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So what I wanted to save the state of objects that do not impement serializable.

Say I wanted to save the state of an ArrayList<Shape> type.

Would I have to create a subclass of each shape that had instructions to override the
readObject and writeObject methods, or could I just label the subclass Serializable when
the superclass is not. A third option I guess would be to create a new interface like
SerializableShape that would describe all Serializable shapes so that I wouldn't have to
specify at compile time specific instructions to save or draw each shape. Or should I just
curse the makers of the Shape interface for not making Shape types Serializable?

Serialization is the process of writing the state of an object to a byte stream. This is
useful when you want to save the state of your program to a persistent storage area,
such as a file. At a later time, you may restore these objects by using the process of
Serialization is also needed to implement Remote Method Invocation (RMI). RMI
allows a Java object on one machine to invoke a method of a Java object on a different
machine. An object may be supplied as an argument to that remote method. The
sending machine serializes the object and transmits it. The receiving machine
deserializes it. (More information about RMI is in Chapter 24.)
Assume that an object to be serialized has references to other objects, which, in
turn, have references to still more objects. This set of objects and the relationships
among them form a directed graph. There may also be circular references within this
object graph. That is, object X may contain a reference to object Y, and object Y may
contain a reference back to object X. Objects may also contain references to themselves.
The object serialization and deserialization facilities have been designed to work
correctly in these scenarios. If you attempt to serialize an object at the top of an object
graph, all of the other referenced objects are recursively located and serialized.
Similarly, during the process of deserialization, all of these objects and their references
are correctly restored.
An overview of the interfaces and classes that support serialization follows.

Only an object that implements the Serializable interface can be saved and restored by
the serialization facilities. The Serializable interface defines no members. It is simply
used to indicate that a class may be serialized. If a class is serializable, all of its
subclasses are also serializable.
Variables that are declared as transient are not saved by the serialization facilities.
Also, static variables are not saved.