Java reflection Tutorial

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1- What is Java Reflection?

  • TODO

2- Some classes participated in the examples

Here are some of the class participated in the examples in this document.
  • Animal.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.beans;

public abstract class Animal {

    
    public String getLocation() {
        return "Earth";
    }
    
    public abstract int getNumberOfLegs() ;
    
}
  • Say.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.beans;

public interface Say {
    
    public String say();
}
  • Cat.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.beans;


public class Cat extends Animal implements Say {

    public static final String SAY = "Meo meo";
    public static final int NUMBER_OF_LEGS = 4;

    // Private field.
    private String name;
    
    // Private field
    public int age;

    public Cat() {

    }

    public Cat(String name) {
        this.name = name;
        this.age = 1;
    }

    public Cat(String name, int age) {
        this.name = name;
        this.age = age;
    }

    public String getName() {
        return this.name;
    }

    // Private Method.
    private void setName(String name) {
        this.name = name;
    }

    public int getAge() {
        return this.age;
    }

    public void setAge(int age) {
        this.age = age;
    }

    /**
     * Implements from interface Say.
     */
    @Override
    public String say() {
        return SAY;
    }

    /**
     * Implements from Animal.
     */
    @Override
    public int getNumberOfLegs() {
        return NUMBER_OF_LEGS;
    }

}

3- Getting Started With a Simple Example

Here is a simple example retrieves a list of  public methods of a class, including methods inherited from the parent class, and interfaces.
  • ListMethod.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.helloreflect;

import java.lang.reflect.Method;

public class ListMethod {

    // Protected method
    protected void info() {

    }

    public static void testMethod1() {

    }

    public void testMethod2() {

    }

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        
        // Get a list of public methods of this class
        // Include methods inherited from the parent class, or interface.
        // Lấy ra danh sách các method public của class này
        // Bao gồm các các method thừa kế từ class cha, hoặc các interface.
        Method[] methods = ListMethod.class.getMethods();

        for (Method method : methods) {
            System.out.println("Method " + method.getName());
        }

    }
}
Running example:

4- Class

Some important method of Reflection relating to Class.
Example for print out basic informations of class such as class name, package, modifier, ..
  • ShowClassInfo.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.clazz;

import java.lang.reflect.Modifier;

public final class ShowClassInfo {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

  
        // Get Class object represent ShowClassInfo class.
        Class<ShowClassInfo> aClass = ShowClassInfo.class;


        // Print out class name, including the package name.
        System.out.println("Class Name= " + aClass.getName());


        // Print out simple class name (without package name).
        System.out.println("Simple Class Name= " + aClass.getSimpleName());

        // Package info
        Package pkg = aClass.getPackage();
        System.out.println("Package Name = " + pkg.getName());

        // Modifier
        int modifiers = aClass.getModifiers();

        boolean isPublic = Modifier.isPublic(modifiers);
        boolean isInterface = Modifier.isInterface(modifiers);
        boolean isAbstract = Modifier.isAbstract(modifiers);
        boolean isFinal = Modifier.isFinal(modifiers);

        // true
        System.out.println("Is Public? " + isPublic);
        // true
        System.out.println("Is Final? " + isFinal);
        // false
        System.out.println("Is Interface? " + isInterface);
        // false
        System.out.println("Is Abstract? " + isAbstract);
    }

}
Running the example:
Example for writing out information of Cat class,such as class name, and interfaces that this class implements.
  • ShowClassCatInfo.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.clazz;

import org.o7planning.tutorial.beans.Cat;

public class ShowClassCatInfo {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        // The Class object represent Cat class
        Class<Cat> aClass = Cat.class;

        // Class name
        System.out.println("Simple Class Name = " + aClass.getSimpleName());

        // Get the Class object represent parent of Cat class
        Class<?> aSuperClass = aClass.getSuperclass();

        System.out.println("Simple Class Name of Super class = "
                + aSuperClass.getSimpleName());

        // Determines the interfaces implemented by the class
        // or interface represented by this object.
        Class<?>[] itfClasses = aClass.getInterfaces();

        for (Class<?> itfClass : itfClasses) {
            System.out.println("Interface: " + itfClass.getSimpleName());
        }

    }
}
Running the example:
Example for retrieving information of the constructor, method, field of class (public only), including the public methods, public field, inherited from the parent class, interfaces.
  • ShowMemberInfo.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.clazz;

import java.lang.reflect.Constructor;
import java.lang.reflect.Field;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;

import org.o7planning.tutorial.beans.Cat;

public class ShowMemberInfo {

    public static void main(String[] args) {


        // Get object represent Cat class.
        Class<Cat> aClass = Cat.class;

