Tapestry Training -- From The Source

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

First Tapestry 5 Book

The first book on Tapestry 5, Tapestry 5: Building Web Applications, is available for pre-order. I've been helping out by tech editing the chapters.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Working on T5 Ajax Support

This is stuff people have waited impatiently for going on six months or more, and it's starting to come together. I'm continuing to work using Prototype/Scriptaculous and put together a simple Autocompleter mixin. I've been working on a more general Ajax operations, wherein a link on the page will trigger a component event and the return value there (usually a Block) will be used to update a portion of the page (demarked by a Zone component).

I'm also simplifying a bunch of APIs that got twisted up for PageTester (Kent Tong's unit testing layer for T5). ActionResponseGenerator is going away which makes a lot of code and testing easier and simpler.

Right now the only thing slowing me down is some soreness in my left hand.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

IntelliJ Watch: Change Sets

I've started using IntelliJ change sets, another great feature. A change set is very intuitive: a set of related changes. Typically the changes are related to a bug.

IntelliJ tracks those changes as a group: all the changed, added and deleted files. You can then commit those changes as a group, without checking in anything else.

This is just perfect for checking in a quick bug fix in the middle of a larger body of work.

Nice features: You create a comment when you first create the change set, this comment is the default check-in comment when you do commit changes. Further, they didn't skimp ... you can move a change between change sets.

The pattern I'm seeing is that IntellJ has features that cover specific things I've had to do manually and awkwardly in Eclipse. I can definitely remember times I've fixed a small bug and had to carefully pick and choose which files to check in, because I had many unfinished outstanding changes waiting to go. IntelliJ just picks up the slack and does it for me.

I'm not sure how you handle this situation in Mylyn, Eclipse's super-invasive ... tool? Framework? Filter? Nanny? Whatever it is, I guess it can do it, but I doubt it accomplishes the same goal as simply and comprehensibly.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another IntelliJ Zealot

Wow that was quick. My first attempt with IntelliJ didn't really take, but I've had more time now to make the adjustment under less pressure.

What a difference. On my Mac at least, it's much faster and more stable than Eclipse. I've been running current versions of Eclipse, with the Maven plugin but very little else, and Mylyn disabled as much as possible ... and Eclipse has been agonizingly slow and very unstable with multiple lock ups and crashes per day.

IntelliJ is just ... better. Faster (note that you need to turn off the Mac L&F if you want best performance; I'm using "Alloy").

I've been so thoroughly used to the Eclipse development model, including constant compilation. IntelliJ doesn't compile until you need to run code. It does parse your code constantly, which amounts to the same thing in terms of refactoring and code completion, but IntelliJ is far more forgiving of syntax errors and the like.

Maven integration is better; I chose an option where it synchronizes from Maven on demand (and on startup).

For a multi-module projects, IntelliJ does a better job. Each module really gets its own classpath, whereas Eclipse merges together all the source paths and all the libraries for all modules.

A couple of Tapestry development notes:

  • You do want to make sure that your exported resource patterns (in the Compiler project options) is !?*.java ... otherwise critical Tapestry files don't get copied and made available on the classpath.
  • Also, for IntelliJ you have to perform a make (command-F9) after changing code or templates for those changes to be visible.

Yes, there's a number of nitpicks, especially on a Mac. It's extremely intimidating the first time you launch, with a wealth of confusing options. Documentation is spotty and key concepts are never explained. There's too many modal popup windows. Regardless, I'm already working faster, using the mouse less, and keep finding new features. I'd say I'm using about 20% of what IntelliJ can do right now, and I'm already well ahead of the Eclipse curve.

Apparently, IntelliJ is like snowboarding: you need to give it three full days before you're hooked. Counterpoint: I'm still on skis.

Another analogy: IntelliJ is metric and Eclipse is english. If all you've ever known is feet and inches and pounds and ounces, then metric doesn't seem worth the effort to switch. Metric just seems like a different set of numbers, mixed with disconcerting nuances (such as the difference between mass and weight). On the other hand, once you make the transition, many difficult tasks become easier, since most conversions are multiplying or dividing by a power of ten.

IntelliJ's 30 day evaluation is long enough to get hooked. Give it a try.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Leopard Upgrade Story

I haven't been having the easiest time with my Leopard upgrade.

After my first attempt to upgrade, I got the dreaded "blue screen hang" on startup. This afflicts some number of systems, where after the install, all you get is a blue screen. After a couple of tries, I did a clean install and that worked better. Fortunately, I didn't follow Ben Galbraith's advice and "pull the switch", and I'm so glad a made a complete backup first!

