Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Peter Estin Hut Trip in Colorado's High Country

Last weekend, after returning from our trip to Las Vegas, we packed up our stuff, got a good night's sleep and headed on a hut trip in Colorado's High Country. The name of the hut was Peter Estin Hut and it was a bit of a hike to get to. My friend, Joe, set my expectations correctly when he warned me it'd be a 5 hour death march. It took us 4 hours, 30 minutes and we skied up 2200 vertical feet of switchbacks.

From the Parking Lot Joe and Sean Made it! View off the front port of Peter Estin Hut

The hut itself was great. It was a lot like The Cabin, but bigger, slept a lot more people and was at 11,200 feet. It had an old fashioned cookstove, heat stove (where we melted snow) and a two-room outhouse.

The Roomy Inside Water Source Peter Estin Hut

On Sunday, we hiked up to the top of Charles Peak (12,000') and had a nice (albeit choppy) run down and packed up to hike down.

Livin' it up, hut style We made it! At the top of Charles Peak

This was the first hut trip I'd been on since Last Dollar Hut near Telluride in college. It was definitely a physical challenge, but was a lot of fun thanks to good friends, nice views and "summit push" music from Joe's boombox.

For more pictures from this adventure, check out my Peter Estin Hut Trip photos on Flickr.

Posted in General at Mar 26 2011, 11:20:12 AM MDT Add a Comment

Livin' it up in Vegas at TSSJS 2011

Last Wednesday, Trish and I traveled to Las Vegas for TheServerSide Java Symposium 2011 conference. We had a free room from TechTarget, but opted to upgrade to a suite with a view over the Bellagio Fountains. Trish won a trip to Vegas as a sales award earlier in the year and cleverly exchanged it for cash, so our upgrade was sort of free.

Caesars Pool The Bellagio Fountains

My first talk was on Online Video and my experience at Time Warner Cable. With my former team's iPad app releasing the day before, it was a fun session. The attendance was kind of sparse, but I had some good competition so wasn't surprised.

After I finished speaking, we headed to happy hour and met up with some friends that happened to be in town. We had dinner at the Todd English Pub and headed to the Penn & Teller show at the Rio. We closed the night after Trish had a 45-minute roll at the craps table at O'Sheas.

We slept in on Thursday and I gave my Comparing JVM Web Frameworks talk that afternoon. I made sure to mention some other methods to choosing web frameworks: doing performance comparisons like Peter Thomas has done or choosing Lift because one of its developers says it's the best. While Vaadin did sneak into the #5 spot, I made sure and mentioned that Wicket and Tapestry seem to belong there moreso (based on stats, mailing list traffic, etc.).

Trish took a bunch of pictures during my talk, which had a great turnout and lots of participation.

Getting Intro'd My Intro My Dream on Display

The Problem How do you choose? Choosing a Framework

That evening, we celebrated St. Patty's Day with some college buddies of mine, ate great sushi at Mizuya and experienced the joys of three card poker. Thanks to TechTarget for inviting me to TSSJS 2011; we had an awesome time. You can find all the pictures we took on Flickr.

P.S. If you can't see the presentations in this post (a.k.a. you don't have Flash), you can view them on on Slideshare or download the PDFs.

Posted in Java at Mar 22 2011, 09:04:17 AM MDT Add a Comment

Adding Search to AppFuse with Compass

Over 5 years ago, I recognized that AppFuse needed to have a search feature and entered an issue in JIRA. Almost 4 years later, a Compass Tutorial was created and shortly after Shay Banon (Compass Founder), sent in a patch. From the message he sent me:

A quick breakdown of enabling search:

  1. Added Searchable annotations to the User and Address.
  2. Defined Compass bean, automatically scanning the model package for mapped searchable classes. It also automatically integrates with Spring transaction manager, and stores the index on the file system ([work dir]/target/test-index).
  3. Defined CompassTemplate (similar in concept to HibernateTemplate).
  4. Defined CompassSearchHelper. Really helps to perform search since it does pagination and so on.
  5. Defined CompassGps, basically it allows for index operation allowing to completely reindex the data from the database. JPA and Hiberante also automatically mirror changes done through their API to the index. iBatis uses AOP.

