Spring Boot, Docker and Websockets Integration with Apache Camel

Posted: April 1st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Software today is being developed and released at a breakneck pace. No longer are organizations relying on a yearly, quarterly or monthly release cycle, but can now churn out multiple releases daily or even hourly. Two technologies that help facilitate this type of delivery model are Spring Boot and Docker. Spring Boot provides a lightweight microcontainer architecture for rapid development and deployment. It takes a Configuration over Convention approach to application development by leveraging resources on the java classpath to configure the application, which are then packaged into an executable jar. Since Spring Boot contains an embedded web container, an external container such as Tomcat is not required (Spring boot can be packaged into a traditional archive for deployment if desired). Docker on the other hand is one of the fastest growing technologies today and has changed the way many organizations package and deploy applications. It allows for an entire application environment to be assembled into images and deployed within containers. Docker Images are typically small in size and the creation of container is extremely fast compared to traditional virtualization technologies enabling rapid deployment and portability across machines.

With the recent release of version 2.15.0, the Apache Camel project now provides direct integration and support for both Spring Boot and Docker. The spring-boot component allows for the Camel context to be autoconfigured by components and configurations from a spring boot application. This includes the auto detection of Camel routes and injection of spring boot properties for use within Camel. The Camel Docker component communicates with the Docker daemon through the Docker rest API and exposes operations such as manipulating Docker images and containers within Camel to be notified when events within Docker occur. To illustrate the integration with these technologies along with several other components released in recent versions of Camel, a sample application has been developed.

The sample application is called spring-boot-docker-camel application can be found on GitHub

There are two primary goals of the application:

  • Expose statistics from Docker such as listing images and containers
  • Expose events originating within Docker

SpringBoot-Docker-Camel

To facilitate user interaction with the application, a web page will be configured to allow users to view events from the Docker daemon in real time and also provide links to retrieve statistics from Docker. Instead of invoking the Docker rest API directly, Camel will be positioned to proxy the requests and expose a restful interface. Camel makes it easy to create restful endpoints by providing a DSL for creation and configuration. Since it is desired for events from Docker to be viewable on the web page, careful considerations should be made on the most efficient method to architect the solution. A polling mechanism to a Camel endpoint could be implemented by the web page, but this would be an expensive operation with regards to network traffic, as the majority of the requests would result in no consumable responses. On the other hand, if websockets were utilized, the amount of network traffic between the client and the server could be drastically reduced and be more efficient as the client would receive a response from the server immediately as an event occurs instead of waiting for the next polling interval. Spring Boot provides the capabilities to define and publish websockets endpoints that Camel can publish events to. Lets step through each aspect of the application to get a better understanding of the components involved and how they are able to integrate with each other.


Get in the Classroom with Pax Exam for OSGi Integration Testing

Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Pax ExamAs developers, we are cognizant that testing is a critical component of the development process. In a previous post, we demonstrated the importance of testing applications in a remote container using the Red Hat JBoss Fuse platform and JBoss Developer Studio (Eclipse). The process of remote debugging is a form of integration testing. While the majority of testing is primarily composed of unit testing in an isolated environment, integration testing affords the developer the ability to validate their application with the systems they will interact with. When developing OSGi applications, there are several integration testing frameworks to choose from. Pax Exam has established itself as one of the most popular due to its flexibility and support for multiple container types including Apache Karaf, the underlying platform for JBoss Fuse. Integration tests using Pax Exam can simulate functionality not only within the base OSGi container, but also integrate with other core Fuse platform components including Apache Aries Blueprint and Apache Camel. Fuse provides template applications as a starting point for developers to begin creating applications of their own. These typically consist of a project, ready to be deployed to the Fuse container, along with unit tests to validate expected outcomes and to demonstrate unit testing of Fuse technologies. One area which unfortunately lacking is these templates is the use of integration testing. The following will introduce a template application that demonstrates the use of integration testing in JBoss Fuse platform technologies using Pax Exam.

The majority of applications designed for the Fuse platform are built using Apache Maven. Maven is not only the recommended build tool, but is also used by the Fuse platform itself for dependency resolution. It comes as no surprise that Fuse template projects utilize Maven Archetypes, the project templating toolkit for Maven. To be consistent with the Fuse template projects, Maven Archetypes were utilized to demonstrate Pax Exam integrating testing and the Fuse platform. The actual creation of Maven Archetypes is beyond the scope of this discussion, be we will walk through one of the resulting generated projects to demonstrate how you can begin to use Pax Exam for your own integrating testing needs, and to validate these types of applications that can be deployed to the Fuse platform.

