Java Support Page 7

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Java support represents without a doubt one of the new features that will open PHP up to existing enterprise systems and applications. With PHP4, users can instantiate and use Java servlets or classes.

Differences Between PHP3 and PHP4
Output Buffering
Evaluate for Identical Operator
COM support on Windows
Displaying Portions of Raw HTML Code
Java Support

This support is not native to PHP4; it necessitates the addition and configuration of an extension. To have this extension at your disposition on a Linux system, it is PHP4 must be recompiled by specifying the adequate configuration options. These extensions are available in the form of objects that have been precompiled for the Windows environment. These extensions can be downloaded from the official PHP Web site. You must choose the extension adapted to the Java version that you use (JDK 1.1.8, 1.2 or 1.3). In the example, we are using a simple JDK 1.1.8.

In the php.ini configuration file, you must add two lines in a new "Java" section as in the following example:

C:\Program Files\Apache\cgi-bin\php_java.jar;
C:\Program Files\Apache\htdocs\phpjava" extension=php_java.dll

Place the Java classes that you would like to use in one of the directories given in the list of paths specified by the java.class.path configuration directive, for example in C:\Program Files\Apache\htdocs\phpjava

Imagine that you have a Java class named Point, which represents a point defined by its coordinates and the various required methods (a constructor, a default constructor, traditional access methods to set and get proprieties, and a toString method). The Point class might look something like the following:

public class Point {

// attributes
public int abscissa;
public int ordinate;

public int type;

// default constructor
public Point() {
  this.type = 1 ;
// constructor
public Point(int x,int y) {
   this.type = 1 ;
// Overloaded object method
public toString String(){
   // Call the display method
   return display();
// Point class methods
public void setType(int mytype){
   // Call the display method
   this.type = mytype;
public int getAbscissa() { return abscissa; }
public int getOrdinate() { return ordinate; }
public void setCoordinates(int abscissa, int ordinate) {   this.abscissa = abscissa;
  this.ordinate = ordinate;
public sayHello String() {
  return "I am a point :-)";
public display String(){
return "("+abscissa+","+ordinate+" Type "+type+")";

Thus, as long as Java support is configured correctly and the bytecode file Point.class is in the appropriate place, we can execute the following PHP code:


$myPoint = new Java("Point");
echo "<br>Point created at (0,0) ...";

echo $myPoint->setCoordinates(15,15);
echo "<br>Point moved to (15,15)";
echo "<br>".$myPoint->display();
echo "<br>".$myPoint->sayHello();
echo "<hr>\n";


Which triggers the following display:

Point created at (0,0) ...
Point moved to (15,15)
(15,15 Type 1)
I am a Point :-)

Even more interesting is that a PointBis class can be derived from a Point class by overloading its constructors.

public class PointBis extends Point {

// constructors
public PointBis() {

public PointBis(int x,int y) {


// methods
public sayHello String() {
  return "I am a PointBis ;^)";

In the same way, we can instantiate and use an object of the PointBis class as in the following example:

$myPointBis = new Java("PointBis");
echo "<br> Point created at (0,0) ...";

echo $myPointBis->setCoordinates(17,21);
echo "<br>Point moved to (17,21)";
echo "<br>".$myPointBis->display ();
echo "<br>".$myPointBis->sayHello();

Which provides the following results:

Point created at (0,0) ...
Point moved to (17,21)
(17,21 Type 2)
I am a PointBis ;^)

But you might also want to transfer objects to methods of other objects. For example, let's take a class that represents a vector. The vector is defined by its origin (a point), its standard and its direction. In Java, the Vector class can be defined in the following manner:

public class Vector {

// attributes
private Point origin;
private int standard;
private int direction;

// constructors
public Vector() {
  Point p1 = new Point();
  setProps(p1, 0, 0);
public Vector(Point orig, int s, int d) {
setProps(orig, s, d);

// Overloaded Object method
public toString() String{
  // Call the display method
  return display ();
// Vector class methods
public Point getOrigin () { return origin; }
public int getStandard() { return standard; }
public int getDirection() { return direction; }
public void setOrigin (Point origin) {
  this.origin = origin;
} ;
public void setStandard(int standard) {
  this.standard =standard;
} ;
public void setDirection(int direction) {
  this.direction = direction;
} ;
public void setProps(Point origin, int standard, int direction) {
  this.origin = origin;
  this.standard = standard;
  this.direction = direction;
public display() String {
  return "( "+origin.display()+
      " / "+standard+" / "+direction+" )";

In PHP, we can instantiate a vector by using the default constructor with the following code:

$myVector = new Java("Vector");
echo "<br>Vector created, default constructor...";
echo "<br>".$myVector->display()." <p>\n<br>\n";


Which results in the following display:

Vector created, default constructor...
( (0,0 Type 1) / 0 / 0 )

But we can also use the Vector class constructor to transfer a PHP object representing a Point object. Consider the example below

// creation of a point that will serve as vector origin $myPoint = new Java("Point", 11, 65);
echo "<br>Point position...";
echo "<br>".$myPoint->display().<p>\n<br>\n";

$myVector = new Java("Vector");
echo "<br>".$myVector->display()."<p>\n<br>\n";

print $myVector->setProps($myPoint, 24, 8);
echo "<br>myVector's origin is MyPoint";

echo "<br>Vector Position...";
echo "<br>".$myVector->display()."<p>\n<br>\n";

This code triggers the following display:

Point Position...
(11,65 Type 1)
( (0,0 Type 1) / 0 / 0 )

myVector's origin is MyPoint
Vector Position...
( (11,65 Type 1) / 24 / 8 )

We can see that the vector was originally created by its default constructor: It is a null vector for which the origin is (0,0), having a null standard and a null angle direction. Then, after calling the setProps() method, we make sure that the vector origin corresponds to the coordinates of our myPoint point (11,65).

This simple example is a way of verifying whether Java can be used from PHP, regardless of if they are your own Java codes or existing Java classes. This Java gateway has many applications. Examples include, using CORBA components via IIOP, distributing processes via IIOP, distributing processes via RMI, and coding portions of "sensitive" code of Java applications so that the source code cannot be unveiled.

This article was originally published on Sep 7, 2000

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