obtaining line of codes from a class file

ervinloh
ervinloh used Ask the Experts™
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i'm currently developing a metric tool (e.g., depth of inheritance, number of private methods, number of public fields and etc). my input(s) to the tool is(are) java class(es)- (.class extension).

i wonder is it possible to obtain metrics such as LINE OF CODES (line of comments, line of executable codes and etc) just from java classes (files with .class extension).

some samples are appreciated.
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Commented:
I would venture to say that .class files don't have lines of code being that they're binary files.  And also, .class files don't have comments.  The compiler strips them out.

However, you might be able to get fields, methods, etc. using the java.lang.reflection package.

For methods available on a class see:

http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.3/docs/api/java/lang/Class.html

So to answer your question: my guess is no.

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Commented:
to mraible,

getting fields, methods and etc is not a problem. only line of codes is giving me the problems.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
 You can get the lines of code from the Java source file (if it is available) and not from the class file itself. Just read the file and check for the "\n" character (newline).

  Hope it helps.
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Top Expert 2016

Commented:
Can't get source code from class file. Only from source file.
Mick BarryJava Developer
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
You can use a decompiler to generate source from a class file. However this will not be the same as the source code before it was compiled so i'm not sure of its value for metrics purposes. But it may help you.

The class file does not have lines. The compiler strips comments and blank line. It also generates binary code instead of the source code, which means the source code is not available any more. The compilation process lossses the information about number of lines, comments, and the explicit code written.
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Commented:
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.

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