Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creating OSGi Bundles with Maven Bundle Plugin

OSGi is a framework specification to create java applications based on a complete and dynamic component model. That means your application can be entirely consisted of cohesive and loosely-coupled modules. These modules are called "bundles" in OSGi jargon.

There are several implementations including Apache Felix and Eclipse Equinox. These implementations use existing capabilities of Java Archive (jar) files to implement OSGi bundles. If you look inside a general jar file (which is basically a zip file with .jar extension), there will be a file called MANIFEST.MF inside a directory named META-INF. If the jar was built by maven it will contain some meta data like: 
Manifest-Version: 1.0
Archiver-Version: Plexus Archiver
Created-By: Apache Maven
Built-By: amilas
Build-Jdk: 1.6.0_35

There are manifest headers specific to OSGi so that runtime can recognize the jar file as a bundle ( and more). Bnd is a tool used to insert those headers into jar files.

While there's built-in support for OSGI in famous IDEs such as Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA, if your project is maven-based, it's convenient to use maven for creating bundles too.
Maven Bundle Plugin can be used for this purpose. We can specify OSGi parameters in the module POM and the bundle plugin will use Bnd to automatically insert them and create an OSGi bundle.

This is a introductory post to show how to use Maven with IntelliJ IDEA to create OSGi bundles.

Goto File-> New Project... and select "Create  project from scratch"
At the next screen, enter give a project name and a location as shown. Make sure to select the type as Maven Module.

Finally enter a group id as shown, and click finish.

This will create a new project and a module from maven archtype.

Now let's create two sub modules for our project. these will be the resulting OSGi bundles.

Goto File-> Add Module... again "Create  project from scratch" and name the module as "module-a". In the final screen "Add module to" and "parent" fields should be automatically filled as shown.

Similarly add another module named module-b

 Create two packages "api" and "impl" inside org.amila.sample.osgi.a in module-a, and similarly in module-b so the project pane will show the project structure as follows.

You can use Bundle activator to perform some tasks when the OSGi framework starts or stops a certain bundle. We can implement org.osgi.framework.BundleActivator interface to utilize this function.
Create a new class Adapter in your impl package in module A. Use the following code:

package org.amila.sample.osgi.a.impl;

import org.osgi.framework.BundleActivator;
import org.osgi.framework.BundleContext;

public class Activator implements BundleActivator {

     * Implements BundleActivator.start().
     * @param bundleContext - the framework context for the bundle.
    public void start(BundleContext bundleContext) throws Exception {
        System.out.println("Module A is starting");

     * Implements BundleActivator.stop().
     * @param bundleContext - the framework context for the bundle.
    public void stop(BundleContext bundleContext) throws Exception {
        System.out.println("Module A is shutting down");

Add the felix dependency to the module POM.

Set the packaging to "bundle" and add the maven bundle plugin.

After these changes, pom.xml of module-a should look like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project xmlns=""



Similarly add Activator and bundle configuration for module B.

 Now, you can build the project using maven. Resulting jar files will be OSGi bundles. If you open MANIFEST.MF file of a bundle now it will contain bundle headers as we configured in the module POM.

You don't have to specify packages to import. If your module uses a package from another module, its import header will be automatically added to the file.


Dunith Dhanushka said...

Hey, this is a great post! thanks for sharing!

Lasitha Wattaladeniya said...

Good article (Y)