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<title>Android JNI Tips</title>
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<h1><a name="JNI_Tips"></a>Android JNI Tips</h1>
<li> <a href="#What_s_JNI_">What's JNI?</a>
<li> <a href="#JavaVM_and_JNIEnv">JavaVM and JNIEnv</a>
<li> <a href="#Threads">Threads</a>
<li> <a href="#jclass_jmethodID_and_jfieldID">jclass, jmethodID, and jfieldID</a>
<li> <a href="#local_vs_global_references">Local vs. Global References</a>
<li> <a href="#UTF_8_and_UTF_16_strings">UTF-8 and UTF-16 Strings</a>
<li> <a href="#Arrays">Primitive Arrays</a>
<li> <a href="#RegionCalls">Region Calls</a>
<li> <a href="#Exceptions">Exceptions</a>
<li> <a href="#Extended_checking">Extended Checking</a>
<li> <a href="#Native_Libraries">Native Libraries</a>
<li> <a href="#64bit">64-bit Considerations</a>
<li> <a href="#Unsupported">Unsupported Features</a>
<li> <a href="#FAQUnsatisfied">FAQ: UnsatisfiedLinkError</a>
<li> <a href="#FAQFindClass">FAQ: FindClass didn't find my class</a>
<li> <a href="#FAQSharing">FAQ: Sharing raw data with native code</a>
</p><h2><a name="What_s_JNI_"> </a> What's JNI? </h2>
JNI is the Java Native Interface. It defines a way for code written in the
Java programming language to interact with native
code, e.g. functions written in C/C++. It's VM-neutral, has support for loading code from
dynamic shared libraries, and while cumbersome at times is reasonably efficient.
You really should read through the
<a href="">JNI spec for J2SE 1.6</a>
to get a sense for how JNI works and what features are available. Some
aspects of the interface aren't immediately obvious on
first reading, so you may find the next few sections handy.
The more detailed <i>JNI Programmer's Guide and Specification</i> can be found
<a href="">here</a>.
</p><h2><a name="JavaVM_and_JNIEnv"> </a> JavaVM and JNIEnv </h2>
JNI defines two key data structures, "JavaVM" and "JNIEnv". Both of these are essentially
pointers to pointers to function tables. (In the C++ version, it's a class whose sole member
is a pointer to a function table.) The JavaVM provides the "invocation interface" functions,
which allow you to create and destroy the VM. In theory you can have multiple VMs per process,
but Android's VM only allows one.
The JNIEnv provides most of the JNI functions. Your native functions all receive a JNIEnv as
the first argument.
On some VMs, the JNIEnv is used for thread-local storage. For this reason, <strong>you cannot share a JNIEnv between threads</strong>.
If a piece of code has no other way to get its JNIEnv, you should share
the JavaVM, and use JavaVM-&gt;GetEnv to discover the thread's JNIEnv.
The C declarations of JNIEnv and JavaVM are different from the C++
declarations. "jni.h" provides different typedefs
depending on whether it's included into ".c" or ".cpp". For this reason it's a bad idea to
include JNIEnv arguments in header files included by both languages. (Put another way: if your
header file requires "#ifdef __cplusplus", you may have to do some extra work if anything in
that header refers to JNIEnv.)
</p><h2><a name="Threads"> Threads </a></h2>
All VM threads are Linux threads, scheduled by the kernel. They're usually
started using Java language features (notably <code>Thread.start()</code>),
but they can also be created elsewhere and then attached to the VM. For
example, a thread started with <code>pthread_create</code> can be attached
with the JNI <code>AttachCurrentThread</code> or
<code>AttachCurrentThreadAsDaemon</code> functions. Until a thread is
attached to the VM, it has no JNIEnv, and
<strong>cannot make JNI calls</strong>.
Attaching a natively-created thread causes the VM to allocate and initialize
a <code>Thread</code> object, add it to the "main" <code>ThreadGroup</code>,
and add the thread to the set that is visible to the debugger. Calling
<code>AttachCurrentThread</code> on an already-attached thread is a no-op.
