Programming Tutorials

Disadvantages of using Native methods in Java

By: Charles in Java Tutorials on 2007-09-12  

Native methods seem to offer great promise, because they enable you to gain access to your existing base of library routines, and they offer the possibility of faster run-time execution. But native methods also introduce two significant problems:

  • Potential security risk Because a native method executes actual machine code, it can gain access to any part of the host system. That is, native code is not confined to the Java execution environment. This could allow a virus infection, for example. For this reason, applets cannot use native methods. Also, the loading of DLLs can be restricted, and their loading is subject to the approval of the security manager.
  • Loss of portability Because the native code is contained in a DLL, it must be present on the machine that is executing the Java program. Further, because each native method is CPU- and operating-system-dependent, each DLL is inherently non-portable. Thus, a Java application that uses native methods will be able to run only on a machine for which a compatible DLL has been installed.

The use of native methods should be restricted, because they render your Java programs non-portable and pose significant security risks.

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