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Thinking in Java
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Using imports to change behavior

A feature that is missing from Java is C’s conditional compilation, which allows you to change a switch and get different behavior without changing any other code. The reason such a feature was left out of Java is probably because it is most often used in C to solve cross-platform issues: Different portions of the code are compiled depending on the platform that the code is being compiled for. Since Java is intended to be automatically cross-platform, such a feature should not be necessary.

However, there are other valuable uses for conditional compilation. A very common use is for debugging code. The debugging features are enabled during development and disabled in the shipping product. You can accomplish this by changing the package that’s imported to change the code used in your program from the debug version to the production version. This technique can be used for any kind of conditional code.
Thinking in Java
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire