Advanced AspectJ part IV : declaring aspects precedence

Today we discuss about aspects precedence e.g. the order in which several aspects are processed at the same join point.

If you’re a heavy user of AspectJ you can sometimes end up with having more than one aspects for the same join point. In such case it could be interesting to know which aspect kicks in first and which one kicks in last. This order is called aspect precedence.

Without any specfic indication, the aspect ordering is totally unpredictable. It is not necessarily a problem if the aspects are totally unrelated.

I Aspects ordering

To declare aspect precedence, you can use the special keyword

declare precedence : <Type1Pattern>,<Type2Pattern>…<TypeNPattern>;

In the above example, aspect1has precedence over aspect2, which in turn has precedence over aspect3 etc. until aspectN.

By “has precedence over“, we mean “is executed before“. Generally the aspect with highest precedence executes first. The execution order also depends on the type of advice.

  • the aspect with highest precedence kicks in before the lowest precedence aspect for around()/before() advice
  • the aspect with highest precedence kicks in after the lowest precedence aspect for around()/after() advice
  • the aspect with highest precedence wraps around the lowest precedence aspect for around() advice


declare precedence : around1, around2, before3, before4, after5;


One best practice in AspectJ is to declare a special aspect whose task consists simply of declaring precedence for other aspects.

public aspect MyAspectsOrdering
	declare precedence : around1, around2, before3, before4, after5;
	declare precedence : Transactional*, around4;
	declare precedence : *, before2;

It is possible to have many aspect precedence declarations in the same aspect but you should be very carefull not to introduce circular dependencies. It is perfectly possible to create a circular cycle of aspect precedence with several declarations and there will be no warning message from AspectJ.

Please notice that in the precedence declaration, you can also use wildcards *.

II Advices ordering

It is extremely rare though perfectly possible to have several advices applying to the same join point in one aspect:

public aspect MyAspect
	pointcut myPointCut() : execution(* com.myApp..*(..));

	Object around() : myPointCut()
		// Around advice for myPointCut

	before() : myPointCut()
		// Before advice for myPointCut

In such cases, it is the lexical order e.g. the order in which the advices are declared in source code which applies.


  1. anythom

    The first picture under Aspects Ordering is wrong, because the after advice is always invoked after completing the around advices.

    1. doanduyhai

      Good catch anythom! You’re right! I’m going to fix it in the picture.

      Thank you for the useful comment

      1. anythom

        Okay great 🙂
        By the way nice article! 😉

  2. anythom

    In XML should be this way:

  3. anythom

    Hm wordpress removed my custom tags. sorry


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