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What is AppFuse?
AppFuse is an application for "kickstarting" webapp development. Download, extract and execute ant new -Dapp.name=yourApp -Ddb.name=database to instantly be up and running with a Tomcat/MySQL app. Uses Ant, XDoclet, Spring, Hibernate (or iBATIS), JUnit, Cactus, StrutsTestCase, Canoo's WebTest, Struts Menu, Display Tag Library, OSCache, JSTL and Struts (or Spring MVC). The Spring Framework has greatly enhanced AppFuse since February 2004. It's used throughout for its Hibernate/iBATIS support, declarative transactions, dependency binding and layer decoupling. This clean and simple framework has greatly reduced the complexity of AppFuse, and also eliminated many lines of code. In short, for J2EE - it's the best thing since sliced bread.
Features include Container Managed Authentication (CMA), Remember Me, Self Registration, Password Hint and GZip Compression. The fuse to start your apps.
November 9, 2004: AppFuse 1.6.1 Released. Bug fixes and new AppGen tool to create all classes created in tutorials.
If you want to get started with AppFuse right away, view the QuickStart Guide. If you want to learn more about AppFuse's architecture view my "About AppFuse" PowerPoint or checkout a live demo (runs the latest stuff from CVS).
To see what's next for AppFuse, see the Roadmap.
November 11, 2004 - AppFuse 1.6.1This release is primarily a bug fix release, but it also contains a slick "AppGen" tool for generating full CRUD (with sample data and tests) from a POJO. AppGen essentially automates everything you do in the tutorials. I still encourage users to read through and do the tutorials in order to learn the code that is being generated. Learn more about AppGen.
October 9, 2004 - AppFuse 1.6 ReleasedThis release's main features are swapping out Tiles for SiteMesh and adding WebWork as a web framework option. I also refactored the Struts Action tests to use MockStrutsTestCase and eliminated the need to use Cactus for running web tests. This reduced test execution time by over 50%. The relationship between users and roles was re-worked to take advantage of Hibernate's features as well.
May 27, 2004 - AppFuse 1.5 ReleasedThis release has lots of modifications that I've been meaning to make for quite some time. Specifically (1) removing the dependency on j2ee.jar and (2) removing Struts from the services layer. I also made improvements to Spring and its context file loading so you should be able to run unit tests from your IDE.
Other notables include full i18n support (with translations in Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese), improved setup-tomcat target (no additional JARs needed now), and an option to use Spring's MVC framework instead of Struts - with full tutorials! If you'd like, you can read more about my conversion from Struts to Spring. Enjoy!
2004.03.01 - AppFuse 1.4 Released
This release involves many changes: re-arranging packages/directories, Spring integration, Remember Me refactorings and I also added iBATIS as a persistence option. I also spent a lot of time going through the tutorials to make sure they are up to date. I've been using AppFuse 1.4 for a few weeks on my current project, and I really do like the way Spring makes it easy to configure Hibernate, Transactions and Interface->Implementation relationships. If you're interested in upgrading your AppFuse 1.x app to use Spring, you can checkout this howto.
I also made the leap and moved the AppFuse project from SourceForge to java.net. This is mainly so I have more control over mailing lists and adding other developers. As of today, CVS files in SourceForge and Java.net are the same - but I'll only be updating Java.net from here on out. I also have released files in both projects, but will only use java.net in the future.
Here's a specific rundown of all the changes from the changelog.
2004.01.16 - AppFuse 1.3 Released
This release fixes a few compatibility issues with Resin and other databases - specifically PostgreSQL and DB2. The major new functionality in this release is Easy Database Switching. Basically, you can very easily switch from using MySQL to PostgreSQL by only changing a few properties in your build.properties. I implemented this on my current project last week because I do most of my development (at the client) on a PowerBook. The client wants to deploy onto a DB2 database - and there is not DB2 install for the Mac. Since Hibernate allows you to easily switch between databases, I figured I could develop using MySQL on the Mac, but have the default (CVS version) use DB2. One of the things I didn't want to do was to have a build.properties.sample, because I love projects that "just work" when you type "ant". So I changed the the build process so that database.properties is generated from default settings (MySQL) or the settings in build.properties (if specified). As part of the build process, Ant looks for the following build.properties files:
What this allows you to do is to take your customized database settings and put them in ~/.build.properties and they'll be applied to any AppFuse-derived project. This makes it easy to keep the CVS version of your project tied to one database and a developer's local version tied to a different database.
