Dynamic Class Loading

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Overview Java Programming/Reflection
Dynamic Class Loading
Dynamic Invocation
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Dynamic Class Loading allows the loading of java code that is not known about before a program starts. Many classes rely on other classes and resources such as icons which make loading a single class unfeasible. For this reason the ClassLoader (java.lang.ClassLoader) is used to manage all the inner dependencies of a collection of classes. The Java model loads classes as needed and need not know the name of all classes in a collection before any one of its classes can be loaded and run.

Simple Dynamic Class Loading[edit]

An easy way to dynamically load a Class is via the java.net.URLClassLoader class. This class can be used to load a Class or a collection of classes that are accessible via a URL. This is very similar to the -classpath parameter in the java executable. To create a URLClassLoader, use the factory method (as using the constructor requires a security privilege):

Example Code section 10.4: Class loader.
  1. URLClassLoader classLoader = URLClassLoader.newInstance(
    
  2.    new URL[]{"http://example.com/javaClasses.jar"});
    

Unlike other dynamic class loading techniques, this can be used even without security permission provided the classes come from the same Web domain as the caller. Once a ClassLoader instance is obtained, a class can be loaded via the loadClass method. For example, to load the class com.example.MyClass, one would:

Example Code section 10.5: Class loading.
  1. Class<?> clazz = classLoader.load("com.example.MyClass");
    

Executing code from a Class instance is explained in the Dynamic Invocation chapter.

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Overview Java Programming/Reflection
Dynamic Class Loading
Dynamic Invocation