Spring and Hibernate in GlassFish

Few days back, Matt Raible complained in his blog that Spring and Hibernate do not work in GlassFish. Being the GlassFish architect, he sparkled my interest ;-) Since I am always in for a good technical challenge, I decided to prove him wrong :

Part 1 : Spring

Here I am going to demonstrate the following :
    - how to get the Spring binaries
    - how to install them in the application
    - demonstrate how the Spring tutorial can work with the GlassFish/Spring combination.

First of all, go to the Spring website and download the latest version 1.2.6, I chose the fat download with all bunch of dependency jar files you will probably never need but at least, you are sure to have what you need.

Now, as I mentioned, I decided to try to run the Tutorial application which is also found on the Spring website. This is the link to the original tutorial, find below the updated instructions targeted to GlassFish, you will still need to reference the original article as I don't repeat everything...

Also, because I am not a big fan of complicated build scripts and being naturally lazy, I decided to use Netbeans 5.0 as my development tool. You can adapt the tutorial scripts to work with GlassFish if you prefer command line interfaces. Also, GlassFish has a plug in for Eclipse so you should be able to easily translate this effort for Eclipse (and maybe post the instructions as a comment...)

Next thing to do, go get yourself the NetBeans 5.0 RC2 and install it. Once you have done that, go get the latest GlassFish build, here I am using Build35. Install it in say $home/glassfish :

simplified instructions to install glassfish :

    jar -Xmx256m -jar glassfish<>.jar
    cd glassfish
    ant -f setup.xml

Now reading from the Spring tutorial steps, all you need to make your  Spring app work are three files located in the unzipped distribution we downloaded earlier
  • dist/spring.jar
  • lib/jakarta-commons/commons-logging.jar
  • lib/log4j/log4j-1.2.9.jar
To simplify things, I will make Spring available to the entire application server installation, which mean that all domains will have access to it and applications will not be required to bundle these jars inside their war files.

To do that, just copy the above three files in your glassfish installation lib directory ($home/glassfish/lib) and you are done ! I will explain later how you can actually restrict this to a particular domain or even a particular application.

So now you can start NetBeans 5.0 and add the Glassfish server to it :Tools Menu, Server Manager, Add Server

Adding a server to NetBeans 5.0

Once you have added the server to NetBeans, you can actually start GlassFish.

Now let's build our first Spring application ! The Spring Tutorial steps1 to 4 is just about building a simple WebApplication with a .jsp file. In NetBeans, it is very easy to do that in a couple of clicks  :
  1. From the file menu, choose "New Project"
  2. Choose Web Category
  3. Choose Web Application, Click Next
  4. Call you new project springapp, ensure that "Sun Java System Application Server" is the targeted server
  5. Click Finish
Select Web Pages, right-click and add a new JSP hello.jsp with this content :

<head><title>Example :: Spring Application</title></head>
<h1>Example - Spring Application</h1>
<p>This is my test.</p>
Now you have your project opened,  From the Run Menu, select "Run Main Project" you should see your browser showing you a "Hello World" type of page if you browse index.jsp (given by Netbeans for free) or hello.jsp

At this point you are done with step 1 to 5 of the Spring Tutorial, without typing a line of code or script...

On to Step 6, add the following

to your WEB-INF/web.xml, you can either use the nice UI or you can select XML category on top of your editor to have direct access to the XML content.

Adding the servlet to the XML

Step 7, add you springapp-servlet.xml to the WEB-INF directory

Step 8, add the SpringappController java class to the "Source Packages" category of your project.

Now your IDE should look like this
complete project

Something interesting here : With red underlining, NetBeans is telling you that the first two imports are illegal and that's because NetBeans does not know anything about the Spring Framework. Let's fix that :
  1. Tools menu, select Library Manager
  2. Add a new Library, call it "Spring"
  3. Add the 3 Jars we copied to $home/glassfish/lib
Done with adding the new Library, now change your project properties to add the new Spring library...
  1. Right click on your "springapp"
  2. Select Librairies, Add Library
  3. Select Spring Library from the list
Now when netBeans is done scanning the new jar, those red lines under the import statements should disappear...
Time to rebuild and deploy to check we are right on course with Step 11.