The Dalvik VM does not suspend threads executing native code. If
garbage collection is in progress, or the debugger has issued a suspend
request, the VM will pause the thread the next time it makes a JNI call.
Threads attached through JNI <strong>must call
<code>DetachCurrentThread</code> before they exit</strong>.
If coding this directly is awkward, in Android &gt;= 2.0 you
can use <code>pthread_key_create</code> to define a destructor
function that will be called before the thread exits, and
call <code>DetachCurrentThread</code> from there. (Use that
key with <code>pthread_setspecific</code> to store the JNIEnv in
thread-local-storage; that way it'll be passed into your destructor as
the argument.)
</p><h2><a name="jclass_jmethodID_and_jfieldID"> jclass, jmethodID, and jfieldID </a></h2>
If you want to access an object's field from native code, you would do the following:
<li> Get the class object reference for the class with <code>FindClass</code>
<li> Get the field ID for the field with <code>GetFieldID</code>
<li> Get the contents of the field with something appropriate, e.g.
Similarly, to call a method, you'd first get a class object reference and then a method ID. The IDs are often just
pointers to internal VM data structures. Looking them up may require several string
comparisons, but once you have them the actual call to get the field or invoke the method
is very quick.
If performance is important, it's useful to look the values up once and cache the results
in your native code. Because we are limiting ourselves to one VM per process, it's reasonable
to store this data in a static local structure.
The class references, field IDs, and method IDs are guaranteed valid until the class is unloaded. Classes
are only unloaded if all classes associated with a ClassLoader can be garbage collected,
which is rare but will not be impossible in our system. Note however that
the <code>jclass</code>
is a class reference and <strong>must be protected</strong> with a call
to <code>NewGlobalRef</code> (see the next section).
If you would like to cache the IDs when a class is loaded, and automatically re-cache them
if the class is ever unloaded and reloaded, the correct way to initialize
the IDs is to add a piece of code that looks like this to the appropriate class:
</p><pre> /*
* We use a class initializer to allow the native code to cache some
* field offsets.
* A native function that looks up and caches interesting
* class/field/method IDs for this class. Returns false on failure.
native private static boolean nativeClassInit();
* Invoke the native initializer when the class is loaded.
static {
if (!nativeClassInit())
throw new RuntimeException("native init failed");
Create a nativeClassInit method in your C/C++ code that performs the ID lookups. The code
will be executed once, when the class is initialized. If the class is ever unloaded and
then reloaded, it will be executed again. (See the implementation of
for an example in our source tree.)
</p><h2><a name="local_vs_global_references"> Local vs. Global References </a></h2>
Every object that JNI returns is a "local reference". This means that it's valid for the
duration of the current native method in the current thread.
<strong>Even if the object itself continues to live on after the native method returns, the reference is not valid.</strong>
This applies to all sub-classes of <code>jobject</code>, including
<code>jclass</code>, <code>jstring</code>, and <code>jarray</code>.
(Dalvik VM will warn you about most reference mis-uses when extended JNI
checks are enabled.)
If you want to hold on to a reference for a longer period, you must use
a "global" reference. The <code>NewGlobalRef</code> function takes the
local reference as an argument and returns a global one.
The global reference is guaranteed to be valid until you call
This pattern is commonly used when caching copies of class objects obtained
from <code>FindClass</code>, e.g.:
<p><pre>jclass* localClass = env-&gt;FindClass("MyClass");
jclass* globalClass = (jclass*) env-&gt;NewGlobalRef(localClass);
All JNI methods accept both local and global references as arguments.
It's possible for references to the same object to have different values;
for example, the return values from consecutive calls to
<code>NewGlobalRef</code> on the same object may be different.
<strong>To see if two references refer to the same object,
you must use the <code>IsSameObject</code> function.</strong> Never compare
references with "==" in native code.
One consequence of this is that you
<strong>must not assume object references are constant or unique</strong>
in native code. The 32-bit value representing an object may be different
from one invocation of a method to the next, and it's possible that two
different objects could have the same 32-bit value on consecutive calls. Do
not use <code>jobject</code> values as keys.
