JAR file (Java ARchive)

Contributor(s): Sree Anand and Ellen C. Eggers

A JAR (Java ARchive) file is a file that contains the class, image, and sound files for a Java application or applet gathered into a single file and possibly compressed. When a programmer gets a Java program development kit, a small program or utility called "jar" is included. The jar utility lets the programmer create, list, or extract the individual files from a JAR file. In an enterprise, a Java application can be started with a set of JAR files for use during execution. An off-the-shelf open source package can be delivered as a JAR file and run with XML data.

On the Web, a JAR file containing an applet may accompany a Web page. By putting the applet components in a single file and compressing that file, download time is saved. Ordinarily, a browser user will not need to "open" or view a JAR file directly. It is opened when the Web page is received and the applet is in some manner initiated.

The JAR format is based on the popular zip file format and is somewhat comparable to the Unix tar file.

This was last updated in December 2005

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