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How to Call Java Functions from C Using JNI

, 13 Jan 2008 CPOL
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This article covers calling Java functions from C using JNI. It also covers passing/returning simple parameters, arrays, and structure arrays in Java functions.


This article describes the methodology to use Java code in C/C++. I have not only discussed simple parameter passing and returning, but complex data structures such as structures and structure arrays to Java functions as well.


A few days ago, my manager asked me to write code in C/C++ that will use Java classes in other projects. It took me a lot of time to grab some information on how to call simple functions as well as pass/return complex data types. I found many articles describing C/C++ function calls in Java using JNI, but very few discussing calling Java functions in C/C++ using JNI. At that time, I decided to write an article so that other people could get help from it.

Using the code

The CTest.cpp file contains the code that calls different functions from Java classes. Java classes that are used in this project are given here under:

  • contains the functions that will be called from CTest.cpp. The other three Java classes are simply used in place of structures in Java. As there is no structure concept in Java, we can use classes for that purpose. That is what the other three .java files contain. contains the following functions that will be called from C/C++ code:

public static void main(String args[])

public static void TestCall(String szArg)

public static int DisplayStruct(ControlDetail ctrlDetail)

public static void DisplayStructArray(WorkOrder ArrWO[])

public static Object ReturnObjFunc()

To call these functions from C/C++, first you need to load the JVM using the following function:

JNIEnv* create_vm(JavaVM ** jvm) {
    JNIEnv *env;
    JavaVMInitArgs vm_args;

    JavaVMOption options; 
    //Path to the java source code     
    options.optionString = "-Djava.class.path=D:\\Java Src\\TestStruct"; 
    vm_args.version = JNI_VERSION_1_6; //JDK version. This indicates version 1.6
    vm_args.nOptions = 1;
    vm_args.options = &options;
    vm_args.ignoreUnrecognized = 0;
    int ret = JNI_CreateJavaVM(jvm, (void**)&env, &vm_args);
    if(ret < 0)
        printf("\nUnable to Launch JVM\n");       
    return env;

Kindly note that to use this code, you will have to modify the options.optionString variable. You will have to set the path of the Java code: where the Java classes are placed. Currently, it being set to D:\Java Src\TestStruct. You can modify it to you situation. You will also need to modify the JDK version information in the above code, as shown below:

vm_args.version = JNI_VERSION_1_6; //JDK version. This indicates version 1.6

Modify it if you have another JDK version installed.

To call a specific Java function from C, you need to do the following:

  1. Obtain the class reference using the FindClass(,,) method.
  2. Obtain the method IDs of the functions of the class that you want to call using the GetStaticMethodID and GetMethodID function calls.
  3. Call the functions using CallStaticVoidMethod, CallStaticIntMethod, and CallStaticObjectMethod.

One important thing to be noted here is specifying the function signatures while obtaining the method IDs.

To obtain the correct method signature, you can use the following Java command:

javap -s -p HelloWorld

It will display you the signature of each function in the HelloWorld class. These signatures can be used to obtain the method IDs. The result of the above command can be seen below:

D:\Java Src\TestStruct>javap -s -p HelloWorld
Compiled from ""
public class HelloWorld extends java.lang.Object{
public HelloWorld();
  Signature: ()V
public static void main(java.lang.String[]);
  Signature: ([Ljava/lang/String;)V
public static void TestCall(java.lang.String);
  Signature: (Ljava/lang/String;)V
public static int DisplayStruct(ControlNEDetail);
  Signature: (LControlNEDetail;)I
public static void DisplayStructArray(WorkOrder[]);
  Signature: ([LWorkOrder;)V
public static java.lang.Object ReturnObjFunc();
  Signature: ()Ljava/lang/Object;

Kindly note that while specifying the method name in the GetMethodID function, if the method is a constructor, then its method name will be <init>.


Before traveling down a difficult path, it is important to understand the basic concepts and to have various frameworks and tools installed on your computer.

  1. You will need the Sun Java Developer Kit (JDK). I recommend Java 1.6.0.
  2. Any C/C++ compiler installed.

How to run

To use this code, follow the instructions below:

  • Compile the *.java files using the javac command.
  • Compile the CTest.cpp file using any C++ compiler; I used MSVC++ 6.