Programmers are required to "not excessively allocate" local references. In practical terms this means
that if you're creating large numbers of local references, perhaps while running through an array of
Objects, you should free them manually with
<code>DeleteLocalRef</code> instead of letting JNI do it for you. The
VM is only required to reserve slots for
16 local references, so if you need more than that you should either delete as you go or use
<code>EnsureLocalCapacity</code> to reserve more.
Note: method and field IDs are just 32-bit identifiers, not object
references, and should not be passed to <code>NewGlobalRef</code>. The raw data
pointers returned by functions like <code>GetStringUTFChars</code>
and <code>GetByteArrayElements</code> are also not objects.
One unusual case deserves separate mention. If you attach a native
thread to the VM with AttachCurrentThread, the code you are running will
never "return" to the VM until the thread detaches from the VM. Any local
references you create will have to be deleted manually unless you're going
to detach the thread soon.
</p><h2><a name="UTF_8_and_UTF_16_strings"> </a> UTF-8 and UTF-16 Strings </h2>
The Java programming language uses UTF-16. For convenience, JNI provides methods that work with "modified UTF-8" encoding
as well. (Some VMs use the modified UTF-8 internally to store strings; ours do not.) The
modified encoding only supports the 8- and 16-bit forms, and stores ASCII NUL values in a 16-bit encoding.
The nice thing about it is that you can count on having C-style zero-terminated strings,
suitable for use with standard libc string functions. The down side is that you cannot pass
arbitrary UTF-8 data into the VM and expect it to work correctly.
It's usually best to operate with UTF-16 strings. With our current VMs, the
<code>GetStringChars</code> method
does not require a copy, whereas <code>GetStringUTFChars</code> requires a malloc and a UTF conversion. Note that
<strong>UTF-16 strings are not zero-terminated</strong>, and \u0000 is allowed,
so you need to hang on to the string length as well as
the string pointer.
<strong>Don't forget to Release the strings you Get</strong>. The
string functions return <code>jchar*</code> or <code>jbyte*</code>, which
are C-style pointers to primitive data rather than local references. They
are guaranteed valid until Release is called, which means they are not
released when the native method returns.
<strong>Data passed to NewStringUTF must be in "modified" UTF-8 format</strong>. A
common mistake is reading character data from a file or network stream
and handing it to <code>NewStringUTF</code> without filtering it.
Unless you know the data is 7-bit ASCII, you need to strip out high-ASCII
characters or convert them to proper "modified" UTF-8 form. If you don't,
the UTF-16 conversion will likely not be what you expect. The extended
JNI checks will scan strings and warn you about invalid data, but they
won't catch everything.
</p><h2><a name="Arrays"> </a> Primitive Arrays </h2>
JNI provides functions for accessing the contents of array objects.
While arrays of objects must be accessed one entry at a time, arrays of
primitives can be read and written directly as if they were declared in C.
To make the interface as efficient as possible without constraining
the VM implementation,
the <code>Get&lt;PrimitiveType&gt;ArrayElements</code> family of calls
allows the VM to either return a pointer to the actual elements, or
allocate some memory and make a copy. Either way, the raw pointer returned
is guaranteed to be valid until the corresponding <code>Release</code> call
is issued (which implies that, if the data wasn't copied, the array object
will be pinned down and can't be relocated as part of compacting the heap).
<strong>You must Release every array you Get.</strong> Also, if the Get
call fails, you must ensure that your code doesn't try to Release a NULL
pointer later.
You can determine whether or not the data was copied by passing in a
non-NULL pointer for the <code>isCopy</code> argument. This is rarely
The <code>Release</code> call takes a <code>mode</code> argument that can
have one of three values. The actions performed by the VM depend upon
whether it returned a pointer to the actual data or a copy of it:
<li>Actual: the array object is un-pinned.
<li>Copy: data is copied back. The buffer with the copy is freed.
<li>Actual: does nothing.
<li>Copy: data is copied back. The buffer with the copy
<strong>is not freed</strong>.
