Launcher Introduction


In order to reduce the number of classloading projects, Plexus Classworlds replaces forehead for application launching.

The main problems to solve in application launching include locating all of application's JARs, configuring the initial classloaders, and invoking the main entry method.

The launcher facilities of Classworlds simplify the process of locating application jars. A common idiom is to have a script which starts the JVM with only the plexus-classworlds.jar in the classpath and a system property to specify the location of a launcher configuration. Additionally, typically a property specifying the application installation location is passed on the command-line.

$JAVA_HOME/bin/java \
    -classpath $APP_HOME/boot/plexus-classworlds-2.5.2.jar \
    -Dclassworlds.conf=$APP_HOME/etc/classworlds.conf \
    -Dapp.home=$APP_HOME \
    org.codehaus.plexus.classworlds.launcher.Launcher \


Entry Point Definition

The entry-point class and realm must be specified using the main is directive before specifying realm definitions.

main is com.werken.projectz.Server from app

System Properties Definition

System properties can be set before and after the entry point, but before realms:

set <property> [[using <properties filename>]] [[default <default value>]]

Realm Definitions

At least one Classworlds realm must be defined within the configuration file. The syntax for starting a realm definition is []. All lines following the realm header are considered directives for that realm. The realm definition continues either until another realm is defined or until the end of the file is reached.


Within a realm definition, three directives are available: load, optionally and import.

The load and optionally directives specify a class source to be used for loading classes in the realm: the only difference is that in case of absent source, load fails but optionally does not. Any loaded source that contain a star (*) in the file name is replaced by the list of files that match the filename prefix and suffix. System properties may be referred to using ${propname} notation. The load and optionally directives are equivalent to the addURL(..) method of ClassRealm.

    load ${app.home}/lib/*.jar
    optionally ${app.home}/lib/ext/*.jar
    load ${tools.jar}

The import directive specifies that certain packages should be imported and loaded by way of another realm. The import directive is equivalent to the importFrom(..) method of ClassRealm.

    import com.werken.projectz.Foo from app

Entry point methods

Classworlds can be used to invoke any existing application's main() method. Using the standard entry point does not allow for gaining access to the ClassWorld of the application, but not all applications will need it at run-time.

For those applications that do require the ClassWorld instance, an alternative entry-point method signature can be provided. Simply add a ClassWorld parameter to the standard main parameter list.

public class MyApp
    public static void main( String[] args, ClassWorld world )