Fast forward 2 years and I finally found the time/desire to put a UI on the backend Compass implementation that Shay provided. Yes, I realize that Compass is being replaced by ElasticSearch. I may change to use ElasticSearch in the future; now that the search feature exists, I hope to see it evolve and improve.

Since Shay's patch integrated the necessary Spring beans for indexing and searching, the only thing I had to do was to implement the UI. Rather than having an "all objects" results page, I elected to implement it so you could search on an entity's list screen. I started with Spring MVC and added a search() method to the UserController:

@RequestMapping(method = RequestMethod.GET)
public ModelAndView handleRequest(@RequestParam(required = false, value = "q") String query) throws Exception {
    if (query != null && !"".equals(query.trim())) {
        return new ModelAndView("admin/userList", Constants.USER_LIST, search(query));
    } else {
        return new ModelAndView("admin/userList", Constants.USER_LIST, mgr.getUsers());
    }
}

public List<User> search(String query) {
    List<User> results = new ArrayList<User>();
    CompassDetachedHits hits = compassTemplate.findWithDetach(query);
    log.debug("No. of results for '" + query + "': " + hits.length());
    for (int i = 0; i < hits.length(); i++) {
        results.add((User) hits.data(i));
    }
    return results;
}

At first, I used compassTemplate.find(), but got an error because I wasn't using an OpenSessionInViewFilter. I decided to go with findWithDetach() and added the following search form to the top of the userList.jsp page:

<div id="search">
<form method="get" action="${ctx}/admin/users" id="searchForm">
    <input type="text" size="20" name="q" id="query" value="${param.q}"
           placeholder="Enter search terms"/>
    <input type="submit" value="<fmt:message key="button.search"/>"/>
</form>
</div>

NOTE: I tried using HTML5's <input type="search">, but found Canoo WebTest doesn't support it.

Next, I wrote a unit test to verify everything worked as expected. I found I had to call compassGps.index() as part of my test to make sure my index was created and up-to-date.

public class UserControllerTest extends BaseControllerTestCase {
    @Autowired
    private CompassGps compassGps;
    @Autowired
    private UserController controller;

    public void testSearch() throws Exception {
        compassGps.index();
        ModelAndView mav = controller.handleRequest("admin");
        Map m = mav.getModel();
        List results = (List) m.get(Constants.USER_LIST);
        assertNotNull(results);
        assertTrue(results.size() >= 1);
        assertEquals("admin/userList", mav.getViewName());
    }
}

After getting this working, I started integrating similar code into AppFuse's other web framework modules (Struts, JSF and Tapestry). When I was finished, they all looked pretty similar from a UI perspective.

Struts:

<div id="search">
<form method="get" action="${ctx}/admin/users" id="searchForm">
    <input type="text" size="20" name="q" id="query" value="${param.q}"
           placeholder="Enter search terms..."/>
    <input type="submit" value="<fmt:message key="button.search"/>"/>
</form>
</div>

JSF:

<div id="search">
<h:form id="searchForm">
    <h:inputText id="q" name="q" size="20" value="#{userList.query}"/>
    <h:commandButton value="#{text['button.search']}" action="#{userList.search}"/>
</h:form>
</div>

Tapestry:

<div id="search">
<t:form method="get" t:id="searchForm">
    <t:textfield size="20" name="q" t:id="q"/>
    <input t:type="submit" value="${message:button.search}"/>
</t:form>
</div>

One frustrating thing I found was that Tapestry doesn't support method="get" and AFAICT, neither does JSF 2. With JSF, I had to make my UserList bean session-scoped or the query parameter would be null when it listed the results. Tapestry took me the longest to implement, mainly because I had issues figuring out how it's easy-to-understand-once-you-know onSubmit() handlers worked and I had the proper @Property and @Persist annotations on my "q" property. This tutorial was the greatest help for me. Of course, now that it's all finished, the code looks pretty intuitive.

Feeling proud of myself for getting this working, I started integrating this feature into AppFuse's code generation and found I had to add quite a bit of code to the generated list pages/controllers.

