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1.1 Overview

The ability to store and retrieve JavaTM objects is essential to building all but the most transient applications. The key to storing and retrieving objects in a serialized form is representing the state of objects sufficient to reconstruct the object(s). Objects to be saved in the stream may support either the Serializable or the Externalizable interface. For JavaTM objects, the serialized form must be able to identify and verify the JavaTM class from which the contents of the object were saved and to restore the contents to a new instance. For serializable objects, the stream includes sufficient information to restore the fields in the stream to a compatible version of the class. For Externalizable objects, the class is solely responsible for the external format of its contents.

Objects to be stored and retrieved frequently refer to other objects. Those other objects must be stored and retrieved at the same time to maintain the relationships between the objects. When an object is stored, all of the objects that are reachable from that object are stored as well.

The goals for serializing JavaTM objects are to:

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