OSGi Getting Started

By Michael N. Lipp

View GitHub Project


Part 1: The container

Part 2: Simplest Bundle

Part 3: Simple Bundle

Part 4: Eclipse (OSGi) Plugin

Part 5: Bndtools

Part 6: Shift in Perspective

Part 7: Accessing a Service

Part 8: Tracking a Service

Part 9: Using a Service

Interlude: Cleaning up

Part 10: Service Component

Using a Service

Now let’s really use the log service. Activate the log statement in HelloWorld and replace the System.out.println statements in Activator (comments regarding features explained already have been removed):

public class Activator implements BundleActivator {

    private ServiceTracker<LogService, LogService> logServiceTracker;
    static public LogService logService = null;
    private HelloWorld helloWorld;

    public void start(BundleContext context) throws Exception {
        if (logServiceTracker == null) {
            logServiceTracker = new ServiceTracker<LogService, LogService>(
                    context, LogService.class, null) {
                public LogService addingService(ServiceReference<LogService> reference) {
                    LogService result = super.addingService(reference);
                    if (isPreferred(reference)) {
                        logService = result;
                    if (helloWorld == null) {
                        logService.log(LogService.LOG_INFO, "Hello World starting.");
                        helloWorld = new HelloWorld();
                        logService.log(LogService.LOG_INFO, "Hello World started.");
                    return result;

                private boolean isPreferred(ServiceReference<LogService> candidate) {
                public void removedService(ServiceReference<LogService> reference,
                                           LogService service) {
                    super.removedService(reference, service);
                    LogService nowCurrent = getService();
                    if (nowCurrent != null) {
                        logService = nowCurrent;
                    if (helloWorld != null) {
                        logService.log(LogService.LOG_INFO, "Stopping Hello World.");
                        try {
                        } catch (InterruptedException e) {
                        helloWorld = null;
                        logService.log(LogService.LOG_INFO, "Hello World stopped.");
                    logService = null;

    public void stop(BundleContext context) throws Exception {

Running this shows … nothing. Well, not really nothing, “Hello World” is printed all right. But there are no log messages. Like me, you might be tempted to start searching for a log file. Don’t, you won’t find anything.

The log service is designed a bit differently from what you expect from a logging facility. When log is called, the log service creates a LogEntry, stores it in an overwriting circular buffer with implementation-specific size and notifies any registered LogListeners. In order to see anything, we first have to install and start a bundle that provides and registers a LogListener with the log reader service. The log listener forwards the log entries to the console, a file or whatever.

One would assume that it should be easy to find a simple OSGi bundle that implements this functionality. But, I (or the search engine) failed. Instead of spending more time on searching, I decided to provide my own simple forwarder to standard java.util.logging (JUL). Which raises the question how you can add an independently provided OSGi bundle to your project.

Focusing on the Eclipse GUI (Bndtools), an easy way is outlined in its FAQ. Looking at things a bit closer, you’ll find that the action described there modifies the cnf project that had been created when we used Bndtools for the first time. The cnf project is needed by the bnd tool that is the basis for Bndtools. The bnd tools refers to the cnf directory as its “workspace”1. Among some other purposes, cnf provides a repository for locally imported bundles (subdirectory local) and the releases of the bundles under development (subdirectory release). The drag-and-drop approach described in the FAQ adds the bundle to the local repository.

Provided that the bundles that you want to add are maintained in an OSGi repository, a better approach is to add this (remote) repository to the list of repositories that are searched for bundles. This list is maintained in build.bnd (in the cnf project). When you create a new “Bndtools OSGi Workspace” using the wizard (choosing “bndtools/workspace”) the repositories are configured like this2:

-plugin.1.Central: \
	aQute.bnd.deployer.repository.wrapper.Plugin; \
		location = "${build}/cache/wrapper"; \
		reindex = true, \
	aQute.bnd.jpm.Repository; \
		includeStaged = true; \
		name = Central; \
		location = ~/.bnd/shacache; \
		index = ${build}/central.json

-plugin.2.Local: \
	aQute.bnd.deployer.repository.LocalIndexedRepo; \
		name = Local; \
		pretty = true; \
		local = ${build}/local

-plugin.3.Templates: \
	aQute.bnd.deployer.repository.LocalIndexedRepo; \
		name = Templates; \
		pretty = true; \
		local = ${build}/templates

-plugin.4.Release: \
	aQute.bnd.deployer.repository.LocalIndexedRepo; \
		name = Release; \
		pretty = true; \
		local = ${build}/release

There is also a repository GUI view that reflects this configuration.

Adding a repository

As you can see in the screenshot, the edit buttons are disabled. In previous versions of Bndtools (before 3.2.0) you could use them to add a repository. Currently, you have to edit build.bnd in the source view and add:

-plugin.5.de.mnl.osgi: \
	aQute.bnd.deployer.repository.FixedIndexedRepo; \
		name=de.mnl.osgi; \
		locations=https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mnlipp/de.mnl.osgi/master/cnf/release/index.xml; \

After this change, go back to the “Run” tab of the project’s bnd.bnd editor. Use the plus icon to add the bundle de.mnl.osgi.log.fwd2jul to the “Run bundles”.

Adding the fwd2jul bundle

Run the project again with the augmented set of bundles and see the log messages being printed in the JUL format. List the bundles and stop and start the simple bundle once more and observe the messages.

  1. Not to be confused with the Eclipse workspace. The default layout puts cnf as a top level project in your Eclipse workspace. However, the only real restriction is that cnf must be a sibling of the (bnd) OSGi projects under development. The layout for this introduction uses a top level (gradle nature only) project, with cnf and the sample bundle projects as children.

  2. At the time of this writing. As “bndtools/workspace” copied the configuration project from a github directory, the layout can change at any time independently from the bndtools version.