MIT License
Apr 9, 2017
See also


1.0.0 (Mar 30, 2017)
Mar 27, 2017
Apr 20, 2017
Andrew Grosner (agrosner)
Andrew Grosner (agrosner)
Source code



KPoet is a Kotlin extensions library on top of JavaPoet that helps you write code generators / annotation processors that feel like actually writing Java code directly. It provides a Kotlin DSL syntax that resembles real java code as much as possible. Also it attempts to make the code generator writing clear as writing native java code itself.

Here's a (boring) HelloWorld class:

package com.example.helloworld;

public final class HelloWorld {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    System.out.println("Hello, JavaPoet!");

Is represented in JavaPoet like:

MethodSpec main = MethodSpec.methodBuilder("main")
    .addModifiers(Modifier.PUBLIC, Modifier.STATIC)
    .addParameter(String[].class, "args")
    .addStatement("$T.out.println($S)", System.class, "Hello, JavaPoet!")

TypeSpec helloWorld = TypeSpec.classBuilder("HelloWorld")
    .addModifiers(Modifier.PUBLIC, Modifier.FINAL)

JavaFile javaFile = JavaFile.builder("com.example.helloworld", helloWorld)


While JavaPoet provides a very nice library that makes it easier to write code that writes Java code, there are a few problems with vanilla JavaPoet code:

  1. The code is declared in reverse order. You define constructs that are nested inside larger ones (fields, methods, etc) first, then work your way up to the JavaFile.
  2. You have to think about how the code will look a lot (especially when it gets more complex), decreasing maintainability.
  3. No order enforced where you declare the spec properties, potentially leading to mistakes and can reduce readibility.

KPoet attempts to solve these issues by:

  1. Providing Kotlin DSL extension builders that map closely to native Java code.
  2. Have the code you write for the generator resemble the Java output code closely and in the order you expect, providing both readibility and maintainability.
  3. Also, KPoet provides more concise methods and constructs that will reduce lines of code.

So using KPoet from the previous example:

javaFile("com.example.helloworld") {
  `class`("HelloWorld") {  modifiers(public, final)

    `public static`(TypeName.VOID, "main",
        param(Array<String>::class, "args")) {
      statement("\$T.out.println(${"Hello, JavaPoet!"}.S)",

As you can see, KPoet takes JavaPoet code and turns it into an expressive DSL that tries to map to regular java as much as possible.

if we want to output a method such as this:

public boolean handleAction(String action) {
  switch(action) {
    case "bonus": { = "BONUS";
    default: { = "NO BONUS";

  if ( == "BONUS") {
    return true
  } else if (  == "NO BONUS") {
    return false

  throw new IllegalStateException("Did not process proper action")

We represent it as:

`public`(TypeName.BOOLEAN, "handleAction",
       param(String::class, "action")) {
  switch("action") {
    case("bonus".S) {
      statement(" = ${"BONUS".S}") // .S wraps it in quotes
    default {
      statement(" = ${"NO BONUS".S}")

  `if`(" == ${"BONUS".S}") {
    `return`(true.L) // string literal representation with .L
  }.`else if`(" == ${"NO_BONUS".S}") {
  }.end() // end required for `if` and `else if`.

  `throw new`(IllegalStateException::class, "Did not process proper action")


Including in your project:

allProjects {
  repositories {
    // required to find the project's artifacts
    maven { url "" }
compile 'com.squareup:javapoet:1.8.0' // version of JavaPoet currently
compile 'com.github.agrosner:KPoet:1.0.0' // version of KPoet

The next few sections we attempt to mirror the JavaPoet readme, but converted syntax for KPoet, to give you an idea of what the library provides.

Code & Control Flow

JavaPoet offers APIs to make code generation easier.

We want to write:

void main() {
  int total = 0;
  for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
    total += i;

And so JavaPoet has us write this MethodSpec:

MethodSpec main = MethodSpec.methodBuilder("main")
    .addStatement("int total = 0")
    .beginControlFlow("for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++)")
    .addStatement("total += i")

This is a simple example, but you have to think about what the code will look like when it's generated. Also if you forget to provide a corresponding endControlFlow() for every beginControlFlow(), it will lead you to runtime crashes that can make it very difficult to diagnose.

With KPoet, you do less thinking about how the code will look:

val main = `fun`(TypeName.VOID, "main") {
  statement("int total = 0")
  `for`("int i = 0; i < 10; i++") {
    statement("total += i")


`do` {
}.`while`("sum < 20")


KPoet has a couple helper methods for cases where we need to pass a literal value to a statement, or code block. The best example is return.

addStatement("return \$L", someLiteral)

can easily be replaced with:


This simply converts the object to string, but preserving the JavaPoet-like syntax.


When using code that includes string literals, JavaPoet uses $S to emit a string, wrapping quotation marks to escape it.

With the power of Kotlin string interpolation, we barely need to use $S. For cases where we need to convert it to a string for code output, KPoet provides the Any?.S property to simply wrap the object's toString() value in quotes.

`public`(String::class, "getStatus", param(TypeName.BOOLEAN, "isReady")) {
  `if`("isReady") {
    `return`("BONUS".S) // if we don't use .S, it's outputted as a literal.
  } else {
    `return`("NO BONUS".S)

which outputs:

public String getStatus(boolean isReady) {
  if (isReady) {
    return "BONUS";
  } else {
    return "NO BONUS";


JavaPoet has spectacular handling of reference types by collecting and importing them to make the code much more readable, KPoet does not provide any extension on top of this functionality.

