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.

AppFuse 3.5 Released!

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 3.5. This release contains a number of improvements.

  • XML reduced by 8x in projects generated with AppFuse
  • CRUD generation support for Wicket, as well as AppFuse Light archetypes (Spring Security, Spring FreeMarker and Stripes)
  • Upgraded Tapestry to 5.4
  • Integrated Spring IO Platform for dependency management
  • Refactored unit tests to use JUnit 4
  • Renamed maven-warpath-plugin to warpath-maven-plugin
  • Upgraded to jWebUnit 3 for AppFuse Light integration tests
  • Updated all AppFuse Light modules to be up-to-date

For more details on specific changes see the release notes.

What is AppFuse?
AppFuse is a full-stack framework for building web applications on the JVM. It was originally developed to eliminate the ramp-up time when building new web applications. Over the years, it has matured into a very testable and secure system for creating Java-based webapps.

Demos for this release can be viewed at http://demo.appfuse.org. Please see the QuickStart Guide to get started with this release.

If you have questions about AppFuse, please read the FAQ or join the user mailing list. If you find any issues, please report them on the users mailing list. You can also post them to Stack Overflow with the "appfuse" tag.

Thanks to everyone for their help contributing patches, writing documentation and participating on the mailing lists.

We greatly appreciate the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Contegix, and JetBrains. Atlassian and Contegix are especially awesome: Atlassian has donated licenses to all its products and Contegix has donated an entire server to the AppFuse project.

Posted in Java at Feb 20 2015, 09:08:53 AM MST Add a Comment

Converting an Application to JHipster

I've been intrigued by JHipster ever since I first tried it last September. I'd worked with AngularJS and Spring Boot quite a bit, and I liked the idea that someone had combined them, adding some nifty features along the way. When I spoke about AngularJS earlier this month, I included a few slides on JHipster near the end of the presentation.

This week, I received an email from someone who attended that presentation.

Hey Matt,
We met a few weeks back when you presented at DOSUG. You were talking about JHipster which I had been eyeing for a few months and wanted your quick .02 cents.

I have built a pretty heavy application over the last 6 months that is using mostly the same tech as JHipster.

  • Java
  • Spring
  • JPA
  • AngularJS
  • Compass
  • Grunt

It's ridiculously close for most of the tech stack. So, I was debating rolling it over into a JHipster app to make it a more familiar stack for folks. My concern is that it I will spend months trying to shoehorn it in for not much ROI. Any thoughts on going down this path? What are the biggest issues you've seen in using JHipster? It seems pretty straightforward except for the entity generators. I'm concerned they are totally different than what I am using.

The main difference in what I'm doing compared to JHipster is my almost complete use of groovy instead of old school Java in the app. I would have to be forced into going back to regular java beans... Thoughts?

I replied with the following advice:

JHipster is great for starting a project, but I don't know that it buys you much value after the first few months. I would stick with your current setup and consider JHipster for your next project. I've only prototyped with it, I haven't created any client apps or put anything in production. I have with Spring Boot and AngularJS though, so I like that JHipster combines them for me.

JHipster doesn't generate Scala or Groovy code, but you could still use them in a project as long as you had Maven/Gradle configured properly.

You might try generating a new app with JHipster and examine how they're doing this. At the very least, it can be a good learning tool, even if you're not using it directly.

Java Hipsters: Do you agree with this advice? Have you tried migrating an existing app to JHipster? Are any of you using Scala or Groovy in your JHipster projects?

Posted in Java at Feb 12 2015, 09:28:59 AM MST 2 Comments

Integrating Node.js, Ruby and Spring with Okta's SAML Support

Okta Security has always piqued my interest, ever since I first developed AppFuse and figured out how to make J2EE security work back in 2004. I hacked AppFuse to have Remember Me functionality, then moved onto Acegi/Spring Security. Spring Security had the features I needed, even if it did require almost 100 lines of XML to configure it. These days, it's much better and its JavaConfig - combined with Spring Boot - is pretty slick.

