Wednesday, June 9, 2021

How to Run javap Programmatically From Java Program

This post is about running javap command programmatically from a Java program. In Java it can be done using ProcessBuilder class which is used to create operating system processes.

When do we need javap command

If you have a .class file or a jar with .class files and you want to see the structure of a .class file javap is a good option to do that.

The javap command disassembles one or more class files. It comes with JDK under tools.jar and used to get the mnemonical representation of the .class file.

ProcessBuilder class

ProcessBuilder has a constructor that takes the command as a list

  • ProcessBuilder(List<String> command) - Constructs a process builder with the specified operating system program and arguments.

You can use this constructor to construct a process with javap command, -c argument and path of the class file. Also make sure that you have tools.jar (which comes with JDK) in your classpath.

Java Program to run javap

Suppose you have a class called

public class First {

 public static void main(String[] args) {
  First first = new First();
 public void showDetails(){
  System.out.println("In Show details" );

You want to run javap command for the compiled .class file of

So, the command you want to run is :
javap –c First.class. Let’s see how you can run this command from a Java program to disassemble a .class file at run time.

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

public class ClassStructure {

 public static void main(String[] args) {
  try {
   List<String> cmdList = new ArrayList<String>();
   cmdList.add("C:\\Program Files\\Java\\jdk1.8.0_111\\bin\\javap.exe");
   // Constructing ProcessBuilder with List as argument
   ProcessBuilder pb = new ProcessBuilder(cmdList);
   Process p = pb.start();
   InputStream fis = p.getInputStream();
  } catch (InterruptedException e) {
   // TODO Auto-generated catch block
  } catch (IOException e1) {
   // TODO Auto-generated catch block
 // Method used for displaying the disassembled class
 private static void DisplayClassStructure(InputStream is){
  InputStream stream;
  try {
   BufferedReader reader = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(is));
   String line;   
   while ((line = reader.readLine()) != null) {   
   // Better put it in finally
  } catch (FileNotFoundException e) {
   // TODO Auto-generated catch block
  catch (IOException e) {
   // TODO Auto-generated catch block


Compiled from ""
public class org.test.First {
  public org.test.First();
       0: aload_0
       1: invokespecial #8                  // Method java/lang/Object."<init>":()V
       4: return

  public static void main(java.lang.String[]);
       0: new           #1                  // class org/test/First
       3: dup
       4: invokespecial #16                 // Method "<init>":()V
       7: astore_1
       8: aload_1
       9: invokevirtual #17                 // Method showDetails:()V
      12: return

  public void showDetails();
       0: getstatic     #23                 // Field java/lang/System.out:Ljava/io/PrintStream;
       3: ldc           #29                 // String In Show details
       5: invokevirtual #31                 // Method java/io/PrintStream.println:(Ljava/lang/String;)V
       8: return

That's all for this topic How to Run javap Programmatically From Java Program. If you have any doubt or any suggestions to make please drop a comment. Thanks!

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  1. I am working on android Project. I have a file.
    and I am trying to use "javap -c MainActivity.class" file and it's taking too long time to execute the javap instruction.

    I know it's a big file. But when I try it on command prompt the javap output is shown in seconds. But while I am trying the javap command programmatically it is taking too much time and there is not output on the console.

    1. Difficult to point out the problem with this info, just ensure that you are using the same way as given in the example using ProcessBuilder with a call to waitFor() using Process instance.