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Snappy compressor/decompressor for Java
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The snappy-java is a Java port of the snappy, a fast C++ compresser/decompresser developed by Google.


  • Apache License Version 2.0. Free for both commercial and non-commercial use.
  • Fast compression/decompression tailored to 64-bit CPU architecture.
  • JNI-based implementation to achieve comparable performance to the native C++ version.
    • Although snappy-java uses JNI, it can be used safely with multiple class loaders (e.g. Tomcat, etc.).
  • Portable across various operating systems; Snappy-java contains native libraries built for Window/Mac/Linux (64-bit). At runtime, snappy-java loads one of these libraries according to your machine environment (It looks system properties, and os.arch).
  • Simple usage. Add the snappy-java-(version).jar file to your classpath. Then call compression/decompression methods in org.xerial.snappy.Snappy.


  • Snappy's main target is very high-speed compression/decompression with reasonable compression size. So the compression ratio of snappy-java is modest and about the same as LZF (ranging 20%-100% according to the dataset).

  • Here are some benchmark results, comparing snappy-java and the other compressors LZO-java/LZF/QuickLZ/Gzip/Bzip2. Thanks Tatu Saloranta @cotowncoder for providing the benchmark suite.

    • The benchmark result indicates snappy-java is the fastest compreesor/decompressor in Java:
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The current stable version is available from here:


First, import org.xerial.snapy.Snappy in your Java code:

 import org.xerial.snappy.Snappy;

Then use Snappy.compress(byte[]) and Snappy.uncompress(byte[]):

 String input = "Hello snappy-java! Snappy-java is a JNI-based wrapper of "
 + "Snappy, a fast compresser/decompresser.";
 byte[] compressed = Snappy.compress(input.getBytes("UTF-8"));
 byte[] uncompressed = Snappy.uncompress(compressed);

 String result = new String(uncompressed, "UTF-8");

In addition, high-level methods (Snappy.compress(String), Snappy.compress(float[] ..) etc. ) and low-level ones (e.g. Snappy.rawCompress(.. ), Snappy.rawUncompress(..), etc.), which minimize memory copies, can be used. See also

Stream-based API

Stream-based compressor/decompressor SnappyOutputStream/SnappyInputStream are also available for reading/writing large data sets.

Setting classpath

If you have snappy-java-(VERSION).jar in the current directory, use -classpath option as follows:

$ javac -classpath ".;snappy-java-(VERSION).jar"  # in Windows
$ javac -classpath ".:snappy-java-(VERSION).jar"  # in Mac or Linux

Using with Maven

Add the following dependency to your pom.xml:


Public discussion group

Post bug reports or feature request to the Issue Tracker:

Public discussion forum is here:

Building from the source code

See the installation instruction. Building from the source code is an option when your OS platform and CPU architecture is not supported. To build snappy-java, you need Git, JDK (1.6 or higher), Maven (3.x or higher is required), g++ compiler (mingw in Windows) etc.

$ git clone
$ cd snappy-java
$ make

A file target/snappy-java-$(version).jar is the product additionally containing the native library built for your platform.

Cross-compiling for other platforms

The Makefile contains rules for cross-compiling the native library for other platforms so that the snappy-java JAR can support multiple platforms. For example, to build the native libraries for x86 Linux, x86 and x86-64 Windows, and soft- and hard-float ARM:

$ make linux32 win32 win64 linux-arm linux-armhf

If you append snappy to the line above, it will also build the native library for the current platform and then build the snappy-java JAR (containing all native libraries built so far).

Of course, you must first have the necessary cross-compilers and development libraries installed for each target CPU and OS. For example, on Ubuntu 12.04 for x86-64, install the following packages for each target:

  • linux32: sudo apt-get install g++-multilib libc6-dev-i386 lib32stdc++6
  • win32: sudo apt-get install g++-mingw-w64-i686
  • win64: sudo apt-get install g++-mingw-w64-x86-64
  • arm: sudo apt-get install g++-arm-linux-gnueabi
  • armhf: sudo apt-get install g++-arm-linux-gnueabihf

Unfortunately, cross-compiling for Mac OS X is not currently possible; you must compile within OS X.

If you are using Mac and openjdk7 (or higher), use the following option:

$ make native LIBNAME=libsnappyjava.dylib

Miscellaneous Notes

Using snappy-java with Tomcat 6 (or higher) Web Server

Simply put the snappy-java's jar to WEB-INF/lib folder of your web application. Usual JNI-library specific problem no longer exists since snappy-java version 1.0.3 or higher can be loaded by multiple class loaders in the same JVM by using native code injection to the parent class loader (Issue 21).

Snappy-java is developed by Taro L. Saito. Twitter @taroleo

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