First, ensure you have the appropriate tooling installed and configured on your machine. Git and Maven are the two pieces of required software. Full instructions on installation and configuration can be found on their respective websites. It is also recommended that an IDE such as JBoss Developer Studio/Eclipse be installed. This is suggested, though not required. Next, clone the Git repository containing the archetypes onto your local machine.

git clone https://github.com/sabre1041/fuse-archetype-pax-exam.git

With the repository available on your machine, build and install the included archetypes into your local maven repository by navigating to the location where the git repository was cloned and executing the following command:

mvn clean install

Now that the archetypes are installed in your local Maven repository, let’s walk through one of the included projects. One of the most basic Fuse sample projects demonstrates the use of a Camel route within a Blueprint project. As with other Fuse sample projects, the Camel blueprint project can be easily deployed to the Fuse platform and also demonstrates the use of a unit test. We will swap out the unit test in favor of a Pax Exam integration test as part of our template project. Lets go ahead and generate and walkthrough the analogous template project with Pax Exam integration testing. We will generate a project based on the Maven Archetype with the following Maven properties:

  • Group ID: com.redhat.fuse
  • Artifact Id: camel-blueprint-pax-exam
  • Version: 0.0.1-SNAPSHOT

Note: The following set of commands assumes the above values have been configured. If you choose to use your own values, be sure to substitute them accordingly.

Navigate to a directory where you would like the resulting project to be generated and run the following command:

mvn archetype:generate -DinteractiveMode=false -DarchetypeGroupId=com.redhat.fuse -DarchetypeArtifactId=camel-archetype-blueprint-pax-exam -DarchetypeVersion=1.0.0 -DgroupId=com.tgt.fuse -DartifactId=camel-blueprint-pax-exam -Dversion=0.0.1-SNAPSHOT

A Maven project will be created in a folder called camel-archetype-blueprint. At this point, the project can be loaded into an IDE such as JBoss Developer Studio. The project itself is quite simplistic. A Camel route is triggered every five (5) seconds which prints a message to the Fuse server log. This can be seen by inspecting the blueprint descriptor file located at <PROJECT_ROOT>/src/resources/OSGI-INF/blueprint/blueprint.xml.

  <camelContext id="blueprintContext" trace="false" xmlns="http://camel.apache.org/schema/blueprint">
    <route id="timerToLog">
      <from uri="timer:foo?period=5000"/>
      <setBody>
          <method ref="helloBean" method="hello"/>
      </setBody>
      <log message="The message contains ${body}"/>
      <to uri="mock:result"/>
    </route>
  </camelContext>

In the original implementation, a JUnit test using the Camel blueprint testing framework is utilized. The source for this test can be found at the following location.

https://github.com/apache/camel/blob/master/tooling/archetypes/camel-archetype-blueprint/src/main/resources/archetype-resources/src/test/java/RouteTest.java


Remote debugging in Red Hat JBoss Fuse

Posted: September 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Debugging FuseTesting is one of the primary components of the software development process. It ensures a particular piece of functionality matches a desired expectation. Testing can occur in several forms ranging from unit testing, integration testing, and regression testing to name a few. When developing applications for the JBoss Fuse platform, each of these methodologies can be applied. The JUnit framework can be used to perform unit testing where direct support is made possible from key Fuse components such as Blueprint and Apache Camel. Pax Exam can be used to perform in container testing and validate functionality against a Karaf environment, the underlying container behind Fuse. While each of these methods provides some assurance against the expected functionality of a particular piece of software, many times a developer may want or even need additional assurance by running and testing their software in an actual application container. Fortunately, Fuse provides methods for interacting with the container in a remote fashion. Remote application debugging is not a new concept. Support is available from some of the most popular integrated development environments including NetBeans, IntelliJ and Eclipse. Since JBoss Developer Studio, an Eclipse variant, is the supported development environment for Fuse, we will focus on how to perform remote application debugging using Eclipse.

Starting Fuse in Debug mode

Prior to being able to connect to Fuse from a remote application, Fuse must be configured to accept remote application connections by placing it in debug mode.

