First consider how much effort you want to expend on this. Modern MIDP/CLDC devices have far more memory than the original specifications envisaged. If you must reduce memory size, bear in mind that all the following techniques will reduce the readability and manageability of your code. In no particular order...

  • Don't create separate classes to act as event listeners - use a class that already exists. For example, use your MIDlet's main class as the event listener for form events, rather than creating a separate class. Remember that even the most trivial, anonymous inner class requires 200 bytes of bytecode, plus some state information for each instance.
  • Where possible, use ordinary named classes, not inner classes. It is conventional in AWT programming to use inner classes to act as event listeners. The state information required to support an instance of an inner class can be surprisingly extensive, because of the way that inner classes are managed by the JVM.
  • Don't subclass the built-in classes unless you have to. For example, you could create a subclass of Form to serve as your applications main user interface, but you could also use an ordinary Form object, and drive it from the MIDlet's main class. Subclassing Form is more `OO', but imposes adds a few hundred bytes to the footprint. Every class you subclass has the same effect.
  • Don't subclass your own classes unless you have to. The flatter your class hierarchy, the few the classes; the fewer the classes, the smaller the bytecode.
  • Don't put your classes into packages. J2ME applications are self-contained, so there is no prospect for name clashes between applications. The packages names have to be stored in the bytecode, on every occasion that a class is defined or referenced. A better solution than de-packaging all your code is to use a software tool to do it. Bytecode obfuscators do this as part of their normal operation.
  • Remember that array initialisations translate into lots of repeated bytecode operations. So initializing an array of month names like this:
    String[] months = {"January", "February"...
  • generates a surprising amount of bytecode. If you have very large arrays of strings or numbers, it generates less bytecode to define it in a long, delimited String, and split it into individual values in a loop. This may seem mad, but it's true.
  • If you have to support multiple locales, plan on distributing different versions of the application for different locales, rather than supporting multiple locales in the same application. There's no point providing a load of French and Japanese text if the user wants to see only Italian.
  • If an application creates a Java instance, and knows that it is no longer required, it should re-use if with different data, or set it to null. Re-use is the preferred option, where this is practicable, but setting to null will help the garbage collector determine which objects are out of scope.