mardi mars 24, 2009

GlassFish Tools for Eclipse are available

Sun is making available GlassFish Tools for Eclipse (v0.9, final version to be release soon).  This is a pre-configured package containing Eclipse 3.4.1 alongside with GlassFish v2.1 and GlassFish v3 prelude and the required Eclipse plugins to effectively manage and deploy applications to GlassFish right from the IDE.

Q: Who is the target for this offering?
A: Developers or organizations that have already standardized on or prefer Eclipse over NetBeans.

Q: Why has Sun created this offering?
A: Sun has created a strong preference for GlassFish among NetBeans users. However, a large community of developers have chosen Eclipse as their IDE of choice.  Today those developers have to download open source products from multiple locations and configure them to work together (error prone), increasing the barrier to entry. This offering creates a positive feature-rich out-of-the-box experience for Eclipse developers. In additional, developers can now leverage the open source plugins created by competitive frameworks (Spring, SEAM, Hibernate, etc) within a GlassFish-focused IDE. This bundle will also improve the relationship between the community of Eclipse developers and Sun.

Q: Is Sun moving away from Netbeans towards Eclipse?
A: No. Sun is expanding its reach by embracing not just the NetBeans developer community, but also the Eclipse community. This is a consistent with Sun's strategy of using open source to "lower the barrier to entry" - in this case to a large developer community.

lundi janv. 19, 2009

JavaFX asynchronous communication with JSON and REST based web services

While writing Rich Internet Application with JavaFX is relatively easy and well documented, fetching data from remote sources seemed more obscure to me. The documentation is minimal and I did not found any good tutorial describing the various techniques available to connect to a remote web service and how to parse the results.

While this blog entry do not aim at being such a tutorial, I will just give an example I developed over the week end to integrate a JSon based REST web service from a JavaFX application.

(For those of you interested in database access, my colleague Octavian just published a blog entry on the subject).

Let's first start with the REST web service. Once you have installed the appropriate plugin into NetBeans, it is as simple as creating a web application, then creating a REST based web service.

I used the supplied JSon Java classes to create the output message.

The web service I created just return 4 random values, between 0 and 100. The syntax of the returned message is

{“Values”: 21, 35, 76, 82}

And the code is as follow :

public class ValuesResource {

    Random rand = new Random(new java.util.Date().getTime());

    public String getValues() {
      String result;
      try {
         result = new JSONStringer()
      catch (JSONException e) {
         result = "{ \\"error\\" : \\"" +e.getLocalizedMessage() + "\\" }";
      return result;

I deployed this on GlassFish v3 and tested from command line with curl :

marsu:~ sst$ curl http://localhost:8080/WebApplication1/resources/values

In my JavaFX application, I want to call this web service on a regular basis. I therefore choose to use the Timer and TimerTask Java classes to wrap the calling code and execute it on a regular time-based interval.

The first piece of code is a custom TimerTask. It wraps the JavaFX provided RemoteTextDocument, a very easy to use class that wraps the HTTP communication.

var values : Number[];
class Task extends TimerTask {
   override function run() {
      var request : RemoteTextDocument = RemoteTextDocument {
         url: "http://localhost:8080/WebApplication1/resources/values";
      var returnValue: String = bind request.document on replace {
         if (request.done) {         
            var data : JSONArray = new JSONObject(returnValue).getJSONArray("Values");
            for (i in [ - 1]) {
               insert data.getDouble(i)into values;

The RemoteTextDocument as three useful attributes :

  • url, the URL to connect to ;

  • done, a flag indicating that the connection is completed ;

  • document, the text returned by the URL connection

The URL connection is made automatically when creating an instance of the class.

To get access to the document in an asynchronous way, I am using the bind and on replace capabilities provided by JavaFX.

My returnValue variable is bound to request.document, meaning that every time request.document is modified, returnValue is updated to reflect the new value.

The on replace trigger, allows to execute some code when the value of returnValue is changing, basically, it parses the resulting String with the Java based JSon classes and create an array of Number.

Easy to write, to read and very efficient !

The last step is to create a Java Timer to trigger the TimerTask on a regular basis. I want this process to start as soon as the JavaFX application starts. JavaFX does provide a run() function for this purpose.

function run( args : String[] ) {

   def timer : Timer = new Timer("TimerThread");
   def task  : Task = new Task();  
   //run the TimerTask immediately and every 5 secs
   timer.schedule(task, 0, 5000);

   //more JavaFX line of code, notably create the Stage and Scene etc ...

Et voila ... the JavaFX application will start polling the REST web service every 5 secs.

I further bounded the array of Number prepared by the TimerTask to a PieChart component. The net result is a self-refreshing pie chart as shown below.

