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Contains classes related to developing
<em>beans</em> -- components
based on the JavaBeans<sup><font size=-2>TM</font></sup> architecture.
A few of the
classes are used by beans while they run in an application. 
For example, the event classes are
used by beans that fire property and vetoable change 
events (see 
{@link java.beans.PropertyChangeEvent}). However, most of the classes in this
package are meant to be used by a bean editor (that is, a development environment 
for customizing and putting together beans to create an application). In
particular, these classes help the bean editor create a user 
interface that the user can use to customize the bean. For example, a bean may 
contain a property of a special type that a bean editor may not know how to handle. 
By using the <code>PropertyEditor</code> interface, a bean developer can
provide an editor for this special type.

<p>
To minimize the resources used by a bean, the classes used by bean editors are loaded only
when the bean is being edited. They are not needed while the bean is running in an application
and therefore not loaded. This information is kept in what's called a bean-info (see {@link java.beans.BeanInfo}).

<p>
Unless explicitly stated, null values or empty Strings are not valid 
parameters for the methods in this package. You may expect to see 
exceptions if these parameters are used.


<h2>Long-Term Persistence</h2>

As of v1.4,
the <code>java.beans</code> package provides support for 
<em>long-term persistence</em> -- reading and
writing a bean as a textual representation of its property values.
The property values are treated as beans,
and are recursively read or written to capture 
their publicly available state.
This approach is suitable for long-term storage 
because it relies only on public API,
rather than the likely-to-change private implementation.

<blockquote>
<hr>
<b>Note:</b>
The persistence scheme cannot automatically instantiate 
custom inner classes, such as you might use for event handlers.
By using the {@link java.beans.EventHandler} class
instead of inner classes for custom event handlers,
you can avoid this problem.
<hr>
</blockquote>

<p>

You read and write beans in XML format using the
{@link java.beans.XMLDecoder}
and 
{@link java.beans.XMLEncoder}
classes, respectively.
One notable feature of the persistence scheme is that
reading in a bean requires no special knowledge of the bean.

<p>
Writing out a bean, on the other hand,
sometimes requires special knowledge of the bean's type.
If the bean's state can be
expressed using only the no-argument constructor and 
public getter and setter methods for properties,
no special knowledge is required.
Otherwise, the bean requires a custom <em>persistence delegate</em> --
an object that is in charge of writing out beans of a particular type.
All classes provided in the JDK that descend 
from <code>java.awt.Component</code>, 
as well as all their properties, 
automatically have persistence delegates.

<p>

If you need (or choose) to provide a persistence delegate for a bean,
you can do so either by using a 
{@link java.beans.DefaultPersistenceDelegate}
instance
or by creating your own subclass of <code>PersistenceDelegate</code>.
If the only reason a bean needs a persistence delegate 
is because you want to invoke the bean's constructor with 
property values as arguments,
you can create the bean's persistence delegate 
with the one-argument
<code>DefaultPersistenceDelegate</code>
constructor.
Otherwise,
you need to implement your own persistence delegate,
for which you're likely to need the following classes:

<dl>
<dt> {@link java.beans.PersistenceDelegate}
<dd> The abstract class from which all persistence delegates descend.
     Your subclass should use its knowledge of the bean's type to provide 
     whatever <code>Statement</code>s and <code>Expression</code>s
     are necessary to create the bean
     and restore its state.
<dt> {@link java.beans.Statement}
<dd> Represents the invocation of a single method on an object.
     Includes a set of arguments to the method.
<dt> {@link java.beans.Expression}
<dd> A subclass of <code>Statement</code>
     used for methods that return a value.
</dl>

<p>
Once you create a persistence delegate,
you register it using the
<code>setPersistenceDelegate</code> method of
<code>XMLEncoder</code>.


<h2>Related Documentation</h2>

For overview, architecture, and tutorial documentation, please see:
<ul>
  <li><a href="http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/javabeans/">JavaBeans</a>, a trail in <em>The Java Tutorial</em>.
  <li><a href="http://java.sun.com/products/jfc/tsc/articles/persistence2/">Long-Term Persistence</a>, an article in <em>The Swing Connection</em>.
</ul>
<p>

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