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The Java Native Interface

This book covers the JavaTM Native Interface (JNI). It will be useful to you if you are interested in any of the following:

• integrating a Java application with legacy code written in languages such as C or C++
• incorporating a Java virtual machine implementation into an existing applica- tion written in languages such as C or C++
• implementing a Java virtual machine
• understanding the technical issues in language interoperability, in particular how to handle features such as garbage collection and multithreading

     First and foremost, the book is written for developers. You will find easy steps to get started with the JNI, informative discussions on various JNI features, and helpful tips on how to use the JNI effectively. The JNI was initially released in early 1997. The book summarizes two years of collective experience gained by engineers at Sun Microsystems as well as the vast number of developers in the Java technology community.

     Second, the book presents the design rationale of various JNI features. Not only is this of interest to the academic community, but a thorough understanding of the design is also a prerequisite to using the JNI effectively.

     Third, a part of the book is the definitive JNI specification for the Java 2 plat- form. JNI programmers may use the specification as a reference manual. Java vir- tual machine implementors must follow the specification to achieve conformance.

     Send comments on this specification or questions about JNI to our electronic mail address: For the latest on the Java 2 platform, or to get the latest Java 2 SDK release, visit our web site at For updated information about The JavaTM Series, including errata for this book, and previews of forthcoming books, visit

     The JNI was designed following a series of discussions between Sun Micro- systems and Java technology licensees. The JNI partly evolved from Netscape’s Java Runtime Interface (JRI), which was designed by Warren Harris. Many people from Java technology licensee companies actively participated in the design dis- cussions. They include Russ Arun (Microsoft), Patrick Beard (Apple), Simon Nash (IBM), Ken Root (Intel), Ian Ellison-Taylor (Microsoft), and Mike Tou- tonghi (Microsoft).
     The JNI design also benefited greatly from Sun internal design reviews con- ducted by Dave Bowen, James Gosling, Peter Kessler, Tim Lindholm, Mark Rein- hold, Derek White, and Frank Yellin. Dave Brown, Dave Connelly, James McIlree, Benjamin Renaud, and Tom Rodriguez made significant contributions to the JNI enhancements in Java 2 SDK 1.2. Carla Schroer’s team of compatibility testers in Novosibirsk, Russia, wrote compatibility tests for the JNI. In the process they uncovered places where the original specification was unclear or incomplete.

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