How to Create a JNI with Netbeans

Netbeans supports C and C++ programming languages using an optional C/C++ Plugin. The plugin currently supports two different C/C++ compilers for Windows: cygwin and minGW. In this tutorial, I will outline the the steps I took to compile and build a 32 bit JNI for Windows using minGW.

Step 1: Download and Install minGW

Unfortunately, the C/C++ plugin for Netbeans does not ship with a compiler. You will need to download and install mingw. I used an automated installer called mingw-get:

Step 2: Create a C++ Dynamic Library Project

Once you have downloaded and installed minGW, you are ready to create a C++ project. Open Netbeans and go to File->New Project... Since we are creating a JNI, select "C++ Dynamic Library". Example:

Step 3: Add Java Includes

Once you have created your project, you will need to add references to Java. Go to Project Properties -> C++ Compiler Options. Add paths to the "jdk/include" and "jdk/include/win32" directories.

Step 4: Add Compiler Options

Go to Project Properties -> C++ Compiler Options. In the "Additional Properties" add "-shared -m32 -Wl,--add-stdcall-alias". Note that the resultant dll will have dependencies on gcc and stdc++. You can remove these dependancies with the following compiler flags: "-static-libgcc -static-libstdc++". This will increase the size of your dll by approx 1MB.

Step 5: Create a java class with "native" methods

Here's a simple example from the javaxt-core JNI:
final class FileAttributes {

    public static native long[] GetFileAttributesEx(String lpPathName) throws Exception;

Step 6: Create a .h file using javah

Compile the class using javac and create a .h file with javah. Alternatively, you can point javah to your Netbeans build directory like this:

javah.exe -o "FileAttributes.h" -classpath "C:\My Netbeans Project\build\classes" "FileAttributes"

This will create a .h file called "FileAttributes.h" that will look something like this:

/* DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE - it is machine generated */
#include <jni.h>
/* Header for class FileAttributes */

#ifndef _Included_FileAttributes
#define _Included_FileAttributes
#ifdef __cplusplus
extern "C" {
 * Class:     FileAttributes
 * Method:    GetFileAttributesEx
 * Signature: (Ljava/lang/String;)[J
JNIEXPORT jlongArray JNICALL Java_FileAttributes_GetFileAttributesEx
  (JNIEnv *, jclass, jstring);

#ifdef __cplusplus

Step 7: Add the .h file to your project and create a .cpp file

Next step is to implement the "native" JNI methods. To do so, add the newly created "FileAttributes.h" file to your project and create a "FileAttributes.cpp" file.

Step 8: Compile and Build the DLL

Once you've implemented the methods in your .h file, compile and build your DLL. Make sure your configuration is set to Release Mode.

Step 9: Implement Java-Side Code

Last step is to implement Java code to call the native method.

Runtime Errors

  • Can't load IA 32-bit .dll on a AMD 64-bit platform
    • If you see this error, it probably means that your JRE/JDK is 64 bit and you're trying to load a 32 bit DLL. You will need to recompile your DLL using a 64 bit compiler. I have posted instructions for Visual Studio here.