Java code can be built and run using the package rJava. JRI.jar in the rJava package includes the necessary classes for interacting with R from within Java. In fact rJava comes with two systems for doing this. Rengine is a lower level interface, and is therefore less safe to use. REngine provides much of the same functionality, but has better error checking. This article will focus on REngine, as it is the recommended API. Note that JGR.jar (from the JGR package) also includes the REngine classes, so if that is the only part of JRI that you need, you may build your Java project against it.

Package structure

The basic structure for a Java package is much the same as any other package.


Like and R package. There are 'man' and 'R' directories which contain the R documentation and R code respectively. The DESCRIPTION file is the same as for any other package, and should have rJava in the Required list.

Unlike many R packages there is an 'inst' directory. This indicates to R that when the package is built, anything in the 'inst' folder should be copied verbatim into the package root directory. When rJava looks for java code, it will try to load any .jar files in the 'java' directory. These files may be named anything.

Loading your .jar file

To add your jar to the classpath, two statements should be added to the .First.lib (or on.load) function in zzz.R.

.First.lib <- function(libname, pkgname) { 

The .jpackage call adds all .jar files in the 'java' directory of your package to the classpath. The '.jengine' call starts the REngine, so that your Java code can call R functions. If your Java code does not import REngine (or Rengine), then this statement is not needed. Also, if your package requires Deducer, it is also not needed, as the engine is already started.

R from within Java

R commands can be executed from Java using the the JRIEngine class.

JRIEngine en; 
    en = new JRIEngine(org.rosuda.JRI.Rengine.getMainEngine()); 
catch(Exception e){} 
REXP oneToTenR = en.parseAndEval(“1:10”);

This evaluates the R statement 1:10 and then assigns it to oneToTenR which is of class REXP. REXP objects are Java representations of R expressions. REXP objects can be converted to something that Java can more readily manipulate using a series of conversion methods. For example, we can convert oneToTenR into and array of doubles using the asDoubles method.

double[] oneToTenJava; 
   oneToTen = oneToTenR.asDoubles(); 
catch(Exception e){} 

The following table enumerates the conversion functions, and what they convert too.

FunctionConverts toNote
REXP.asInteger()intfactors/logicals* ok
REXP.asDouble()doublefactors/integers/logical** ok
REXP.asString()Stringfactors ok
REXP.asStrings()String[]factors ok
REXP.asDoubles()double[]factors/integers/logical** ok
REXP.asIntegers()int[]factors/logicals* ok
REXP.asList().at(int index)REXPfor R lists and data.frames

*NA = -2147483648

With Deducer

If your package uses Deducer, there is a convenience method (Deducer.eval) for executing R statements.

//using Deducer wrapper 
REXP rVariable = Deducer.eval(“names(Prestige)”); 

String[] prestigeNames; 
   prestigeNames = rVariable.asStrings() 
} catch (REXPMismatchException e) {} 

Also there is a useful method for executing R commands as if the user typed them into the console:

Deducer.execute(“print(‘I like ponies’)”); 

Compiling and JARing the code

You will need to compile your Java code into package_name.jar. You may need to compile it against JRI.jar, JGR.jar and/or Deducer.jar (found in the rJava, JGR and Deducer packages respectively), depending on which classes you use in your code. This can be accomplished in any number of ways using any Java IDE. Below is a desciption of how to do it using the command line.

1. Make a new directory with the following structure:

        *.java          <------All of your java source code

2. Then, in the src directory execute

javac -target 1.4 -source 1.4 -d . -classpath JRI.jar:JGR.jar:deducer.jar package_name/*.java
jar fc package_name.jar package_name/*.class

If you are using Windows, you may need to change the first line to:

javac -target 1.4 -source 1.4 -d . -classpath JRI.jar\JGR.jar\deducer.jar package_name/*.java

Then copy the newly created package_name.jar to the java directory of your package.

Where to go from here

Auto generated Documentation on REngine and the REXP class can be found Here.Now that you have the basics of dealing with R objects in Java, the next step is to build a GUI dialog using the Swing toolkit.