So I went on a bike ride...

While riding, I thought of a much better solution and added the following search method to AppFuse's GenericManagerImpl.java. In the code I added to pages/controllers previously, I'd already refactored to use CompassSearchHelper and I continued to do so in the service layer implementation.

@Autowired
private CompassSearchHelper compass;

public List<T> search(String q, Class clazz) {
    if (q == null || "".equals(q.trim())) {
        return getAll();
    }

    List<T> results = new ArrayList<T>();

    CompassSearchCommand command = new CompassSearchCommand(q);
    CompassSearchResults compassResults = compass.search(command);
    CompassHit[] hits = compassResults.getHits();

    if (log.isDebugEnabled() && clazz != null) {
        log.debug("Filtering by type: " + clazz.getName());
    }

    for (CompassHit hit : hits) {
        if (clazz != null) {
            if (hit.data().getClass().equals(clazz)) {
                results.add((T) hit.data());
            }
        } else {
            results.add((T) hit.data());
        }
    }

    if (log.isDebugEnabled()) {
        log.debug("Number of results for '" + q + "': " + results.size());
    }

    return results;
}

This greatly simplified my page/controller logic because now all I had to do was call manager.search(query, User.class) instead of doing the Compass login in the controller. Of course, it'd be great if I didn't have to pass in the Class to filter by object, but that's the nature of generics and type erasure.

Other things I learned along the way:

  • To index on startup, I added compassGps.index() to the StartupListener..
  • In unit tests that leveraged transactions around methods, I had to call compassGps.index() before any transactions started.
  • To scan multiple packages for searchable classes, I had to add a LocalCompassBeanPostProcessor.

But more than anything, I was reminded it always helps to take a bike ride when you don't like the design of your code. ;-)

This feature and many more will be in AppFuse 2.1, which I hope to finish by the end of the month. In the meantime, please feel free to try out the latest snapshot.

Posted in Java at Mar 15 2011, 05:11:12 PM MDT 1 Comment

WebSockets with Johnny Wey at Denver JUG

This evening, I attended Denver JUG to hear Johnny Wey talk about WebSockets. This month, the location moved and even though I had a nice bike ride to the meeting, I showed up about 20 minutes late. Johnny's talk lasted about 40 minutes, so I missed the first half.

When I arrived, he was talking about workarounds for implementing push applications in browsers. He had a slide that talked about Comet and iframes as the common implementation, and the other major option being ActionScript's XMLSocket. The biggest issues with XMLSocket (according to Johnny) are:

  • Not available on many modern mobile platforms.
  • Flash and managing / detecting plugin versions can add unwanted complexity.
  • Many would consider Flash solutions deprecated.

The biggest issue with implementing push on a client is managing it all, especially if you need to support older browsers. Socket.IO is one possible solution. It rides on the coattails of node.js. Features of Socket.IO include:

  • Abstracts socket methods into a unified API.
  • Open source (MIT) with active community.
  • Multiple server implementations (including Java) with the "reference" implementation developed in node.js.

The client API looks as follows:

var socket = new io.Socket(); 
socket.on('connect', function(){ 
  socket.send('hi!'); 
}) 
socket.on('message', function(data){ 
  alert(data);
})
socket.on('disconnect', function(){}) 

jWebSocket is another solution and it's where a lot of the Java WebSocket development is ending up right now. Highlights about the project include:

  • Open source (LGPL) with relatively active community.
  • Servlet-like API.
  • More "enterprisey" than Socket.IO.

Other options include CometD, which is a Dojo-driven Comet implementation that uses a specification called Bayeux. Jetty and GlassFish both support WebSockets in various forms of functionality and stability. Finally, there's Pusher (a SaaS implementation of push with a RESTful API) and Atmosphere (a container-agnostic framework).

