Chapter: Java The Complete Reference - The Java Language - I/O, Applets, and Other Topics

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Problems with Native Methods

Native methods seem to offer great promise, because they enable you to gain access to an existing base of library routines, and they offer the possibility of faster run-time execution.

Problems with Native Methods

 

Native methods seem to offer great promise, because they enable you to gain access to an 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, unsigned 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 nonportable. 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 nonportable and pose significant security risks.


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