Jikes : Java Glossary


Jikes 1.20 a Java compiler open source product now maintained by volunteers that produces standard byte codes. It supports Java version 1.4 (with some support for Java version 1.5 for the adventurous willing to compile the Jikes compiler itself). It is effectively defunct.

It is astoundingly fast — hundreds of thousands of lines of code per minute (about ten times faster than other compilers) and it generates better quality code than the Oracle compiler and it generates better error messages. It is written in C++ which means it is not quite as portable as if it had been written in Java, but it is available for Window/Linux/AIX/OS2 etc. You can download it free. There is also a Jikes debugging package written in pure Java which runs anywhere, written by a different team. The easiest way to use Jikes on Win9x/NT is to download smartJC which converts Jikes into a semi-permanently resident DLL (Dynamic Link Library) for even more speed. Jikes error messages are superb. They give you much better clues what the real problem is. You might not even need my list of error message translations. If Jikes dies with an addressing error, just delete all the class files and recompile. This seems to clear it. That was a problem with the previous version. I have not had enough experience with the new version to know if they have nailed it yet.

IBM (International Business Machines) provides no install instructions embedded in the download. Ignore any Jikes.1 file. It is a Unix MAN file. Just download the ZIP file, and extract jikes.exe to a directory on your path. Unlike javac.exe, jikes.exe wants rt.jar standard classes the classpath. This is explained in the FAQ. For Windows use you need the environment variables like

SET JIKESPATH=.;C:\;C:\Program Files\Java\j2re1.4.2_04\lib\rt.jar;
SET EXTDIRS=%JDK64\jre\lib\ext
Note the lack of quotes around the blank-containing file name. You don’t need the whole JDK, just the JRE to use Jikes.

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