How do you scale web sockets? The same way you make a webapp scale:

  • Go stateless
  • Use short request / response cycle
  • Use the smallest payload possible
  • Cache as much as possible

Scaling challenges with web sockets:

  • Connections have intrinsic state (they never close!)
  • Communications pipeline to your app server
  • Some sort of introspection on LB side (JMX)

There's also some existing controversy in the WebSockets Community, mostly around using Upgrade vs. CONNECT with HTTP. An (IETF) experiment found Upgrade portion of HTTP protocol was often improperly implemented by proxy servers and other network hardware. This seems to have caused Google Chrome to deprecate using Upgrade in favor of CONNECT. CONNECT used in this manner is seen by many as an abuse of the web.

Other useful links that Johnny provided were What can I use… to find out native support across browsers. For example, you can see which browsers support websockets. He also pointed out that websocket.org provides a good intro to WebSockets.

I'm glad I attended Johnny's talk. I've been a little leery of using WebSockets in my applications because of older browsers. Now that I'm aware of frameworks (like Socket.IO) that solve this problem, I'm eager to try it when the need arises.

Related: Dojo/Comet support in Java Web Frameworks

Posted in Java at Mar 09 2011, 07:10:12 PM MST Add a Comment

JSR 303 and JVM Web Framework Support

Emmanuel Bernard recently sent an email to the JSR 303 Experts Group about the next revision of the Bean Validation JSR (303). Rather than sending the proposed changes privately, he blogged about them. I left a comment with what I'd like to see:

+1 for Client-side validation. I'd love to see an API that web frameworks can hook into to add "required" to their tags for HTML5. Or some service that can be registered so the client can make Ajax requests to an API to see if an object is valid.

Emmanuel replied that most of the necessary API already exists for this, but frameworks have been slow to adopt it.

Hi Matt,

The sad thing is that the API is present on the Bean Validation side but presentation frameworks are slow to adopt it and use it :(

RichFaces 4 now has support for it but I wished more presentation frameworks had worked on the integration. If you can convince a few people or have access to a few people, feel free to send them by me :)

The integration API is described here. Let me know if you think some parts are missing or should be improved. We should definitely do some more buzz around it.

In the interest of generating more buzz around it, I decided to do some research and see what JVM Frameworks support JSR 303. Here's what I've come up with so far (in no particular order):

Struts 2 has an open issue, but doesn't seem to support JSR 303. Since I did a quick-n-dirty google search for most of these, I'm not sure if they support client-side JavaScript or HTML5's required. If you know of other JVM-based web frameworks that support JSR 303, please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Java at Mar 08 2011, 11:33:24 AM MST 4 Comments

Upgrading to JSF 2

Last week, I spent a few hours upgrading AppFuse from JSF 1.2 to JSF 2.0. In reality, I upgraded from MyFaces 1.2.7 to 2.0.4, but all JSF implementations should be the same, right? All in all, it was a pretty easy upgrade with a few minor AppFuse-specific things. My goal in upgrading was to do the bare minimum to get things working and to leave integration of JSF 2 features for a later date.

In addition to upgrading MyFaces, I had to upgrade Tomahawk by changing the dependency's artifactId to tomahawk20. I was also able to remove the following listener from my web.xml:

<listener>
    <listener-class>org.apache.myfaces.webapp.StartupServletContextListener</listener-class>
<listener>

After that, I discovered that MyFaces uses a new URI (/javax.faces.resource/) for serving up some of its resource files. I kindly asked Spring Security to ignore these requests by adding the following to my security.xml file.

<intercept-url pattern="/javax.faces.resource/**" filters="none"/>

Since JSF 2 includes Facelets by default, I tried removing Facelets as a dependency. After doing this, I received the following error:

ERROR [308855416@qtp-120902214-7] ViewHandlerWrapper.fillChain(158) | Error instantiation parent Faces ViewHandler
java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: com.sun.facelets.FaceletViewHandler
        at org.codehaus.plexus.classworlds.strategy.SelfFirstStrategy.loadClass(SelfFirstStrategy.java:50)
        at org.codehaus.plexus.classworlds.realm.ClassRealm.loadClass(ClassRealm.java:244)
        at org.codehaus.plexus.classworlds.realm.ClassRealm.loadClass(ClassRealm.java:230)
        at org.mortbay.jetty.webapp.WebAppClassLoader.loadClass(WebAppClassLoader.java:401)
        at org.mortbay.jetty.webapp.WebAppClassLoader.loadClass(WebAppClassLoader.java:363)
        at org.ajax4jsf.framework.ViewHandlerWrapper.fillChain(ViewHandlerWrapper.java:144)
        at org.ajax4jsf.framework.ViewHandlerWrapper.calculateRenderKitId(ViewHandlerWrapper.java:68)
        at org.apache.myfaces.lifecycle.DefaultRestoreViewSupport.isPostback(DefaultRestoreViewSupport.java:179)
        at org.apache.myfaces.lifecycle.RestoreViewExecutor.execute(RestoreViewExecutor.java:113)
        at org.apache.myfaces.lifecycle.LifecycleImpl.executePhase(LifecycleImpl.java:171)
        at org.apache.myfaces.lifecycle.LifecycleImpl.execute(LifecycleImpl.java:118)
        at javax.faces.webapp.FacesServlet.service(FacesServlet.java:189)

Figuring this was caused by the following element in my web.xml ...

<context-param>
    <param-name>org.ajax4jsf.VIEW_HANDLERS</param-name>
    <param-value>com.sun.facelets.FaceletViewHandler</param-value>
</context-param>

... I removed it and tried again. This time I received a NoClassDefFoundError:

java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: com/sun/facelets/tag/TagHandler
        at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClass1(Native Method)
        at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClassCond(ClassLoader.java:632)
        at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClass(ClassLoader.java:616)
        at java.security.SecureClassLoader.defineClass(SecureClassLoader.java:141)
        at java.net.URLClassLoader.defineClass(URLClassLoader.java:283)
        at java.net.URLClassLoader.access$000(URLClassLoader.java:58)
        at java.net.URLClassLoader$1.run(URLClassLoader.java:197)
        at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
        at java.net.URLClassLoader.findClass(URLClassLoader.java:190)
        at org.mortbay.jetty.webapp.WebAppClassLoader.loadClass(WebAppClassLoader.java:392)
        at org.mortbay.jetty.webapp.WebAppClassLoader.loadClass(WebAppClassLoader.java:363)
        at java.lang.Class.forName0(Native Method)
        at java.lang.Class.forName(Class.java:247)
        at org.apache.myfaces.shared_impl.util.ClassUtils.classForName(ClassUtils.java:184)
        at org.apache.myfaces.view.facelets.util.ReflectionUtil.forName(ReflectionUtil.java:67)

Since everything seemed to work with Facelets in the classpath, I decided to save this headache for a later date. I entered two issues in AppFuse's JIRA, one for removing Facelets and one for replacing Ajax4JSF with RichFaces.

The next issue I encountered was redirecting from AppFuse's password hint page. The navigation-rule for this page is as follows:

<navigation-rule>
    <from-view-id>/passwordHint.xhtml</from-view-id>
    <navigation-case>
        <from-outcome>success</from-outcome>
        <to-view-id>/login</to-view-id>
        <redirect/>
    </navigation-case>
</navigation-rule>

With JSF 2.0, the rule changes the URL to /login.xhtml when redirecting (where it was left as /login with 1.2) and it was caught by the security setting in my web.xml that prevents users from viewing raw templates.

<security-constraint>
    <web-resource-collection>
        <web-resource-name>Protect XHTML Templates</web-resource-name>
        <url-pattern>*.xhtml</url-pattern>
    </web-resource-collection>
    <auth-constraint/>
</security-constraint>

To solve this issue, I had to make a couple of changes:

  • Comment out the security-constraint in web.xml and move it to Spring Security's security.xml file.
    <intercept-url pattern="/**/*.xhtml" access="ROLE_NOBODY"/>
    
  • Add a rule to urlrewrite.xml that redirects back to login (since login.xhtml doesn't exist and I'm using extensionless URLs).
    <rule match-type="regex">
        <from>^/login.xhtml$</from>
        <to type="redirect">%{context-path}/login</to>
    </rule>
    

After getting the Password Hint feature passing in the browser, I tried running the integration tests (powered by Canoo WebTest). The Password Hint test kept failing with the following error:

