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java – How to stop ProGuard from stripping the Serializable interface from a class

Posted by: admin May 14, 2020 Leave a comment


Is there an explicit way to stop ProGuard from changing a class from implementing an interface?

I have a class that implements java.io.Serializable, let’s call it com.my.package.name.Foo. I’ve found that after running through ProGuard, it no longer implements Serializable. I get null after I cast from Serializable to Foo and false if I check an instance with instanceof Serializable. I’ve made sure to set ProGuard to ignore this class:

-keep class com.my.package.name.Foo

I’ve also tried:

-keep class com.my.package.name.Foo { *; }

and I’ve also tried the whole package by doing this:

-keep class com.my.package.name.** { *; }


-keep class com.my.package.** { *; }

and also just to keep all Serializable classes:

-keep class * implements java.io.Serializable { *; }

but to no avail. I have another class in a sibling package (roughly: com.my.package.name2.Bar) that also implements Serializable and is used similarly but has no issues.

I’m not sure it’s relevant, but I’m packing this in a jar for use with Android. The code that uses these classes include putting them in Bundles which is why I need Serializable. I considered that perhaps somehow ProGuard thinks that Foo is never used as a Serializable but that seems unlikely given that I pass it as a parameter to Bundle.putSerializable(String, Serializable) and also I do an implicit cast: Serializable serializable = foo;. In fact, when I debug, I can see the Foo get put into the Bundle and I can examine the Bundle and see the instance of Foo there, but when retrieving it the cast fails.

How to&Answers:

ProGuard doesn’t ever strip interfaces that are defined in libraries (like Serializable) from classes in code that is processed (like Foo). Library code may be casting to those interfaces, so they can’t be removed.

I get null after I cast from Serializable to Foo

This means that the instance must be null to start with. Your analysis would be correct if you’d get a ClassCastException. You can check that Foo still implements Serializable with javap. The problem probably lies elsewhere. For tips on serialization, you can look at the ProGuard manual > Examples > Processing serializable classes.


In this case, it turns out to be a configuration problem. ProGuard can only process class files if it knows everything about their hierarchy (just like a compiler). You really have to specify the runtime classes:

-libraryjars <java.home>/lib/rt.jar

or for Android:

-libraryjars /usr/local/android-sdk/platforms/android-17/android.jar

The Android Ant/Eclipse builds automatically specify all necessary -injars/-outjars/-libraryjars options for you, but in a custom build process, you have to specify them yourself. Cfr. ProGuard manual > Examples > A complete Android application.

Note that the option -dontwarn makes the warnings go away, but not the problems. Only use it if really necessary.


I had the same issue fixed using below config.

-keepnames class * implements java.io.Serializable
-keepclassmembers class * implements java.io.Serializable {
    static final long serialVersionUID;
    private static final java.io.ObjectStreamField[] serialPersistentFields;
    !static !transient <fields>;
    private void writeObject(java.io.ObjectOutputStream);
    private void readObject(java.io.ObjectInputStream);
    java.lang.Object writeReplace();
    java.lang.Object readResolve();

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