Two methods are available to place Fuse into debug mode:

  1. Start the Fuse container with the debug option set
  2. Set the KARAF_DEBUG environment variable to true

The simplest method for starting Fuse in debug mode is to start Fuse with the debug option set. To do so, browse to the <FUSE_HOME>/bin folder and start the Fuse container as follows:

Linux or Mac:

./fuse debug

Windows:

fuse.bat debug

During container initialization, Fuse will also check for the presence of the KARAF_DEBUG environmental variable. If the variable has been defined and is set to true, Fuse will start in debug mode. Environmental variables can be defined on the terminal or command line as follows:

Linux or Mac:

export KARAF_DEBUG=true

Windows:

set KARAF_HOME=true

From the same terminal session, the Fuse container can be started without any additional parameters as described earlier. The one shortcoming to this method is that once the terminal session ends, the environment variable is lost and Fuse will no longer be placed into debug mode the next time it is started. To have Fuse consistently start in debug mode, the KARAF_DEBUG environment variable should be set permanently according to your particular operating system.

Remote access in the  Fuse container is made possible through the use of the Java Debug Wire Protocol (jdwp). If Fuse has been set into debug mode, it will by default expose port 5005 for remote access which can be verified by observing the following in the server logs during startup.

Listening for transport dt_socket at address: 5005

If the KARAF_DEBUG environment variable has been set, the full set of debug options will be printed:

karaf: Enabling Java debug options: -Xdebug -Xnoagent -Djava.compiler=NONE 
-Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,server=y,suspend=n,address=5005
Listening for transport dt_socket at address: 5005

These parameters can be customized by setting the JAVA_DEBUG_OPTS environmental variable. A full discussion the Java Debug Wire Protocol and the options that can be set is found here.

Debugging from JBoss Developer Studio

Once Fuse has been placed into debug mode and capable for accepting remote connections, an application can be debugged within JBoss Developer Studio against the running Fuse container. Open JBoss Developer Studio to a workspace of your choosing. Determine any areas in which you wish to debug and set breakpoints that will suspend the running application when the line of code is hit during the execution of the application. With the appropriate breakpoints set, select the project you wish to debug in the project view and select Run -> Debug as -> Remote Java Application from the menu bar. If your Fuse container is running and has been placed into debug mode, JDBS will prompt with the following menu:

JBoss Developer Studio Remote Debug

You may choose to customize the debug configurations by selecting the configure button, otherwise select Debug which will connect JDBS to Fuse. When the application running in Fuse hits one of the breakpoints previously set, the application will suspend at that point and JDBS will either prompt to switch into the debug perspective or switch automatically based on the configurations set in the JDBS workspace. With the application suspended, you are able to perform any debugging tasks you desire. A full overview on debugging in Eclipse is beyond the scope of this discussion and additional reference material can be found at the following links:

With only a few configuration steps, application can be tested and validated on a running remote Fuse instance. Remote application debugging is yet another method a developer has for creating reliable, robust applications.


OpenShift Camel Component in a SwitchYard Project – An Overview

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Camel OpenShift SwitchYard LogoIn an earlier post, I introduced a custom Apache Camel component that can be used to manage the OpenShift platform. It allows for the invocation of operations that control key components of the OpenShift lifecycle such as displaying user metrics and managing applications. The operations and metrics generated from this component can be used in a variety of applications that leverage the Camel framework to solve business goals. Camel can be deployed to a variety of runtime environments ranging from servlet containers such as Tomcat, application servers such as JBoss , OSGi containers such as Karaf, or even self sufficient as a standalone application. To demonstrate the functionality of the OpenShift Camel component in a project, we will leverage SwitchYard and JBoss as the running environment within a sample project called camel-openshift-switchyard. SwitchYard is a services delivery framework for running and managing service-oriented applications. By running on SwitchYard, it will allow for the opportunity to cover both the OpenShift Camel component and developing and running applications using Switchyard. This post will provide an overview to the sample project including the steps necessary to configure and deploy either in your own environment or on the OpenShift platform. In subsequent posts, we will review the project in depth including how Camel can be integrated into a SwitchYard project and how to integrate the OpenShift Camel component in a project of your own.

The camel-openshift-switchyard project consists of a SwitchYard application and a basic web application that can be used to invoke services exposed by SwitchYard. The SwitchYard application contains two services: OpenShiftOperationsService and OpenShiftApplicationsStartupService. Each contains Camel routes utilizing the OpenShift Camel Component. The OpenShiftOperationsService invokes operations against a given users’ account such as retrieving the details of a given domain or applications within a domain. Meanwhile, the OpenShiftApplicationStartupService will attempt to start any Application associated to a user that is not currently started. A diagram depicting these services and the overall SwitchYard composite is shown below:

Camel OpenShift SwitchYard Composite

Both services contain a RestEasy binding to allow for external invocation via REST. The OpenShiftApplicationsStatup service also contains a timer binding which will initiate the service at the top of each hour based on a cron schedule. To take advantage of the scheduled service operation, the following two system properties must be configured either within the application itself or on application platform.

  • openshift.user – The login of the OpenShift user
  • openshift.password – The password on the account

Testing

Included in the project are a series of integration tests designed to validate the functionality of the application and to demonstrate the testing capabilities of SwitchYard applications. Injection of property values and invocation of Services and HTTP resources are some of the components demonstrated.

Building and Deploying

The project is hosted on GitHub and can be cloned into a local environment by running the following command:

git clone https://github.com/sabre1041/camel-openshift-switchyard.git

Prior to built or imported into an IDE, certain project dependencies must be configured. A core project dependency is the OpenShift Camel component which must be installed and available in the local Maven repository. Because this library is not part of any publicly available repository, initialization scripts for both Windows and Unix have been provided to configure the required dependencies. This script is found in the support folder of the project. Execute the init.sh or init.bat depending on your Operating System.

Next, build the project using Maven by running the following command:

mvn clean install

With the project now built, deploy the archive to Fuse Service Works or a JBoss container with SwitchYard installed. Once deployed, the application can be accessed by browsing to http://localhost:8080/camel-openshift-switchyard/

 Camel OpenShift SwitchYard Application

Deployment to OpenShift

The project has been configured to be seamlessly deployed to the OpenShift Platform. OpenShift provides the functionality to utilize custom cartridges which are not part of the core OpenShift platform to host applications. Since this project is built on SwitchYard, we will leverage a custom JBoss EAP 6 cartridge preconfigured with the SwitchYard runtime. The OpenShift Web interface provides the ability to specify a custom cartridge and existing source code during new application creation. However, due to the number of dependencies required by the SwitchYard platform, the project is unable to be built and deployed prior to the default application creation timeout. To get around this limitation, we will create the application using the OpenShift command line tools (RHC), merge the local OpenShift project with the camel-openshift-switchyard project hosted on GitHub, then finally push the application to OpenShift. Using the terminal in the location where the repository of the newly created application will be created on your local machine, issue the following command to create an application using the custom SwitchYard cartridge as the container.

rhc app create <app-name> "http://cartridge-switchyard.rhcloud.com/manifest/466c7020661420c4604e870802fe673244861a5a"

After the application was successfully created and the source code now available on your machine, change into the application directory:

cd <app-name>

First, add the GitHub hosted project as an upstream Git remote repository

git remote add upstream -m master https://github.com/sabre1041/camel-openshift-switchyard.git

Next, pull in the changes from the upstream repository

git pull -s recursive -X theirs upstream master

Finally push the changes to OpenShift

git push origin master

OpenShift will then handle obtaining the required dependencies, building and deploying the project. Once complete, the application can be viewed in a web browser. To determine the URL of an OpenShift application from the command line, execute the following command:

rhc app show <app-name>

You should be able to browse to the URL and utilize the application as you would on your local machine.

As mentioned previously, we will walk through the project in detail in a future post. This will allow for the demonstration of SwitchYard components and provide examples of how the OpenShift Camel component can be used in projects of your own.


Creating a Virtual Environment for the OpenShift Platform Using Oracle VirtualBox

Posted: February 23rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , | No Comments »

VirtualBox Logo

In the past, I have demonstrated several projects and features for OpenShift, Red Hat’s Platform as a Service product. You may be aware of OpenShift Online, available at http://openshift.com, for seamless deployment of applications to the cloud. What you may not be aware is that OpenShift Online is only one of the OpenShift products available. The OpenShift line of products features 3 solutions: Online, Origin and Enterprise. While OpenShift Online may suit your public cloud needs, there may be interest in establishing a private or hybrid cloud solution within your enterprise. The best way to become familiar with a product is to install and configure it yourself on a local machine, such as a personal desktop or laptop. Evaluating cloud-based technologies on a single machine typically requires the use of virtual machines to replicate multiple machines or environments. However, applying the appropriate configurations when leveraging multiple virtual machines can be challenging as they must be able to communicate both with each other as well as the external Internet. In the following discussion, we will walk through the process of configuring the supporting infrastructure of a minimal installation of a private OpenShift environment using Oracle VirtualBox.