While it's true that you'll most likely only talk to one database during the duration of your project, this exercise proves that it's easy to migrate from MySQL to another database. It also proves that AppFuse can easily integrate with other database (at least as of this release). Slick stuff IMO. Here's a specific rundown of all the changes from the changelog.
BTW, I hid all the older releases of AppFuse to avoid download confusion - if you need to download an older version, please let me know.
2004.01.08 - AppFuse and ant 1.6.0
Upgrading from ant 1.5.4 to 1.6.0 necessitates the following change in build.xml (just FYI):
=================================================================== RCS file: /cvsroot/struts/appfuse/build.xml,v retrieving revision 1.37 diff -r1.37 build.xml 5,6c5,6 < <!ENTITY properties SYSTEM "file:properties.xml"> < <!ENTITY app-settings SYSTEM "file:app-settings.xml"> --- > <!ENTITY properties SYSTEM "file:./properties.xml"> > <!ENTITY app-settings SYSTEM "file:./app-settings.xml">otherwise ant complains about file:properties.xml could not be found.
2003.12.20 - AppFuse 1.2 Released
This is primarily a bug fix release. Here are the details from the release notes:
2003.12.12 - AppFuse 1.1 Released
This biggest feature in this release is Documentation. I finally found the time to write up some Tutorials on developing with AppFuse. They're on this wiki and also in the "docs" folder of the binary and source downloads. In writing this documentation, I went through almost all aspects of the code with a fine-tooth comb made sure it's doing what I want it to do.
I was finally able to get things working with J2EE 1.4, which basically involved removing j2ee.jar from my MailUtil's classpath and just including activation.jar and mail.jar. If you're not there yet, simply change the paths for activation.jar and mail.jar in properties.xml (look for common.compile.classpath). You can use j2ee.jar instead of mail.jar and activation.jar with J2EE 1.3 and 1.4 B2.
I was also able to get all unit tests to pass on Tomcat 5, and the "setup-tomcat" target now supports Tomcat 5. I wasn't able to get "Remember Me" to work - see the tomcat-user mailing list for more details.
2003.11.30 - AppFuse 1.0 Released
I feel this release deserves the big 1.0 designation because it is an up-to-date representation of my learnings and my perceived best practices in building web applications. Of course, as I learn more, I will continue to push out new releases.
In this release, I did a lot of refactoring and enhancements to existing features. The DAO and Manager interfaces are no longer tied to Struts or Hibernate. Hibernate's Session object is now passed as an argument into Manager and DAO constructors, rather than method signatures. The DAOFactory was refactored by Bear Giles to use reflection to instantiate Hibernate DAO's. Now, if you add a new DAO, you don't have to edit DAOFactory and DAOFactoryHibernate. To insantiate a new DAO, the code is now:
LookupDAO dao = (LookupDAO) DAOFactory.getInstance(conn, LookupDAO.class);
...where conn is a connection object retrieved from ServiceLocator or ActionFilter. When you add new POJOs, you still have to add them to ServiceLocator (for JUnit tests) and hibernate.cfg.xml, which is kindof a pain. I'd like to figure out a way to tell Hibernate to just look in appfuse-ejb.jar.
The Remember Me feature has been refactored so the username and password cookies are only available under the /appfuse/security url-pattern. I also changed the posting to "j_security_check" in LoginServlet from response.sendRedirect to an HTTP POST, using Jakarta Common's HttpClient. The reason I have a LoginServlet vs. just using action="j_security_check" in my <form> is to encrypt passwords.
I've developed 3 different applications using AppFuse (struts-resume is one of them), and I have found that it's a pain to upgrade to new versions of AppFuse. Because of this, I don't recommend upgrading unless you really need to. I will be upgrading struts-resume to AppFuse 1.0, but I doubt I'll upgrade it to any future AppFuse releases - it's just too much work for not much reward.
Older releases can be found at http://raibledesigns.com/downloads.
If you'd like to encourage me to improve AppFuse, you can make a donation.