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Java Binding User Guide

Java Binding App is an application that includes the Exonum framework and Java services runtime environment.

Creating Project

The easiest way to create a Java service project is to use a template project generator. After installing Maven 3, run the command:

$ mvn archetype:generate \
    -DinteractiveMode=false \
    -DarchetypeGroupId=com.exonum.binding \
    -DarchetypeArtifactId=exonum-java-binding-service-archetype \
    -DgroupId=com.example.myservice \
    -DartifactId=my-service \

You can also use the interactive mode:

$ mvn archetype:generate \
    -DarchetypeGroupId=com.exonum.binding \

The build definition files for other build systems (e.g., Gradle) can be created similarly to the template. For more information see an example.

Service Development

The service abstraction serves to extend the framework and implement the business logic of an application. The service defines the schema of the stored data that constitute the service state; transaction processing rules that can make changes to the stored data; and an API for external clients that allows interacting with the service from outside of the system. See more information on the software model of services in the corresponding section.

In Java, the abstraction of a service is represented by Service interface. Implementations can use the abstract class AbstractService.

Schema Description

Exonum provides several collection types to persist service data. The main types are sets, lists and maps. Data organization inside the collections is arranged in two ways – ordinary collections and Merkelized collections; the latter allow providing cryptographic evidence of the authenticity of data to the clients of the system (for example, that an element is stored in the collection under a certain key). The blockchain state is influenced only by the Merkelized collections.

For the detailed description of all Exonum collection types see the corresponding documentation section. In Java, implementations of collections are located in a separate package. Said package documentation describes their use.


SparseListIndex is not yet supported in Java. Let us know if it may be useful for you!

Collections work with a database view – either Snapshot, which is read-only and represents the database state as of the latest committed block; or Fork, which is mutable and allows performing modifying operations. The database view is provided by the framework: Snapshot can be requested at any time, while Fork – only when the transaction is executed. The lifetime of these objects is limited by the scope of the method to which they are passed to.

Exonum stores elements in the collections as byte arrays. Therefore, a user must implement serialization of values stored in the collection. Java Binding provides serializers for standard and some commonly used types, see StandardSerializers for details.

Example of ProofMapIndex Creation

void updateBalance(Fork fork) {
  var name = "balanceById";
  var balanceById = ProofMapIndexProxy.newInstance(name, fork,
  balanceById.put(id, newBalance);

A set of named collections constitute a service scheme. For convenient access to service collections you can implement a factory of service collections.

The state of the service in the blockchain is determined by the list of root hashes of its Merkelized collections. Said root hashes, when aggregated with root hashes of other Merkelized collections in the blockchain, form a single blockchain state hash, which is included in each committed block. When using AbstractService, the root hash list must be defined in the schema class that implements Schema interface; when implementing Service directly – in the service itself.

Transactions Description

Exonum transactions allow you to perform modifying atomic operations with the storage. Transactions are executed sequentially, in the order determined by the consensus of the nodes in the network.

For more details about transactions in Exonum – their properties and processing rules – see the corresponding section of our documentation.


Transactions are transmitted by the service client as an Exonum message. The transaction payload in the message can be serialized using an arbitrary algorithm supported by both the service client and the service itself.


In the current framework version each service must implement a method for sending transactions of this service to the network. It is planned that this mechanism will be standardized and moved to the core. An example of a pseudo-code transaction handler is shown below. For an implementation example, see ApiController#submitTransaction in the cryptocurrency demo.

Example of a Transaction Handler in Pseudo-code

def handle_tx(request):
  var body = request.getBody()
    var message = txMessageFromBody(body)
    var tx = service.convertTransaction(txMessage)
    var hash = tx.hash()
    return ok(createTxResponse(hash))
  catch IllegalArgumentException as e:
    return badRequest("Invalid request: " + e)
  catch VerificationError as e:
    return badRequest("Invalid transaction: " + e)
  catch Error as e:
    log("Internal error:" + e)
    return internalServerError()

Executable Transactions

To correctly process a transaction, it must be transformed into an executable transaction (see TransactionConverter or Service#convertTransaction method) and transmitted to the framework using Node#submitTransaction method. The framework verifies it, and if the transactions is correct, broadcasts it to other nodes of the system. Other nodes, having received the transaction message, convert it into an executable transaction, also using the service transaction converter.

An executable transaction is an instance of a class implementing Transaction interface and defining transaction business logic. The interface implementations must define the transaction authentication rule (usually, the digital signature verification of the message) – isValid method; and the execution rule for the transaction – execute method.

