[JSR308] Use of @Target meta-annotation

Neal Gafter gafter at google.com
Sat May 19 11:34:51 EDT 2007

On May 19, 2007 8:26 AM, Michael Ernst <mernst at csail.mit.edu> wrote:
> Neal-
> > The target of an annotation is part of its meaning.
> I think you are splitting hairs.  The meaning of an annotation is
> determined by its specification, typically written in its Javadoc, and
> also
> including its @Target meta-annotation.  The target of a particular
> annotation instance only determines where the annotation instance appears,
> not the semantics.
> In any event, this minor point is moot with respect to the discussion at
> hand, which was regarding violation of the principle that annotations
> should not affect Java behavior.  The principle is not violated:  the
> meaning of the program with respect to a Java compiler and VM are not
> affected by annotations.  There is no principle that annotations should
> not
> affect the behavior of annotation processors or other tools that look up
> the annotations.

The principle is that annotations should not affect the meaning of program
elements. The meaning of an annotation appearing in a program includes the
entity to which the annotation applies. I know you consider this point moot
and minor, but I do not.
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