While there are several virtualization products on the market today, we will utilize Oracle VirtualBox primarily due to its ease of use and compatibility with multiple platforms. Before we begin the configuration process, let’s discuss what an OpenShift environment consists of. A typical basic installation of OpenShift requires the allocation of two machines: A Broker, which handles user and application management, and a Node which provides hosting of cartridges and the actual storage of applications deployed by users, which are contained within gears. Communication between broker and node instances is critical to the performance of the OpenShift environment and presents the greatest challenge when configuring the virtual instances. We need to provide an environment that fulfills the following requirements:

  • Host can communicate with each virtual guest
  • Virtual guests can communicate with each other
  • Virtual guests can access external resources on the Internet

VirtualBox, similar to most virtualization software, supports several network hardware devices that can be run in a variety of networking modes. A full discussion of the different types of network devices and modes VirtualBox can be configured in can be found on the VirtualBox website . To accommodate the aforementioned requirements, we will leverage multiple network adapters running in separate networking modes. The first adapter will be configured in host-only mode as it creates a private network among each virtual machine configured with this network type and the host. The limitation when running in host-only mode is there is no access to external resources such as the Internet. To allow access to external networks within each guest, a second adapter is configured in NAT networking mode. NAT networking is one of the modes VirtualBox provides for allowing a guest to connect to external resources. It was chosen as it requires the least amount of work and configuration by the end user and is ideal for simple access to external systems. An overall diagram of the virtual machine network architecture can be found below.

VirtualBox Network Diagram


OpenShift Camel Component – Manage OpenShift from Camel

Posted: February 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , | 3 Comments »

Apache Camel

Since its creation in 2007, the Apache Camel project has allowed developers to integrate systems by creating Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) applications using industry standard Enterprise Integration Patterns (EIP). At its core, Camel is a routing engine builder for which messages can be received and processed. The processing of messages uses a standardized API library backed by an extensive collection of components which abstracts the actual implementation of routing and transformation of messages. These components also include the ability to communicate with external systems through an array of protocols ranging from web services, REST and JMS. With more than 80 components in the standard Camel distribution, developers have the flexibility to perform power operations with minimal effort to suit their business needs. One of the benefits of the Camel component framework is that it was designed as a factory system where new components can be easily added to solve a business use case.

As more companies and individuals look to migrate their operations and applications into cloud-based solutions, the management of these resources can prove to be a challenge. The overall architecture may be different than what many individuals are accustomed. The OpenShift Platform as a Service (PaaS) is one such cloud offering where developers can quickly create powerful scaled applications without having to worry about managing infrastructure or complex software installation.

Introducing the OpenShift Camel Component

Imagine being able to communicate with the OpenShift Platform directly through a Camel route? With the OpenShift Camel component, it is now possible. Exposed through an Endpoint as both a Camel Consumer and Producer, OpenShift resource details can be retrieved or modified all within a Camel route. Want to find out information about a particular OpenShift Domain, such as the applications and their details? How about automating application deployments? These are only some of the possibilities now available.

Communication between the OpenShift Camel component and OpenShift is facilitated by using the REST API exposed by the OpenShift platform and the OpenShift Java Client. Responses from the OpenShift Camel component will be returned using the API from the OpenShift Java Client.

Using the OpenShift Camel Component in your project

The OpenShift Camel Component can be easily added to a new or existing project. The following steps will describe how this can be accomplished.

GitHub Project: https://github.com/sabre1041/camel-openshift

  1. Fork/Clone the GitHub repository 
    git clone https://github.com/sabre1041/camel-openshift.git
  2. Build the project using Maven
    mvn clean install
  3. Add the component to a new or existing Camel Project as a Maven dependency in the projects’ POM file.
    <dependency>
        <groupId>org.apache.camel</groupId>
        <artifactId>camel-openshift</artifactId>
        <version>0.0.1-SNAPSHOT</version>
    </dependency>
  4. The following example implementation will retrieve information about the authenticated user and print out their user details to the log:Java DSL
     
    import org.apache.camel.builder.RouteBuilder;
    
    public class PrintOpenShiftUserRoute extends RouteBuilder {
    
        public void configure() throws Exception {
            // Retrieve User Details
            from("openshift://user?userName=<openshift_username>&password=<openshift_password>")
                //Print to Log
                .log("${body}");
        }
    
    }

    Spring XML

    <route>
      <description>Spring XML Route. Full XML omitted for brevity</description>
      <from uri="openshift://user?userName=<openshift_user>&amp;password=<openshift_password>"/>
      <log message="${body}"/>
    </route>

With the steps above complete, the project can be deployed to a running container or unit tests can be created to verify the expected results. Additional functionality including how to leverage Authentication as Message Headers can be found on the GitHub project page.