Step 12 : create a view
From the "Web Pages" sub element of your springapp project, select "new" and in the wizard, select "other" and "empty file", call this new file "hello.jsp"

<head><title>Example :: Spring Application</title></head>
<h1>Hello - Spring Application</h1>
Change the controller to now handle this new view :

import org.springframework.web.servlet.mvc.Controller;
import org.springframework.web.servlet.ModelAndView;

import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;

import java.io.IOException;

import org.apache.commons.logging.Log;
import org.apache.commons.logging.LogFactory;

public class SpringappController implements Controller {

/\*\* Logger for this class and subclasses \*/
protected final Log logger = LogFactory.getLog(getClass());

public ModelAndView handleRequest(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
throws ServletException, IOException {

logger.info("SpringappController - returning hello view");

return new ModelAndView("hello.jsp");

Run the project and you should get something like this when browsing http://localhost:8080/springapp/hello.htm

successful running

On to Step 13, there is a mistake in the Spring Framework tutorial, It specifies that you need to change the include.jsp like this
<%@ page session="false"%>

<%@ taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jstl/core" %>
<%@ taglib prefix="fmt" uri="http://java.sun.com/jstl/fmt" %>
In fact, it should be
<%@ page session="false"%>

<%@ taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core" %>
<%@ taglib prefix="fmt" uri="http://java.sun.com/jstl/fmt" %>
Otherwise you can basically continue until step 16 and get the same results...

Ok, I think I have made my point : Spring runs unmodified in the unmodified GlassFish freshly downloaded from our web site.

Part 2 : Hibernate

For hibernate, things are a little more complicated depending on what youwant to do :
  • Use Hibernate APIs from a EJB Session bean, this is working since Sun Java System Application Server 8.1 and well documented here
    This integration is however far from complete as far as the TransactionManager is concerned  
  • Use Hibernate as an EJB3 Persistence Provider :
    This is not easy to make it work but doable, I have been working with Emanuel Bernard (ah.. the french connection, always easier) to get this done and he will be updating his wiki page with steps. The reason why this is not easily working is that both products are in active development and the windows for integration are not always overlapping. This will get resolved in the next day or so and I will publish a new blog. Today, what you have to do is described in another Hibernate wiki.
So running Hibernate in GlassFish is today difficult, granted but we are working hard to change this and you should hear soon when the integration will be completed. Now remember that we have a persistence provider in GlassFish (TopLink) which will allow you to start working with Spring+EJB3 Persistence. You may not have the persistence provider you want today but Emmanuel and I will ensure that we will provide a easy solution very soon. You can also follow Sahoo's blog for updated information.


Well, in all honesty, Matt had asked for some help on the glassfish forum and he did not get a satisfying answer which probably led him to believe that it just does not work but I hope I have dismissed all misunderstandings, we support Spring and Hibernate, we will work closely with all willing Open Source communities to integrate each others technologies. Finally, I hope that we will get more and more folks excited about GlassFish.

Post Script-um :

In his attempt to run Spring in the GlassFish application server, Matt got into trouble with the SecurityManager. What he did was probably to cobundle the Spring archives within his war files. I know some folks love to do that, but honestly this is not the right way of integrating framework libraries in any application server. My approach described above made the framework available to all the deployed applications. If you want to restrict its availability to a particular domain, just copy the 3 jars files in your domain/lib directory (like$user/glassfish/domains/domain1/lib) and edit your server.policy to not get into the same issue than Tom :

grant codeBase "file:${com.sun.aas.installRoot}/domains/domain1/lib/spring.jar" {
        permission java.security.AllPermission;

Same solution (with a different path) can be applied for jar files that are bundled within your war file, this is actually documented here.

Hi Jerome, Thank you so much for this article. I am using Eclipse for more than 3 years. Right now, I amtrying to dwelve myself into netbeans. I am really happy with the UI and the arrangement of menus etc on netbeans. I was thnking on th esame line ass how to deploy apps on Glassfish. This blog came in as GODSEND. Thank you once again, in making my netbeans experrience so eassy. regards, Sekar

Posted by Sekar on January 29, 2006 at 09:48 PM PST #

Hi! Interesting entry, even if a little too long for my taste :-). The only thing I am wondering about is your recommendation to share framework dependencies too all applications. I would dare to say that this is not a recommended deployment. Considering you have multiple applications running on that server you will need to deal with all of them when doing a framework upgrade. And I wouldn't say this is a recommended approach. cheers, ./alex -- .w( the_mindstorm )p.

Posted by Alex Popescu on January 30, 2006 at 06:47 AM PST #

well, once I get started, it's hard to stop ;-) I agree with your point but I think it depends largely on the configuration of your applications. In general, I find it better than each application bundling the copy and having to mess with the security rights for each of them. Now if you have 10 apps all using different versions of the framework, I would certainly agree with your point. It's really not that much a recommendation than a personal taste...

Posted by Jerome Dochez on January 30, 2006 at 12:04 PM PST #

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