Annotations, a form of metadata, provide data about a program that is not part of the program itself. Annotations have no direct effect on the operation of the code they annotate.
Annotations have a number of uses, among them:
Information for the compiler — Annotations can be used by the compiler to detect errors or suppress warnings.
Compile-time and deployment-time processing — Software tools can process annotation information to generate code, XML files, and so forth.
Runtime processing — Some annotations are available to be examined at runtime.