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The Invocation API


Chapter   5

The Invocation API allows software vendors to load the Java VM into an arbitrary native application. Vendors can deliver Java-enabled applications without having to link with the Java VM source code.

This chapter begins with an overview of the Invocation API. This is followed by reference pages for all Invocation API functions.

Overview

The following code example illustrates how to use functions in the Invocation API. In this example, the C++ code creates a Java VM and invokes a static method, called Main.test. For clarity, we omit error checking.

    #include <jni.h>       /* where everything is defined */
    ...
    JavaVM *jvm;       /* denotes a Java VM */
    JNIEnv *env;       /* pointer to native method interface */
    JavaVMInitArgs vm_args; /* JDK/JRE 6 VM initialization arguments */
    JavaVMOption* options = new JavaVMOption[1];
    options[0].optionString = "-Djava.class.path=/usr/lib/java";
    vm_args.version = JNI_VERSION_1_6;
    vm_args.nOptions = 1;
    vm_args.options = options;
    vm_args.ignoreUnrecognized = false;
    /* load and initialize a Java VM, return a JNI interface
     * pointer in env */
    JNI_CreateJavaVM(&jvm, &env, &vm_args);
    delete options;
    /* invoke the Main.test method using the JNI */
    jclass cls = env->FindClass("Main");
    jmethodID mid = env->GetStaticMethodID(cls, "test", "(I)V");
    env->CallStaticVoidMethod(cls, mid, 100);
    /* We are done. */
    jvm->DestroyJavaVM();

This example uses three functions in the API. The Invocation API allows a native application to use the JNI interface pointer to access VM features. The design is similar to Netscape’s JRI Embedding Interface.

Creating the VM

The JNI_CreateJavaVM() function loads and initializes a Java VM and returns a pointer to the JNI interface pointer. The thread that called JNI_CreateJavaVM() is considered to be the main thread.

Attaching to the VM

The JNI interface pointer (JNIEnv) is valid only in the current thread. Should another thread need to access the Java VM, it must first call AttachCurrentThread() to attach itself to the VM and obtain a JNI interface pointer. Once attached to the VM, a native thread works just like an ordinary Java thread running inside a native method. The native thread remains attached to the VM until it calls DetachCurrentThread() to detach itself.

The attached thread should have enough stack space to perform a reasonable amount of work. The allocation of stack space per thread is operating system-specific. For example, using pthreads, the stack size can be specified in the pthread_attr_t argument to pthread_create.

Detaching from the VM

A native thread attached to the VM must call DetachCurrentThread() to detach itself before exiting. A thread cannot detach itself if there are Java methods on the call stack.

Unloading the VM

The JNI_DestroyJavaVM() function unloads a Java VM. As of JDK/JRE 1.1, only the main thread could unload the VM, by calling DestroyJavaVM. As of JDK/JRE 1.2, the restriction was removed, and any thread may call DestroyJavaVM to unload the VM.

The VM waits until the current thread is the only non-daemon user thread before it actually unloads. User threads include both Java threads and attached native threads. This restriction exists because a Java thread or attached native thread may be holding system resources, such as locks, windows, and so on. The VM cannot automatically free these resources. By restricting the current thread to be the only running thread when the VM is unloaded, the burden of releasing system resources held by arbitrary threads is on the programmer.

Library and Version Management

As of JDK/JRE 1.1, once a native library is loaded, it is visible from all class loaders. Therefore two classes in different class loaders may link with the same native method. This leads to two problems:

As of JDK/JRE 1.2, each class loader manages its own set of native libraries. The same JNI native library cannot be loaded into more than one class loader. Doing so causes UnsatisfiedLinkError to be thrown. For example, System.loadLibrary throws an UnsatisfiedLinkError when used to load a native library into two class loaders. The benefits of the new approach are:

To facilitate version control and resource management, JNI libraries as of JDK/JRE 1.2 optionally export the following two functions:

JNI_OnLoad

jint JNI_OnLoad(JavaVM *vm, void *reserved);

The VM calls JNI_OnLoad when the native library is loaded (for example, through System.loadLibrary). JNI_OnLoad must return the JNI version needed by the native library.

