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documentation:fabric_loader

Fabric Loader

Fabric Loader is Fabric's lightweight mod loader. It provides the necessary tools to make Minecraft modifiable without depending on a specific version of the game. Game specific (and game version specific) hooks belong in Fabric API. It is possible to adapt Fabric Loader for many Java applications.

Fabric Loader has services to allow mods to have some code executed during initialization, to transform classes, declare and provide mod dependencies, all in a number of different environments.

Mods

A mod is a jar with a fabric.mod.json mod metadata file in its root declaring how it should be loaded. It primarily declares a mod ID and version as well entrypoints and mixin configurations. The mod ID identifies the mod so that any mod with the same ID is considered to be the same mod. Only one version of a mod may be loaded at a time. A mod may declare other mods that it depends on or conflicts with. Fabric Loader will attempt to satisfy dependencies and load the appropriate versions of mods, or fail to launch otherwise.

Mods are loaded both from the classpath and from the mods directory. They are expected to match the mappings in the current environment, meaning Fabric Loader will not remap any mods.

Fabric Loader makes all mods equally capable of modifying the game. As an example, anything Fabric API does can be done by any other mod.

Nested JARs

A mod may bundle a number of other mods within its JAR. See the guidelines for how to use nested JARs effectively. Nested JARs must be declared by their paths relative to the containing JAR's root. A nested JAR must itself also be a mod, which again can have nested JARs. Fabric Loader will load nested JARs while attempting to satisfy dependency constraints.

Nested JARs allow a mod to provide its own dependencies, so Fabric Loader can pick the best version matching the dependencies instead of requiring separate installation of dependencies. They also allow clean packaging of submodules, so each module can be used separately. Non-mod libraries can be repackaged as mods for nested JAR usage.

When loaded, nested JARs are loaded into an in-memory file system using jimfs, then added to the classpath.

Entrypoints

Entrypoints are a way for mods to expose code objects such as classes, fields and methods for usage by Fabric Loader or other mods. Fabric Loader uses entrypoints for mod initialization, and other mods can specify their own entrypoint types for mod integrations. Entrypoints are loaded by language adapters, which will attempt to produce a Java object of a provided type using the name of the code object.

An entrypoint is only loaded when entrypoints of the entrypoint's type are requested, which makes an entrypoint an excellent tool for optional mod integrations. A mod may support a specific entrypoint type by declaring that other mods should provide entrypoints under a specified name using a class or interface that the mod provides in its API. The entrypoint will only be loaded when the mod requests it, avoiding any issues with loading classes that may not be present when the mod is not installed.

Fabric Loader has three built-in entrypoint types for mod initialization in relation to physical sides (see side). These entrypoints are executed about as early as possible during the game's initialization, which means not all things are initialized or ready for modification. These entrypoints are typically used to bootstrap mods by registering registry objects, event listeners and other callbacks for doing things later.

  • main: The first entrypoint to run. Expects the type ModInitializer and will call onInitialize.
  • client: Will run after main only in a physical client. Expects the type ClientModInitializer and will call onInitializeClient.
  • server: Will run after main only in a physical server. Expects the type DedicatedServerModInitializer and will call onInitializeServer.

The default language adapter is designed for Java, and supports the following types of code objects:

  • Class: net.fabricmc.example.ExampleMod refers to the class by this name. The class must have a public constructor without arguments. The class must implement or extend the expected type. The return value is an instance of the class.
  • Method: net.fabricmc.example.ExampleMod::method refers to a public method in that class by the name 'method'. If the method is nonstatic, an instance of the class is constructed for the method to be called on, meaning the class must also have a public constructor without arguments. Methods can only be used for interface types. The method must take the same arguments and have the same return type as the abstract method(s) in the interface. The return value is a proxy implementation of the interface, which will implement abstract methods by delegating to the method.
  • Field: net.fabricmc.example.ExampleMod::field refers to the field in that class by the name 'field'. The field must be static and public. The the field type must implement or extend the expected type. The return value is the value of the field.

References to class members must be unambiguous, meaning the class must contain one and only one member with the targeted name. In case of ambiguity, the entrypoint will fail to resolve.

Language adapters for other languages can be implemented by mods. fabric-language-kotlin provides a language adapter for Kotlin.

Mixin

Mixin allows mods to transform Minecraft classes and even mod classes, and is the only method of class transformation that Fabric Loader allows. A mod can declare its own mixin configuration which enables the use of Mixin. Fabric Loader uses a slightly modified version of Mixin, but the documentation of the unmodified version is still mostly valid. The modifications are mostly related to making it work without LegacyLauncher/LaunchWrapper.

Deobfuscation

When launched in a non-development environment, Fabric Loader will remap the Minecraft jar and realms client jar to intermediary names. Mods are expected to be mapped to intermediary, which will be compatible with this environment. The remapped jars are cached and saved in ${gameDir}/.fabric/remappedJars/${minecraftVersion} for re-use across launches.

Mappings

Fabric Loader provides an API to determine names of classes, fields and methods with respect to the different environments that mods may be loaded in. This can be used to support reflection in any environment provided Fabric Loader has access to mappings to resolve the name.

Class loading and transformation

Fabric Loader depends on a custom class loader to transform some classes at runtime. Classes belonging to a mod or Minecraft are loaded with a class loader that applies transformations to classes before they are loaded. Other classes, those belonging to other libraries, cannot be transformed. With Knot, these classes are delegated to the default classloader for isolation and performance.

Fabric Loader will perform side stripping on mod classes and Minecraft classes depending on the physical side that is launched. This involves completely removing classes, methods and fields annotated with @Environment annotations where the environment does not match. It also involves removing interface implementations on classes annotated with @EnvironmentInterface where the environment does not match. On Minecraft classes, this is used to simulate which classes and members that are available in the targeted runtime development environment. The annotation can be applied to mod classes to avoid class loading issues.

Package access hacks might be applied to Minecraft classes depending on the mappings in the current environment. With official (obfuscated) names and intermediary names, most classes are placed in the same package. However, Yarn mappings place classes in various packages which sometimes creates illegal access violations due to the access rules of protected and package-private members. Therefore, in a development environment where such access issues are expected to exist, Minecraft classes are transformed so that package-private and protected members are made public. Outside a development environment we know that the package structure is flat, so the package access hack is not needed. Note that this transformation is applied at runtime, which means it is not visible in the source.

Launchers

A launcher is something provides a method to use Fabric Loader in a Java process. A launcher must provide a few features to support Fabric Loader's functionality such as class transformation and dynamic class loading. Knot and LegacyLauncher/LaunchWrapper are the current supported launchers.

Knot is the default launcher included in Fabric Loader designed specifically for Fabric Loader's features with support for modern versions of Java. Knot has the main classes net.fabricmc.loader.launch.knot.KnotClient and net.fabricmc.loader.launch.knot.KnotServer for clients and servers respectively.

When launching a server using Knot in a production environment, the net.fabricmc.loader.launch.server.FabricServerLauncher main class must be used, which is a main class that wraps the launch of KnotServer. It can be configured with the fabric-server-launcher.properties placed in the current working directory. The file has one property, serverJar, whose value is 'server.jar' by default, which is used to configure the path to the minecraft server jar.

Fabric Loader can also be launched with LegacyLauncher/LaunchWrapper using the tweakers net.fabricmc.loader.launch.FabricClientTweaker and net.fabricmc.loader.launch.FabricServerTweaker for clients and servers respectively.

documentation/fabric_loader.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/09 10:26 by jamieswhiteshirt