Ed25519 is a standard cryptographic system for digital signature of Exonum messages. It is available through CryptoFunctions#ed25519 method.

The implementation of Transaction#isValid transaction authentication method must be a pure function, i.e. for the given transaction to return the same result on all nodes of the system. For this reason, access to the Exonum storage, files or network resources is not allowed within the method implementations.

Transaction#execute method describes the operations that are applied to the current storage state when the transaction is executed. Exonum passes Fork as an argument – a view that allows performing modifying operations. A service schema object can be used to access data collections of this service.

External Service API

The external service API is used for the interaction between the service and the external systems. A set of operations is defined by each service and can include sending transactions to the network, read requests for blockchain data with the provision of corresponding cryptographic proof, etc. Exonum provides an embedded web framework for implementing the REST-interface of the service.

Service#createPublicApiHandlers method is used to set the handlers for HTTP requests. These handlers are available at the common path corresponding to the service name. Thus, the /balance/:walletId handler for balance requests in the "cryptocurrency" service will be available at /cryptocurrency/balance/:walletId.

See documentation on the possibilities of Vert.x used as a web framework.

Dependencies Management

Exonum uses Guice to describe the dependencies of the service components (both system-specific ones, for example, Exonum time service, and external ones). Each service should define a module describing implementations of the framework interfaces – Service, TransactionConverter and implementations of other components, if any.

Minimalistic Example of Service Module

public class ServiceModule extends AbstractModule {

  protected void configure() {
    // Define the Service implementation.

    // Define the TransactionConverter implementation.

The fully-qualified name (FQN) of the module class must be specified/passed during configuration of an Exonum App that will run the service.

For more information on using Guice, see the project wiki.


Schema and Operations with Storage

To test the schema and operations with the storage, Exonum provides a database that stores the values in the RAM - MemoryDb. Before using it in integration tests, it is necessary to load a library with the implementation of native methods:

public class MySchemaIntegrationTest {
  static {

  // Tests.

The plug-in for running tests should be configured to pass java.library.path system property to JVM:


Surefire/Failsafe for Maven should be configured as follows:

    <!-- You can also configure a failsafe to run integration tests during
         'validate' phase of a Maven build to separate unit tests and ITs. -->

Each test can create Snapshot and/or Fork, using MemoryDb, and also apply changes made to Fork to the database state:

package com.exonum.binding.qaservice;

import com.exonum.binding.proxy.Cleaner;
import org.junit.After;
import org.junit.Before;
import org.junit.Test;

public class MySchemaTest {

  MemoryDb db;
  Cleaner cleaner;

  public void setUp() {
    db = MemoryDb.newInstance();
    cleaner = new Cleaner();

  public void tearDown() throws Exception {

  public void testCreatingSnapshot() {
    Snapshot snapshot = db.createSnapshot(cleaner);
    // Use the Snapshot to test the schema.

  public void testMergingSomeChanges() {
    Fork fork = db.createFork(cleaner);
    // Make some changes to Fork.
    // …

    // Merge the changes made to the database Fork into the database.

    // Create a Snapshot of the database state. Must include the changes
    // made above.
    Snapshot snapshot = db.createSnapshot(cleaner);
    // Use the Snapshot to test the schema/transaction
    // with a certain database state.
    // …


To test transactions execution, you can use MemoryDb, as in the previous section.

Read Requests

To test read requests for service data, you can use a fake that implements Node interface and uses MemoryDb to create Snapshot: NodeFake. The MemoryDb contents can be filled in by executing MemoryDb#merge(Fork) operation as in the section above.


To test API implemented with Vertx tools, use the tools described in the project documentation. You can use Vertx Web Client as a client or another HTTP client.

An example of API service tests can be found in ApiControllerTest.

How to Run a Service

Currently you have to build a native application to run a node with your Java service:

  • Install the system dependencies and build the application.
  • Follow the instructions in the application guide to configure and start an Exonum node with your service.

Known Limitations

  • Serialization is determined by a user, so Java services are not compatible with JS light client.
  • Core collections necessary to form a complete cryptographic proof for user service data (collections and their elements) are available only in a "raw" form – without deserialization of the content, which makes their use somewhat difficult.
  • Not all system Rust services are available (configuration, time oracle and anchoring service will be integrated into EJB App soon).
  • Custom Rust services can be added to the application only by modifying and rebuilding thereof.
  • The application supports only one Java service. Support of multiple Java services is coming in the near future.

See Also