In order to use any of the new JNI functions, a native library must export a JNI_OnLoad function that returns JNI_VERSION_1_2. If the native library does not export a JNI_OnLoad function, the VM assumes that the library only requires JNI version JNI_VERSION_1_1. If the VM does not recognize the version number returned by JNI_OnLoad, the native library cannot be loaded.

LINKAGE:

Exported from native libraries that contain native method implementation.

SINCE:

JDK/JRE 1.4

In order to use the JNI functions introduced in J2SE release 1.2, in addition to those that were available in JDK/JRE 1.1, a native library must export a JNI_OnLoad function that returns JNI_VERSION_1_2.

In order to use the JNI functions introduced in J2SE release 1.4, in addition to those that were available in release 1.2, a native library must export a JNI_OnLoad function that returns JNI_VERSION_1_4.

If the native library does not export a JNI_OnLoad function, the VM assumes that the library only requires JNI version JNI_VERSION_1_1. If the VM does not recognize the version number returned by JNI_OnLoad, the native library cannot be loaded.

JNI_OnUnload

void JNI_OnUnload(JavaVM *vm, void *reserved);

The VM calls JNI_OnUnload when the class loader containing the native library is garbage collected. This function can be used to perform cleanup operations. Because this function is called in an unknown context (such as from a finalizer), the programmer should be conservative on using Java VM services, and refrain from arbitrary Java call-backs.

Note that JNI_OnLoad and JNI_OnUnload are two functions optionally supplied by JNI libraries, not exported from the VM.

LINKAGE:
Exported from native libraries that contain native method implementation.

Invocation API Functions

The JavaVM type is a pointer to the Invocation API function table. The following code example shows this function table.

typedef const struct JNIInvokeInterface *JavaVM;


const struct JNIInvokeInterface ... = {
    NULL,
    NULL,
    NULL,

    DestroyJavaVM,
    AttachCurrentThread,
    DetachCurrentThread,

    GetEnv,

    AttachCurrentThreadAsDaemon
};


Note that three Invocation API functions, JNI_GetDefaultJavaVMInitArgs(), JNI_GetCreatedJavaVMs(), and JNI_CreateJavaVM(), are not part of the JavaVM function table. These functions can be used without a preexisting JavaVM structure.

JNI_GetDefaultJavaVMInitArgs

jint JNI_GetDefaultJavaVMInitArgs(void *vm_args);

Returns a default configuration for the Java VM. Before calling this function, native code must set the vm_args->version field to the JNI version it expects the VM to support. After this function returns, vm_args->version will be set to the actual JNI version the VM supports.

LINKAGE:

Exported from the native library that implements the Java virtual machine.

PARAMETERS:

vm_args: a pointer to a JavaVMInitArgs structure in to which the default arguments are filled.

RETURNS:

Returns JNI_OK if the requested version is supported; returns a JNI error code (a negative number) if the requested version is not supported.

JNI_GetCreatedJavaVMs

jint JNI_GetCreatedJavaVMs(JavaVM **vmBuf, jsize bufLen, jsize *nVMs);

Returns all Java VMs that have been created. Pointers to VMs are written in the buffer vmBuf in the order they are created. At most bufLen number of entries will be written. The total number of created VMs is returned in *nVMs.

As of JDK/JRE 1.2, creation of multiple VMs in a single process is not supported.

LINKAGE:

Exported from the native library that implements the Java virtual machine.

PARAMETERS:

vmBuf: pointer to the buffer where the VM structures will be placed.

bufLen: the length of the buffer.

nVMs: a pointer to an integer.

RETURNS:

Returns JNI_OK on success; returns a suitable JNI error code (a negative number) on failure.

