Elektra  0.9.2
How-To: Java kdb


When programming in Java it is possible to access the key database, changing values of existing keys or adding new ones and a few other things. It is also possible to write plugins for Elektra in Java but we will focus on using the Java binding in this tutorial.

First Steps

In order to use kdb you need to include the dependency in your project. Here you can find a detailed tutorial on how to do that.

After that you can start loading a KDB object as follows:

Key key = Key.create("user/kdbsession/javabinding");
try (KDB kdb = KDB.open(key)) {
//Your code to manipulate keys
} catch (KDB.KDBException e) {

Note that KDB implements AutoClosable which allows try-with-resouces.

You can also pass a Key object with an empty string on the first line. The passed key (user/kdbsession/javabinding in this case) is being used for the session and stores warnings and error information.

Fetching keys

First I will show you how you can retrieve a key which is already part of the database. The first thing we need to do is to create a KeySet in which our keys will be stored.

KeySet set = KeySet.create();

Now we load all keys and provide a parent key from which all keys below will be loaded

kdb.get(set, Key.create("user"));

Now we can simply fetch the desired key's value as follows:

String str = set.lookup("user/my/presaved/key").getString()

So for example if you have executed before the application starts kdb set user/my/test it_works!, the method call set.lookup("user/my/test").getString() would return it_works!.

Saving Keys

Next I will show you how to save a new key into the database. First we need need to create an empty KeySet again. We also need to fetch all keys for the namespace before we will be able to save a new key.

KeySet set = KeySet.create();
Key namespace = Key.create("user");
kdb.get(set, namespace); //Fetch all keys for the namespace
set.append(Key.create("user/somekey", "myValue"));
kdb.set(set, key);

If you try to save a key without fetching it beforehand, a KDBException will be thrown, telling you to call get before set.

The user namespace is accessible without special rights, but if you try to write to system you will need to have root privileges. Take a look at TESTING.md to see how to access the system namespace as non-root user. This should only be done in testing environments though as it is not intended for productive systems.


Traversing Keys in a <tt>KeySet</tt>

Key key = Key.create("user/errors");
try (KDB kdb = KDB.open(key)) {
KeySet set = KeySet.create();
Key namespace = Key.create("user"); //Select a namespace from which all keys should be fetched
kdb.get(set, namespace); //Fetch all keys into the set object
for (int i = 0; i < set.length(); i++) { //Traverse the set
String keyAndValue = String.format("%s: %s",
set.at(i).getName(), //Fetch the key's name
set.at(i).getString()); //Fetch the key's value
} catch (KDB.KDBException e) {

First we create a new KDB object and fetch all keys for the desired namespace, in this example the user namespace. Since it saves all keys in our passed set variable we can then iterate through it by a simple for loop. The at(int) method gives us the key on the corresponding position which we will print out in this example.

Read Multiple Keys From KDB

This example shows how to read multiple keys. It provides comments for further clarification. Before building and running this example, add first your jar file like described here. Then build the project with this command from the root directory:

mvn clean package

Afterwards run it with (change VERSION in the command below!):

java -cp target/read-keys-example-jar-with-dependencies.jar:lib/libelektra4j-VERSION.jar org.libelektra.app.App

Java Plugin Tutorial

For the tutorial on how to write java plugins, please check out this page.

This is the main namespace for the C++ binding and libraries.
Definition: backend.hpp:30