Chapter 2: Decompiling classes

This chapter from the book Covert Java, by Alex Kalinovsky, explains when, why and how to decompile Java code.

In an ideal world, decompilation would probably be unnecessary, except when learning how other people who don't like to write good documentation implemented a certain feature. In the real world, however, there are often situations where a direct reference to the source code can be the best, if not the only, solution. Here are some of the reasons to decompile:

  • Recovering the source code that was accidentally lost
  • Learning the implementation of a feature or trick
  • Troubleshooting an application or library that does not have good documentation
  • Fixing urgent bugs in third-party code for which no source code exists
  • Learning to protect your code from hacking

In this chapter from the book Covert Java: Techniques for Decompiling, Patching, and Reverse Engineering, by Alex Kalinovsky, you'll learn:

  • How to determine when to decompile (page 13)
  • What the best decompilers are (page 14)
  • How to decompile a class (page 16)
  • What makes decompiling possible (page 22)
  • Potential problems with decompiled code (page 23)

Don't forget to take the quick quiz at the end of the chapter to test your reading comprehension.

Click here to download this free book chapter.

This was first published in June 2004

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