JNI_CreateJavaVM

jint JNI_CreateJavaVM(JavaVM **p_vm, JNIEnv **p_env, void *vm_args);

Loads and initializes a Java VM. The current thread becomes the main thread. Sets the env argument to the JNI interface pointer of the main thread.

As of JDK/JRE 1.2 , creation of multiple VMs in a single process is not supported.

The second argument to JNI_CreateJavaVM is always a pointer to JNIEnv *, while the third argument is a pointer to a JavaVMInitArgs structure which uses option strings to encode arbitrary VM start up options:

typedef struct JavaVMInitArgs {
    jint version;

    jint nOptions;
    JavaVMOption *options;
    jboolean ignoreUnrecognized;
} JavaVMInitArgs;

The version field must be set to at least JNI_VERSION_1_2. The options field is an array of the following type:

typedef struct JavaVMOption {
    char *optionString;  /* the option as a string in the default platform encoding */
    void *extraInfo;
} JavaVMOption;

The size of the array is denoted by the nOptions field in JavaVMInitArgs. If ignoreUnrecognized is JNI_TRUE, JNI_CreateJavaVM ignore all unrecognized option strings that begin with "-X" or "_". If ignoreUnrecognized is JNI_FALSE, JNI_CreateJavaVM returns JNI_ERR as soon as it encounters any unrecognized option strings. All Java VMs must recognize the following set of standard options:

optionString meaning
-D<name>=<value> Set a system property
-verbose[:class|gc|jni] Enable verbose output. The options can be followed by a comma-separated list of names indicating what kind of messages will be printed by the VM. For example, "-verbose:gc,class" instructs the VM to print GC and class loading related messages. Standard names include: gc, class, and jni. All nonstandard (VM-specific) names must begin with "X".
vfprintf extraInfo is a pointer to the vfprintf hook.
exit extraInfo is a pointer to the exit hook.
abort extraInfo is a pointer to the abort hook.

 

In addition, each VM implementation may support its own set of non-standard option strings. Non-standard option names must begin with "-X" or an underscore ("_"). For example, the JDK/JRE supports -Xms and -Xmx options to allow programmers specify the initial and maximum heap size. Options that begin with "-X" are accessible from the "java" command line.

Here is the example code that creates a Java VM in the JDK/JRE:

JavaVMInitArgs vm_args;
JavaVMOption options[4];

options[0].optionString = "-Djava.compiler=NONE";           /* disable JIT */
options[1].optionString = "-Djava.class.path=c:\myclasses"; /* user classes */
options[2].optionString = "-Djava.library.path=c:\mylibs";  /* set native library path */
options[3].optionString = "-verbose:jni";                   /* print JNI-related messages */

vm_args.version = JNI_VERSION_1_2;
vm_args.options = options;
vm_args.nOptions = 4;
vm_args.ignoreUnrecognized = TRUE;

/* Note that in the JDK/JRE, there is no longer any need to call
 * JNI_GetDefaultJavaVMInitArgs.
 */
res = JNI_CreateJavaVM(&vm, (void **)&env, &vm_args);
if (res < 0) ...
LINKAGE:

Exported from the native library that implements the Java virtual machine.

PARAMETERS:

p_vm: pointer to the location where the resulting VM structure will be placed.

p_env: pointer to the location where the JNI interface pointer for the main thread will be placed.

vm_args: Java VM initialization arguments.

RETURNS:

Returns JNI_OK on success; returns a suitable JNI error code (a negative number) on failure.

DestroyJavaVM

jint DestroyJavaVM(JavaVM *vm);

Unloads a Java VM and reclaims its resources.

The support for DestroyJavaVM was not complete in JDK/JRE 1.1. As of JDK/JRE 1.1 Only the main thread may call DestroyJavaVM. Since JDK/JRE 1.2, any thread, whether attached or not, can call this function. If the current thread is attached, the VM waits until the current thread is the only non-daemon user-level Java thread. If the current thread is not attached, the VM attaches the current thread and then waits until the current thread is the only non-daemon user-level thread. The JDK/JRE still does not support VM unloading, however.

