Compile native images

Using the Cloud Client Libraries for Java, you can compile applications as native images. This approach provides performance benefits to your application by leveraging ahead-of-time compilation to reduce the cold start-up time and memory footprint of your application.

Client library versions

Make sure that you are using version 25.4.0 or later of the Cloud Libraries Bill of Materials (libraries-bom) or that you are using client libraries published after May 2022.

Most users manage their client library versions using the libraries-bom. This is an easy way to check that the versions of all the client libraries in your project are compatible with each other and up-to-date.

For more information about applying the libraries-bom to your project on Maven and Gradle, see Updating your project to use the BOM.

Supported libraries

The stable Google Cloud Client Libraries for Java listed in the Supported APIs table support native image compilation.

Before you begin

To use native image compilation with the desired Google Cloud Client Libraries for Java, follow these prerequisite steps:

  1. If you have not already, create a Google Cloud Project.

  2. Install the Google Cloud CLI, which allows you to run the sample with your project's credentials.

  3. After installing the Google Cloud CLI, log in with Application Default Credentials using the following command:

    gcloud auth application-default login
  4. Install an appropriate JDK distribution such as GraalVM.

  5. Make sure that you installed the native image extension by running the following command:

    gu install native-image
  6. Verify that the default version of Java is set correctly by running java -version in a terminal. The output is similar to the following:

    java -version
    openjdk version "17.0.9" 2023-10-17
    OpenJDK Runtime Environment GraalVM CE 17.0.9+9.1 (build 17.0.9+9-jvmci-23.0-b22)
    OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM GraalVM CE 17.0.9+9.1 (build 17.0.9+9-jvmci-23.0-b22, mixed mode, sharing)

Build an application as a native image

The following instructions use the native build tools plugins to build an application as a native image.

Maven setup instructions

  1. Copy and paste this text into your application's POM to use the native Maven plugin to build the native image for the application. Be sure to replace MAIN_CLASS with the name of your main class and VERSION with the version of the native Maven plugin, such as 0.10.1.

  2. Run mvn package -Pnative to generate the native image in the ./target folder.

  3. Run the application like you run any executable. For example, ./target/$IMAGE_NAME. The plugin defaults to the artifact ID of the project.

Gradle setup instructions

  1. Set the main class of your application by pasting the following text in your build.gradle file.

    application {
  2. Add the native-gradle plugin as described in Adding the plugin.

  3. Call ./gradlew nativeCompile to build the native image into the ./build/native/nativeCompile directory.

  4. Run the application as an executable. For example, ./build/native/nativeCompile/$PROJECT_NAME. With the plugin, the image name defaults to the project name.

Common Issues

SLF4J compatibility

If you are performing native image compilation on a client library with the SLF4J dependency, you may see the following built-time error.

Fatal error:$ParsingError: Error encountered while parsing, boolean)
Parsing context:
   at org.graalvm.nativeimage.pointsto/
Caused by: No instances of org.slf4j.jul.JDK14LoggerAdapter are allowed in the image heap as this class should be initialized at image runtime. To see how this object got instantiated use --trace-object-instantiation=org.slf4j.jul.JDK14LoggerAdapter.

Add to your META-INF/native-image/$GROUP_ID/$ARTIFACT_ID/ file to address this issue.

However, this configuration may incur a performance cost for the generated native image, depending on the code path your application follows.

Alternatively, consider using a different logging library such as Flogger or the java.util.logging library.


Please report any issues and questions related to Java native image compilation from the GitHub issues page.

What's next?