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A very common question for new users of OSGi is as follows:
“My bundle throws a NoClassDefFoundError on ‘org.example.FooBar’ even though FooBar is on the classpath. What’s going on??”
In OSGi, it doesn’t even make sense to say that something is “on the classpath” because there is no global classpath in OSGi. Instead, each bundle has its own isolated class loader. The loader inside each bundle can only load classes that are either inside the bundle, or explicitly imported from another bundle.
The preferred way to import from other bundles is to use
Import-Package. You must import every package used by your bundle,
with the exception of packages that are already part of your bundle and
packages that begin with “java.” (for example
etc… these packages are treated specially by the JRE).
If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry! Many developers use
Bnd to build their bundles, or a tool based on it such as Bndtools
or Maven Bundle Plugin. All of these tools automatically generate the
Import-Package header for your bundle, by inspecting all of the
dependencies in your class files.
Note that if your bundle imports a package, there must be another bundle
installed in the OSGi Framework that exports the same package using the
Export-Package header. At runtime the Framework matches each import
with a corresponding export. If it can’t find a matching export then
your bundle will fail to resolve. This happens early in the lifecycle of
a bundle, before any code is loaded, so as long as your imports are
correct then you should never see errors like ClassNotFoundException or
NoClassDefFoundError may be seen
when using Java libraries that try and load classes reflectively. This
typically involves a Java library using
Class.forName to load a class.
ClassNotFoundException is generated by a call to
String that contains a class not available on the bundle’s
class path. Unless the bundle has a
Require-Bundle for the package in question
(or a DynamicImport-Package), the
runtime will not be able to find the appropriate
NoClassDefFoundError is generated when a class has been found, but
one of its dependencies (typically, that involved in a static
initialiser block) cannot be. For example, if class
A refers to
B refers to
C, then a client looking up A may work, but B (or C)
could be missing. This would generate the error message