The PieChart JavaFX component will be described in a later blog entry.

lundi oct. 20, 2008

Happy Birthday NetBeans

This week, NetBeans is turning 10 years old.  Join me in congratulating our team and all persons involved on that project during the last decade.

I still can remember this day when I first downloaded NetBeans 1.0 beta.  At that time I was using a Windows based Java text editor, Kawa ... and Symantec and Microsoft where the masters of the Java IDE world with Symantec Cafe and Visual J++.  For a full review of the Java IDE 10 years ago, read this article.

You can read the original NetBeans press release on

mardi mai 13, 2008

AJAX Portlets with Google Web Toolkit

I had the pleasure to present a Hands-on-Lab during this year's JavaONE conference.  My lab teaches attendees how to develop an AJAX portlet with the NetBeans IDE, Google Web Toolkit and the Open-Source Portlet Conainer.

Beside some frustrations to actually install the environment required for the lab, all went well and most of the attendees managed to finish the exercises on time.

The good news today is that all JavaONE 2008 Hands-on-Lab are now available for free on Sun Developer's Network, you just need to register to get access to the site.

The AJAX Portlet lab is available as well as a couple of slides giving a high level overview of the lab.

As usual, feel free to share your comments and suggestions.

Enjoy !


jeudi août 02, 2007

Implementing Fine Grained Access Control with OpenSSO

I tried to implement the concept presented in this excellent article from my colleagues Robert Skoczylas and Marina Sum.  Their article is quite well detailed.  I thought the implementation would be painless and that I should have a demo to show to partners and customers in a couple of minutes.

Actually, it was a little more complex than I originally anticipated and I would like to share and describe my experience with you.  Reading the above-mentioned article is a prerequisite to understand or implement the project described here under.

The objective is to create a web application that will leverage OpenSSO (or Access Manager) for

  • user authentication - with the help of the Policy Agent
  • user authorization - with the help of the Policy Agent for URL authorization and a Custom Policy Service and the AM Client SDK for fine grained authorization.

The NetBeans project and some other supporting file needed to compile and run this example are also available

To implement the concept presented in the above mentioned article, you have to 

#1 Download & Install NetBeans 6.0

At the time of this writing, the latest beta version of NetBeans is 6.0 M10. Install it using a full option installation : this will install Glassfish, OpenSSO, JBI, ...

The NetBeans 6.0 installer will take care of installing and configuring Glassfish and OpenSSO for you.  However, you will need to change one OpenSSO configuration parameter, as the default value is incorrectly set by the installer (See CR110896).

  1. Open the file :  <glassfish root>/domains/domain1/config/amflatfiledir/
  2. Change to

#2 Add AM Admin Tools

Access Manager comes with a set of command line tools allowing you to manage the server, add or modify services etc ...  Unfortunately, the OpenSSO implementation bundled with NetBeans 6M10 does not include these command line tools.  You will need these tools to install a Custom Policy Service, as described below.

To get these tools, you must download the complete Access Manager 7.1 package from Sun's web site, then follow these instructions to install them.

The only parameter that you will need to know to install the tools is the full path to your AM Config directory :

<glassfish root>/domains/domain1/config/amflatfiledir 

This step is not necessary if you are implementing this sample with Access Manager 7.1, as the command line tools are installed by default. 

#3 Create an AS domain to host you own application

OpenSSO is installed in the default domain, created when you installed NetBeans 6 and Glassfish.  Although it is officially possible to deploy a Policy Agent on the same instance as Access Manager, I do not like the idea and prefer to keep things clearly separate.  Therefore, I would advise to create a second instance of Glassfish, separate from the one hosting Access Manager, dedicated to host your home-made applications.

To create a second domain, type the following command :

<glassfish root>/bin/asadmin create-domain --user admin --adminport 14848 --domaindir <glassfish root>/domains --instanceport 18080 --savemasterpassword=true --savelogin=true webdomain 

You will need to change <glassfish_root> to your Glassfish installation directory.

#4 Download and Install Policy Agent

Now that your second instance is ready to deploy your applications, you must download and install the OpenSSO policy agent.  I used the nightly builds from OpenSSO and the docs from Access Manager.

The state file containing all the answers I gave for my installation is available for you to download.  Do not forget to create a Policy Agent profile in OpenSSO Console before installing the agent.

#5 Create a web application to test Policy Agent installation

Next step is to create a simple web application, protect it with the policy agent to test your installation.