Converting this code to pure C from C++

The attached code is written in C++. To convert this code into pure C, you will have to modify the following in the CTest.cpp file:



instead of:



This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Ahmad Qarshi is an IT Consultant and have good expertise in different development technologies. He loves to code in .NET, JavaFX, Delphi, XSLT/Schematron. Above all very keen to learn new stuff Smile | :)

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
Member 369901527-Sep-11 7:18
memberMember 369901527-Sep-11 7:18 
GeneralIs there a wrapper generator (like swig but the other way round)? Pin
Eulenspiegel5-May-11 23:01
memberEulenspiegel5-May-11 23:01 
GeneralA good sample but need fix a few points Pin
Member 257456113-Apr-11 17:12
memberMember 257456113-Apr-11 17:12 
GeneralRe: A good sample but need fix a few points Pin
AngryCats28-Sep-11 2:25
memberAngryCats28-Sep-11 2:25 
QuestionUnable to find the requested class Pin
arnott0722-Mar-11 6:23
memberarnott0722-Mar-11 6:23 
AnswerRe: Unable to find the requested class Pin
Member 257456113-Apr-11 17:06
memberMember 257456113-Apr-11 17:06 
QuestionHow to debug jni code [modified] Pin
G Mahesh Babu31-Jan-11 23:04
memberG Mahesh Babu31-Jan-11 23:04 
GeneralI can´t compile the cpp code Pin
rolotandil5-Oct-10 10:51
memberrolotandil5-Oct-10 10:51 
I have the .c code from the example.
I run this command for compile:g++ -o Invoke -I<.h files path> -L\jvm.lib -L\jvm.dll Invoke.cpp

I tried without -L\jvml.dll or put only -L

And I get the same error:
reference to _imp_JNI_CreateJavaVM@12 is undefined

reference to WinMain@16 is undefined

I use minGW as a gcc compiler for windows.

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
T.Balaji4-Aug-10 20:51
memberT.Balaji4-Aug-10 20:51 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
cdk28-Jul-10 8:06
membercdk28-Jul-10 8:06 
GeneralMy vote of 2 Pin
-midiman-19-Apr-10 6:25
member-midiman-19-Apr-10 6:25 
GeneralRe: My vote of 2 Pin
ajalilqarshi27-Apr-10 0:24
memberajalilqarshi27-Apr-10 0:24 
GeneralThanks Pin
megatelevizor16-Apr-10 17:48
membermegatelevizor16-Apr-10 17:48 
GeneralThanks! Comments on getting to run under GNU/Linux Pin
Laurence Finston12-Apr-10 6:43
memberLaurence Finston12-Apr-10 6:43 
GeneralRe: Thanks! Comments on getting to run under GNU/Linux Pin
ajalilqarshi12-Apr-10 11:53
memberajalilqarshi12-Apr-10 11:53 
GeneralRe: Thanks! Comments on getting to run under GNU/Linux Pin
Laurence Finston12-Apr-10 22:13
memberLaurence Finston12-Apr-10 22:13 
GeneralRe: Thanks! Comments on getting to run under GNU/Linux Pin
Laurence Finston12-Apr-10 23:54
memberLaurence Finston12-Apr-10 23:54 
GeneralRe: Thanks! Comments on getting to run under GNU/Linux Pin
Laurence Finston13-Apr-10 1:20
memberLaurence Finston13-Apr-10 1:20 
GeneralRe: Thanks! Comments on getting to run under GNU/Linux Pin
kna261118-Aug-10 13:04
memberkna261118-Aug-10 13:04 
GeneralRe: Thanks! Comments on getting to run under GNU/Linux Pin
Laurence Finston18-Aug-10 22:36
memberLaurence Finston18-Aug-10 22:36 
GeneralRe: Thanks! Comments on getting to run under GNU/Linux Pin
Laurence Finston18-Aug-10 22:47
memberLaurence Finston18-Aug-10 22:47 
GeneralThanks! Pin
Alex Kolesnichenko6-Mar-10 13:05
memberAlex Kolesnichenko6-Mar-10 13:05 
QuestionJNI load error - main class not found Pin
alien_invader1-Mar-10 12:17
memberalien_invader1-Mar-10 12:17 
AnswerRe: JNI load error - main class not found Pin
alien_invader26-Apr-10 10:27
memberalien_invader26-Apr-10 10:27 
GeneralMy application crashes while calling JNI_CreateJavaVM function Pin
Khalid Noor22-Feb-10 0:06
memberKhalid Noor22-Feb-10 0:06 

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