Eclipse JDT tutorial: Parse a Java method by using ASTParser

This tutorial belongs to Eclipse JDT Tutorial Series.

ASTParser can use its setKind() method to set source to be parsed as a compilation unit, single expression, a sequence of statements, or a sequence of class body declarations.


Any of those four can not handle a single independent method. This is not pleasant. Following the logic of a compilation unit, a class can be parsed. So we can add a fake class name as a shell to each method, then the method wrapped in a fake class can be parsed correctly by using ASTParser.

The code looks like this:

String sourceStart = "public class A {";
//add a fake class A as a shell, to meet the requirement of ASTParser
String sourceMiddle = "";
for(String s : tempMiddle){	
	s = s.trim();
	if(s.trim().length()>0 && !s.startsWith("---") && !s.startsWith("/") && !s.startsWith("*") )
	sourceMiddle += s.trim() + "\n";
String sourceEnd = "}";
String source = sourceStart + sourceMiddle + sourceEnd;
final CompilationUnit cu = (CompilationUnit) parser.createAST(null);
cu.accept(new ASTVisitor() {
        //by add more visit method like the following below, then all king of statement can be visited.
	public boolean visit(ForStatement node) {
	System.out.println("ForStatement -- content:" + node.toString());
	ArrayList<Integer> al = new ArrayList<Integer>();
	return false;

There may be a better way to do this, but surely this works and it is much better than writing a parser from scratch.


Here is a post about using JDT ASTParser to parse a class which resides in a .java file.

Category >> Java Development Tools (JDT)  
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  1. clace on 2012-9-13

    Hi Admin,
    I’ve read your post about ASTParser Class, I’m interesting to know about how can I do to read a java class file and get its attribute, methods, dependency in general, please if you can to write me, thanks a lot!

  2. Saulius on 2015-5-22

    I’ve tried this. Not sure there was a need to eliminate comments, I just used IMethod.getSource() as sourceMiddle. However, node.resolveMethodBinding() would return null in Visitor, which was unacceptable for me. Instead I pass method to Visitor constructor and then check if this is the method I need to analyze. It’s rather complex pattern though :/

  3. mahmoud abdeen on 2016-3-13

    hi .. i wont to know how to get the declaration of parameters in the method and the number of using of each parameters inside the method .. can you help me??

  4. George Gastaldi on 2016-3-16

    There is Roaster, which uses Eclipse JDT and provides a nice abstraction API on top of that:

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