That was the first part of my security life. The second phase began the night I met Trish, and learned she sold security products. She knew of OWASP and their top 10 rules. It was Trish that inspired me to write my Java Web Application Security presentation. I really enjoyed writing that presentation, comparing Apache Shiro, Spring Security and Java EE's security frameworks. I followed up the first time I presented it with a number of blog posts and screencasts. Hmmmm, maybe I should update the presentation/screencasts to use Java configuration only (#NoXML) and submit it to a couple conferences this year? I digress.

I had to do a security-related spike over the last couple weeks. I was trying to get SAML authentication working with Okta and my client's Active Directory server. Luckily, someone setup the AD integration so all I had to do was try a few different languages/frameworks. I searched and found ThoughtWorks' okta-samples, which includes examples using Node.js and Sinatra (Ruby + JRuby). I also found a Spring SAML example that includes one of my favorite things in JavaLand: Java-based configuration.

I'm happy to report I was able to get all of these applications working with my client's Okta setup. This article will tell you how I did it. For each application, I created a new application on Okta using its "Template SAML 2.0 Application" and added myself in the application's "People" tab. Each section below contains the configuration I used for Okta. The instructions below assume you're similar to me, a developer that has Java 8, Node and Ruby installed, but none of the specific frameworks. As I write this, I have everything working on my Mac with Yosemite, but I wrote the instructions below using one of my old laptops, fresh after a Yosemite upgrade.

[Read More]

Posted in Java at Jan 08 2015, 11:43:47 AM MST Add a Comment

AppFuse, Reduced

In November, I had some time off between clients. To occupy my time, I exercised my body and brain a bit. I spent a couple hours a day exercising and a few hours a day working on AppFuse. AppFuse isn't used to start projects nearly as much as it once was. This makes sense since there's been a ton of innovation on the JVM and there's lots of get-started-quickly frameworks now. Among my favorites are Spring Boot, JHipster, Grails and Play.

You can see that AppFuse's community activity has decreased quite a bit over the years by looking at its mailing list traffic.

AppFuse Mailing List Traffic, December 2014

Even though there's not a lot of users talking on the mailing list, it still seems to get quite a few downloads from Maven Central.

AppFuse Maven Central Stats, November 2014

I think the biggest value that AppFuse provides now is a learning tool for those who work on it. Also, it's a good place to show other developers how they can evolve with open source frameworks (e.g. Spring, Hibernate, JSF, Tapestry, Struts) over several years. Showing how we migrated to Spring MVC Test, for example, might be useful. The upcoming move to Spring Data instead of our Generic DAO solution might be interesting as well.

Regardless of whether AppFuse is used a lot or not, it should be easy to maintain. Over the several weeks, I made some opinionated changes and achieved some pretty good progress on simplifying things and making the project easier to maintain. The previous structure has a lot of duplicate versions, properties and plugin configurations between different projects. I was able to leverage Maven's inheritance model to make a number of improvements:

[Read More]

Posted in Java at Dec 16 2014, 06:03:31 AM MST 4 Comments

Building a REST API with JAXB, Spring Boot and Spring Data

Project JAXB If someone asked you to develop a REST API on the JVM, which frameworks would you use? I was recently tasked with such a project. My client asked me to implement a REST API to ingest requests from a 3rd party. The project entailed consuming XML requests, storing the data in a database, then exposing the data to internal application with a JSON endpoint. Finally, it would allow taking in a JSON request and turning it into an XML request back to the 3rd party.

With the recent release of Apache Camel 2.14 and my success using it, I started by copying my Apache Camel / CXF / Spring Boot project and trimming it down to the bare essentials. I whipped together a simple Hello World service using Camel and Spring MVC. I also integrated Swagger into both. Both implementations were pretty easy to create (sample code), but I decided to use Spring MVC. My reasons were simple: its REST support was more mature, I knew it well, and Spring MVC Test makes it easy to test APIs.

