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Special Identifiers: serialVersionUID and serialPersistentFields

I understand what these fields are and how to use them, but I’m wondering this:

How does the Java compiler actually handle special fields like this in its compilation step? Does it really look for variables just based on their name?

That seems very non-Java like… Other than serialVersionUID and serialPersistentFields, are there others?


Unfortunately, yes, these members are magically discovered by name, reflectively at runtime. (Actually, its worse; whether they are static or not, public or private, etc, fits into the lookup.) You are right, this isn’t a good practice, and not very Java-like, but this is a legacy we are stuck with.

For the full list, see the serialization specification: