NoClassDefFoundError in Java

While it's possible that this is due to a classpath mismatch between compile-time and run-time, it's not necessarily true.

It is important to keep two or three different exceptions strait in our head in this case:

  1. java.lang.ClassNotFoundException This exception indicates that the class was not found on the classpath. This indicates that we were trying to load the class definition, and the class did not exist on the classpath.
  1. java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError This exception indicates that the JVM looked in its internal class definition data structure for the definition of a class and did not find it. This is different than saying that it could not be loaded from the classpath. Usually this indicates that we previously attempted to load a class from the classpath, but it failed for some reason - now we're trying again, but we're not even going to try to load it, because we failed loading it earlier. The earlier failure could be a ClassNotFoundException or an ExceptionInInitializerError (indicating a failure in the static initialization block) or any number of other problems. The point is, a NoClassDefFoundError is not necessarily a classpath problem.

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