Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Command Line SVN

I use SmartSVN for most of my SVN needs, such as update, checkout, checkin, diffing files, etc... It's a great tool with a lot of power. When it comes to creating branches though, the command line SVN comes in really handy. It is easy to install on Windows. Just go to the CollabNet site, and download the latest SVN command-line binaries. The installer is straight forward. Once it is done you can test it by opening a CMD window, and running svn ?. It should recognize SVN command and show a list of options that you can use.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Integration Generic Request Routing

On a project I was on recently, I needed to create a test harness where a lot of requests would come in through a single URL and need to be handled appropriately. Spring Integration provides a very easy way to make this happen. First you need to make use of the generic marshaller I discussed in a previous blog. Next you need to define the payloadRootAnnotationMethodEndpointMapping Spring bean, this will enable Spring to route incoming requests based on their payload root method, based on annotations placed in the endpoint classes, which I will discuss more in a minute.

    <bean class="" />

    <bean class="">
        <property name="marshaller" ref="marshaller"/>
        <property name="unmarshaller" ref="marshaller"/>

It is amazingly simple with spring integration to use the endpoint annotations.

public class MyExposedEndpoint {
    @PayloadRoot(localPart="MyEndpointMethod", namespace="")
    public void processMyMethod(MyRequest myRequest) {
         // Insert code to process the request here.

That's really all there is to it. The web.xml is set up the same as the first blog in this series.

Spring Integration Marshalling with JAXB

The project I was working on used SOAP based Web Services. The .wsdl and .xsd files that described the services we needed to integrate with were provided by the vendor. Often times I needed to access information in the SOAP responses, or I needed to easily build a SOAP request object. While you can work directly with the XML, it is much easier to use marshalling/unmarshalling techniques. Being a proof of concept I chose JAXB to do the marshalling/unmarshalling. There may be better choices depending on your needs and most likely spring integration supports it.

While it is possible to create by hand JAXB Java classes, it seems to make more sense to use the xjc tool and generate the classes automatically. I will not go into great detail on using this tool as there are other resources that do that. xjc was on my class path, so I was able to navigate to the directory containing the .xsd and .wsdl files. I created a directory there called temp and ran the following command on each of the files that I needed classes generated for, which would create all the classes I needed in the appropriate directory structure under temp.

xjc -d temp myVendorFile.xsd

Now that the files had been generated it was a matter of configuring spring to use them. There are several ways to go about this. You can create a generic marshaller that handles all classes, or you can create more targeted marshallers. If you are creating a generic one you might just set the id to marshaller, if you want more targeted the id name will reflect something more specific.

    <bean id="marshaller" class="org.springframework.oxm.jaxb.Jaxb2Marshaller">
        <property name="classesToBeBound">

    <bean id="myServiceClient" class="">
        <property name="marshaller" ref="marshaller"/>
        <property name="unmarshaller" ref="marshaller"/>
the class MyServiceClient extends the spring WebServiceGatewaySupport class. This is an easy way to send requests and receive responses. Inside your class you can create the request object that you want sent using the JAXB ObjectFactory methods.
MyRequest myRequest = new ObjectFactory().createMyRequest(); 
Then you can set individual elements on that object, whatever they are. The request is sent by using a method from the Spring class. The SoapAction is not set automatically, so it needs to be set manually.
MyResponse myResponse = getWebServiceTemplate().marshallSendAndReceive(serviceUri, myRequest, new WebServiceMessageCallback() { public void doWithMessage(WebServiceMessage message) {
That's really all there is to it. As you can see the above method automatically marshalls the request to XML and unmarshalls the response to the JAXB Java object. Also it is good to surround that method call with a try catch so that if there is a problem on the other end, your software can react appropriately.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Using Variable Substitution from Configuration Files in Spring

It doesn't take long in the development world to learn that hard coding property values is a bad idea.  Hard coded values will require the software to be rebuilt and redeployed if a change is required.   Moving values to configuration files so they can be modified in a central location is a first step.  A second step is moving the configuration file outside of the .war or .ear, so they can be modified at run time to avoid recompiling.  To read about how to externalize property files from your application see my earlier blog.