In an upcoming post, I will demonstrate several uses for the OpenShift Camel including how the component can be leveraged within a SwitchYard application.


Nexus Cartridge for OpenShift

Posted: November 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: | No Comments »

OpenShift Nexus CartridgeDeploying an application to the OpenShift Platform as a Service (PaaS) can be accomplished in only a matter of minutes due to the wide array of tools available to the developer. One of the tools provided by OpenShift is the ability to add the Jenkins Continuous Integration server to the development lifecycle of an application. The inclusion of Jenkins affords several incentives for both developers and stakeholders of any development project. First, by adding Jenkins to an OpenShift application, the build process is delegated to Jenkins resulting in far less downtime for the application as typically the application is taken offline during the build and deployment process. Secondly, it brings in the Jenkins Continuous Integration server, with its wide array of plugins and large community support, into your environment. Jenkins is one of the components that make up a continuous integration environment which is a set of software tools responsible for the assembly and distribution of software artifacts. The primary components of this environment consist of a build process, version control system, continuous integration server and finally a repository manager. The OpenShift ecosystem contains the majority of the components with an exception of not being able to easily access and store artifacts that have been assembled as a result of a build process. This process is typically delegated to the final component of the continuous integration environment: the repository manager. One of the more popular repository managers available on the market today is Sonatype Nexus. Nexus can serve multiple purposes in an environment as it can be a central location for binary artifacts and their dependencies, act as a proxy between your organization and publically available repositories, and serve as a deployment destination for internally created artifacts.

Each component of an OpenShift application, whether it is a web or database server framework, is known as a cartridge and there are wide number of cartridges readily available today. One of the benefits of the OpenShift cartridge system is the ability to leverage downloadable user cartridges to extend the base set of included cartridges. By offering Nexus as a downloadable cartridge, it would allow for the completion of creating a continuous integration environment in the cloud. To learn more about a continuous integration environment and how to build one of your own, refer to the following link: http://www.redhat.com/resourcelibrary/whitepapers/eap-create-compile-and-deployment-environment

The Nexus cartridge project is hosted both on GitHub and on OpenShft and built using the Cartridge Development Kit. By leveraging the CDK, an end user can choose the particular build of a cartridge to add to their application. The Nexus cartridge project is available at the following locations:

After selecting the CDK link above, you can use the OpenShift RHC Client tools or the web console to add the cartridge to an application based on the information provided. If you are using the client tools, you can use the command presented at the top of the page which represents the most recent build from the master branch of the project to create an application. When using the web console, first login and click Add Application. Downloadable cartridges can be added by entering the location of the cartridge manifest in the textbox provided in the “Code Anything” section. Click Next, enter the name for the newly created application using the Nexus cartridge, and click Create Application. After the cartridge has been created, you will be presented with a confirmation and the user name and password for the Nexus administrator account. After waiting a few moments to allow the server to come online, you can click the application link provided which will bring you to the Nexus server start page. More information on how to configure and utilize Nexus can be found at the following documentation page: http://books.sonatype.com/nexus-book/reference/

At this point, you have a fully functional repository manager hosted in the cloud. In an upcoming post, I will demonstrate how you can create a  fully functional continuous integration environment hosted on the OpenShift platform.


Java/JBoss EAP 6.1+ – Power to the Properties

Posted: October 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Separating the configuration parameters of an application from the source code is considered best practice as it allows for an application to be more versatile. Instead of being tied to a particular configuration by hardcoding values in the source code, parameters can be externally accessed and loaded according to the particular environment the application is running in. In Java, these values are typically stored in Properties files on the Java classpath or as system properties within the JVM. Java containers also provide methods and utilities for storing and loading configuration values for use by applications. The following discussion will explore the various methods for using property values on the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform version 6.1 and above.

