when is static variable loaded in java, runtime or compile time?

The compiler optimizes inlineable static final fields by embedding the value in the bytecode instead of computing the value at runtime.

When you fire up a JVM and load a class for the first time (this is done by the classloader when the class is first referenced in any way) any static blocks or fields are ‘loaded’ into the JVM and become accessible.

A demonstration:

public class StaticDemo {

 // a static initialization block, executed once when the class is loaded
 static {
  System.out.println("Class StaticDemo loading...");

 // a constant
 static final long ONE_DAY_IN_MILLIS = 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000;

 // a static field
 static int instanceCounter;

 // a second static initialization block
 // static members are processed in the order they appear in the class
 static {
  // we can now acces the static fields initialized above
  System.out.println("ONE_DAY_IN_MILLIS=" + ONE_DAY_IN_MILLIS
    + " instanceCounter=" + instanceCounter);

 // an instance initialization block
 // instance blocks are executed each time a class instance is created,
 // after the parent constructor, but before any own constructors (as remarked by Ahmed Hegazy)
  System.out.println("instanceCounter=" + instanceCounter);

 public static void main(String[] args) {
  System.out.println("Starting StaticDemo");
  new StaticDemo();
  new StaticDemo();
  new StaticDemo();

 static {
  System.out.println("Class StaticDemo loaded");



Class StaticDemo loading...
ONE_DAY_IN_MILLIS=86400000 instanceCounter=0
Class StaticDemo loaded
Starting StaticDemo

Notice how ‘Starting StaticDemo’ does not appear as the first line of output. This is because the class must be loaded before the main method can be executed, which means all static fields and blocks are processed in order.

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