I imported my settings from my backup and the vast majority of things just worked, including applications (/Application and ~/Applications) and most settings. Not my printer, though.

I'm still trying to figure out how to get svnserve up and running again, which is no fun, as I had just figured it out for Tiger. I'm getting a permissions problem accessing the files as user _svn (Leopoard puts an underscore in front of all system or daemon user ids and groups). I don't understand exactly why.

Other fun ... I decided to move to Mail.app from Thunderbird, since Mail.app can import Thunderbird mailboxes. For some reason, it only imported my older mail, so I have to keep Thunderbird around to access all my mail from 2007. 2006 and earlier imported. I don't get it!

Eclipse has become unstable for me. That's no fun, it's been getting memory access violations and crashing hard. So, this is a new chance to try IntelliJ. I'm already like some things, but I've also already hit a couple of bugs and the shear wealth of options and terminology is overwhelming.

I haven't tried out Time Machine yet, I may give it a whirl tonight.

I'm starting to adjust to using Spaces and have closed up my Mac's screen; with multiple desktops, it's just simpler (and better for my posture) to use a single screen. I may have to get a camera for iChat.

I immediately moved the Dock to the right side of the screen, to turn off the awful, stupid, distracting look they introduced.

Leopard includes the svn suite by default (I'm not sure if Tiger did); using MacPorts to install Hugs and erlang was easy, but ghc is a mess because of something that's changed between tiger and leopard. But who has time to study anything new when they're busy trying to finish Tapestry (and learn IntelliJ)?

Friday, November 09, 2007

SVNServe on Mac OS X

Somewhere along the way in switching from Fink to MacPorts (ostensibly because MacPorts is better supported) I shutdown my local SVN server. Strangely, the SVN for MacPorts doesn't include anything to assist in running a local SVN server.

Fortunately I found this useful snippet and it seems to work great, even after a reboot. Be careful to change the user name (at the bottom), the group name (at the top) and the SVN root repository (towards the top). For my system, I created a www user and www group as the owner of the SVN repository.

It may seem odd to run SVN server on a laptop; but this laptop is my development machine, and it goes with me everywhere, so I'm never in a position where I can't access my repository. Dave Thomas encourages you to store everything in version control, and I do my best.

Over the weekend, I'll be upgrading to Leopard, hopefully this will continue to work. I'm optimistic.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A few new Tapestry 5 components

Sven Homburg is hosting a Tapestry 5 components site on Google code. Interestingly, it requires Tapestry 5.0.6 which is only available today. They've been riding the bleeding edge, they have!

Big improvement to quickstart archetype

I've figured out the necessary magic incantation that allows you to use an archetype without having to specify the archetype version number. Now anybody with Maven 2.0.7 installed can be up and running a Tapestry application in just a few seconds.

To test it out, I just removed my ~/.m2/repository/org/apache/tapestry folder and used the archetype to create a new Tapestry web application. The listing below gets clipped ... the command is mvn archetype:create -DarchetypeGroupId=org.apache.tapestry -DarchetypeArtifactId=quickstart -DgroupId=org.example -DartifactId=myapp -DpackageName=org.example.myapp -Dversion=1.0.0-SNAPSHOT

