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How to Download and Use JAR Files in Java
If you are a Java developer or a user of Java applications, you may have encountered JAR files. JAR stands for Java ARchive, and it is a file format that can store multiple files in a compressed form. In this article, you will learn what JAR files are, how to create them, how to view their contents, how to extract them, how to update them, and how to run them.
What is a JAR File?
A JAR file is a package file format that can contain Java class files, metadata, resources, and manifest files. A JAR file can be used to distribute application software or libraries on the Java platform. A JAR file can also be executable if it has a manifest file that specifies the main class.
Benefits of JAR Files
Some of the benefits of using JAR files are:
They reduce the size of the files by compressing them.
They simplify the distribution of software by bundling multiple files into one.
They improve the performance of Java applications by reducing the loading time of classes.
They enhance the security of Java applications by allowing digital signatures and encryption.
Structure of JAR Files
A JAR file has a ZIP file structure, which means it consists of entries that can be files or directories. Each entry has a name, a size, a date and time, and optional attributes. A JAR file can also have a manifest file, which is a special entry that contains information about the other entries and the JAR file itself. The manifest file has the name META-INF/MANIFEST.MF and it is located at the root of the JAR file. The manifest file can specify attributes such as:
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The main class of an executable JAR file.
The classpath of dependencies for a JAR file.
The version and vendor of a JAR file.
The digital signature and certificate of a JAR file.