spec clarification: type annotations on static nested types
alex.buckley at oracle.com
Tue Nov 20 19:47:43 UTC 2018
On 11/19/2018 6:21 PM, Liam Miller-Cushon wrote:
> From some offline discussion with Mike and Werner, the original intent
> was for "nested type" in JVMS 220.127.116.11 to only apply to non-static members.
> I couldn't find related discussions in type-annotations-spec-experts.
> However there's some language in the jsr308 draft about locations where
> type annotations may appear, which mentions 'scoping mechanisms' and
> which rules out annotations on qualifiers of static members . The
> draft section on type_path mentions it distinguishes among locations
> where "an annotation may appear" , which as defined doesn't include
> qualifiers of static members.
> I see at least two options to reconcile the JVMS, javac, and core
> (a) Update JVMS 18.104.22.168 to mention non-static members, update core
> reflection to match, and leave javac's current behaviour as-is.
> (b) Change javac's behaviour to emit type path entries for both static
> and non-static member classes.
> I think there are a couple of reasons to prefer (a).
> * It results in slightly more efficient class files, with more compact
> type_path structures.
> * it avoids breaking compatibility with the code javac and ecj have been
> generating since JDK 8. Changing getAnnotatedOwnerType seems lower-risk
> since it was added more recently, and (due to the issue we're
> discussing) doesn't work reliably.
Thanks for investigating. Now that the original intent is clear, we
could indeed adopt option (2). That involves thinking about how to
narrate the change in the JVMS -- we need more color than simply adding
"non-static" to a sentence in 22.214.171.124 and moving on.
It appears the original intent was to have the class file structure
follow the Java language constructs precisely, rather than to let the
class file express more than the language (say, by tracking annotations
on uses of static nested types). This intent is unusual in the broader
picture, where class files are often more expressive than language
constructs, but it's in line with how type_path is already able to
express annotations on language-only constructs such as wildcards.
"Scoping mechanism" is an informal concept that is not present in the
JLS. It was formalized into the concept of "type contexts" in the Public
Review of JSR 308. (For the details, read chapter 1 of the spec in that
Public Review --
https://jcp.org/aboutJava/communityprocess/pr/jsr308/index.html -- to
see how the oft-quoted declarative spec in java-annotation-design.html
turned into a precise operational spec.) In addition, the ability to
write `@Foo A.B` or `A. at Foo B` or neither was defined in terms of the
qualified-this construct -- see JLS 9.7.4 and the definition of
So, 126.96.36.199 should describe how type_path in the class file matches up
with "admissible" annotations on type uses with qualified names. I see
that JDK-8198526 describes the problem (though with a critical typo in
the second code sample) -- please file a corresponding specification/vm
1. Explains the problem using the JLS concepts I mentioned above (rather
than appealing to an undefined "annotatable type" concept).
2. Proposes normative text for 188.8.131.52.
3. Expands the existing Outer.Middle.Inner example to say when @Foo
could appear on each name (because it counts as admissible) and thus
what the type_path would be.
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