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Creating a native executable in Windows with GraalVM

skhmt profile image Mike S Updated on ・3 min read

GraalVM is pretty awesome for a lot of reasons. But the one that has me most hyped is the ability to create native executables from Java bytecode. This isn't like ExcelsiorJET (R.I.P.), which makes you include a large runtime, nor is it like Launch4J and Oracle's javapackager tool, both of which create a dummy executables that points to your .jar and a packaged JRE.

GraalVM makes real native executables without a packaged runtime.

Unfortunately, GraalVM's native-image, and indeed its entire support for Windows, is in early adopter status. There are some error messages that aren't accurate, some bugs, and some features missing.

But it does work, more-or-less.

Things to know before you get started

There's about a 8.5 MB minimum file size for a bare bones hello world java application. That's kind of a lot, but also a lot less than including the entire JRE.

Some other articles or guides recommend installing Git for Windows and Python 2.7, but I'm like 99% sure that's for building GraalVM before running.

All the Swing and JavaFX applications I've tried haven't been able to build in the Windows version of native-image in 19.0.0.

The Image Generation Options page is a good resource for troubleshooting, you may have to place some of your classes into the --initialize-at-run-time=<comma separated list of class/package names> option.

Steps to run GraalVM 19.0.0's native-image in Windows

  1. Uninstall any Visual C++ 2010 Redistributables
  2. Get the Windows version of GraalVM 19.0.0: https://github.com/oracle/graal/releases/tag/vm-19.0.0
  3. Extract it somewhere easy to find
  4. Get the Microsoft Windows SDK for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 4 (ISO): https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8442
  5. Mount the image, open F:\Setup\SDKSetup.exe directly
  6. A default install should be perfect
  7. Run the Windows SDK 7.1 Command Prompt by going to Start > Microsoft Windows SDK v7.1 > Windows SDK 7.1 Command Prompt
  8. Run one of these commands based on if you have a .jar or a .class:
\path\to\graalvm-ce-19.0.0\bin\native-image -jar \path\to\helloworld.jar --no-fallback

or

\path\to\graalvm-ce-19.0.0\bin\native-image \path\to\helloworld.class --no-fallback

The *.exp, *.lib, and *.pdb files seem to be artifacts of the build process, they're not required for distribution.

But that's it, your .exe is made!

Update: As of GraalVM 19.3.0, still no support for Swing nor JavaFX.

For GraalVM 19.3.0 on Windows with the new support for Java 11, you'll need Visual Studio 2017 Community Edition instead of the Microsoft Windows SDK for Windows 7, which you can get here with a free Visual Studio Dev Essentials account. Instead of running the Windows SDK 7.1 Command Prompt, you'll of course run x64 Native Tools Command Prompt for VS 2017 as your command line in Start > Visual Studio 2017.

Gluon is working on providing JavaFX support for 19.3.0 - it already has it for macOS and Linux, and Windows should be coming soon.

Finally, if you do distribute an exe made with native-image on windows, you will need to include vcruntime140.dll with it, which is about 84kb.

Discussion (4)

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Shashank Tulsyan • Edited

I tried to make graal native image to work for javafx, and failed, leaving notes for the record.
Even after making several configurations changes I am not able to get it to work.

The project I am compiling is thejavafxproject
with the entry point - JavaFxEntryPointMainMethod

This is the command I used to build the native image.

\graalvm-ce-19.0.2\bin\native-image.cmd -H:+ReportExceptionStackTraces -H:JNIConfigurationFiles=jniconfig.json -H:ReflectionConfigurationFiles=reflectconfig.json -Djavafx.verbose=true -Dprism.verbose=true -Djava.library.path=\graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin -cp \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\lib\ext\jfxrt.jar -jar thejavafxproject.jar 