You will still need to pass that Class or TypeName to JavaPoet:

`abstract class`("TestClass") {  modifiers(public)
    field(TypeName.BOOLEAN, isReady, { `=`(false.L) })
    field(String::class, isReady, { `=`("SomeName".S) })

    `constructor`(param(TypeName.BOOLEAN, isReady)) {
        statement("this.$isReady = $isReady")

Be careful: this library does not convert KClass<*> to Class<*> in string interpolation with "$T". However, most of places where Class is used in JavaPoet we provide the KClass version of that.

Import Static

KPoet supports import static pretty easily. When constructing a JavaFile, pass them as the second parameter in the javaFile method:

val file = javaFile("com.grosner", {
    `import static`(Collections::class, "*")
    `import static`(ClassName.get(, "*")
}) {
    `class`("HelloWorld") {


KPoet supports all kinds of methods.

You can write abstract methods easily:

`abstract class`("HelloWorld") { modifiers(public)
  abstract(TypeName.VOID, "flux") {

Which generates:

public abstract class HelloWorld {
  protected abstract void flux();


Constructors are fairly easy to write.

`public class`("HelloWorld") {
  `private final field`(String::class, "greeting")

  `constructor`(param(String::class, "greeting")) {
    statement("this.greeting = greeting")


Parameters are done via global methods:

`fun`(TypeName.VOID, "welcomeOverlords",
  `final param`(String::class, "android"),)
  `final param`(String::class, "robot")

Which generates:

void welcomeOverlords(final String android, final String robot) {

To add annotations to parameters, simply call:

`fun`(TypeName.VOID, "welcomeOverlords",
  `final param`(`@`(TestAnnotation::class), String::class, "android"),
  `final param`(`@`(TestAnnotation::class, {
                    this["name"] = "Some Kind of Member".S // we use a map to construct the properties here.
                    this["purpose"] = "Some Purpose we have".S
                }, String::class, "robot")))


We easily add fields to our TypeSpec definition:

`public class`("HelloWorld") {
  `private final field`(String::class, "robot", { `@`(Nullable::class) }) // can add annotations on fields
  field(`@`(Nullable::class), String::class, "android") { `=`("THE BEST".S)} // or this way


use enum() to construct within a javaFile:

`enum`("Roshambo") { modifiers(public)
      `public`(String::class, "toString") {
    case("SCISSORS", "peace".S)
    case("PAPER", "flat".S)

    `private final field`(String::class, "handsign")

    `constructor`(param(String::class, "handsign")) {
      statement("this.handsign = handsign")

which generates this:

public enum Roshambo {
  ROCK("fist") {
    public void toString() {
      return "avalanche!";



  private final String handsign;

  Roshambo(String handsign) {
    this.handsign = handsign;

Anonymous Inner Classes

We write a method that contains a class that contains a method:

`fun`(TypeName.VOID, "sortByLength", param(parameterized<String>(List::class), "strings")) {
  statement("\$T.sort(strings, \$L)",, `anonymous class`("") {
    `public`(TypeName.INT, "compare", param(String::class, "a"), param(String::class, "b")) {
      `return`("a.length() - b.length()")

Which generates:

void sortByLength(List<String> strings) {
  Collections.sort(strings, new Comparator<String>() {
    public int compare(String a, String b) {
      return a.length() - b.length();


Simple annotations are easy, just use the "`@()`" method within classes, functions, fields or parameters:

On methods:

`public`(String::class, "toString") {

on Classes:

`public class`("User") {
  `@`(Override::class) // annotations have to be within the class block, otherwise we can't associate it with a `class`


On fields:

field(TypeName.BOOLEAN, isReady) {

on parameters:

`private`(TypeName.VOID, "someMethod",
  `final param`(`@`(NonNull::class), String::class, "someParameter"))

On more complicated cases, say for a class:

`public class`("User") {
  `@`(Headers::class, {
      this["accept"] = "application/json; charset=utf-8".S
      this["userAgent"] = "Square Cash".S


It generates:

    accept = "application/json; charset=utf-8",
    userAgent = "Square Cash"
public class User extends Object {

For nested annotations:

`public`(LogReceipt::class, "recordEvent", param(LogRecord::class, "logRecord")) {
  `@`(HeaderList::class) {
    member("value", `@`(Header::class, mapFunc = {
      this["name"] = "Accept".S
      this["value"] = "application/json; charset=utf-8".S
    member("value", `@`(Header::class, mapFunc = {
      this["name"] = "User-Agent".S
      this["value"] = "Square Cash".S


To add JavaDoc to fields, methods, and types:

`public class`("SomeClass") {
  javadoc("Javadoc goes here")

  `private final field`(String::class, "someField") {
    javadoc("This could be anything you want it to be")

`public`(TypeName.VOID, "dismiss", param(Message::class, "message")) {
  javadoc("Hides {@code message} from the caller's history. Other\n"
        + "participants in the conversation will continue to see the\n"
        + "message in their own history unless they also delete it.\n")
  javadoc("<p>Use {@link #delete($T)} to delete the entire\n"
        + "conversation for all participants.\n", Conversation.class)

Pull Requests

I welcome and encourage all pull requests. It usually will take me within 24-48 hours to respond to any issue or request. Here are some basic rules to follow to ensure timely addition of your request:

  1. Match coding style (braces, spacing, etc.) This is best achieved using CMD+Option+L (Reformat code) on Mac (not sure for Windows) with Android Studio defaults.
  2. If its a feature, bugfix, or anything please only change code to what you specify.
  3. Please keep PR titles easy to read and descriptive of changes, this will make them easier to merge :)
  4. Pull requests must be made against develop branch. Any other branch (unless specified by the maintainers) will get rejected.
  5. Have fun!

Maintained By

agrosner ( @agrosner)