Camel's Swagger support without web.xml
As part of the aforementioned spike, I learned out how to configure Camel's REST and Swagger support using Spring's JavaConfig and no web.xml. I made this into a sample project and put it on GitHub as camel-rest-swagger.

This article shows how I built a REST API with Java 8, Spring Boot/MVC, JAXB and Spring Data (JPA and REST components). I stumbled a few times while developing this project, but figured out how to get over all the hurdles. I hope this helps the team that's now maintaining this project (my last day was Friday) and those that are trying to do something similar.

[Read More]

Posted in Java at Oct 29 2014, 05:52:37 AM MDT 1 Comment

Developing Services with Apache Camel - Part II: Creating and Testing Routes

Apache Camel This article is the second in a series on Apache Camel and how I used it to replace IBM Message Broker for a client. The first article, Developing Services with Apache Camel - Part I: The Inspiration, describes why I chose Camel for this project.

To make sure these new services correctly replaced existing services, a 3-step approach was used:

  1. Write an integration test pointing to the old service.
  2. Write the implementation and a unit test to prove it works.
  3. Write an integration test pointing to the new service.

I chose to start by replacing the simplest service first. It was a SOAP Service that talked to a database to retrieve a value based on an input parameter. To learn more about Camel and how it works, I started by looking at the CXF Tomcat Example. I learned that Camel is used to provide routing of requests. Using its CXF component, it can easily produce SOAP web service endpoints. An end point is simply an interface, and Camel takes care of producing the implementation.

[Read More]

Posted in Java at Sep 30 2014, 10:05:38 AM MDT 9 Comments

AppFuse 3.0 Released!

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 3.0. This release is AppFuse's first release as a 10-year old and includes a whole slew of improvements.

  • Java 7 and Maven 3 are now minimal requirements
  • Replaced MyFaces and Tomahawk with PrimeFaces for JSF
    • Removed SiteMesh in favor of JSF's built-in layout support
  • Added Wicket support
  • Migrated from jMock to Mockito for tests
  • Integrated wro4j and WebJars
  • Migrated to Bootstrap 3 and defaulted to Bootswatch's Spacelab theme

In addition, this release includes upgrades to all dependencies to bring them up-to-date with their latest releases. Most notable are Spring 4, Spring Security 3.2 and Bootstrap 3. For more details on specific changes see the release notes.

What is AppFuse?
AppFuse is a full-stack framework for building web applications on the JVM. It was originally developed to eliminate the ramp-up time when building new web applications. Over the years, it has matured into a very testable and secure system for creating Java-based webapps.

Demos for this release can be viewed at http://demo.appfuse.org. Please see the QuickStart Guide to get started with this release.

If you have questions about AppFuse, please read the FAQ or join the user mailing list. If you find any issues, please report them on the users mailing list. You can also post them to Stack Overflow with the "appfuse" tag.

Thanks to everyone for their help contributing patches, writing documentation and participating on the mailing lists.

We greatly appreciate the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Contegix, and JetBrains. Atlassian and Contegix are especially awesome: Atlassian has donated licenses to all its products and Contegix has donated an entire server to the AppFuse project.

Posted in Java at Dec 23 2013, 02:31:15 PM MST 1 Comment

A Webapp Makeover with Spring 4 and Spring Boot

A typical Maven and Spring web application has a fair amount of XML and verbosity to it. Add in Jersey and Spring Security and you can have hundreds of lines of XML before you even start to write your Java code. As part of a recent project, I was tasked with upgrading a webapp like this to use Spring 4 and Spring Boot. I also figured I'd try to minimize the XML.

This is my story on how I upgraded to Spring 4, Jersey 2, Java 8 and Spring Boot 0.5.0 M6.

When I started, the app was using Spring 3.2.5, Spring Security 3.1.4 and Jersey 1.18. The pom.xml had four Jersey dependencies, three Spring dependencies and three Spring Security dependencies, along with a number of exclusions for "jersey-spring".

