July 1, 2022

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OpenJDK proposal would provide Java class file API

2 min read


Java would get an API for processing Java class data files, below a proposal afoot in the Java local community.

The draft classfile API proposal calls for provision of an API for parsing, building, and reworking Java course data files. This classfile library in the beginning would provide as an interior substitution for the ASM Java bytecode manipulation framework. Inevitably, ASM would be taken out entirely from the JDK.

The classfile API proposal notes that course file generation, parsing, and instrumentation are ubiquitous in the Java ecosystem, with a lot of applications and libraries needing to approach course documents. Frameworks generally perform on-the-fly bytecode instrumentation. The JDK, the proposal states, should present an exact, total, up-to-day, performant API for reading through, producing, and reworking Java course files.

Style and design plans and concepts for the API include things like acquiring all class file entities, these kinds of as approaches and fields, represented by immutable objects. User-pushed navigation also is a goal. Motivating the call for a Java classfile library are factors which includes:

  • JDK consolidation, with the JDK alone considerable in working with class data files. And there is a hold off inherent in the JDK’s use of ASM.
  • Model skew between frameworks and managing the JDK. Applications and frameworks processing class data files usually bundle a classfile library these as ASM. But for the reason that new course file features can seem in any release of the JDK, apps and frameworks are more usually encountering course information that are newer than the library they are bundled with, ensuing in runtime glitches or in frameworks seeking to parse class file formats from the foreseeable future. Developers want a classfile library that will be up-to-date with working the JDK.
  • The JVM and class file format now are evolving more rapidly than just before. Even though some evolutions are easy, other folks are extra sophisticated, this sort of as Project Valhalla bringing forth new bytecodes, area descriptors, and verification policies.
  • The language has improved substantially given that ASM was written.

Programs call for initially replacing ASM as a runtime dependency of the JDK without unacceptable decline of general performance. Yet another target would be to swap the internal classreader library employed by the compiler and JDK equipment. At some point, a assortment of frameworks and programs really should be able to use the library as an alternate to ASM, cglib, and other bytecode libraries.

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