What is the best way to load a class or resource from a plugin?

 What is the best way to load a resource from the classpath?

Because of the different ways that application servers deal with class-loading, just calling this.getClass().getResourceAsStream() might not work the same everywhere Confluence is deployed. To help, we have a utility method that checks the various classloaders in a predictable order:

InputStream in = com.atlassian.core.util.ClassLoaderUtils.getResourceAsStream(filename, this)

Inside Plugins

Because plugins may be dynamically loaded, each plugin may have its own classloader, separate from the main Confluence application. This makes loading resources like properties files from inside a plugin JAR a little tricky.

If the class from which you are loading the resource is in the same jar as the resource file itself (i.e. it's all part of the same plugin), you can use ClassLoaderUtils as above, and everything will work fine.

However, if you are trying to load the file from a different plugin, or from the main application code, you'll need an instance of the pluginManager from spring:

InputStream in = pluginManager.getDynamicResourceAsStream(filename)

An example of modules and resources

When writing your own ModuleDescriptor you might want developers that depend on your ModuleDescriptor write something that looks like this in their atlassian-plugin.xml:

atlasian-plugin.xml example definition
<swagger-enforcer key="meRestSwaggerEnforcer">
    <resource name="my-rest-swagger" type="swagger" location="swagger/swagger.json" />

They would then have a ModuleDescriptor with an init() method that looks something like this:

public void init(@Nonnull Plugin plugin, @Nonnull Element element) throws PluginParseException {
    super.init(plugin, element);
    for (ResourceDescriptor resourceDescriptor : getResourceDescriptors(RESOURCE_DESCRIPTOR_TYPE)) {
        final InputStream potentialResource = plugin.getClassLoader().getResourceAsStream(resourceDescriptor.getLocation());
        Preconditions.checkState(potentialResource != null, "Could not find the swagger resource: " + resourceDescriptor.getLocation());


There are two important function invocations in this example:

  • AbstractModuleDescriptor#getResourceDescriptors(java.lang.String)
    This method makes it easy to extract resource declarations from Atlassian Plugins 2 Module Descriptor XML definitions. You should use this for your own resource declarations.
  • plugin.getClassLoader().getResourceAsStream(resourceDescriptor.getLocation());
    This is the preferred method of extracting a resource from another plugin.

Use this to load resources from other plugins that have been defined inside atlassian-plugin.xml files.

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