Upgrading to Spring 4
Upgrading to Spring 4 was easy, I changed the version property to 4.0.0.RC2 and added the new Spring bill of materials to my pom.xml. I also add the Spring milestone repo since Spring 4 won't be released to Maven central until tomorrow.

<dependencyManagement>
    <dependencies>
        <dependency>
            <groupId>org.springframework</groupId>
            <artifactId>spring-framework-bom</artifactId>
            <version>${spring.framework.version}</version>
            <type>pom</type>
            <scope>import</scope>
        </dependency>
    </dependencies>
</dependencyManagement>

<repositories>
    <repository>
        <id>spring-milestones</id>
        <url>http://repo.spring.io/milestone</url>
        <snapshots>
            <enabled>true</enabled>
        </snapshots>
    </repository>
</repositories>
[Read More]

Posted in Java at Dec 11 2013, 12:47:15 PM MST 7 Comments

AppFuse Light 2.2.1 Released!

In December, the AppFuse Team released 2.2.1. Right before that release, I decided to wait on enhancing its "light" modules, a.k.a. AppFuse Light. I'm glad I did, because it took some effort to get jQuery and Bootstrap integrated, as well as to make it more secure.

The good news is AppFuse Light 2.2.1 is released and it's sitting out on the Central Repository. This release is a refactoring of all archetypes to be up-to-date with the AppFuse 2.2.1 release. This means Java 7 compatibility, Servlet 3, Bootstrap/jQuery integration, Tapestry 5.3.6 upgrade and security improvements. I integrated Bootstrap and jQuery using WebJars Servlet 3 support since it was simple and straightforward.

You can create projects using AppFuse's light archetypes using a command such as the following:

mvn archetype:generate -B -DarchetypeGroupId=org.appfuse.archetypes 
  -DarchetypeArtifactId=appfuse-light-spring-freemarker-archetype -DarchetypeVersion=2.2.1 
  -DgroupId=com.mycompany -DartifactId=myproject 

The list of archetypes is as follows:

  • appfuse-light-jsf-archetype
  • appfuse-light-spring-archetype
  • appfuse-light-spring-freemarker-archetype
  • appfuse-light-spring-security-archetype
  • appfuse-light-stripes-archetype
  • appfuse-light-struts-archetype
  • appfuse-light-tapestry-archetype
  • appfuse-light-wicket-archetype

The QuickStart Guide will help you get setup and demos are available at the following links:

If you have questions about AppFuse, we invite you to ask them on the users mailing list or tweet using #appfuse.

For those enjoying Bootstrap in your apps, I encourage you to check out {wrap}bootstrap and Bootswatch.

Posted in Java at Jan 24 2013, 07:43:20 PM MST Add a Comment

AppFuse 2.2.1 Released!

The AppFuse Team is pleased to announce the release of AppFuse 2.2.1. This release includes upgrades to all dependencies to bring them up-to-date with their latest releases. Most notable are Hibernate 4, Struts 2.3.7, Apache CXF 2.7.0 and Spring Security 3.1.3. In addition, we've integrated HTML5, Twitter Bootstrap, jQuery and replaced Compass with Hibernate Search. Last but not least, we've added full support for Java 7 and integrated many security improvements. For more details on specific changes see the release notes.

What is AppFuse?
AppFuse is a full-stack framework for building web applications on the JVM. It was originally developed to eliminate the ramp-up time when building new web applications. Over the years, it has matured into a very testable and secure system for creating Java-based webapps.

Demos for this release can be viewed at http://demo.appfuse.org. Please see the QuickStart Guide to get started with this release.

A number of blog posts were written about features that went into this release while it was being developed:

If you have questions about AppFuse, please read the FAQ or join the mailing list. If you find any issues, please report them on the users mailing list.

Thanks to everyone for their help contributing patches, writing documentation and participating on the mailing lists.

We greatly appreciate the help from our sponsors, particularly Atlassian, Contegix and JetBrains. We highly recommend using the new IntelliJ IDEA 12 for developing web applications.

Posted in Java at Dec 11 2012, 03:21:44 PM MST 5 Comments