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The platform uses Java programming language and is part of the Java software-platform family.

Java SE defines a range of general-purpose APIs—such as Java APIs for the Java Class Library—and also includes the Java Language Specification and the Java Virtual Machine Specification.

Reflection is a constituent of the Java API that lets Java code examine and "reflect" on Java components at runtime and use the reflected members.

Classes in the accommodate applications such as debuggers, interpreters, object inspectors, class browsers, and services such as object serialization and Java Beans that need access to either the public members of a target object (based on its runtime class) or the members declared by a given class. Reflection is used to instantiate classes and invoke methods using their names, a concept that allows for dynamic programming.

The classes in the package are primarily stream-oriented; however, a class for random access files is also provided.

This package contains 22 of 32 package provides more flexible types of references than are otherwise available, permitting limited interaction between the application and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) garbage collector.

It is an important package, central enough to the language for the language designers to give it a name that starts with "java.lang", but it is somewhat special-purpose and not used by a lot of developers. Java has an expressive system of references and allows for special behavior for garbage collection.

Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) is a related specification intended to provide a certified collection of Java APIs for the development of software for small, resource-constrained devices such as cell phones, PDAs and set-top boxes.

The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK) are the actual files downloaded and installed on a computer to run or develop Java programs, respectively.

Starting with J2SE 1.4 (Merlin), Java SE has been developed under the Java Community Process, which produces descriptions of proposed and final specifications for the Java platform called Java Specification Requests (JSR).

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