LINKAGE:

Index 3 in the JavaVM interface function table.

PARAMETERS:

vm: the Java VM that will be destroyed.

RETURNS:

Returns JNI_OK on success; returns a suitable JNI error code (a negative number) on failure.

As of JDK/JRE 1.1.2 unloading of the VM is not supported.

AttachCurrentThread

jint AttachCurrentThread(JavaVM *vm, JNIEnv **p_env, void *thr_args);

Attaches the current thread to a Java VM. Returns a JNI interface pointer in the JNIEnv argument.

Trying to attach a thread that is already attached is a no-op.

A native thread cannot be attached simultaneously to two Java VMs.

When a thread is attached to the VM, the context class loader is the bootstrap loader.

LINKAGE:

Index 4 in the JavaVM interface function table.

PARAMETERS:

vm: the VM to which the current thread will be attached.

p_env: pointer to the location where the JNI interface pointer of the current thread will be placed.

thr_args: can be NULL or a pointer to a JavaVMAttachArgs structure to specify additional information:

As of JDK/JRE 1.1, the second argument to AttachCurrentThread is always a pointer to JNIEnv. The third argument to AttachCurrentThread was reserved, and should be set to NULL.

As of JDK/JRE 1.2, you pass NULL as the third argument for 1.1 behavior, or pass a pointer to the following structure to specify additional information:

typedef struct JavaVMAttachArgs {
    jint version;  /* must be at least JNI_VERSION_1_2 */
    char *name;    /* the name of the thread as a modified UTF-8 string, or NULL */
    jobject group; /* global ref of a ThreadGroup object, or NULL */
} JavaVMAttachArgs
RETURNS:

Returns JNI_OK on success; returns a suitable JNI error code (a negative number) on failure.

AttachCurrentThreadAsDaemon

jint AttachCurrentThreadAsDaemon(JavaVM* vm, void** penv, void* args);

Same semantics as AttachCurrentThread, but the newly-created java.lang.Thread instance is a daemon.

If the thread has already been attached via either AttachCurrentThread or AttachCurrentThreadAsDaemon, this routine simply sets the value pointed to by penv to the JNIEnv of the current thread. In this case neither AttachCurrentThread nor this routine have any effect on the daemon status of the thread.

LINKAGE:

Index 7 in the JavaVM interface function table.

PARAMETERS:

vm: the virtual machine instance to which the current thread will be attached.

penv: a pointer to the location in which the JNIEnv interface pointer for the current thread will be placed.

args: a pointer to a JavaVMAttachArgs structure.

RETURNS

Returns JNI_OK on success; returns a suitable JNI error code (a negative number) on failure.

EXCEPTIONS

None.

SINCE:

JDK/JRE 1.4

DetachCurrentThread

jint DetachCurrentThread(JavaVM *vm);

Detaches the current thread from a Java VM. All Java monitors held by this thread are released. All Java threads waiting for this thread to die are notified.

As of JDK/JRE 1.2 , the main thread can be detached from the VM.

LINKAGE:

Index 5 in the JavaVM interface function table.

PARAMETERS:

vm: the VM from which the current thread will be detached.

RETURNS:

Returns JNI_OK on success; returns a suitable JNI error code (a negative number) on failure.

GetEnv

jint GetEnv(JavaVM *vm, void **env, jint version);

LINKAGE:

Index 6 in the JavaVM interface function table.

PARAMETERS:
vm: The virtual machine instance from which the interface will be retrieved.
env: pointer to the location where the JNI interface pointer for the current thread will be placed.
version: The requested JNI version.
RETURNS:

If the current thread is not attached to the VM, sets *env to NULL, and returns JNI_EDETACHED. If the specified version is not supported, sets *env to NULL, and returns JNI_EVERSION. Otherwise, sets *env to the appropriate interface, and returns JNI_OK.

SINCE:

JDK/JRE 1.2

 


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