        // Get Constructor array of Cat.
        Constructor<?>[] constructors = aClass.getConstructors();

        System.out.println(" ==== CONSTRUCTORs:  ===== ");

        for (Constructor<?> constructor : constructors) {
            System.out.println("Constructor: " + constructor.getName());
        }

       
        // Get a list of public method of Cat
        // Include the methods inherited from the parent class and the interfaces
        Method[] methods = aClass.getMethods();

        System.out.println(" ==== METHODs:   ====== ");
        for (Method method : methods) {
            System.out.println("Method: " + method.getName());
        }

     
        // Get the list of the public fields
        // Include the fields inherited from the parent class, and the interfaces
        Field[] fields = aClass.getFields();

        System.out.println(" ==== FIELDs:    ====== ");
        for (Field field : fields) {
            System.out.println("Field: " + field.getName());
        }

    }
    
}
Running the example:

5- Constructor

For example, taking out a constructor with the parameters specified. And print out information about this constructor.
  • ConstructorExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.constructor;

import java.lang.reflect.Constructor;
import java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException;

import org.o7planning.tutorial.beans.Cat;

public class ConstructorExample {

    public static void main(String[] args) throws NoSuchMethodException,
            SecurityException, InstantiationException, IllegalAccessException,
            IllegalArgumentException, InvocationTargetException {


        // Get Class object represent Cat class.
        Class<Cat> aClass = Cat.class;


        // Get the Constructor object of the public constructor
        // that matches the specified parameterTypes
        Constructor<?> constructor = aClass.getConstructor(String.class,
                int.class);


        // Get parameter array of this constructor.
        Class<?>[] paramClasses = constructor.getParameterTypes();

        for (Class<?> paramClass : paramClasses) {
            System.out.println("Param: " + paramClass.getSimpleName());
        }


        // Initialize the object in the usual way
        Cat tom = new Cat("Tom", 3);
        System.out
                .println("Cat 1: " + tom.getName() + ", age =" + tom.getAge());


        // Using Java reflection to create object
        Cat tom2 = (Cat) constructor.newInstance("Tom", 2);
        System.out.println("Cat 2: " + tom.getName() + ", age ="
                + tom2.getAge());
    }
    
}
Running the example:

6- Field

The example below retrieves Field with the specified name.
  • FieldExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.field;

import java.lang.reflect.Field;

import org.o7planning.tutorial.beans.Cat;

public class FieldExample {

    public static void main(String[] args) throws NoSuchFieldException,
            SecurityException, IllegalArgumentException, IllegalAccessException {
        

        // Get Class object represent Cat class
        Class<Cat> aClass = Cat.class;


        // Get Field object represent field 'NUMBER_OF_LEGS'.
        Field field = aClass.getField("NUMBER_OF_LEGS");

        
        Class<?> fieldType = field.getType();

        System.out.println("Field type: " + fieldType.getSimpleName());

        Field ageField = aClass.getField("age");

        Cat tom = new Cat("Tom", 5);

        // Returns the value of the field represented by this Field,
        // on the specified object.
        Integer age = (Integer) ageField.get(tom);
        System.out.println("Age = " + age);
        

        // Sets the field represented by this Field object on
        // the specified object argument to the specified new value.
        ageField.set(tom, 7);
        
        System.out.println("New Age = "+ tom.getAge());
        

    }

}
Running the example:

7- Method

For example, taking out a method with the name and the parameters specified. Print out the information about this method, such as the return type, a list of parameters, ...
  • MethodExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.method;

import java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;

import org.o7planning.tutorial.beans.Cat;

public class MethodExample {

    public static void main(String[] args) throws NoSuchMethodException,
            SecurityException, IllegalAccessException,
            IllegalArgumentException, InvocationTargetException {

        // Class object represent Cat class
        Class<Cat> aClass = Cat.class;

        // Method object represent getAge() method.
        Method getAgeMethod = aClass.getMethod("getAge");
        
        // return type of method.
        Class<?> returnType= getAgeMethod.getReturnType();
        System.out.println("Return type of getAge: "+ returnType.getSimpleName());
        

        Cat tom = new Cat("Tom", 7);

       
        // Call method 'getAge' way Reflect
        // This is equivalent to calling: tom.getAge()
        int age = (int) getAgeMethod.invoke(tom);