I am able to get a native image, which will crash :'(

reflectconfig.json

[
  {
    "name" : "java.lang.Class",
    "allDeclaredConstructors" : true,
    "allPublicConstructors" : true,
    "allDeclaredMethods" : true,
    "allPublicMethods" : true,
    "allDeclaredClasses" : true,
    "allPublicClasses" : true
  },
  {
    "name" : "java.lang.String",
    "fields" : [
      { "name" : "value", "allowWrite" : true },
      { "name" : "hash" }
    ],
    "methods" : [
      { "name" : "<init>", "parameterTypes" : [] },
      { "name" : "<init>", "parameterTypes" : ["char[]"] },
      { "name" : "charAt" },
      { "name" : "format", "parameterTypes" : ["java.lang.String", "java.lang.Object[]"] }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name" : "java.lang.String$CaseInsensitiveComparator",
    "methods" : [
      { "name" : "compare" }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name" : "thejavafxproject.JavaFxEntryPointMainMethod"
  },
  {
    "name" : "com.sun.javafx.tk.quantum.QuantumToolkit",
    "methods" : [
      { "name" : "<init>", "parameterTypes" : [] }
    ]
  },
  {
    "name" : "com.sun.prism.d3d.D3DPipeline",
    "allDeclaredConstructors" : true,
    "allPublicConstructors" : true,
    "allDeclaredMethods" : true,
    "allPublicMethods" : true,
    "allDeclaredClasses" : true,
    "allPublicClasses" : true
  },
  {
    "name" : "com.sun.prism.impl.PrismSettings",
    "allDeclaredConstructors" : true,
    "allPublicConstructors" : true,
    "allDeclaredMethods" : true,
    "allPublicMethods" : true,
    "allDeclaredClasses" : true,
    "allPublicClasses" : true,
    "allPublicFields" : true
  },
  {
    "name" : "com.sun.glass.ui.win.WinPlatformFactory",
    "allDeclaredConstructors" : true,
    "allPublicConstructors" : true,
    "allDeclaredMethods" : true,
    "allPublicMethods" : true,
    "allDeclaredClasses" : true,
    "allPublicClasses" : true,
    "allPublicFields" : true
  }
]

jniconfig.json

[
  {
    "name" : "com.sun.prism.impl.PrismSettings",
    "allDeclaredConstructors" : true,
    "allPublicConstructors" : true,
    "allDeclaredMethods" : true,
    "allPublicMethods" : true,
    "allDeclaredClasses" : true,
    "allPublicClasses" : true,
    "allPublicFields" : true
  }
]

A 10MB exe is created thejavafxproject.exe

> thejavafxproject.exe  -Djavafx.verbose=true -Dprism.verbose=true -Djava.library.path=graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\

Output - on running the executable

Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-console-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-datetime-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-debug-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-errorhandling-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-file-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-file-l1-2-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-file-l2-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-handle-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-heap-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-interlocked-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-libraryloader-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-localization-l1-2-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-memory-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-namedpipe-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-processenvironment-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-processthreads-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-processthreads-l1-1-1.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-profile-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-rtlsupport-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-string-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-synch-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-synch-l1-2-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-sysinfo-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-timezone-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-core-util-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-conio-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-convert-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-environment-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-filesystem-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-heap-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-locale-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-math-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-multibyte-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-private-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-process-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-runtime-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-stdio-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-string-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-time-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\api-ms-win-crt-utility-l1-1-0.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\ucrtbase.
dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\vcruntime
140.dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\msvcp140.
dll from java.library.path
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\concrt140
.dll from java.library.path
Prism pipeline init order: d3d sw
Using native-based Pisces rasterizer
Using dirty region optimizations
Not using texture mask for primitives
Not forcing power of 2 sizes for textures
Using hardware CLAMP_TO_ZERO mode
Opting in for HiDPI pixel scaling
Prism pipeline name = com.sun.prism.d3d.D3DPipeline
(X) Got class = class com.sun.prism.d3d.D3DPipeline
Loading D3D native library ...
Loaded \graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\prism_d3d
.dll from java.library.path
        succeeded.
D3DPipelineManager: Created D3D9Ex device
Direct3D initialization succeeded
Initialized prism pipeline: com.sun.prism.d3d.D3DPipeline
JavaFX: using com.sun.javafx.tk.quantum.QuantumToolkit
Loaded graalvm-ee-19.0.2\jre\bin\glass.dll
 from java.library.path
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skhmt profile image
Mike S Author

Good attempt! Gluon is supposedly going to release a Maven/Gradle plugin to get javafx working with openjdk and graalvm for Windows "shortly." They just recently released the beta version for macOS, so I have high hopes!

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shashaanktulsyan profile image
Shashank Tulsyan • Edited

Ya just to come and report, it works. Gluon team did the hard-work and it is for free for all of us.
preview

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itsjzt profile image
Saurabh Sharma

aww, thats cool. ♥️