escape analysis friendly very small objects

Andy Nuss andrew_nuss at
Tue Sep 5 12:35:53 UTC 2017

I have a variety of classes which just contain a couple scalar primitives and possibly a reference to an object that is clearly on the heap, all of these small number of data members are private and all of them mutable.  Much like the Point class in Brian Goetz's article on escape analysis on whether the vm uses the stack or heap for class instances.

There are two use cases for these objects:  (1) create with new such a small object as a local variable and use it thriughout the function, mutating it, etc.  (2) create a class with lots of these small objects as private or possibly protected members.
The hope in the first case is under what conditions will hotspot put the object's 2 or 3 fields onto the stack and ideally without the hidden headers needed to make it a heap object.  hashCode, equals, and clone are not implemented or used if that is important.  I.e. will hotspot ever make it a simple C++ like object on the stack.  Does it help if I do defensive copy if I return one of these small objects from the function?
In the second case, my hope is that for a class that contains 5 such small objects, and would definitely be on the heap, hotspot would be smart enough not to create 5 small objects on the heap and then 5 references to them in the containing class.  Instead, it would explode into the containing class ala C++ just the 2 or 3 primitive datamembers of the object, and again, ideally without headers.
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