There are several places in the Spring configuration that can make use of variable substitution from a property file.  First things first. If you create a property file how do you access it from your spring configuration file?  Near the top of the configuration file add the following bean definition:

    <bean class="org.springframework.beans.factory.config.PropertyPlaceholderConfigurer">
         <property name="locations">

If you need to have comments in the property file, start the line with a #.  Properties should be entered into the property file in the following format: value, i.e.

Properties can be referenced from value fields, as well as bean variables.

	<bean id="jmsQueue" class="org.springframework.jndi.JndiObjectFactoryBean">
		<property name="jndiName" value="${my.project.testQueue}"/>
		<property name="jndiTemplate" ref="jndiTemplate" />
	<si-ws:outbound-gateway id="WebServiceGateway"
			 uri="${my.project.uri}"  />

It is also possible to access properties from spring annotations which can be very useful. The scheduled annotation is a good example.


Spring makes it very easy to leverage properties files for making systems easier to configure on the fly. There is no need to continue hard coding values that you or your client may want to change.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Configuring Web Logic 10.3.5 and log4j for your Java Application

I recently spent several days trying to track this down why Apache log4j for my Java application was working when deployed to Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.5. I am posting my findings here in the hopes of saving others some time. I found several blogs that talked about this, but the end result was that log4j was still not working correctly. There was always one step missing. A co-worker and I finally figured it out for both Linux and Windows.

1. Copy wllog4j.jar from your WebLogic server/lib directory and place it in your domain_root/lib folder.
2. Copy your version of log4j.jar to your domain_root/lib folder.
3. Copy your log4j.xml to your domain_root folder.
4. Log in to the your WebLogic admin server console. Click on Servers -> Admin Server -> Logging. Click on advanced mode, and change the logging implementation from JDK to Log4J. Save your changes.

Most of the blogs had these items, but the one critical piece that was missing:
5. (Linux)Edit the file in the domain_root/bin directory. and find the following code:

if [ "${LOG4J_CONFIG_FILE}" != "" ] ; then

Insert the following above those lines of code(replacing the path with the one for your system's domain_root directory:


5. (Windows)
Edit the setDomainEnv.cmd file in the domain_root/bin directory. and find the following code:

if NOT "%LOG4J_CONFIG_FILE%"=="" (

Insert the following above those lines of code(replacing the path with the one for your system's domain_root directory:

set LOG4J_CONFIG_FILE=”C:\Oracle\Middleware\user_projects\domains\base_domain\log4j.xml”

6. Activate the changes and restart the admin server.

Here is a sample log4j.xml file. Obviously, you will need to update it for a valid location for your file appender, and replace yourcompany and yourproject with valid values.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE log4j:configuration SYSTEM "log4j.dtd">
<log4j:configuration xmlns:log4j="" debug="false">
<!-- Appenders -->
<!-- %d{dd-MMM-yy HH:mm:ss} %-5p [%c{1}] %m%n -->
<appender name="CONSOLE" class="org.apache.log4j.ConsoleAppender">
<param name="Target" value="System.out"/>
<layout class="org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout">
<param name="ConversionPattern" value="[%p] - %m (%F:%M:%L)%n"/>
<!--param name="ConversionPattern" value="%d{ISO8601} %p [%c{1}] - %m (%F:%M:%L)%n"/-->

<appender name="FILE" class="org.apache.log4j.RollingFileAppender">
<param name="File" value="/temp/logs/yourproject.log"/>
<param name="Append" value="true"/>
<layout class="org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout">
<param name="ConversionPattern" value="%d{ISO8601} %t %-5p %c{2} - %m%n"/>

<!-- Logging Levels -->

<category name="com.yourcompany.yourproject">
<priority value="DEBUG"/>

<category name="org.apache">
<priority value="WARN"/>

<category name="org.springframework">
<priority value="WARN"/>

<!-- Appender Assignments -->
<priority value="ERROR"/>
<appender-ref ref="FILE"/>

Again, I hope that this will save someone the pain I went through to track this down.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Exploring Spring Integration & Spring Web Service, Part 1

I have been learning Spring Integration and Spring Web Services on the project I am on. The more I learn the more I like the framework, but I have to say it has not been easy to make progress. The number of resources available is lacking. I thought I would spend the next several blogs covering some of the information I have been learning.

