Xigole Systems


A simple utility to find a particular class name in a directory containing jar, war, and ear files. The application recursively decends into the directory looking for files that end in ".jar", ".war", and ".ear" (case insensitive which is not really the standard). Additionally, the program finds any normal files that end in .class also.

Why did I write this? Because I find that when I'm looking for a particular class to compile with I never seem to know which jar file it is in. This utility simplifies that task. It is basically like a Unix "find" command piped to the "jar" command that would "grep" for the class name. Cross-platform issues made it easier to put this into a small java application rather than have to install Cygwin on every Windows box I use.



ClassFinder can be downloaded from:

These files contain a precompiled jar file along with all of the source code and an ant build file.

Windows users: There seem to be problems with WinZip and the tar.gz version of the archive if you open it directly without saving it to disk. The zip version works just fine.


A sample command line might look like (should be all on one line):
java -classpath lib/classfinder.jar com.xigole.util.ClassFinder -d some/directory/name -c SomeClassName
java -jar lib/classfinder.jar -d some/directory/name -c SomeClassName

The command line arguments are:

  • -d specifies the directory name to use. This must be a directory. This is a required argument.
  • -c specifies the class name to look for in the jar files. The search is case insensitive unless you specify the -p option. This is a required argument. Note that this argument can be a class name like MyClassName in which case ClassFinder will look for the provided name regardless of the package. Alternately, you can specify a package declaration like com.xigole.MyClassName. Either way ClassFinder is simply looking for a pattern that looks like the given string. Regular expressions are not supported.
  • -p pay attention to the class name case. This makes it easier to find something like "Log" when many classes may be in the "logging" package
  • -v an optional argument that verbosely prints out each file that is being searched.



ClassFinder requires a 1.4 and above JDK. If you need it to work with JDK's below 1.4 post to the classfinder forum and we can see if there is a simple answer.



If you're having any issues with classfinder, come and discuss it in the classfinder forum.


November 07, 2006
  1. Fixed a bug that prevented searching directories that ended with one of the Java archive extensions (.jar, .ear, .war, etc.). Thanks to Narasimhan Balasubramanian (narsibvl_2006@yahoo.com) for help with this.
  2. Added the ability to find .class files too.



Copyright (C) 2004-2008 Scott Dunbar (scott@xigole.com)

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.