JNA VS win32metadata

Compare JNA vs win32metadata and see what are their differences.


Java Native Access (by java-native-access)


Tooling to generate metadata for Win32 APIs in the Windows SDK. (by microsoft)
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JNA win32metadata
22 27
8,247 1,280
0.7% 1.3%
7.8 0.0
21 days ago 10 days ago
Java C++
GNU General Public License v3.0 or later GNU General Public License v3.0 or later
The number of mentions indicates the total number of mentions that we've tracked plus the number of user suggested alternatives.
Stars - the number of stars that a project has on GitHub. Growth - month over month growth in stars.
Activity is a relative number indicating how actively a project is being developed. Recent commits have higher weight than older ones.
For example, an activity of 9.0 indicates that a project is amongst the top 10% of the most actively developed projects that we are tracking.


Posts with mentions or reviews of JNA. We have used some of these posts to build our list of alternatives and similar projects. The last one was on 2023-12-10.
  • FFM (Foreign Function and Memory API) Goes Final
    3 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 10 Dec 2023
    As far as I understand it, with JNA, all calls into C code go through libffi: https://github.com/java-native-access/jna/blob/master/www/Fu...

    This means that every call sets up some libffi data structures and libffi uses this information to perform the native call. Likewise in the other direction for return values. With JNI (and Panama), Hotspot can directly emit the argument/return code a the call, not too dissimilar from what a C or C++ compiler would do. There is still some overhead from maintaining JVM invariants. For example, I think a thread blocked in an FFI call can still participate in a safepoint. But that applies to JNI as well.

  • Projetos em Java -- Por que vocĂȘ ou sua equipe escolheram a linguagem Java?
    1 project | /r/brdev | 8 Jun 2023
  • Are there any Non-Mobile Kotlin Native libraries wrapping C libraries like libhidapi/opengl?
    3 projects | /r/Kotlin | 6 Aug 2022
    If you were prepared to go to the JVM you might try JNA. https://github.com/java-native-access/jna
  • How to create fundamental libraries for my language?
    2 projects | /r/ProgrammingLanguages | 22 Jul 2022
    Other good example, but for Java platform is JNA library. Do not mix it with Java's JNI, which is a bad example of how it could be done.
  • Rust vs Java for simple small GUI apps
    1 project | /r/learnrust | 22 May 2022
    In case you haven't used it (assuming that you already know about JNI, for comparison) - https://github.com/java-native-access/jna is about as easy as it gets for native interop. Also, as mentioned in another comment, with the Java FFM (Foreign Function and Memory) API already in preview mode, pretty soon, there will be no external dependencies at all, and Java should be able to interop with any language that can talk to C.
  • Kotlin/Native
    1 project | /r/Kotlin | 28 Apr 2022
  • Does Java 18 finally have a better alternative to JNI?
    5 projects | dev.to | 11 Apr 2022
    The complexity of JNI has given rise to some community-driven libraries that make it simpler to do FFI in Java. Java Native Access (JNA) is one of them. It's built on top of JNI and at least makes FFI easier to use, especially as it removes the need to write any C binding code manually and reduces the chances of memory safety issues. Still, it has some of the disadvantages of being JNI-based and is slightly slower than JNI in many cases. However, JNA is widely used and battle-tested, so definitely a better option than using JNI directly.
  • JEP 419: Foreign Function and Memory API
    4 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 29 Mar 2022
    This is about calling into any native operating system APIs, as long as they are callable via C or C++ (which these days means "all" operating system APIs).

    JNI is somewhat harder to use, because you need custom glue on both sides of the border: Some custom classes in Java and some custom code on the C (and C++) side.

    This proposal would remove the need for the glue on the C side and would allow a pure java solution.

    Something like this has existed in third-party form for a while as JNA (https://github.com/java-native-access/jna), but now it's going to be built into the JRE itself (if the proposal passes through review)

  • How run ToS on MacOSX as a java command?
    1 project | /r/thinkorswim | 6 Dec 2021
  • Choosing Java as your language for a Machine Learning project
    2 projects | /r/java | 4 Nov 2021
    I use JNA https://github.com/java-native-access/jna , as you can write the entire interface in Java faster as well as easier without the need of messing with the complexities of JNI.