$ mvn archetype:create -DarchetypeGroupId=org.apache.tapestry -DarchetypeArtifactId=quickstart -DgroupId=org.example -DartifactId=myapp -DpackageName=org.example.myapp -Dversion=1.0.0-SNAPSHOT
[INFO] Scanning for projects...
[INFO] Searching repository for plugin with prefix: 'archetype'.
[INFO] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Building Maven Default Project
[INFO]    task-segment: [archetype:create] (aggregator-style)
[INFO] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Setting property: classpath.resource.loader.class => 'org.codehaus.plexus.velocity.ContextClassLoaderResourceLoader'.
[INFO] Setting property: velocimacro.messages.on => 'false'.
[INFO] Setting property: resource.loader => 'classpath'.
[INFO] Setting property: resource.manager.logwhenfound => 'false'.
[INFO] ************************************************************** 
[INFO] Starting Jakarta Velocity v1.4
[INFO] RuntimeInstance initializing.
[INFO] Default Properties File: org/apache/velocity/runtime/defaults/velocity.properties
[INFO] Default ResourceManager initializing. (class org.apache.velocity.runtime.resource.ResourceManagerImpl)
[INFO] Resource Loader Instantiated: org.codehaus.plexus.velocity.ContextClassLoaderResourceLoader
[INFO] ClasspathResourceLoader : initialization starting.
[INFO] ClasspathResourceLoader : initialization complete.
[INFO] ResourceCache : initialized. (class org.apache.velocity.runtime.resource.ResourceCacheImpl)
[INFO] Default ResourceManager initialization complete.
[INFO] Loaded System Directive: org.apache.velocity.runtime.directive.Literal
[INFO] Loaded System Directive: org.apache.velocity.runtime.directive.Macro
[INFO] Loaded System Directive: org.apache.velocity.runtime.directive.Parse
[INFO] Loaded System Directive: org.apache.velocity.runtime.directive.Include
[INFO] Loaded System Directive: org.apache.velocity.runtime.directive.Foreach
[INFO] Created: 20 parsers.
[INFO] Velocimacro : initialization starting.
[INFO] Velocimacro : adding VMs from VM library template : VM_global_library.vm
[ERROR] ResourceManager : unable to find resource 'VM_global_library.vm' in any resource loader.
[INFO] Velocimacro : error using  VM library template VM_global_library.vm : org.apache.velocity.exception.ResourceNotFoundException: Unable to find resource 'VM_global_library.vm'
[INFO] Velocimacro :  VM library template macro registration complete.
[INFO] Velocimacro : allowInline = true : VMs can be defined inline in templates
[INFO] Velocimacro : allowInlineToOverride = false : VMs defined inline may NOT replace previous VM definitions
[INFO] Velocimacro : allowInlineLocal = false : VMs defined inline will be  global in scope if allowed.
[INFO] Velocimacro : initialization complete.
[INFO] Velocity successfully started.
[INFO] [archetype:create]
[INFO] artifact org.apache.tapestry:quickstart: checking for updates from central
Downloading: http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/tapestry/quickstart/5.0.6/quickstart-5.0.6.jar
11K downloaded
[INFO] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Using following parameters for creating Archetype: quickstart:RELEASE
[INFO] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Parameter: groupId, Value: org.example
[INFO] Parameter: packageName, Value: org.example.myapp
[INFO] Parameter: basedir, Value: /Users/Howard/work
[INFO] Parameter: package, Value: org.example.myapp
[INFO] Parameter: version, Value: 1.0.0-SNAPSHOT
[INFO] Parameter: artifactId, Value: myapp
[WARNING] org.apache.velocity.runtime.exception.ReferenceException: reference : template = archetype-resources/pom.xml [line 14,column 22] : ${tapestry-release-version} is not a valid reference.
[WARNING] org.apache.velocity.runtime.exception.ReferenceException: reference : template = archetype-resources/pom.xml [line 80,column 26] : ${tapestry-release-version} is not a valid reference.
[INFO] ********************* End of debug info from resources from generated POM ***********************
[WARNING] org.apache.velocity.runtime.exception.ReferenceException: reference : template = archetype-resources/src/main/webapp/Start.tml [line 11,column 34] : ${currentTime} is not a valid reference.
[INFO] Archetype created in dir: /Users/Howard/work/myapp
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Total time: 2 seconds
[INFO] Finished at: Thu Oct 25 07:47:04 PDT 2007
[INFO] Final Memory: 5M/9M
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
$ cd myapp
$ mvn jetty:run
[INFO] Scanning for projects...
[INFO] Searching repository for plugin with prefix: 'jetty'.
[INFO] org.apache.maven.plugins: checking for updates from tapestry-snapshots
[INFO] org.codehaus.mojo: checking for updates from tapestry-snapshots
[INFO] artifact org.apache.maven.plugins:maven-compiler-plugin: checking for updates from tapestry-snapshots
[INFO] artifact org.mortbay.jetty:maven-jetty-plugin: checking for updates from tapestry-snapshots
[INFO] artifact org.apache.maven.plugins:maven-war-plugin: checking for updates from tapestry-snapshots
[INFO] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Building myapp Tapestry 5 Application
[INFO]    task-segment: [jetty:run]
[INFO] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Preparing jetty:run
[INFO] artifact org.apache.maven.plugins:maven-resources-plugin: checking for updates from tapestry-snapshots
[INFO] [resources:resources]
[INFO] Using default encoding to copy filtered resources.
