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Java Language Getting and Setting fields


Using the Reflection API, it is possible to change or get the value of a field at runtime. For example, you could use it in an API to retrieve different fields based on a factor, like the OS. You can also remove modifiers like final to allow modifing fields that are final.

To do so, you will need to use the method Class#getField() in a way such as the one shown below:

// Get the field in class SomeClass "NAME".
Field nameField = SomeClass.class.getDeclaredField("NAME");

// Get the field in class Field "modifiers". Note that it does not 
// need to be static
Field modifiersField = Field.class.getDeclaredField("modifiers");

// Allow access from anyone even if it's declared private

// Get the modifiers on the "NAME" field as an int.
int existingModifiersOnNameField = nameField.getModifiers();

// Bitwise AND NOT Modifier.FINAL (16) on the existing modifiers
// Readup here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitwise_operations_in_C
// if you're unsure what bitwise operations are.
int newModifiersOnNameField = existingModifiersOnNameField & ~Modifier.FINAL;

// Set the value of the modifiers field under an object for non-static fields
modifiersField.setInt(nameField, newModifiersOnNameField);

// Set it to be accessible. This overrides normal Java 
// private/protected/package/etc access control checks.

 // Set the value of "NAME" here. Note the null argument. 
 // Pass null when modifying static fields, as there is no instance object
nameField.set(null, "Hacked by reflection...");

// Here I can directly access it. If needed, use reflection to get it. (Below)

Getting fields is much easier. We can use Field#get() and its variants to get its value:

// Get the field in class SomeClass "NAME".
Field nameField = SomeClass.class.getDeclaredField("NAME");

// Set accessible for private fields

// Pass null as there is no instance, remember?
String name = (String) nameField.get(null);

Do note this:

When using Class#getDeclaredField, use it to get a field in the class itself:

class HackMe extends Hacked {
    public String iAmDeclared;

class Hacked {
    public String someState;

Here, HackMe#iAmDeclared is declared field. However, HackMe#someState is not a declared field as it is inherited from its superclass, Hacked.