Second USENIX Conference on Object-Oriented Technologies (COOTS), 1996
Pickling State in the Java(tm) System
Roger Riggs, Jim Waldo, and Ann Wollrath
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
The Java(tm) system (hereafter referred to simply as "Java") inherently
supports the transmission of stateless computation in the form of object
classes. In this paper, we address the related task of capturing the
state of a Java object in a serilized form for the purposes of
transmission or storage, to be used later in reconstituting an equivalent
object. This is accomplished by a mechanism known as pickling.
Pickling is the process of creating a serialized representation of objects.
Pickling defines the serialized form to include meta information that
identifies the type of each object and the relationships between objects
within a stream. Values and types are serialized with enough information
to inisure that the equivalent typed object and the objects to which it
refers can be recreated. Unpickling is the complementary process of
recreating objects from the serialized representation.
Pickling and unpickling extract from the Java Virtual machine, at runtime,
any meta information needed to pickle the fields of objects. Class specific
methods are only required to customize the pickling process.