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Java reverse engineering

Through Eclipse Mars, the Java Reverse Engineering was available in the Papyrus extra plugins. Since Eclipse Neon, they are now in a separate Papyrus component, called Papyrus software designer. The Java reverse tools allow Java files or packages to be reverse-engineered into a Papyrus class diagram.

Installation instructions

The Java features of Papyrus are available as part of the Papyrus Software Designer extra feature.

You can install it by using the Papyrus Software Designer update-site (for Oxygen):

Or you can use the nightly build update site for Oxygen (paste following url in eclipse update site):

Then select "Papyrus Java profile, library and code generation (Incubation)" feature. You need JDT installed (which comes with most Eclipse packages).


How to use Reverse

Using Command

Reverse-engineer a Java class

A Java class can be reverse-engineered into a Papyrus class diagram:

  • open the class diagram,
  • select a Java package from a project
  • click the Reverse button ReverseButton.jpg

A UML class is created in Model Explorer. You can now add it into your diagram. Note that all associated classes have also been added to the model.

Reverse-engineer a package

A Java package (and all classes included) can be reverse-engineered into a Papyrus class diagram:

  • open the class diagram,
  • select a Java package from a project,
  • click the Reverse button ReverseButton.jpg

Packages and classes have been created in Model Explorer. Your can now add them to your diagram. Note that all associated classes have also been added to the model.

Reverse-engineering settings

By default, a package named "generated" is created for reverse-engineering. You can choose another package name on the options menu.


This option menu allows one to:

  • change the default package of the reverse-engineering,
  • add or remove search path. The reverse generator search existing UML classes and regenerate them.
  • add or remove creation path. The reverse generator search on existing Java classes to generate a UML class. Useful for creating Java imports (e.g.: String, Integer).

Using Drag & Drop

You can reverse-engineer a class or a package by just dragging & dropping it on a Papyrus diagram:

  • Drag one or more classes and/or packages,
  • Drop the selection into an open diagram.


A settings dialog is opened. You can modify settings (please see Reverse settings). When you're reverse-engineering via the drag & drop method, you can also choose to display model, packages, and classes / interfaces / enumerations in the Papyrus diagram. To enable display, just click the check-boxes:


When you click on the OK button, your components are displayed in the Papyrus diagram. Note: while all selected components are reversed-engineered, only components which are selected, but not in the Papyrus diagram are displayed.


Change default reverse-engineering settings

The Java code reverse-engineering plugin allows you to change default settings on eclipse preferences:

  • Open Eclipse Preferences,
  • Search for the Papyrus section,
  • Choose Java Code Reverse sub-section

In this preferences page, you can change:

  • default search path values,
  • default creation path values.

Note that there are default values; if you have changed these values for a project, your changes are saved, and default values are not used.


Developer resources

  • Git repo:
  • Java plugins path: languages/java/
  • Java reverse plugins:
      • Starting points when called from toolbar UI:
      • Project explorer walker visits the project explorer resources recursively, until we reach a compilation unit called a "node" in this context.
        •, SubMonitor)
        •, SubMonitor)
      • Then we use a node visitor to visit its JDT elements.
      • Which uses its compilation unit analyzer to analyze and create UML elements
      • The compilation unit analyzer uses other classes which are all in the following package:
    • Java Parser and JDT Parser
      • To reverse Java code, it is parsed by Java Parser and an AST is built.
      • Java Parser is embedded in:
      • We are also experimenting with JDT Parser (currently deactivated for the user)
      • JDT Parser files are in:

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