Most Java developers are familiar with the basics of Properties files: sets of key/value pair strings stored in files with the .properties extensions. A basic example of loading a properties file within an application can be accomplished with the following code:

InputStream is = Thread.currentThread().getContextClassLoader()
     .getResourceAsStream(PROPERTIES_FILE_NAME);

Properties properties = new Properties();

try {
	properties.load(is);
} catch (IOException e) {
	LOGGER.error(e.getMessage(), e);
}
finally {
	try {
		is.close();
	}
	catch(Exception e) {

	}
}

The most common method of using a properties file is to package them within an application such as a Java archive (JAR) or web archive (WAR). Doing so will automatically place the file on the classpath for use by the application. In addition, there are several alternate methods that can be used. To demonstrate some of these methods, a sample application has been created to illustrate how this can be accomplished within an application deployed on JBoss EAP 6.1. It is hosted on GitHub at the following location:

https://github.com/sabre1041/jboss-properties

The project consists of a simple servlet which loads a specific properties file from the classpath, iterates through each of the keys, and prints out the value. In addition to using the value found from the properties file, the application will search for the existence of a system property from within the JVM and print out its corresponding value. The project can be built using Maven by navigating to the location where it is stored on your machine and executing the following from the command line:

mvn clean install

This will produce a web archive file named jboss-properties.war file inside the target folder which can be deployed to the JBoss server. For more information on how to deploy applications to JBoss, please refer to this link. After deployment and assuming the JBoss server is running on your local machine, the application can be accessed at http://localhost:8080/jboss-properties with the following presented:

JBoss Properties


Setting the Stage for a SwitchYard Implementation

Posted: October 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Creating and deploying software in a service oriented architecture (SOA) environment can be a daunting task.  Some of the challenges one can face are the complexities of communicating with external systems, transforming data between multiple formats and the management and orchestration of multiple services. There are a number of well-established frameworks available that one can choose from including IBM WebSphere ESB, ActiveMatrix from TIBCO, and Microsoft’s BizTalk server. One of the more recent implementations of a services framework is SwitchYard. While similar to a traditional Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), SwitchYard aims to provide a “lightweight service delivery framework providing full lifecycle support for developing, deploying, and managing service-oriented applications”. So what does that really mean to both developers and stakeholders? For developers, Switchyard provides integration with multiple well established frameworks including Apache Camel, Drools, and jBPM for managing long running business processes. In addition, rich testing support allows for the validation of components at each level of the development process. For stakeholders, SwitchYard provides multiple levels of governance support by interacting with the S-RAMP artifact repository for design time governance and JBoss Overlord for runtime governance. SwitchYard has gained the support and confidence from Red Hat to drive the next version of their Service Oriented Architecture Platform (SOA-P) replacing the existing Rosetta based ESB offering. Over the course of the following several posts, we will discuss how SwitchYard can be deployed within an organization using a real life business use case. In the process, we will discuss several key components within the SwitchYard toolkit. Finally, we will explore how to deploy a SwitchYard project to both a local JBoss installation and an installation deployed on Red Hat’s Openshift Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering.

To establish a business use case for a SwitchYard and to illustrate practical implementations of various SwitchYard components, we will utilize SwitchBrick; a fictitious company in the electronics recycling market who is looking to improve a key aspect of their business. SwitchBrick’s business model is similar to other competitors in their marketplace; consumers trade in their used electronics in exchange for cash. What differentiates SwitchBrick from its competitors is that instead of requiring consumers to ship their product to the company to receive compensation, consumers can visit an automated kiosk to complete the exchange process. SwitchBrick sales have been consistently improving largely due in part to the customer feedback they have received. Seeing how this feedback mechanism has been so critical to the success of the business, they are looking at ways to improve their business process and technology stack. At the present moment, consumers can submit feedback to SwitchBrick in one of two ways:

  • At the conclusion of a transaction at an automated kiosk
  • A form on the SwitchBrick website

While the two systems are not currently integrated, they each perform the same overall functionality. A customer enters their email address and any comments they may have. In addition, the customer is given the opportunity to subscribe to the SwitchBrick newsletter which will entitle them to exclusive offers such as bonuses on future exchanges. Once records are submitted and hit backend systems, they are validated and if the consumer chose to subscribe to the newsletter, a notification is sent to the email provided confirming their subscription. The following diagram provides a visualization of the feedback process.

SwitchYard Overview

Now that we have a basic understanding of the feedback process, let’s discuss some of the specifics of their implementation as we continue to set the stage for integrating SwitchYard components. Feedback submitted at a physical kiosk and from the website are not treated the same primarily due to the process in which the records are received. Records submitted on the SwitchBrick website are received in real time via JMS while at the end of the day, each kiosk will batch up an entire day’s worth of records represented as a flat file in a CSV format. SwitchBrick already has a canonical model for their Feedback system which the website adheres to. The key is to transform the CSV records received from kiosk locations into this format before continuing on with the process. Once the records have been transformed into a canonical model format, validation and business rules can then be applied. Finally, if a subscription is requested, a notification is sent to the email submitted as part of the original request. For brevity of this example application, no persistence to a datastore will be attempted but one can assume this step exists in a real life implementation. With an end to end understanding of the feedback process, here’s how it can be visualized:

