Posts Tagged ‘J2EE’

Notes on the Spring-WS tutorial

September 26, 2009

Today I have reviewed a proof of concept I have done in order to decide which Web Services framework matches the requirements of a bioinformatics project. Because of forgetting to store a file in the versioning system, I had to review the whole tutorial and to look for the file within the Spring tutorial. What is interesting, until now nobody published the full content of the Spring-WS tutorial.

So, here is my pom.xml. I am using Apache Maven2 in order to strictly enforce the versions of the JAR files. Nobody is constrained to use Maven, but without it, it would be very difficult to sort out the transient dependencies.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project xmlns="" xmlns:xsi=""
 <name>holidayService Spring-WS Application</name>
 <dependency> <!-- required by AbstractJDomPayloadEndpoint -->

I am using the jetty plugin in order to be able to run the application right from the command line; xalan dependency is required in order to avoid the exception “java.lang.IllegalStateException: Could not find SAAJ on the classpath” thrown by Spring-WS, corrected in a newer version of xalan.

Also according to the tutorial, the file spring-ws-servlet.xml, a regular Spring context file, describes the external interface of the Web Service and the associated Java classes. This file has to be placed in the src/main/webapp/WEB-INF directory.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns=""

 <bean id="holidayEndpoint" class="">

 <bean class="">
 <property name="mappings">
 <prop key="{}HolidayRequest">holidayEndpoint</prop>
 <property name="interceptors">
 <bean class="" />

 <bean id="holiday" class="">
 <property name="builder">
 <bean class="">
 <property name="schema" value="/WEB-INF/hr.xsd" />
 <property name="portTypeName" value="HumanResource" />
 <property name="locationUri" value="http://localhost:8080/holidayService/" />


And here is the implementation of According to Maven customaries, this have to be placed in the src/main/java subdirectory of the project. I have tried to keep the implementation minimal by avoiding further service instantiations, unrelated to Spring-WS:


import java.text.SimpleDateFormat;
import java.util.Date;

import org.apache.commons.logging.Log;
import org.jdom.Element;
import org.jdom.JDOMException;
import org.jdom.Namespace;
import org.jdom.xpath.XPath;

public class HolidayEndpoint extends AbstractJDomPayloadEndpoint {

 private XPath startDateExpression;

 private XPath endDateExpression;

 private XPath nameExpression;

 public HolidayEndpoint() throws JDOMException {
 Namespace namespace = Namespace.getNamespace("hr", "");
 startDateExpression = XPath.newInstance("//hr:StartDate");
 endDateExpression = XPath.newInstance("//hr:EndDate");
 nameExpression = XPath.newInstance("concat(//hr:FirstName,' ',//hr:LastName)");

 protected Element invokeInternal(Element holidayRequest) throws Exception {
 SimpleDateFormat dateFormat = new SimpleDateFormat("yyyy-MM-dd");
 Date startDate = dateFormat.parse(startDateExpression.valueOf(holidayRequest));
 Date endDate = dateFormat.parse(endDateExpression.valueOf(holidayRequest));
 String name = nameExpression.valueOf(holidayRequest);

 // do something meaningful with the extracted data.
 System.out.println("Start date: "+startDate+" end Date: "+ endDate+" Employee: "+name);
 return null;

My final file structure is:

|-- pom.xml
`-- src
 `-- main
   |-- java
   |   `-- com
   |       `-- razvan
   |           `-- hr
   |               `-- ws
   |                   `--
   `-- webapp
     `-- WEB-INF
        |-- hr.xsd
        |-- spring-ws-servlet.xml
        `-- web.xml

The web.xml is pretty standard for Spring applications:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app xmlns="" xmlns:xsi=""

 <display-name>Spring test application</display-name>




This is the whole Web Service application. In order to run the application try from the command line:

mvn clean install jetty:run

This will compile the war file and start an instance of the jetty web server.

By accessing the address: http://localhost:8080/holidayService/holiday.wsdl you can see the generated WSDL associated to your described web service. While leaving the jetty running, you may attempt to create a client, in order to see the message printed within the invokeInternal method. Following it will be described a Java client, but it is possible to build your client using any other language or platform.

Using the Eclipse wizard create a new empty Java project, than create using the wizard a new “Web Service Client”. Provide the address of the wsdl and you will have a bunch of Java classes describing your web service and the required XML parsers dependencies in your newly created project. Create a new main class in the default package named, with the following content:

import java.math.BigInteger;
import java.util.Date;


public class TestWs {
 public static void main(String[] args) {
 try {
 HumanResourceServiceLocator loc = new HumanResourceServiceLocator();
 HumanResource myserv = loc.getHumanResourcePort();

 HolidayType ht = new HolidayType(new Date(), new Date());
 EmployeeType et = new EmployeeType(new BigInteger("100"), "Razvan",
 HolidayRequest req = new HolidayRequest(ht, et);;
 } catch (Exception e) {


Run the class, and you will be able to observe the message in the maven window.

A few conclusions of the test are:

– Spring-WS is a great approach if the schema definitions of the data model already exists.

– The required xalan dependency is a bug in Spring-WS dependency requirements, fortunately Maven made possible the correction.

– The element wsdl:definitions is optional, the tutorial worked without it as well.


The future of MDA

April 15, 2009

I have discovered MDA, through the AndroMDA project, about 4 years ago. The idea of automatically generating some repeated patterns, the amaizing power of generating a database structure, Entity Beans or Hibernate linkage files by only providing an UML diagram model, the capability of keeping a minimal description (the UML document) have all convinced me not only to learn how AndroMDA works, but also to start using it in production.

