Friday Sep 04, 2009

St.Vincent's Web Results project - a trip to the World Wide Web museum

Way back, when the Web was young and the number of World Wide Web sites in the whole World was counted in thousands, I built Australia's first Web-based Diagnostic Results Reporting application. St.Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, where I worked then, had the benefit of it for a bunch of years after I left for greener pastures. It has long since been superseded by something better, slicker and more modern. Today's state of the art is tomorrow's museum piece ...

While I am not usually given to bragging, I am proud of the application all the same, when I remember that it happened, which is not very often at all. It was recalled to me by a couple of people whom I met after a very long time, in the last couple of weeks, so I though I will see if the conference paper I submitted to the First Asia-Pacific World Wide Web Conference, held in Sydney in 1995, is still on line. Alas, Charles Sturt University, which, until about 6 months ago, hosted the conference papers, no longer hosts them. I am still amazed that it hosted them for so many years - more then 10 - and only now retired the site.

To preserve the paper for a bit longer, and show what the state of the art in web design looked like in 1995, I uploaded the paper to the blog site. It is available through teh original artcile, St.Vincent’s Web Results project – a trip to the World Wide Web museum, at http://blogs.czapski.id.au/2009/09/st-vincents-web-results-project-a-trip-to-the-world-wide-web-museum. Some pictures are irretrivably gone - I don't have the original material so some links are broken.

For these who are too young to remember, in 1993, when I started the project

  • The only way to design web pages was using a text editor and typing HTML (which graduated to version 2.0 half way through the project)
  • There was no such thing as Internet Explorer - in fact Microsoft was in the middle of creating "The Microsoft Network" in competition to the Internet - it never went very far
  • There was no such thing a Netscape Navigator - the only graphical web browser in existence was the Mosaic Browser from the National Center for Suppercomputing Applications (NCSA). A couple of the guys who built the Mosaic browser left to start Netscape and made a mint on it
  • There were two kinds of web servers - the CERN httpd and the NCSA httpd. The NCSA httpd eventually became the Appache Web Server
  • The only way for a Windows machine to connect to the Internet was to install the Trumpet Winsock TCP/IP stack, which Peter Tattam from Tasmania released to the World
  • There was no commercial anything on the Internet, no sites, no adds, no cookies,...
  • It was in 1995 at the First Asia-Apcific World Wide Web Conference in Sydney that I first saw Java and the HotJava Browser - while Java is still with us the HotJava Browser never go very far.

These were interesting days ...

Tuesday Jun 23, 2009

NetBeans 6.5.1 and GlassFish v 2.1 - Creating a Healthcare Facility Visual Web Application

In some views SOA is represented as a series of 4 layers: Presentation Layer (SOA 1), Business Process Layer (SOA 2), Business Service Layer (SOA 3) and Technical Layer (SOA 4). Typically each layer higher up in the hierarchy consumes services exposed by the layer under it. So the Presentation Layer would consume services provided by the Business Process or Business Service Layers. Service interfaces are described using Web Services Description Language (WSDL), sheltering service consumers from details of service implementation. Web Services are seen as the technical means to implement the decoupled functional layers in a SOA development. Decoupling allows implementations of business functionality at different layers to be swapped in and out without disturbing other layers in the stack.

The business idea is that patients are looked after in various healthcare facilities. Frequently applications need to allow selection of a facility and to access facility details for display to human operators. A relational database is used to hold the details of facilities which are a part of the healthcare enterprise. To shelter application developers from the details of the data store facility list and details are made available as a multi-operation web service. This web service will be used to construct the web application that provides a user view into the facilities and facility details.

The previous document in this series, “GlassFish ESB v 2.1   Creating a Healthcare Facility Web Service Provider”, at http://blogs.sun.com/javacapsfieldtech/entry/glassfish_esb_v_2_1, walked the reader through the process of implementing a GlassFish ESB v2.1-based, multi-operation web service which returns facility list and facility details. In this document I will walk through the process of developing a Visual Web Application which will use the Web Service as a data provider. We will use the NetBeans 6.5.1 IDE, which comes as part of the GlassFish ESB v2.1 installation. The application will be implemented as a Visual Web JavaServer Faces Application using JSF component provided by Project Woodstock. This application will introduce the technology in a practical manner and show how a multi-operation web service can be used as a data provider, decoupling the web application from the data stores and specifics of data provision.

Note that this document is not a tutorial on JavaServer Faces, Visual Web JSF, Project Woodstock components or Web Application development. Note also that all the components and technologies used are either distributed as part of the NetBeans 6.5, as part of the GalssFish ESB v2.1 or are readily pluggable into the NetBeans IDE. All are free and open source.

It is assumed that a GlassFish ESB v2.1-based infrastructure, supplemented by the Sun WebSpace Server 10 Portal functionality and a MySQL RDBMS instance, are available for development and deployment of the web application discussed in this paper. It is further assumed that the web service, developed using instructions in “GlassFish ESB v 2.1 - Creating a Healthcare Facility Web Service Provider”, at http://blogs.sun.com/javacapsfieldtech/entry/glassfish_esb_v_2_1, is available and deployed to the infrastructure. The instructions necessary to install this infrastructure are discussed in the blog entry “Adding Sun WebSpace Server 10 Portal Server functionality to the GlassFish ESB v2.1 Installation” at http://blogs.sun.com/javacapsfieldtech/entry/adding_sun_webspace_server_10, supplemented by the material in blog entry “Making Web Space Server And Web Services Play Nicely In A Single Instance Of The Glassfish Application Server”, at http://blogs.sun.com/javacapsfieldtech/entry/making_web_space_server_and.

Here is the document - 01_FacilityService_WebApplication.pdf

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In this Blog I post abstracts of articles / writeups / notes on various aspects of Java CAPS and SOA Suite including solutions, discussions and screencasts. The links to the referenced material are included in the bodies of the abstracts.

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