Java remote method invocation

In computing, the Java Remote Method Invocation is a Java API that performs remote method invocation, the object-oriented equivalent of remote procedure calls, with support for direct transfer of serialized Java classes and distributed garbage-collection.
The original implementation depends on Java Virtual Machine class-representation mechanisms and it thus only supports making calls from one JVM to another. The protocol underlying this Java-only implementation is known as Java Remote Method Protocol. In order to support code running in a non-JVM context, programmers later developed a CORBA version.
Usage of the term RMI may denote solely the programming interface or may signify both the API and JRMP, IIOP, or another implementation, whereas the term RMI-IIOP specifically denotes the RMI interface delegating most of the functionality to the supporting CORBA implementation.
The basic idea of Java RMI, the distributed garbage-collection protocol, and much of the architecture underlying the original Sun implementation, come from the "network objects" feature of Modula-3.

Generalized code

The programmers of the original RMI API generalized the code somewhat to support different implementations, such as a HTTP transport. Additionally, the ability to pass arguments "by value" was added to CORBA in order to be compatible with the RMI interface. Still, the RMI-IIOP and JRMP implementations do not have fully identical interfaces.
RMI functionality comes in the package, while most of Sun's implementation is located in the sun.rmi package. Note that with Java versions before Java 5.0 developers had to compile RMI stubs in a separate compilation step using rmic. Version 5.0 of Java and beyond no longer require this step.

Jini version

offers a more advanced version of RMI in Java. It functions similarly but provides more advanced security, object discovery capabilities, and other mechanisms for distributed object applications.


The following classes implement a simple client-server program using RMI that displays a message.
RmiServer class — listens to RMI requests and implements the interface which is used by the client to invoke remote methods.

import java.rmi.Naming;
import java.rmi.RemoteException;
import java.rmi.server.UnicastRemoteObject;
import java.rmi.registry.*;
public class RmiServer extends UnicastRemoteObject implements RmiServerIntf

RmiServerIntf interface — defines the interface that is used by the client and implemented by the server.

import java.rmi.Remote;
import java.rmi.RemoteException;
public interface RmiServerIntf extends Remote

RmiClient class — this is the client which gets the reference to the remote object living on the server and invokes its method to get a message. If the server object implemented instead of java.rmi.Remote, it would be serialized and passed to the client as a value.

import java.rmi.Naming;
public class RmiClient

Before running this example, we need to make a 'stub' file for the interface we used. For this task we have the RMI compiler - 'rmic'

rmic RmiServer

Note that since version 5.0 of J2SE support for dynamically generated stub files has been added, and rmic is only provided for backwards compatibility with earlier runtimes, or for programs that don't provide an explicit port number when exporting remote objects, which is required for generated stubs to be possible, as described in the Javadoc for UnicastRemoteObject. See the comment in the constructor above.