<li>Actual: the array object is un-pinned. Earlier
writes are <strong>not</strong> aborted.
<li>Copy: the buffer with the copy is freed; any changes to it are lost.
One reason for checking the <code>isCopy</code> flag is to know if
you need to call <code>Release</code> with <code>JNI_COMMIT</code>
after making changes to an array &mdash; if you're alternating between making
changes and executing code that uses the contents of the array, you may be
able to
skip the no-op commit. Another possible reason for checking the flag is for
efficient handling of <code>JNI_ABORT</code>. For example, you might want
to get an array, modify it in place, pass pieces to other functions, and
then discard the changes. If you know that JNI is making a new copy for
you, there's no need to create another "editable" copy. If JNI is passing
you the original, then you do need to make your own copy.
Some have asserted that you can skip the <code>Release</code> call if
<code>*isCopy</code> is false. This is not the case. If no copy buffer was
allocated, then the original memory must be pinned down and can't be moved by
the garbage collector.
Also note that the <code>JNI_COMMIT</code> flag does NOT release the array,
and you will need to call <code>Release</code> again with a different flag
</p><h2><a name="RegionCalls"> Region Calls </a></h2>
There is an alternative to calls like <code>Get&lt;Type&gt;ArrayElements</code>
and <code>GetStringChars</code> that may be very helpful when all you want
to do is copy data in or out. Consider the following:
jbyte* data = env->GetByteArrayElements(array, NULL);
if (data != NULL) {
memcpy(buffer, data, len);
env->ReleaseByteArrayElements(array, data, JNI_ABORT);
This grabs the array, copies the first <code>len</code> byte
elements out of it, and then releases the array. Depending upon the VM
policies the <code>Get</code> call will either pin or copy the array contents.
We copy the data (for perhaps a second time), then call Release; in this case
we use <code>JNI_ABORT</code> so there's no chance of a third copy.
We can accomplish the same thing with this:
env->GetByteArrayRegion(array, 0, len, buffer);
This has several advantages:
<li>Requires one JNI call instead of 2, reducing overhead.
<li>Doesn't require pinning or extra data copies.
<li>Reduces the risk of programmer error &mdash; no risk of forgetting
to call <code>Release</code> after something fails.
Similarly, you can use the <code>Set&lt;Type&gt;ArrayRegion</code> call
to copy data into an array, and <code>GetStringRegion</code> or
<code>GetStringUTFRegion</code> to copy characters out of a
</p><h2><a name="Exceptions"> Exceptions </a></h2>
<strong>You may not call most JNI functions while an exception is pending.</strong>
Your code is expected to notice the exception (via the function's return value,
<code>ExceptionCheck()</code>, or <code>ExceptionOccurred()</code>) and return,
or clear the exception and handle it.
The only JNI functions that you are allowed to call while an exception is
pending are:
<font size="-1"><ul>
Many JNI calls can throw an exception, but often provide a simpler way
of checking for failure. For example, if <code>NewString</code> returns
a non-NULL value, you don't need to check for an exception. However, if
you call a method (using a function like <code>CallObjectMethod</code>),
you must always check for an exception, because the return value is not
going to be valid if an exception was thrown.
Note that exceptions thrown by interpreted code do not "leap over" native code,
and C++ exceptions thrown by native code are not handled by Dalvik.
The JNI <code>Throw</code> and <code>ThrowNew</code> instructions just
set an exception pointer in the current thread. Upon returning to the VM from
native code, the exception will be noted and handled appropriately.
Native code can "catch" an exception by calling <code>ExceptionCheck</code> or
<code>ExceptionOccurred</code>, and clear it with
<code>ExceptionClear</code>. As usual,
discarding exceptions without handling them can lead to problems.
There are no built-in functions for manipulating the Throwable object
itself, so if you want to (say) get the exception string you will need to
find the Throwable class, look up the method ID for
<code>getMessage "()Ljava/lang/String;"</code>, invoke it, and if the result
is non-NULL use <code>GetStringUTFChars</code> to get something you can
hand to printf or a LOG macro.
