Module java.base

Interface Externalizable

All Superinterfaces:
All Known Subinterfaces:
RemoteRef, ServerRef
All Known Implementing Classes:
DataFlavor, MLet, PrivateMLet

public interface Externalizable extends Serializable
Only the identity of the class of an Externalizable instance is written in the serialization stream and it is the responsibility of the class to save and restore the contents of its instances. The writeExternal and readExternal methods of the Externalizable interface are implemented by a class to give the class complete control over the format and contents of the stream for an object and its supertypes. These methods must explicitly coordinate with the supertype to save its state. These methods supersede customized implementations of writeObject and readObject methods.
Object Serialization uses the Serializable and Externalizable interfaces. Object persistence mechanisms can use them as well. Each object to be stored is tested for the Externalizable interface. If the object supports Externalizable, the writeExternal method is called. If the object does not support Externalizable and does implement Serializable, the object is saved using ObjectOutputStream.
When an Externalizable object is reconstructed, an instance is created using the public no-arg constructor, then the readExternal method called. Serializable objects are restored by reading them from an ObjectInputStream.
An Externalizable instance can designate a substitution object via the writeReplace and readResolve methods documented in the Serializable interface.
See Also: