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Equinox p2 down compilation

Authoring code using Java 5 to target 1.4 VM

In order to be able to compile Java code using the 1.5 syntax to make it run on 1.4 VM, special care has to be taken. This document describes how to do this and how to setup projects to avoid problems.

Compiling the code

ECJ and Javac support "down" compilation. To do this, you just need to specify -target jsr14 on the command line. The bytecode produced will still allow code written in 1.5 or 1.4 to be compiled successfully against it.

Restrictions on language features

Here are the language features that are are known to *not* work:

  • enums can't be used because it requires the java.lang.Enum type from the library, see below.
  • declaration of new annotations or reference to annotation types since they would cause the loading of the java.lang.annontation.Annotation type. However it is still possible to use annotations in type, method and field declarations as well as method parameters.

Ensuring that the 1.4 subset of the API is being used

Another important part of the success of such an approach is to guarantee that the API used by the down compiled code only refers to the 1.4 subset of the class library APIs. To catch API misusage, it is recommended to:

In addition to that, it is recommended to have *every* method in *every* class be invoked at least once during the automated tests while run on the 1.4 VM. This will guarantee that no inappropriate dependency slipped in when using reflection.

Setting up PDE Build

For PDE Build to down compile the code, the build.properties need to contain the following values:

  • javacTarget=jsr14
  • javacSource=1.5