I'm very unclear on some basic knowledge concerning the JVM and the compiler. My question is this: Non-static instance variables are initialized just before the class constructor is executed. Is the constructor executed at compile time or run-time? On the same theme, static variables are initialized at class load time. Exactly when does a class get loaded? I am really fuzzy on this subject, and I think I need to understand this before I think about taking any certification exams......
Constructors, like all code, are executed at runtime. The running JVM allocates RAM for the object, then calls a constructor to initialize that RAM. A class is generally loaded only when it needs to be -- when a static member is referenced, or an object needs to be created. This lets you write Java code which conditionally calls other code that may or may not exist at runtime. You might want to check out chapter 12 of the Java Language Specification.
Thanks Ernest. I'm still trying to figure out a lot of the behind the scene activity with the compiler and the JVM. I get sooooooo confused sometimes. I've checked out the link you gave, and it answers a lot of my questions!