In a modular Java program or in a large Java project that has lots of dependencies, you often end up a version of library that's different from the version used to compile the code.

This often results in LinkageError, where a method/field that was present when the code was compiled do not exist any more in the version being loaded at the runtime. This restriction applies to seemingly trivial safe changes, such as changing the return type of the method to its subtype.

Previously, the only way to deal with this is not to remove any signatures that matter. In other words, you count on library/module developers to be more disciplined. Over the time, Java programmers have accepted this as a way of life, but there are some notorious offenders (Guava and ASM, I'm looking at you.) Besides, it makes it difficult to evolve code.

That is where this library comes into play.

What is this?

This library comes with two major parts. One is the class file transformation tool, which replaces every field/method reference/invocation by an invokedynamic call.

The second part is the runtime linker, which "links" these invokedynamic calls to the target. In most cases, the referenced target exists in the runtime, so that's what you'll want to link to.

But because you can bring your own Linker implementation, this library enables you to relax the linker resolution to be flexible and relaxed in all sorts of ways. You can convert static field access to static method access, you can add/remove parameters to method calls, or you can even intercept a call and do something completely different.

Normally, this kind of lazy resolution requires you to load class files into your own classloader, but since this library only relies on invokedynamic, the resulting code can be used just like a normal jar file and loaded into any classloader.

So long as you use ConstantCallSite, invokedynamic does not incur any runtime penalty on the code that gets executed --- just one time overhead of running custom linking logic when the code is run for the first time.

How to use this library

To benefit from lazy linking behavior, you must transform class files at the build time. This project comes with a Maven plugin to simplify this. Add the following fragment in your POM to automatically post-process class files after compilation:


Just to be clear, the idea is to transform your code to protect yourself from libraries that break compatibility, not to transform library code that might evolve.

You must also add the runtime as your dependency, because the runtime contains the code necessary to perform linking at runtime.



The class file transformation process rewrites every method call (instance of static, interface or not), every field access (get or set, static or not), and every object instantiation. It even rewrites the 'super' call of the following form:

void foo() {

Unfortunately, because of the JVM byte code verification requirement, this library cannot rewrite a constructor body where it calls this/super constructor such as this:

class Foo extends Bar {
    Foo() {
        super(  // this super call remains statically linked
            Zot.getValue()      // this gets rewritten and gets linked at runtime

        foo();  // this gets rewritten and gets linked at runtime


I intend to gather common patterns for code evolution so that this library comes out-of-the-box with useful dynamic linking rules.