Revapi Java SPI

The SPI of the Revapi’s Java extension exists so that other extensions can take advantage of the capabilities of the java extension - namely to analyze the java classes. The most interesting part of this section is therefore the javadoc of the SPI.

The below two examples show the two major extension points of Revapi’s Java checker:

  • the ability to define new checks

  • the ability to extract class files from custom archives

Enhancing Java API checks

In this example it will be shown how to extend the Revapi’s java API checking capabilities. We will use the hook interface into the java checking process that represents the Revapi’s API elements as Java’s own model elements.

The checking framework then can use the Java plaform’s own rich functionality for examining the classes in the checked libraries (note, that this API is NOT the reflection API, because it actually doesn’t load the library classes into Java runtime).

To make it actually useful, this example will show how to automatically ignore addition of any new methods on the EJB interfaces. While a new method on an interface is generally an API breakage, because the implementations that were developed against the old version of the interface would no longer be valid, this change is actually OK on EJB interfaces, because these are not supposed to be implemented by "callers" - the implementations are in control of the library that defines the EJBs.

Project setup

First we need to set up our maven project. We will be extending Revapi’s Java extension that offers an SPI for doing so. In the pom.xml, we will specify that we want to use that SPI:





To ignore a found difference, we need to implement a difference transform.

package my.extension;

import java.util.regex.Pattern;

import javax.lang.model.element.AnnotationMirror;
import javax.lang.model.element.ExecutableElement;

import org.revapi.AnalysisContext;
import org.revapi.Difference;
import org.revapi.DifferenceTransform;

public class IgnoreNewMethodsOnEJBInterfaces implements DifferenceTransform<JavaMethodElement> {
    public Pattern[] getDifferenceCodePatterns() {
        return new Pattern[] { Pattern.compile("java\\.method\\.addedToInterface") };

    public Difference transform(JavaMethodElement oldElement, JavaMethodElement newElement,
        Difference difference) {

        // we know the element will be a JavaMethodElement. This is because we limit the
        // differences passed into this method.
        ExecutableElement method = newElement.getDeclaringElement();

        // ok, so we got a reference to the method that caused the difference. Now we need to
        // check whether the method was added to an EJB interface - we will just check whether
        // the interface was annotated with the @Local or @Remote annotations.
        for (AnnotationMirror annotation : method.getEnclosingElement().getAnnotationMirrors()) {
            // the Util class in the Java SPI provides a number of useful methods to ease the work
            // with the javax.lang.model objects.
            String annotationTypeName = Util.toHumanReadableString(annotation.getAnnotationType());
            if ("javax.ejb.Local".equals(annotationTypeName) ||
                "javax.ejb.Remote".equals(annotationTypeName)) {

                // ok, so we've found out that the type that declared the new method is indeed
                // an EJB interface. By returning null, we tell Revapi to remove this difference.
                return null;

        // ok, this is not an EJB interface, so we leave the difference alone
        return difference;

    public void close() throws Exception {
        // no resources to close...

    public String[] getConfigurationRootPaths() {
        // no configuration possible
        return null;

    public Reader getJSONSchema(String configurationRootPath) {
        // no configuration possible
        return null;

    public void initialize(AnalysisContext analysisContext) {
        // nothing needed here

In addition to the code itself, the class needs to be registered as an Revapi extension. For that it needs to be made a java service. Create a file called src/main/resources/META-INF/services/org.revapi.DifferenceTransform and add a line to it with the fully qualified name of the above class, i.e my.extension.IgnoreNewMethodsOnEJBInterfaces.


Once installed into a maven repository (local or some public), our extension becomes useable by Revapi. Both the Revapi standalone and maven plugin support including new extensions by specifying their maven coordinates, see Getting Started for more details on that.

Handling new packaging of code

Java code is not always packaged as JAR files. WAR files, Spring Boot fat JARs, etc, all re-package the code in custom ways which do not conform to or alter the default layout of a JAR file. Revapi doesn’t know where to find significant classes of those artifacts (i.e. the classes that are unique to that artifact and not brought it from dependencies) and therefore fails to properly analyze them for the API changes.

Fortunately, since revapi-java-spi-0.18.0 and revapi-java-0.19.0, there is a new possibility to define custom ways of extracting files from the archives, the JarExtractor.

Implementations of this interface can be used to make Revapi "understand" new types of archives. Provided with an abstraction of an archive (with a name and a way to open an input stream with the data of the archive), the jar extractors are given a chance to transform the input stream of the archive in such a way that it looks like a JAR file with the classes unique to that archive.

For example in the case of WAR files, such jar extractor should serve the classes from WEB-INF/classes but not the contents of the libraries from WEB-INF/lib, which is meant to contain the dependencies of the main classes. Revapi assumes that the dependencies of the main archive are supplied separately and thus it assumes that it already has access to the equivalents of the jars from WEB-INF/lib. What it does not know is how to extract "significant" classes from the WAR file itself that are not contained anywhere else.

Well, actually, the above is a bit of a lie. revapi-java contains a default JarExtractor for handling WAR files already :)