SwitchBrick Detailed Implementation

For those who have had previous experience working in a message oriented middleware (MOM) environment may recognize the icons representing the transform and subscription steps of the applications in the diagram above. Those icons signify a transformation and content based router Enterprise Integration Patterns (EIP). An EIP is based on an accepted solution for a given context when designing complex message based systems. Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Woolf’s Enterprise Integration Pattern book, which is approaching its 10 year anniversary, is still considered the go to reference when designing  message based architectures such as SwitchYard. The Apache Camel project has also assembled a quick reference guide for the majority of commonly used patterns on their website. Having a basic understanding of Enterprise Integration Patterns is a key still to attain before working with SwitchYard.

A key feature of SwitchYard and the development toolkit it provides is the support for visualizing components of a SwitchYard application graphically. This visualization allows for a live representation of the state of the application instead of having to leverage third party tools such as Microsoft Visio or open source applications such as OpenOffice/LibreOffice Draw or Dia to depict the application after the fact. Since we have all the steps in place to start developing an application, here’s how it would be modeled within SwitchYard (yes, like a good TV chef, the final product has already been completed):

SwitchYard Overview

In the next post, we will get down to business demonstrating in detail the steps required to create to create a SwitchYard application using the SwitchBrick use case as our guide. Along the way, we will introduce commonly used SwitchYard components, illustrate how they can be used, and review how to test and validate the execution of an application. In the meantime, be sure to check out the SwitchYard product page which includes references for getting your hands on SwitchYard, product documentation, and sample projects.


Configuring a Connection Timeout Value for the JBoss CLI

Posted: July 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »
Yes Chris, even you can set a timeout value

Yes Chris, even you can set a timeout value

There are multiple methods for configuring the JBoss Enterprise Application 6 server. These options range from using the Management web interface, the Command Line Interface (CLI) tool, or manually editing the XML configuration file (not recommended, but still available as an option). One of the benefits of using the JBoss CLI tool is that it not only allows for the management of almost every option available in the EAP server remotely (the Management console only exposes a subset), but it allows for tasks to be scripted and run in a repetitive manner. I have used the CLI tool for everything from provisioning the initial configuration of server instances, monitoring platform metrics, to performing nightly deployments as part of a continuous integration environment. One of the issues that I have frequently faced is the CLI tool would time out while connecting to the JBoss Instance. This situation tends to occur more frequently on remote instances or on instances that have their management interface secured with SSL as it takes longer for the handshake exchange process to complete.

The default timeout value for the CLI to connect to a remote JBoss instance is 5000ms (5 seconds). Users can provide their own timeout value along with a number of other configuration options in a file called jboss-cli.xml. The CLI tool will search for this file in three (3) locations:

  1. The current directory where CLI tool is invoked from
  2. Setting the location of the file in a Java Property called jboss.cli.config
  3. Within the bin folder of the JBoss server defined by the JBOSS_HOME environmental variable.

The JBoss server itself provides a jboss-cli.xml file in the <JBOSS_HOME>/bin folder which can be used as a starting point for any custom modifications.  This file is used when invoking either the jboss-cli.bat or jboss-cli.sh script depending on the operating system platform to connect to a local or remote instance. As previously mentioned, I utilize the CLI tool to handle remote deployments of artifacts. This is a centralized server and JBoss is not installed locally on this machine. The JBoss platform provides a client jar to leverage access to the CLI named jboss-cli-client.jar within the <JBOSS_HOME>/bin/client folder. To specify the location of the xml file as a Java Property while invoking the client jar, use the following syntax:

java –Djboss.cli.config=<location_of_xml_file> -jar jboss-client-jar [OPTIONS]

Specifying a timeout value within the jboss-cli.xml file was introduced in JBoss AS 7.2/EAP 6.1 by means of a connection-timeout option. If a timeout value of 10 second is desired, the jboss-cli.xml file can be configured with the following options:

<connection-timeout>10000</connection-timeout>

The full range of configuration options for the jboss-cli.xml file is available within the XML schema file located at <JBOSS_HOME>/docs/schema/jboss-as-cli_1.2.xsd file. The <JBOSS_HOME>/docs/schema directory contains a collection of schemas available for use within the JBoss server.

With the value set in the jboss-cli.xml file, it should resolve any timeout related issues experienced while connecting to remote JBoss servers using the Command Line Interface tool.