Posts with mentions or reviews of win32metadata. We have used some of these posts to build our list of alternatives and similar projects. The last one was on 2023-05-02.
  • Hey Rustaceans! Got a question? Ask here (18/2023)!
    5 projects | /r/rust | 2 May 2023
    As /u/huellenoperator notes, that this needs a pointer to a mutable string comes straight from microsoft through win32metadata. Maybe it's a mistake on Microsoft's side, but if it's not you're taking big risks.
  • Kernel Headers for Windows could soon make it into windows-rs
    5 projects | /r/rust | 22 Feb 2023
    Microsoft offers official "bindings" to Win32 APIs through win32metadata. However, until recently, it did not include metadata for kernel-level functions or WDK. In early 2021, an issue was raised through windows-rs regarding this limitation, but progress was slow until now. Microsoft has finally released official metadata for WDK, which can be found on the wdkmetadata repository. The latest comment on the issue thread can be found here:
  • winreader: read memory from other programs
    3 projects | /r/rust | 2 Feb 2023
    for win32metadata's kernel api tracking issue, https://github.com/microsoft/win32metadata/issues/401
  • Best windows stubs
    2 projects | /r/rust | 27 Jan 2023
    Any examples? Since the API bindings in windows-sys are generated from the metadata generated from official Windows SDK headers I'd not expect to see this kind of difference.
  • can we be free of c?
    1 project | /r/ProgrammingLanguages | 18 Nov 2022
    You might also look at this project: https://github.com/microsoft/win32metadata
  • Is it time to retire C and C++ for Rust in new programs?
    2 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 28 Sep 2022
    There is still the occasional incredibly subtle link time fuckery in Rust.


    "Minor" semver updates to crates breaking things via e.g. unexpected MSRV bumps is pretty common too, with some resulting bitrot. That said, I agree with you that things in Rust are at least better. Imperfect, but better.

  • Are there any Windows-centric perks of using C# that other non-Microsoft languages simply can't offer (or at least don't out of the box)?
    1 project | /r/AskProgramming | 7 Aug 2022
    Win32 is available as metadata to enable adoption in as many languages as possible. Are there some things missing? Yes. The Microsoft team acknowledges that and encourages asking for the things you need so they can add them to the metadata.
  • Using Windows API in Julia?
    3 projects | /r/Julia | 1 Feb 2022
    It might be interesting to have bindings generated for the entirety of Win32 API through https://github.com/microsoft/win32metadata
  • Would std code for Windows ever use the windows crate by Microsoft?
    6 projects | /r/rust | 22 Dec 2021
  • The Atrocities of COM win32 headers
    9 projects | news.ycombinator.com | 18 Dec 2021
    Hi JB! Funny to cross paths with you in this context. I don't know if you remember me but I was a rookie programmer who got the pleasure of joining the VideoLan Conference in Dublin back in 2014, and then Paris the next year, and you were very kind to me.

    The GitHub issue title here is unfortunately misleading. I have renamed it to "ideas to improve windows header files and libc". Also, I hope it is clear that I rebutted the points made by the OP, because I completely agree with your summary that the mingw-w64 people are skilled, nice and very clever and think about all use cases.

    If any drive-by HN readers work at Microsoft, please help us with this issue: https://github.com/microsoft/win32metadata/issues/766

What are some alternatives?

When comparing JNA and win32metadata you can also consider the following projects:

JNR - Java Abstracted Foreign Function Layer

rust-bindgen - Automatically generates Rust FFI bindings to C (and some C++) libraries.

JavaCPP - The missing bridge between Java and native C++

go - The Go programming language

SWIG - SWIG is a software development tool that connects programs written in C and C++ with a variety of high-level programming languages.

winapi - Windows API declarations without <windows.h>, for internal Boost use.

panama-foreign - https://openjdk.org/projects/panama

zig - General-purpose programming language and toolchain for maintaining robust, optimal, and reusable software.

Introducing .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI) - .NET MAUI is the .NET Multi-platform App UI, a framework for building native device applications spanning mobile, tablet, and desktop.

STL - MSVC's implementation of the C++ Standard Library.