J2SE 5.0 metadata


I was reading as below

Metadata is a new addition to the Java language with the introduction of J2SE 5.0. It effectively allows developers to elaborate on class definitions, adding further descriptive and behavioral information to the generation of the class file. The EJB 3.0 specification has used this facility to describe the majority of its workings. To learn more about this new addition to the Java language, read the official specification

How metadata used to handle before j2SE5.0. What kind of class definitions and descriptive and behavioral information does meta data consist of. Where to find that information. I feel descpriptive way of saying @session etc makes lot of things unclear to developer.
 Please advise.
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Configuration over convention.

The idea being that you can annotate your classes as needed with annotations giving them behaviour. Prior to J2SE 5, we have XML configuration files. You used to have quite a lot of boiler plate stuff to configure in web.xml for EJB's but with annotations its a lot quicker to configure an EJB.

Some people prefer the XML whilst some prefer the annotation approach. It's all personal preference.

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