I needed to do was expose four SOAP Web Services based on a set of WSDL and XSD files provided by the vendor. First thing that had to happen was setting up the web.xml file. From reading the documentation on the main Spring site, I determined to use MessageDispatcherServlet.


<display-name>My Application Name</display-name>

Next, let's take a look at the spring application context file.

<bean class="">
<property name="mappings">
<prop key="${data.subscriber.url}">dataGateway</prop>
<prop key="${request.status.url}">statusGateway</prop>

<si:channel id="dataArrivedChannel" />
<si-ws:inbound-gateway id="dataGateway" request-channel="dataArrivedChannel" />
<stream:stdout-channel-adapter id="stdoutAdaptorWithDefaultCharsetDataArrived" channel="dataArrivedChannel"/>

<si:channel id="statusChangedChannel" />
<si-ws:inbound-gateway id="statusChangedGateway"
<si:service-activator input-channel="statusChangedChannel"

<bean id="marshaller" class="org.springframework.oxm.jaxb.Jaxb2Marshaller">
<property name="classesToBeBound">

<bean id="StatusDao" class=""/>

<bean id="statusServiceEndpoint"
<constructor-arg ref="statusManager"/>

<bean id="statusManager"
<constructor-arg ref="statusDao"/>

Well that seems like a lot of spring configuration, but it eliminates a bunch of Java code. Let's break down this configuration a bit. First, the UriEndpointMapping bean. You might notice that there are some values provided from a properties file. I will be covering properties in more detail in a future blog. For now, just know spring replaces the ${data.subscriber.url} and ${request.status.url} with a valid URL value from a properties file. This defines which URLs will be routed to the specified spring integration web services inbound-gateway. The gateway will place the SOAP message onto the specified channel as a DOMSource object.

As seen above the dataGateway does not specify a marshaller and unmarshaller which is why the DOMSource object is placed on the channel. The statusChangedGateway does specify the marshaller and unmarshaller, so when it places the object on the channel, it is not a DOMSource object, but a StatusUpdate object. As you can see it is very easy to leave the input in it's native format or convert it to a Java Object. In one case the object was only going to be routed(eventually) to a JMS queue, and did not need to be unmarshalled, in the other case it required unmarshalling so that a service activator endpoint could save the object to the database. As we will see in a future blog, it would have been nice if there was a way to specify the output to the channel as a string, instead of DOMSource. This would be a great enhancement to spring integration.

The service activator is an endpoint that allows a specific method to be called, and passes the object from the incoming channel to the method. It can also place the object, either unmodified or modified, onto an outgoing channel to be further processed by the system. The rest of the configuration is very straightforward spring beans with dependency injection. This works very well if each of the web services have a unique URL, but what happens if all calls come into a single URL. That will be the topic of the next blog in this series.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Accessing External Properties Files in WebLogic

It is not only common to do, but is also a very good practice to put values that may need to change into a properties file. This creates a central location to modify values. Especially for the configuration a system based on the installation location, etc. Having the properties file inside the .war is very inconvenient when you want to change it as it causes you to recompile your code, even if it hasn't changed. I was on a project that was able to pull the property file out of the .war and put it in the JBoss AS conf directory. The application could still access it. Unfortunately the project I am on now uses WebLogic. After lots of google searching and asking a few co-workers if they new how to do it, I did find the answer.

Simply place the properties file in $WEBLOGICHOME/user_projects/domains/mydomain where mydomain is the name of he domain your app uses.

Works great and now I can change properties all day long without recompiling.