Java Archive


Java Archive

A Java Archive, commonly referred to as a JAR file, is a file format used to package multiple Java class files, associated metadata, and resources (such as images, XML files, and property files) into a single compressed file. JAR files are a fundamental part of the Java ecosystem and are used for various purposes, including distribution, deployment, and libraries. Here are some key aspects of Java Archive (JAR) files:

  1. File Format: JAR files use the ZIP file format to compress and store Java class files and associated resources. They have the .jar file extension.

  2. Packaging: JAR files can contain multiple Java class files, organized into packages and directories. They can also include non-class files, such as images or configuration files.

  3. Manifest File: JAR files can include a special file called the “manifest file” (META-INF/MANIFEST.MF) that contains metadata about the JAR file and its contents. The manifest can specify the main class for executable JARs and define various attributes.

  4. Executable JARs: JAR files can be made executable by specifying a main class in the manifest file. An executable JAR can be run with a simple command, making it convenient for distributing Java applications.

  5. Classpath: JAR files are commonly used to bundle libraries or dependencies that a Java application requires. These JARs can be added to the classpath to make the classes they contain accessible to the application.

  6. Deployment: JAR files are often used for deploying Java applications, applets, and web applications. They are a common packaging format for Java software distribution.

  7. Java Archive Tool (jar): The jar command-line tool, included with the Java Development Kit (JDK), allows developers to create, view, and manipulate JAR files. It can be used to create JAR files, extract their contents, and perform various operations.

Here’s a basic example of creating a JAR file from a set of compiled Java classes:

jar cf MyJar.jar com/myapp/*.class

This command creates a JAR file named MyJar.jar containing all the .class files in the com/myapp package.

JAR files are a fundamental building block in Java development and are used extensively in various Java applications, libraries, and frameworks. They simplify the distribution and deployment of Java software and make it easy to package and share Java code and resources.

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