Vol 71 Issue 1 2004-01-05 Article 11958 from section "Java Technology"

A Metadata Facility for the Java[TM] Programming Language

Java[TM] Specification Request (JSR) 175 is designed to simplify
providing auxiliary information for classes, interfaces, fields and
methods. No current language mechanism exists for providing this kind of
information. The specification should answer the growing trend towards
annotating fields, methods and classes as having particular attributes
that require specialized processing. These annotations are known as

Several technologies currently make use of metadata, including the
JavaBeans[TM] architecture and Enterprise JavaBeans[TM] (EJB[TM])
architecture. Custom tools sometimes use metadata to generate auxiliary
source files to be used in conjunction with the source file containing
the annotation.

Several of the elements that will make up the JSR include:

- Definition of a Java programming language feature that allows
metadata information to be supplied for (at least) classes,
interfaces, methods and fields.

- Definition of a runtime delivery format for metadata and of runtime
APIs so that tools and libraries can access metadata information at
deployment time and at runtime.

- Definition of rules for the attribute namespace so as to avoid
accidental collisions over the same attribute name.

JSR 175 should be delivered as part of the Java[TM] 2 Platform, Standard
Edition (J2SE[TM]) "Tiger" release.

Details at

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