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Load-time Transformation

The architecture of the JVM, in which classes are loaded on demand by a user-extensible class loader, offers a complementary alternative to the previous steps: load-time transformation, in which the loader is responsible not only for locating the class, but for transforming it in ways specified by the user.

Load-time transformation is precisely late enough that the transformation cannot burden other users (as it would if it were performed at, say, component integration), and yet early enough that the JVM is unaware that any transformation has taken place, and the transformed class is still verified by the JVM before it is accepted.

A transformation registered with a class loader can be applied to all classes--or some specific subset--that are eventually loaded into the machine.

Geoff Alex Cohen
Tue Apr 28 14:31:49 EDT 1998