</p><h2><a name="Extended_checking"> Extended Checking </a></h2>
JNI does very little error checking. Calling <code>SetIntField</code>
on an Object field will succeed, even if the field is marked
<code>private</code> and <code>final</code>. The
goal is to minimize the overhead on the assumption that, if you've written it in native code,
you probably did it for performance reasons.
In Dalvik, you can enable additional checks by setting the
"<code>-Xcheck:jni</code>" flag. If the flag is set, the VM directs
the JavaVM and JNIEnv pointers to a different table of functions.
These functions perform an extended series of checks before calling the
standard implementation.
The additional tests include:
<li> Check for null pointers where not allowed.
<li> Verify argument type correctness (jclass is a class object,
jfieldID points to field data, jstring is a java.lang.String).
<li> Field type correctness, e.g. don't store a HashMap in a String field.
<li> Ensure jmethodID is appropriate when making a static or virtual
method call.
<li> Check to see if an exception is pending on calls where pending exceptions are not legal.
<li> Check for calls to inappropriate functions between Critical get/release calls.
<li> Check that JNIEnv structs aren't being shared between threads.
<li> Make sure local references aren't used outside their allowed lifespan.
<li> UTF-8 strings contain only valid "modified UTF-8" data.
<p>Accessibility of methods and fields (i.e. public vs. private) is not
For a description of how to enable CheckJNI for Android apps, see
<a href="embedded-vm-control.html">Controlling the Embedded VM</a>.
It's currently enabled by default in the Android emulator and on
"engineering" device builds.
JNI checks can be modified with the <code>-Xjniopts</code> command-line
flag. Currently supported values include:
<dd>When set, any function that can return a copy of the original data
(array of primitive values, UTF-16 chars) will always do so. The buffers
are over-allocated and surrounded with a guard pattern to help identify
code writing outside the buffer, and the contents are erased before the
storage is freed to trip up code that uses the data after calling Release.
This will have a noticeable performance impact on some applications.
<dd>By default, JNI "warnings" cause the VM to abort. With this flag
it continues on.
</p><h2><a name="Native_Libraries"> Native Libraries </a></h2>
You can load native code from shared libraries with the standard
<code>System.loadLibrary()</code> call. The
preferred way to get at your native code is:
<li> Call <code>System.loadLibrary()</code> from a static class
initializer. (See the earlier example, where one is used to call
<code>nativeClassInit()</code>.) The argument is the "undecorated"
library name, e.g. to load "" you would pass in "fubar".
<li> Provide a native function: <code><strong>jint JNI_OnLoad(JavaVM* vm, void* reserved)</strong></code>
<li>In <code>JNI_OnLoad</code>, register all of your native methods. You
should declare
the methods "static" so the names don't take up space in the symbol table
on the device.
The <code>JNI_OnLoad</code> function should look something like this if
written in C:
</p><blockquote><pre>jint JNI_OnLoad(JavaVM* vm, void* reserved)
JNIEnv* env;
if ((*vm)->GetEnv(vm, (void**) &env, JNI_VERSION_1_6) != JNI_OK)
return -1;
/* get class with (*env)->FindClass */
/* register methods with (*env)->RegisterNatives */
return JNI_VERSION_1_6;
You can also call <code>System.load()</code> with the full path name of the
shared library. For Android apps, you may find it useful to get the full
path to the application's private data storage area from the context object.
This is the recommended approach, but not the only approach. The VM does
not require explicit registration, nor that you provide a
<code>JNI_OnLoad</code> function.
You can instead use "discovery" of native methods that are named in a
specific way (see <a href="">
the JNI spec</a> for details), though this is less desirable.
It requires more space in the shared object symbol table,
loading is slower because it requires string searches through all of the
loaded shared libraries, and if a method signature is wrong you won't know
about it until the first time the method is actually used.
