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[java] ClassLoader Problem

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I have an abstract class JBot. During runtime I'm wanting to load in classes that extend JBot and create instances of them. Here is my code so far:
ClassLoader jBotLoader = this.getClass().getClassLoader();
Class jBotClass = jBotLoader.loadClass( className );
JBot jBot = (JBot)jBotClass.newInstance();

I get a ClassCastException on the last line. I know this has something to do with one ClassLoader not being able to see what another has loaded. But isn't there a way to have all the classes load from the same ClassLoader and avoid this error? Thanks, Jake

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Original post by CaptainJester
What you are trying to do is right. I have done it. Try using Class.forName instead of ClassLoader.

Class.forName is the answer, but for the code to be robust it isn't enough. Because the dynamically loaded classes are intended to be subclasses of Jbot, there should be a check to verify that this is the case. So you would do something like this (Exception handling ignored here):

JBot instantiateSubclass(String className) throws Exception {
Class clazz = Class.forName(className);
for(Class current = clazz.getSuperClass(); current != null; current = current.getSuperClass()) {
if(current == JBot.class) {
return (JBot)clazz.newInstance();
return null;

Of course, you'd likely want to handle exceptions in such a function, rather than propagating them. Declaring a method to just throw Exception isn't really good practice.

You might want to take a look at this ClassUtils class. It contains several methods for instantiating objects. I've been using it for a while in my Java projects and it's quite handy. The version I'm using now has one extra public method implemented like so:

public static Object instantiate(String className) {
return instantiate(findClass(className));

Add that method and this class should cover nearly any situation in which you need simple dynamic instantiation (and when I say "simple", I mean using the default ClassLoader).

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I'd also like to chime in very briefly and mention that
Class#isAssignableFrom(Class<?> cls)
can be used as a simple shortcut to determine if a class object is a superclass/superinterface of another. So if
returns true you should be safe to do
someBot = (JBot)loadedClass.newInstance();
Reflection FTW, eh?

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