        System.out.println("Age = " + age);

 
        // Method object represent setAge(int) method of Cat class.
        Method setAgeMethod = aClass.getMethod("setAge", int.class);


        // Call method setAge(int) way Reflect
        // This is equivalent to calling: tom.setAge(5)
        setAgeMethod.invoke(tom, 5);
        
        System.out.println("New Age = " + tom.getAge());
    }
    
}
Running the example

8- Getter and setter methods

The example below, list the public setter methods,and the public getter methods of the class. 
  • GetSetExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.getset;

import java.lang.reflect.Method;

import org.o7planning.tutorial.beans.Cat;

public class GetSetExample {

    // Method is getter if names start with get, and no parameters.
    public static boolean isGetter(Method method) {
        if (!method.getName().startsWith("get")) {
            return false;
        }
        if (method.getParameterTypes().length != 0) {
            return false;
        }
        if (void.class.equals(method.getReturnType())) {
            return false;
        }
        return true;
    }

    
 
    // Method is setter if names start with set, and only one parameter.
    public static boolean isSetter(Method method) {
        if (!method.getName().startsWith("set")) {
            return false;
        }
        if (method.getParameterTypes().length != 1) {
            return false;
        }
        return true;
    }

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        // Class object represet Cat class
        Class<Cat> aClass = Cat.class;

        // public methods
        Method[] methods = aClass.getMethods();

        for (Method method : methods) {
            boolean isSetter = isSetter(method);
            boolean isGetter = isGetter(method);
            System.out.println("Method: " + method.getName());
            System.out.println(" - Is Setter? " + isSetter);
            System.out.println(" - Is Getter? " + isGetter);
        }

    }
    
}
Running the example:
Method: getName
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? true
Method: getNumberOfLegs
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? true
Method: getAge
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? true
Method: setAge
 - Is Setter? true
 - Is Getter? false
Method: say
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false
Method: getLocation
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? true
Method: wait
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false
Method: wait
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false
Method: wait
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false
Method: equals
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false
Method: toString
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false
Method: hashCode
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false
Method: getClass
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? true
Method: notify
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false
Method: notifyAll
 - Is Setter? false
 - Is Getter? false

 

9- Access to the private methods, fields

You can not access the method or field when it is private in the usual way, java compiler does not allow that. But with the reflect, it is absolutely possible.

  • AccessPrivateFieldExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.privateaccess;

import java.lang.reflect.Field;

import org.o7planning.tutorial.beans.Cat;

public class AccessPrivateFieldExample {

    public static void main(String[] args) throws IllegalArgumentException,
            IllegalAccessException, NoSuchFieldException, SecurityException {

 
        // Class object represent Cat class
        Class<Cat> aClass = Cat.class;

       
        // Class.getField(String) get public field only.
        // Use Class.getDeclaredField(String):
        // Get the Field object of field declared in class.
        Field private_nameField = aClass.getDeclaredField("name");

     
        // Allows for access to private field.
        // Avoid IllegalAccessException
        private_nameField.setAccessible(true);

        Cat tom = new Cat("Tom");

        String fieldValue = (String) private_nameField.get(tom);
        System.out.println("Value field name = " + fieldValue);

        // Set new valud for 'name' field.
        private_nameField.set(tom, "Tom Cat");

        System.out.println("New name = " + tom.getName());
    }

}
Running the example:
The next example, access to the private method.
  • AccessPrivateMethodExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.privateaccess;

import java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;

import org.o7planning.tutorial.beans.Cat;

public class AccessPrivateMethodExample {

    public static void main(String[] args) throws NoSuchMethodException,
            SecurityException, IllegalAccessException,
            IllegalArgumentException, InvocationTargetException {

        // Class object represent Cat class.
        Class<Cat> aClass = Cat.class;

       
        // Class.getMethod(String) get public method only.
        // Use Class.getDeclaredMethod(String):
        // Get the Method object of method declared in class.        
        Method private_setNameMethod = aClass.getDeclaredMethod("setName",
                String.class);

        // Allows for access to private method.
        // Avoid IllegalAccessException        
        private_setNameMethod.setAccessible(true);

        Cat tom = new Cat("Tom");

        // Call private method
        private_setNameMethod.invoke(tom, "Tom Cat");

        System.out.println("New name = " + tom.getName());
    }
    

}
Running the example:

