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Java Language Reference

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1.3 Compiling a Java Source File

The interface for the Java compiler in Sun's Java Development Kit (JDK) is the command line. To compile a Java program, run the program javac with the name of the source file specified as a command-line argument. For example, to compile the "Hello World" program, issue the following command:

C:\> javac HelloWorld.java

The Java compiler, javac, requires that the name of a Java source file end with a .java extension. If the source file contains a class or interface that is declared with the keyword public, the filename must be the name of that class or interface. There can be at most one such class or interface in a source file.

In an environment such as Windows 95 that does not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters in a filename, you still need to be sure that the case of the filename exactly matches the case used in the public class or interface declaration. If you use a filename with the incorrect case, the compiler will be able to compile the file but it will complain about an incorrect filename.

The compiler produces a compiled class file with the same name as the public class or interface declaration; the file extension used for a compiled Java file is .class.

If the javac compiler complains that it is unable to find some classes, it may mean that an environment variable named CLASSPATH has not been set properly. The exact setting needed for CLASSPATH varies depending on the operating system and its directory structure. However, the value of CLASSPATH always specifies a list of directories in which the compiler should search for Java classes.

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