As for today, I have used AndroMDA in at least 6 distinct projects. I didn’t use the clasical path shown by AndroMDA. I have chosen atomic Maven projects either 100% UML generated or 100% manual. No file was manually changed after generation, this pattern proved to be desastruous in practice.

I am wondering what is the today future of the MDA. As I was warning 5 month ago a developer of ArgoUML about a minor issue, they exclamated “wow, you are still using AndroMDA!”. So what is the next MDA product? Any answers from the community?

EJB3 Remote client: Hello world vs production usage

April 17, 2008

Yesterday I have made the first remote client for an Session bean. Hello world bean worked great, with a little research about how to configure the JNDI client to connect to the Glassfish server and what to provide in the CLASSPATH. I had to duplicate the remote interface and to delete the EJB annotation, since these JARs shouldn’t be imported on the client. I won’t do it in a production application, so I am ready for J2EE dependencies on the client as well.

The evil is as usual in detail. I don’t use EJB to write Hello word software. My session beans work with complex objects, persisted as entities. The beans do refer another beans, in one-to-many relations. In order to load such a list, the client needs to depend on the persistence library of the server, since that list is not a “vanilla” java.util.HashSet class, but one from TopLink or Hibernate, depending on the chosen EJB persistence.

So, near the entity beans, I had to import also the TopLink libraries in the client.

A solution to move from this dependency forest would be to employ web services. Regarding them, my experiences were not encouraging: they crash when receiving a reflexive reference (object A references object B and B references A) and they suffer performance issues both on server and client side when serving large collections.

Another ideas, is to use the value object pattern. This would mean at least duplication of my data model; but remember, I use MDA, so my model is generated from an UML model. Maybe the build of some plain objects could provide a special client JAR file (beans and service interfaces) and a copy mechanism from the beans, to be used on server side.

Ajax and J2EE or how simple things became complicated

April 15, 2008

Last days I have started a new project. It’s about finance, budgeting and management. The UML class diagrams have already dozen of entities, which translate in dozen of tables.

As a big fan of MDA, after designing the model I have immediately generated the database structure, Hibernate POJOs and EJB (at that moment, still undecided which direction should be followed). The whole work took about 30 minutes, with Apache Maven and AndroMDA.

But what about the user interface? AndroMDA offers something similar to “scaffolding” of Ruby on Rails. My problem with this scaffolding is that a number of files are only generated once, subsequent changes will not reflect them self on the existing generated sources. With other words, it sucks, since I am sure my model is not final, customers will perform lots of changes until it goes into production.

Following the speculation path (yes, I do use Agile PM), I have taken the simplest entity, which only has three columns (2 strings and a boolean) and attempted to see how easy is to have an AJAX based table to perform CRUD (create read update delete) on this table.

The first choice would be ZK, an open source AJAX library. Because of their GPL license, which forces me either to publish my sources or to acquire their commercial license, I have considered another AJAX engine, RichFaces.

RichFaces has a nice comprehensive demo and a bad written manual; as a beginner in RichFace, I find it unreadable because of cyclical definitions (such as: “bypassUpdates attribute allows to bypass the Update Model phase” and no definition of Update Model is given) and employment of too many undefined concepts. Maybe my further contacts with RichFaces will allow me to read their manual with other eyes. I have found a nice sample explaining tables with editable cells. It looks nice, but, it doesn’t store the changed data! The inquiry on the RichFaces forum had was immediately answered by some more advanced user, which acknowledged the issue and provided a solution. I was just one step away of abandoning the RichFaces track and moving to other AJAX engine, but their vibrant community convinced me indirectly not to switch.

After successfully building and running the web application within Maven, my approach is to connect the table to a list of EJB3 entities. The plan is to build a transaction on each change since it is not usual that users will perform a lot of changes here, and this avoids the usage of a “Commit” button people can forget to press while jumping to another page.
I also plan to have a “New Item” and “Delete Item” button. Delete seems to be easy to implement, while adding a new item can be a pain – since the table has a paged scroller and after adding the new item, the scroller should jump at its page. Also, the newly inserted item has an “uncommitted” state until all of its items are filled with data.

Well, after reviewing the findings in this loop, I remember 18 years old technology named “FoxPro”. This technology powered my first business. It didn’t have funny programming features such objects, no enterprise capabilities (they were added afterwards). It doesn’t run through a web interface or even within a windowing system (but on a 80×25 character screen). This tool could easily handle an editor with millions of entries on an Intel 80286 processor based machine, and this with a simple BROWSE command. Now, I read blogs of ajaxians complaining about performance of Ajax tables containing 500 entries! If FoxPro would be hypothetically transformed in a client server engine, considering an average refresh rate of the screen to one second, it would use only a 32kbit bandwidth to run through a terminal. An ajax application uses much more bandwidth, even in the context Ajax reduces the amount of data transacted (and if properly coded, the number of transactions) between server and client.

So, what is the direction our technology evolution follows? Do we sacrifice the simplicity of design and implied simplicity of deployment and usability to acquire some obscure targets such as “transactionability” or “service oriented architecture”? I see now more than ever web sites crashing with errors like “Invalid Transactional State” or “Session Expired” (although I didn’t time it out). I try to imagine what platform did the developers of these sites use and what mistake they done and the answer is from day to day harder to find.