10- Annotation

  • MyAnnotation.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.annotation;

import java.lang.annotation.ElementType;
import java.lang.annotation.Retention;
import java.lang.annotation.RetentionPolicy;
import java.lang.annotation.Target;

// Annotation can be used at runtime.
@Retention(RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME)

// Use for class, interface, method, field, parameter.
@Target({ ElementType.TYPE, ElementType.METHOD, ElementType.FIELD,
        ElementType.PARAMETER })
public @interface MyAnnotation {

    String name();

    String value() default "";
}
Annotation with class example:
  • ClassAnnotationExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.annotation;

import java.lang.annotation.Annotation;

@MyAnnotation(name = "Table", value = "Employee")
public class ClassAnnotationExample {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        Class<?> aClass = ClassAnnotationExample.class;

        // Get array of the Annotation of class
        Annotation[] annotations = aClass.getAnnotations();

        for (Annotation ann : annotations) {
            System.out.println("Annotation: " + ann.annotationType().getSimpleName());
        }

        // Or More specific
        Annotation ann = aClass.getAnnotation(MyAnnotation.class);
        MyAnnotation myAnn = (MyAnnotation) ann;
        System.out.println("Name = " + myAnn.name());
        System.out.println("Value = " + myAnn.value());
    }
    
}
 Running the example:
Annotation with field & method example:
  • FieldMethodAnnotationExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.annotation;

import java.lang.annotation.Annotation;
import java.lang.reflect.Field;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;

public class FieldMethodAnnotationExample {

    @MyAnnotation(name = "My Field")
    private int myField;

    @MyAnnotation(name = "My Method", value = "My Method Value")
    protected void myMethod(String str) {

    }

    public static void main(String[] args) throws NoSuchFieldException,
            SecurityException, NoSuchMethodException {

        Class<?> aClass = FieldMethodAnnotationExample.class;

        //
        System.out.println(" == FIELD == ");
        Field field = aClass.getDeclaredField("myField");


        // Get array of Annotation of field
        Annotation[] fieldAnns = field.getAnnotations();

        for (Annotation methodAnn : fieldAnns) {
            System.out.println("Annotation: "
                    + methodAnn.annotationType().getSimpleName());
        }

        // Or more specific
        Annotation fieldAnn = field.getAnnotation(MyAnnotation.class);

        MyAnnotation myAnn1 = (MyAnnotation) fieldAnn;

        System.out.println("Name = " + myAnn1.name());
        System.out.println("Value = " + myAnn1.value());


        // Similar for method ...
        System.out.println(" == METHOD == ");

        Method method = aClass.getDeclaredMethod("myMethod", String.class);


        // Get array of Annotation of method
        Annotation[] methodAnns = method.getAnnotations();

        for (Annotation methodAnn : methodAnns) {
            System.out.println("Annotation: "
                    + methodAnn.annotationType().getSimpleName());
        }

 
        // For more specific
        Annotation methodAnn = method.getAnnotation(MyAnnotation.class);
        MyAnnotation myAnn2 = (MyAnnotation) methodAnn;

        System.out.println("Name = " + myAnn2.name());
        System.out.println("Value = " + myAnn2.value());

    }
    
}
Running the example:
Annotation with method parameters example:
  • ParameterAnnotationExample.java
package org.o7planning.tutorial.reflect.annotation;

import java.lang.annotation.Annotation;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;

public class ParameterAnnotationExample {

    // For example, a method with annotations in parameters.
    protected void doSomething(int jobType,
            @MyAnnotation(name = "Table", value = "Employee") String info) {

    }

    public static void main(String[] args) throws NoSuchMethodException,
            SecurityException {

        Class<?> aClass = ParameterAnnotationExample.class;

 
        // Get Method object of doSomething(int,String) method.
        Method method = aClass.getDeclaredMethod("doSomething", int.class,
                String.class);


        // Get parameters list of method
        Class<?>[] parameterTypes = method.getParameterTypes();
        for (Class<?> parameterType : parameterTypes) {
            System.out.println("Parametete Type: "
                    + parameterType.getSimpleName());
        }

        System.out.println(" ---- ");
        
        // Returns an array of arrays of Annotations that
        // represent the annotations on the formal parameters
        Annotation[][] annotationss = method.getParameterAnnotations();

        // Get Annotation list of parameter index 1.
        Annotation[] annotations = annotationss[1];

        for (Annotation ann : annotations) {
            System.out.println("Annotation: "
                    + ann.annotationType().getSimpleName());
        }
    }
    
    
}