[ERROR] /Users/mraible/dev/appfuse/web/jsf/src/test/resources/web-tests.xml:51: JavaScript error loading
page http://localhost:9876/appfuse-jsf-2.1.0-SNAPSHOT/passwordHint?username=admin: syntax error (http://
localhost:9876/appfuse-jsf-2.1.0-SNAPSHOT/javax.faces.resource/oamSubmit.js.jsf?ln=org.apache.myfaces#122)

Figuring this was caused by my hack to submit the form when the page was loaded, I turned to Pretty Faces, which allows you to call a method directly from a URL. After adding the Pretty Faces dependencies to my pom.xml, I created a src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/pretty-config.xml file with the following XML:

<url-mapping>
    <pattern value="/editProfile"/>
    <view-id value="/userForm.jsf"/>
    <action>#{userForm.edit}</action>
</url-mapping>

<url-mapping>
    <pattern value="/passwordHint/#{username}"/>
    <view-id value="/passwordHint.jsf"/>
    <action>#{passwordHint.execute}</action>
</url-mapping>

This allowed me to remove both editProfile.xhtml and passwordHint.xhtml, both of which simply auto-submitted forms.

At this point, I figured I'd be good to go and ran my integration tests again. The first thing I discovered was that ".jsf" was being tacked onto my pretty URL, most likely by the UrlRewriteFilter. Adding the following to my PasswordHint.java class solved this.

if (username.endsWith(".jsf")) {
    username = username.substring(0, username.indexOf(".jsf"));
}

The next thing was a cryptic error that took me a while to figure out.

DEBUG [1152467051@qtp-144702232-0] PasswordHint.execute(38) | Processing Password Hint...
2011-03-05 05:48:52.471:WARN::/passwordHint/admin
com.ocpsoft.pretty.PrettyException: Exception occurred while processing <:#{passwordHint.execute}> null
        at com.ocpsoft.pretty.faces.beans.ActionExecutor.executeActions(ActionExecutor.java:71)
        at com.ocpsoft.pretty.faces.event.PrettyPhaseListener.processEvent(PrettyPhaseListener.java:214)
        at com.ocpsoft.pretty.faces.event.PrettyPhaseListener.afterPhase(PrettyPhaseListener.java:108)
        at org.apache.myfaces.lifecycle.PhaseListenerManager.informPhaseListenersAfter(PhaseListenerManager.java:111)
        at org.apache.myfaces.lifecycle.LifecycleImpl.executePhase(LifecycleImpl.java:185)
        at org.apache.myfaces.lifecycle.LifecycleImpl.execute(LifecycleImpl.java:118)
        at javax.faces.webapp.FacesServlet.service(FacesServlet.java:189)

Digging into the bowels of MyFaces, I discovered a class was looking for a viewId with an extension and no view-id was being set. Adding the following to the top of my execute() method solved this.

getFacesContext().getViewRoot().setViewId("/passwordHint.xhtml");

After making this change, all AppFuse's integration tests are passing and the upgrade seems complete. The only other issues I encountered were logging-related. The first is an error about Tomahawk that doesn't seem to affect anything.

Mar 5, 2011 6:44:01 AM com.sun.facelets.compiler.TagLibraryConfig loadImplicit
SEVERE: Error Loading Library: jar:file:/Users/mraible/.m2/repository/org/apache/myfaces/tomahawk/tomahawk20/1.1.10/tomahawk20-1.1.10.jar!/META-INF/tomahawk.taglib.xml
java.io.IOException: Error parsing [jar:file:/Users/mraible/.m2/repository/org/apache/myfaces/tomahawk/tomahawk20/1.1.10/tomahawk20-1.1.10.jar!/META-INF/tomahawk.taglib.xml]: 
        at com.sun.facelets.compiler.TagLibraryConfig.create(TagLibraryConfig.java:410)
        at com.sun.facelets.compiler.TagLibraryConfig.loadImplicit(TagLibraryConfig.java:431)
        at com.sun.facelets.compiler.Compiler.initialize(Compiler.java:87)
        at com.sun.facelets.compiler.Compiler.compile(Compiler.java:104)

The second is excessive logging from MyFaces. As far as I can tell, this is because MyFaces switched to java.util.logging instead of commons logging. With all the frameworks that AppFuse leverages, I think it has all the logging frameworks in its classpath now. I was hoping to fix this by posting a message to the mailing list, but haven't received a reply yet.