One other note about <code>JNI_OnLoad</code>: any <code>FindClass</code>
calls you make from there will happen in the context of the class loader
that was used to load the shared library. Normally <code>FindClass</code>
uses the loader associated with the method at the top of the interpreted
stack, or if there isn't one (because the thread was just attached to
the VM) it uses the "system" class loader. This makes
<code>JNI_OnLoad</code> a convenient place to look up and cache class
object references.
</p><h2><a name="64bit"> 64-bit Considerations </a></h2>
Android is currently expected to run on 32-bit platforms. In theory it
could be built for a 64-bit system, but that is not a goal at this time.
For the most part this isn't something that you will need to worry about
when interacting with native code,
but it becomes significant if you plan to store pointers to native
structures in integer fields in an object. To support architectures
that use 64-bit pointers, <strong>you need to stash your native pointers in a
<code>long</code> field rather than an <code>int</code></strong>.
</p><h2><a name="Unsupported"> Unsupported Features </a></h2>
<p>All JNI 1.6 features are supported, with the following exceptions:
<li><code>DefineClass</code> is not implemented. Dalvik does not use
Java bytecodes or class files, so passing in binary class data
doesn't work. Translation facilities may be added in a future
version of the VM.</li>
<li>"Weak global" references are implemented, but may only be passed
to <code>NewLocalRef</code>, <code>NewGlobalRef</code>, and
<code>DeleteWeakGlobalRef</code>. (The spec strongly encourages
programmers to create hard references to weak globals before doing
anything with them, so this should not be at all limiting.)</li>
<li><code>GetObjectRefType</code> (new in 1.6) is implemented but not fully
functional &mdash; it can't always tell the difference between "local" and
"global" references.</li>
<p>For backward compatibility, you may need to be aware of:
<li>Until 2.0 ("Eclair"), the '$' character was not properly
converted to "_00024" during searches for method names. Working
around this requires using explicit registration or moving the
native methods out of inner classes.
<li>Until 2.0, it was not possible to use a <code>pthread_key_create</code>
destructor function to avoid the VM's "thread must be detached before
exit" check. (The VM also uses a pthread key destructor function,
so it'd be a race to see which gets called first.)
<li>"Weak global" references were not implemented until 2.2 ("Froyo").
Older VMs will vigorously reject attempts to use them. You can use
the Android platform version constants to test for support.
</p><h2><a name="FAQUnsatisfied"> FAQ: UnsatisfiedLinkError </a></h2>
When working on native code it's not uncommon to see a failure like this:
<pre>java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: Library foo not found</pre>
In some cases it means what it says &mdash; the library wasn't found. In
other cases the library exists but couldn't be opened by dlopen(), and
the details of the failure can be found in the exception's detail message.
Common reasons why you might encounter "library not found" exceptions:
<li>The library doesn't exist or isn't accessible to the app. Use
<code>adb shell ls -l &lt;path&gt;</code> to check its presence
and permissions.
<li>The library wasn't built with the NDK. This can result in
dependencies on functions or libraries that don't exist on the device.
Another class of <code>UnsatisfiedLinkError</code> failures looks like:
<pre>java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: myfunc
at Foo.myfunc(Native Method)
at Foo.main(</pre>
In logcat, you'll see:
<pre>W/dalvikvm( 880): No implementation found for native LFoo;.myfunc ()V</pre>
This means that the VM tried to find a matching method but was unsuccessful.
Some common reasons for this are:
<li>The library isn't getting loaded. Check the logcat output for
messages about library loading.
<li>The method isn't being found due to a name or signature mismatch. This
is commonly caused by:
<li>For lazy method lookup, failing to declare C++ functions
with <code>extern C</code>. You can use <code>arm-eabi-nm</code>
to see the symbols as they appear in the library; if they look
mangled (e.g. <code>_Z15Java_Foo_myfuncP7_JNIEnvP7_jclass</code>
rather than <code>Java_Foo_myfunc</code>) then you need to
adjust the declaration.
<li>For explicit registration, minor errors when entering the
method signature. Make sure that what you're passing to the
registration call matches the signature in the log file.
Remember that 'B' is <code>byte</code> and 'Z' is <code>boolean</code>.