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-core/5.0.6/tapestry-core-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://snapshots.repository.codehaus.org/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-core/5.0.6/tapestry-core-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://maven.openqa.org//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-core/5.0.6/tapestry-core-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-core/5.0.6/tapestry-core-5.0.6.pom
3K downloaded
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-project/5.0.6/tapestry-project-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://snapshots.repository.codehaus.org/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-project/5.0.6/tapestry-project-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://maven.openqa.org//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-project/5.0.6/tapestry-project-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-project/5.0.6/tapestry-project-5.0.6.pom
12K downloaded
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://snapshots.repository.codehaus.org/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://maven.openqa.org//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.pom
3K downloaded
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://snapshots.repository.codehaus.org/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://maven.openqa.org//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.pom
Downloading: http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.pom
1K downloaded
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://snapshots.repository.codehaus.org/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://maven.openqa.org//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-repository/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-ioc/5.0.6/tapestry-ioc-5.0.6.jar
267K downloaded
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-core/5.0.6/tapestry-core-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://snapshots.repository.codehaus.org/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-core/5.0.6/tapestry-core-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://maven.openqa.org//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-core/5.0.6/tapestry-core-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-core/5.0.6/tapestry-core-5.0.6.jar
952K downloaded
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://snapshots.repository.codehaus.org/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://maven.openqa.org//org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-repository/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://tapestry.formos.com/maven-snapshot-repository/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.jar
Downloading: http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/tapestry/tapestry-annotations/5.0.6/tapestry-annotations-5.0.6.jar
4K downloaded
[INFO] [compiler:compile]
[INFO] Compiling 2 source files to /Users/Howard/work/myapp/target/classes
[INFO] [resources:testResources]
[INFO] Using default encoding to copy filtered resources.
[INFO] [compiler:testCompile]
[INFO] Nothing to compile - all classes are up to date
[INFO] [jetty:run]
[INFO] Configuring Jetty for project: myapp Tapestry 5 Application
[INFO] Webapp source directory = /Users/Howard/work/myapp/src/main/webapp
[INFO] web.xml file = /Users/Howard/work/myapp/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/web.xml
[INFO] Classes = /Users/Howard/work/myapp/target/classes
2007-10-25 07:47:44.872::INFO:  Logging to STDERR via org.mortbay.log.StdErrLog
[INFO] Context path = /myapp
[INFO] Tmp directory = /Users/Howard/work/myapp/target/work
[INFO] Web defaults =  jetty default
[INFO] Web overrides =  none
[INFO] Webapp directory = /Users/Howard/work/myapp/src/main/webapp
[INFO] Starting jetty 6.1H.5-beta ...
2007-10-25 07:47:44.011::INFO:  jetty-6.1H.5-beta
2007-10-25 07:47:44.189::INFO:  No Transaction manager found - if your webapp requires one, please configure one.
[INFO] TapestryFilter Startup time: 189 ms to build IoC Registry, 587 ms overall.
2007-10-25 07:47:45.282::INFO:  Started SelectChannelConnector@
[INFO] Started Jetty Server -  -  [Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:48:04 GMT] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 404 765 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071008 Firefox/" -  -  [Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:48:07 GMT] "GET /myapp HTTP/1.1" 302 0 "http://localhost:8080/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071008 Firefox/"
[INFO] TimingFilter Request time: 459 ms -  -  [Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:48:07 GMT] "GET /myapp/ HTTP/1.1" 200 519 "http://localhost:8080/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071008 Firefox/"
[INFO] TimingFilter Request time: 3 ms -  -  [Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:48:08 GMT] "GET /myapp/assets/tapestry/default.css HTTP/1.1" 200 4916 "http://localhost:8080/myapp/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071008 Firefox/"
[INFO] TimingFilter Request time: 2 ms -  -  [Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:48:12 GMT] "GET /myapp/start HTTP/1.1" 200 519 "http://localhost:8080/myapp/" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071008 Firefox/"
[INFO] TimingFilter Request time: 4 ms -  -  [Thu, 25 Oct 2007 14:48:12 GMT] "GET /myapp/assets/tapestry/default.css HTTP/1.1" 304 0 "http://localhost:8080/myapp/start" "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X; en-US; rv: Gecko/20071008 Firefox/"