[WARNING] [talledLocalContainer] Mar 5, 2011 6:50:25 AM org.apache.myfaces.config.annotation.TomcatAnnotationLifecycleProvider newInstance
[WARNING] [talledLocalContainer] INFO: Creating instance of org.appfuse.webapp.action.BasePage
[WARNING] [talledLocalContainer] Mar 5, 2011 6:50:25 AM org.apache.myfaces.config.annotation.TomcatAnnotationLifecycleProvider destroyInstance
[WARNING] [talledLocalContainer] INFO: Destroy instance of org.appfuse.webapp.action.BasePage

After successfully upgrading AppFuse, I turned to AppFuse Light, where things were much easier.

Now that AppFuse uses JSF 2, I hope to start leveraging some of its new features. If you're yearning to get started with them today, I invite you to grab the source and start integrating them yourself.

Posted in Java at Mar 07 2011, 01:24:53 PM MST 3 Comments

Upgraded to Apache Roller 5.0, RC4

Last Sunday, Dave Johnson released Apache Roller 5.0, RC4. Since I'm an Apache Roller committer, and I've been seeing issues with comments throwing exceptions on this site, I decided to upgrade. In doing so, I discovered a number of issues. Hopefully by documenting them here, you'll be able to upgrade from Roller 4 to Roller 5 without any issues.

To upgrade, I took a snapshot of my existing site and database and copied them locally. After getting everything setup locally (importing existing database and upgrading it), I started Tomcat and began solving problems.

Database settings - JNDI vs. Properties
With Roller 4, I configured by database settings in a ROOT.xml so they'd be read using JNDI. With Roller 5, I got the following error when I tried to do this.

<openjpa-2.0.1-r422266:989424 fatal user error> org.apache.openjpa.persistence.ArgumentException:
A JDBC Driver or DataSource class name must be specified in the ConnectionDriverName property.
       at org.apache.openjpa.jdbc.schema.DataSourceFactory.newDataSource(DataSourceFactory.java:76)

I was able to get around this issue by adding the following to my roller-custom.properties:

database.configurationType=jdbc
database.jdbc.driverClass=com.mysql.jdbc.Driver
database.jdbc.connectionURL=jdbc:mysql://localhost/rollerdb
database.jdbc.username=root
database.jdbc.password=
mail.configurationType=properties
mail.hostname=localhost

After making this change, I received an error when Planet tried to startup:

ERROR 2011-03-02 09:56:08,502 DatabaseProvider:errorMessage - ERROR: unable to obtain database connection. 
Likely problem: bad connection parameters or database unavailable.
FATAL 2011-03-02 09:56:08,502 RollerContext:contextInitialized - Roller Planet startup failed during app preparation
org.apache.roller.planet.business.startup.StartupException: ERROR: unable to obtain database connection. 
Likely problem: bad connection parameters or database unavailable.

I don't remember why I enabled planet, but turning it off in roller-custom.properties seemed to solve the problem.

planet.aggregator.enabled=false

Password Encyrption
The next thing I tried to do was login. When this didn't work, I figured it must be related to password encryption. With Roller 4, I had to have "passwds.encryption.enabled=true" in roller-custom.properties. In Roller 5, I also had to add the encryption algorithm.

passwds.encryption.algorithm=SHA

GZip Compression
In November 2009, I optimized this site and used Roller's CompressionFilter and wro4j to gzip and concatenate JavaScript and CSS. With Roller 4, I used the CompressionFilter to compress *.css and *.js instead of using Wro4J's built-in gzip compression. The Roller 5 CompressionFilter seems to have issues with wro4j, so I had to disable it for *.css and *.js and use wro4j instead.

