Working with Java classes is a job for programmers and any tool that can make the decompilation and conversion of this files easier is welcomed. Such a utility is JAD, a command-line application that is designed to work fast and with accuracy.
The program is written in C++ and it's main function is to disassemble .class files, but it can just as well clean source code and thus make it more suitable for compiling.
JAD can be deployed from the command-line console and it will decompile Java classes into source code. This way, developers can glance deep into the code of Java runtime libraries and even beautify the lines, preparing them for a recompilation.
There are some limitations this software struggles with and during our tests we found out that it cannot parse class files with versions other than 45.3, 46.0 and 47.0. Nonetheless, the output .jad file was generated correctly, even if some member class references could not be found.
The decompiling ability of JAD will certainly prove a godsend for any developer who lost or misplaced the source code. However, one should note that there is a risk of overwriting source code files, especially when the '-o' (overwrite output files without confirmation) parameter is used.
All in all, this tiny application does a great job when it comes to disassembling .class Java files, despite some inherent glitches caused by some innate limitations. A great helper for recovering and exploring source code, JAD can surely be one of the tools of choice in the utility belt of many Java developers.