Class name components in signatures start with 'L', end with ';',
use '/' to separate package/class names, and use '$' to separate
inner-class names
(e.g. <code>Ljava/util/Map$Entry;</code>).
Using <code>javah</code> to automatically generate JNI headers may help
avoid some problems.
</p><h2><a name="FAQFindClass"> FAQ: FindClass didn't find my class </a></h2>
Make sure that the class name string has the correct format. JNI class
names start with the package name and are separated with slashes,
e.g. <code>java/lang/String</code>. If you're looking up an array class,
you need to start with the appropriate number of square brackets and
must also wrap the class with 'L' and ';', so a one-dimensional array of
<code>String</code> would be <code>[Ljava/lang/String;</code>.
If the class name looks right, you could be running into a class loader
issue. <code>FindClass</code> wants to start the class search in the
class loader associated with your code. It examines the VM call stack,
which will look something like:
<pre> Foo.myfunc(Native Method)
dalvik.system.NativeStart.main(Native Method)</pre>
The topmost method is <code>Foo.myfunc</code>. <code>FindClass</code>
finds the <code>ClassLoader</code> object associated with the <code>Foo</code>
class and uses that.
This usually does what you want. You can get into trouble if you
create a thread outside the VM (perhaps by calling <code>pthread_create</code>
and then attaching it to the VM with <code>AttachCurrentThread</code>).
Now the stack trace looks like this:
<pre> Method)</pre>
The topmost method is <code></code>, which isn't part of
your application. If you call <code>FindClass</code> from this thread, the
VM will start in the "system" class loader instead of the one associated
with your application, so attempts to find app-specific classes will fail.
There are a few ways to work around this:
<li>Do your <code>FindClass</code> lookups once, in
<code>JNI_OnLoad</code>, and cache the class references for later
use. Any <code>FindClass</code> calls made as part of executing
<code>JNI_OnLoad</code> will use the class loader associated with
the function that called <code>System.loadLibrary</code> (this is a
special rule, provided to make library initialization more convenient).
If your app code is loading the library, <code>FindClass</code>
will use the correct class loader.
<li>Pass an instance of the class into the functions that need
it, e.g. declare your native method to take a Class argument and
then pass <code>Foo.class</code> in.
<li>Cache a reference to the <code>ClassLoader</code> object somewhere
handy, and issue <code>loadClass</code> calls directly. This requires
some effort.
</p><h2><a name="FAQSharing"> FAQ: Sharing raw data with native code </a></h2>
You may find yourself in a situation where you need to access a large
buffer of raw data from code written in Java and C/C++. Common examples
include manipulation of bitmaps or sound samples. There are two
basic approaches.
You can store the data in a <code>byte[]</code>. This allows very fast
access from code written in Java. On the native side, however, you're
not guaranteed to be able to access the data without having to copy it. In
some implementations, <code>GetByteArrayElements</code> and
<code>GetPrimitiveArrayCritical</code> will return actual pointers to the
raw data in the managed heap, but in others it will allocate a buffer
on the native heap and copy the data over.
The alternative is to store the data in a direct byte buffer. These
can be created with <code>java.nio.ByteBuffer.allocateDirect</code>, or
the JNI <code>NewDirectByteBuffer</code> function. Unlike regular
byte buffers, the storage is not allocated on the managed heap, and can
always be accessed directly from native code (get the address
with <code>GetDirectBufferAddress</code>). Depending on how direct
byte buffer access is implemented in the VM, accessing the data from code
written in Java can be very slow.
The choice of which to use depends on two factors:
<li>Will most of the data accesses happen from code written in Java
or in C/C++?
<li>If the data is eventually being passed to a system API, what form
must it be in? (For example, if the data is eventually passed to a
function that takes a byte[], doing processing in a direct
<code>ByteBuffer</code> might be unwise.)
If there's no clear winner, use a direct byte buffer. Support for them
is built directly into JNI, and access to them from code written in
Java can be made faster with VM improvements.
<address>Copyright &copy; 2008 The Android Open Source Project</address>