At this point, I figured I was good to go, so I zipped up my local WAR and scp'ed it to raibledesigns.com. I stopped Tomcat and attempted to upgrade my production MySQL database (version 3.23.56). Below is the error I received.

$ mysql -u raible -p raible < 400-to-500-migration.sql
Enter password:
ERROR 1064 (00000) at line 42: You have an error in your SQL syntax near 'as w set
   lastmodified = lastmodified,
   datecreated = datecreated,
   cr' at line 1

At this point, I figured my database might be slightly hosed, but since it was simply creating tables, I was probably OK. I restarted Tomcat and left the old version in place while I waited for a MySQL 5 database instance from my hosting provider, KGB Internet. Once I got the new instance, I imported my backed-up database, ran the upgrade script and everything worked just peachy.

I generally upgrade Roller by coping the new codebase over my old one. This is because I have a lot of symlinks and other files in my "ROOT" directory and like to keep those. In doing this, I found I had to do a couple things after copying everything over:

  1. Delete WEB-INF/lib and recopy from RC4's WEB-INF/lib.
  2. Delete WEB-INF/classes and recopy from RC4's WEB-INF/classes.

I then experienced some issues with JARs not being present for Roller's JSPWikiPlugin. I enabled this long ago, but don't use it anymore. However, to keep old posts still working, I wanted to enable it. The downloads for the plugin seem to be gone, but luckily I found a copy and put all the JARs into my WEB-INF/lib directory.

After starting Tomcat and browsing around a bit, I discovered two more issues:

  1. Search doesn't seem to work. For example, there are no results for jQuery.
  2. My Archives page's calendar didn't work. It showed the following:
    $calendarModel.showWeblogEntryCalendarBig($weblog, $cat)

I was able to fix issue #2 by changing #showBigWeblogCalendar() to the following.

#showWeblogEntryCalendarBig($model.weblog "nil")

The first issue with search seems to remain.

If you notice any other issues on this site, please let me know. I'll try to get them fixed asap.

Update: I entered an issue for my search problem in Roller's JIRA. I also managed to figure out that the problem is due to the old version of oscache that's needed by the JSPWiki plugin. Hopefully we can get the plugin upgraded to avoid this issue for other users.

Posted in Roller at Mar 03 2011, 11:39:37 AM MST 7 Comments

The Greatest Snow on Earth

Last week, I traveled on my monthly trip to Utah to work on-site at Overstock. Unlike previous visits, snow was in the forecast and it didn't disappoint. I woke up early on Friday, worked a few hours and then met a couple co-workers at the office at 8. We arrived at Solitude by 8:40 and were in line for the lift by 8:55. We were the 5th chair on the lift and quickly skied to The Summit Lift. It was here we found thigh-deep powder and face shots on every run. The video below has shot by my co-worker, Eric. You can also view it on YouTube. The face shots start around 0:45.

After an awesome morning of skiing, I returned to work and later picked up Trish from the airport for a weekend of powder. When I started working at Overstock, I told myself that I'd buy a pair of "Utah Skis" if the powder was good. It seemed like the right time, so I picked up some Bluehouse Powder Skis on the way back from the airport. That night, we saw Hot Buttered Rum and woke up early for 27" of fresh powder at Alta.

Free Heeling

The skiing was incredible all day and it never stopped snowing. That night, we headed to The Canyons and stayed slopeside at The Hyatt. We got upgraded to a great room and enjoyed some nice views.

The Hyatt Bluehouse Awesomeness View at The Hyatt

We slept in on Sunday, grabbed some breakfast and hopped on the lift around noon. It was a Bluebird Day and we skied as much of the hard stuff as we could find.

The Canyons The 9990 Lift 9990's Fun Runs Into The Light

Hiking to the top of 9990 Top of 9990

Several weeks ago, I said I thought Colorado's powder was better than Utah's. After experiencing knee-deep powder at Solitude and sweet, fluffy powder at Alta, I'm officially changing my stance. In my opinion, Utah has the greatest powder on earth. If Colorado happens to get that much powder, and I get to ski it, I'd be more than happy to reconsider.

Posted in General at Mar 02 2011, 12:11:59 AM MST 3 Comments