Tools Decompile Java Classes Using CLI

Configure your command line to decompile Java class files. It's easy and will increase your productivity.

There are times developers need to view Java source code when they don't have the .java source file. Perhaps they only have the .class file or a .jar file full of .class files.

When working in an IDE like IntelliJ, the IDE will decompile the .class files automatically and show the source code representation. Sometimes, though, developers are stuck using the command line. Maybe they're on a remote computer or just navigating a laptop filesystem.

This blog entry shows how to configure your computer to decompile .class files from the command line easily.

Library

Luckily, a Java library/application already exists to enable decompiling. All you need to do is download it and update your relevant bash file.

jd-cmd is a .jar file that runs directly on the command line.

For example if you have a class xyz.class, it's decompiled by

java -jar jd-cli.jar xyz.class

Command Line

Now developers can do better than having to remember and type in this whole command each time. By creating a bash function, it's easier to run the decompile command.

So instead of having to type

java -jar jd-cli.jar xyz.class

we can simplify it to

dec xyz.class

Once you add the function, you won't have to worry about remembering the specific command, path to the jd-cli.jar file, or any other args you might want to use.

There is one decision you have to make. Where do you put the jd-cli.jar file? This blog entry will assume you've decided to put it in your home directory under ~/Development/tools/decompile/. If you want to put it elsewhere, make the substitution in the directions below.

mkdir -p ~/Development/tools/decompile

Navigate to jd-cmd's release page. Download the dist .zip and unzip it. Copy jd-cli.jar to ~/Development/tools/decompile/.

CHECKPOINT TEST YOUR SETUP

In a terminal window, run

java -jar ~/Development/tools/decompile/jd-cli.jar

After you type the command, you should see the jd-cli.jar help text.

$ java -jar ~/Development/tools/decompile/jd-cli.jar

jd-cli version 0.9.3-SNAPSHOT - Copyright (C) 2015 Josef
Cacek

The jd-cli is a command line interface for the Java
Decompiler (http://jd.benow.ca/), it decompile classes,
zip archives (.zip, .jar, .war, ...) and directories
containing classes. Each supported input type has configured
corresponding default output type (class->screen,
zip->zip, directory->directory). Man can simply override
the output type by specifying a command line parameter
(-oc, -od, -oz). Multiple output type parameters can be
used at once.

Usage: java -jar jd-cli.jar [options] [Files to decompile]
  Options:
  ... more...

If you don't see this help page, ensure jd-cli.jar is in ~/Development/tools/decompile/jd-cli.jar.

UPDATE YOUR .BASHRC

The last step is to update the .bashrc file and add a function to simplify jd-cli's usage.

Add the following line towards the top of ~/.bashrc. Copy and paste it exactly or it probably won't work (substitute the path if you don't want it in ~/Development/tools/decompile).

function dec() {
  java -jar ~/Development/tools/decompile/jd-cli.jar "$@";
}

TEST

Open a new terminal shell so this new function get loaded (or use the source command if you're familiar with that). Then type: dec

$ dec
jd-cli version 0.9.3-SNAPSHOT - Copyright (C) 2015 Josef
Cacek

The jd-cli is a command line interface for the Java
Decompiler (http://jd.benow.ca/), it decompile classes,
zip archives (.zip, .jar, .war, ...) and directories
containing classes. Each supported input type has configured
corresponding default output type (class->screen,
zip->zip, directory->directory). Man can simply override
the output type by specifying a command line parameter
(-oc, -od, -oz). Multiple output type parameters can be
used at once.

Usage: java -jar jd-cli.jar [options] [Files to decompile]
  Options:
  ... more ...

If that worked, you're done. Now find a .class file and give it a real test.

Here's an example using a .class file from my other blog entry on Custom Annotations.

$ dec MyExampleAnnotationAspect.class
11:41:29.389 INFO  jd.cli.Main - Decompiling
MyExampleAnnotationAspect.class
package com.mikeleitz.example.annotation.annotation;

import com.mikeleitz.example.annotation.service.NotifyService;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;
import org.aspectj.lang.NoAspectBoundException;
import org.aspectj.lang.ProceedingJoinPoint;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Around;
import org.aspectj.lang.annotation.Aspect;
import org.aspectj.lang.reflect.MethodSignature;
import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;
import org.springframework.beans.BeansException;
import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;
import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContextAware;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Component;

@Aspect
@Component
public class MyExampleAnnotationAspect
  implements ApplicationContextAware
{
  public static MyExampleAnnotationAspect aspectOf()
  {

/* ... snip... */

  public void setApplicationContext(ApplicationContext
applicationContext)
    throws BeansException
  {
    _notifyService = (NotifyService)applicationContext
                      .getBean(NotifyService.class);
  }
}

/* Location:
 * Qualified Name:     MyExampleAnnotationAspect
 * Java Class Version: 8 (52.0)
 * JD-Core Version:    0.7.1
 */

Here's how to decompile all .class files inside a .jar and save the results to a directory called decompile.

dec annotation-example-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar \
-skipResources -od decompiled -oc

Look to the jd-cli help for other supported features.

Wrap Up

Hopefully this helps you when you're doing work on the command line and need to decompile a Java .class file.

If you can't get this work, feel free to reach out to me and I can try to help.