for the methods in this package. You may expect to see exceptions if these parameters are used.

Long-Term Persistence

As of v1.4, the java.beans package provides support for long-term persistence -- reading and writing a bean as a textual representation of its property values. The property values are treated as beans, and are recursively read or written to capture their publicly available state. This approach is suitable for long-term storage because it relies only on public API, rather than the likely-to-change private implementation.

Note: The persistence scheme cannot automatically instantiate custom inner classes, such as you might use for event handlers. By using the EventHandler class instead of inner classes for custom event handlers, you can avoid this problem.

You read and write beans in XML format using the XMLDecoder and XMLEncoder classes, respectively. One notable feature of the persistence scheme is that reading in a bean requires no special knowledge of the bean.

Writing out a bean, on the other hand, sometimes requires special knowledge of the bean's type. If the bean's state can be expressed using only the no-argument constructor and public getter and setter methods for properties, no special knowledge is required. Otherwise, the bean requires a custom persistence delegate -- an object that is in charge of writing out beans of a particular type. All classes provided in the JDK that descend from java.awt.Component, as well as all their properties, automatically have persistence delegates.

If you need (or choose) to provide a persistence delegate for a bean, you can do so either by using a DefaultPersistenceDelegate instance or by creating your own subclass of PersistenceDelegate. If the only reason a bean needs a persistence delegate is because you want to invoke the bean's constructor with property values as arguments, you can create the bean's persistence delegate with the one-argument DefaultPersistenceDelegate constructor. Otherwise, you need to implement your own persistence delegate, for which you're likely to need the following classes:

The abstract class from which all persistence delegates descend. Your subclass should use its knowledge of the bean's type to provide whatever Statements and Expressions are necessary to create the bean and restore its state.
Represents the invocation of a single method on an object. Includes a set of arguments to the method.
A subclass of Statement used for methods that return a value.

Once you create a persistence delegate, you register it using the setPersistenceDelegate method of XMLEncoder.

Related Documentation

For overview, architecture, and tutorial documentation, please see:

Java™ Platform
Standard Ed. 7

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