  1. Use NetBeans to craete a HelloWorld-complexity web application (or use the FineGrainedSample application I do provide with this blog)
  2. Modify web.xml to add the <filter> element that will enable the Policy Agent as described in the documentation.  (you can also have a look at my web.xml in the NetBeans project provided with this blog entry)
  3. Deploy the application
  4. Create a user in OpenSSO console
  5. Create a URL Policy to authorize your user to access your application
  6. Access and test your application

#6 Create a custom policy service and import it to OpenSSO

Now, it is time to create a custom policy service to be used with your application.  The process and concepts are clearly explained in the article I mentioned above.

I slightly changed the Service description XML file :

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<!DOCTYPE ServicesConfiguration PUBLIC "=//iPlanet//Service Management Services (SMS) 1.0 DTD//EN""jar://com/sun/identity/sm/sms.dtd">
    <Service name="CustomPolicyService" version="1.0">
            i18nFileName="CustomPolicyService " 
                <AttributeSchema name="serviceObjectClasses" type="list" syntax="string"  i18nKey="CustomPolicyService"/>
                <AttributeSchema name="bank_account_permission"
                                 i18nKey="Choose Bank Account Access">
                        <ChoiceValue i18nKey="All">ALL</ChoiceValue>
                        <ChoiceValue i18nKey="Read Only">READONLY</ChoiceValue>
                        <ChoiceValue i18nKey="Hidden">HIDDEN</ChoiceValue>

and I used this command to load the file into OpenSSO


$AM_TOOLS_BASE/bin/amadmin --verbose --runasdn $AM_ADMIN --password $ADMIN_PWD --schema $POLICY_FILE

#7 Call The Custom Policy service from your code

The next steps involve modifying  the code in a web application to call the OpenSSO Custom Policy Service we just created.

The Java code is explained in Robert and Marina's article. You will find it also in the NetBeans project I do provide with this blog entry.

You will need to change the NetBeans project classpath to compile it because the code refers to classes provided by the AM Client SDK.  Strictly speaking, it is not necessary to install the AM Client SDK because all the required jar files and config files are already installed as part of the OpenSSO and Policy Agent installation.

I choose to use the files provided by the Policy Agent.  the files you need to add to your project classpath are :

  1. <policy agent root>/Agent_001/config
  2. <policy agent root>/locale
  3. <policy agent root>/lib/amclientsdk.jar

#8 Create users, roles and policies with OpenSSO console

 I created three users and three roles.

Then I created three policies, each one giving an access level (Hidden, Read Only, Full) to each role.

#9 Deploy, Test the application and have fun ! 

Depending on the user you authenticate with, you will have partial or full access to all attributes on the screen.

Should you have comments, remarks about missing pieces or errors in this short tutorial, do not hesitate to leave your comments.

mercredi juil. 25, 2007

Building OpenSSO from Netbeans on Mac OS X

I spent some time to build OpenSSO from within NetBeans.  My objectives were not only pedagogical, I mainly wanted to be able to run the client SDK under control of the NetBeans debugger to better understand why my code was not behaving as expected (more about my code and the sample I built in another blog entry).

While many docs are available on OpenSSO web site, it is not always easy to find where to start, which doc to use nor to fill out the missing pieces, hence this write up.

Here are the steps I followed :

  • Obviously, download and install NetBeans 6 (latest milestone is M10 at the time of this writing)
  • Download OpenSSO's source code
  • Follow the instruction in the README to acquire and compile the required third-party libraries
  • Ensure everything compiles correctly by typing ant nightly in the top level directory of your source tree.  The process took 14 min on my Mac Book Pro.
  • Create the NetBeans project, following these instructions
  • In the "Java Source Classpath" panel of your project's properties add the following libs :
    • <opensso root>/product/shared/built/classes
    • <opensso root>/resources/jato/jato.jar
    • <opensso root>/resources/lockhart/lib/cc.jar
  • Give NetBeans a couple of seconds to parse the source and the new libs and ... all the errors should be gone !

As an extra bonus, you can now use the CVS graphical user interface  built into NetBeans to browse the revision history, view diffs etc ...

I followed these steps on Mac OS X and Solaris 10 and, without surprise, the procedure is similar.

Under Mac OS X, make sure you have the development tools installed to compile the third-party libs.  On Solaris, make sure you have a basic development environment (gcc, gmake and the likes) installed.

Note : these steps will only build amserver, amAdminTools, distAuth, amClientSDK, console etc ... you will not get Federation nor the agents ....  I will let this as an exercise for you :-)  Please feel free to leave your comments if something is unclear, missing or incorrect.


Sébastien Stormacq is a Senior Software Architect at Sun Microsystems. He uses his 15+ years of professional experience to design large scale, secured and highly transactional architectures based on Sun's middleware solutions.


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