That's it! Jetty is running, and the application is available at http://localhost:8080/myapp. And of course, I have a Ruby script to make setup even easier.

Tapestry 5.0.6 is available

Yet another preview release, Tapestry 5.0.6 adds a raft of new features , including:

A new DateField component (using a client-side JavaScript calendar).

The Grid component can now be utilized inside a Form.

The BeanEditForm component has been refactored, allowing you to create complex forms with multiple BeanEditors.

There is now a BeanDisplay component, a counterpart to BeanEditor that displays the properties of a bean.

For early adopters upgrading from release 5.0.5, you should be aware that Tapestry template files now have a .tml extension, and are stored in the context root, not under WEB-INF . In addition, the @Inject annotation in tapestry-core has been removed, and the @Inject annotation from tapestry-ioc is now doing double-duty.

In addition, Tapestry 5 now uses SLF4j as its pluggable logging library, replacing commons-logging. This may require that you upgrade to Log4j 1.2.14.

Download Tapestry 5.0.6

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tapestry 5.0.6 soon

I'm very much hoping to have Tapestry 5.0.6 out soon. I've been squeezing in some more time to work on Tapestry 5 and just added a BeanDisplay component (to complement the BeanEditor component).

The Ajax story for Tapestry 5 is still up in the air ... the specter of writing an abstraction layer has come back. And I still want better, smarter handling of Hibernate ... it seems to me that the BeanEditor should be capable of handling to-one relationships in a smart way. And Spring WebFlow integration would be a snap if I just had a couple of days to work on it.

I'm personally anxious to get Tapestry 5 solid and shipped ... but not before it's ready.

Monday, October 01, 2007

TheDailyTube: Powered by Tapestry 5

A posting on the Tapestry mailing list led me to TheDailyTube, a video sharing site powered by ... Tapestry 5. It may be "alpha", but people are putting their faith in Tapestry 5.

The site looks sweet and is plenty responsive. Can't really tell too much else about the site though ... they've turned off the default exception page. Still, this is the kind of high volume, outward facing site that I'm proud to have helped facilitate. Viva Tapestry 5!

Friday, September 28, 2007

One of the greatest Worse-Than-Failures, ever ...

Serializalicious, now on WTF is just one example Steve, Ben and I discovered in this application. The article is somewhat misleading, it makes it look like Steve put that code in there. Nope, Steve, Ben and I were all victims of the missing Architect. Funny, scary stuff.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Let there be Nightly Docs!

With just a little bit of tweaking, we now have full, nightly documentation for Tapestry 5. This is great news, as the public web site can start staying static between releases (thus all the docs there will reflect just the latest stable release), and the snapshots and documentation on tapestry.formos.com will also be in sync, reflecting what's currently going on in SVN trunk.

That should ease a lot of confusion, when the docs say something exists but it doesn't in the stable (non-snapshot) versions.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dr. Seuss visits the Tapestry Mailing List

Just noticed this posting by Bill Holloway:

Will you work with JSP?

They mess up my MVC.
I will not work with JSP.

We'll put them in an IDE.

I don't want them in an IDE.
They screw up the MVC.
I will not work with JSP.

We'll put them down inside some struts.
You'll never see them,
In the guts.

You cannot hide them in the guts!
They're in your face when they're in struts!
I don't want them on my IDE.
They screw up our MVC!
I will not work with JSP.

We'll put them in some server faces.
Many use them, many places.
That way the MVC's ok.
Will you work with them today?

The XML of server faces
Bogs down the coders in those places!
You cannot hide them in the guts.
I will not work with them in struts.
Get them off my CRT!
They're $@%#*&ing up my MVC!
Give me back my Tapestry.

Tapestry 5 Nightly Builds

I've finally gotten around to setting up nightly builds for Tapestry 5. It just another build on the Bamboo server. You can get access to it by adding:

to your POM.

Eventually, we'll be publishing documentation every night too, but that's waiting on a Maven bug.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mac OS X bundles vs. Subversion

If you work on Mac OS X, you may have noticed how cool Macs deal with complex documents, things like Keynote presentations or applications themselves. They're stored as directories. The Finder hides this, making them look and act like individual files. This works nicely, often the contents of a bundle are simple text and XML files ... whereas the equivalent under Windows is either a very proprietary (and potentially fragile) binary format, or multiple files and folders that YOU have to treat as a unit.

Alas, this all breaks down when using Subversion. You can't just check in MyPresentation.key into SVN ... it will create those pesky .svn directories inside the bundle, and those will be destroyed every time you save your presentation.

My solution to this is to convert the bundles into an archive, and check in the archive. The bundle folders are marked as svn:ignore. I guess this reveals that I mostly use SVN as a safe, structured backup.

In any case, manually creating those archives can be a pain. So ... out comes my solution to many problems: Ruby.

The goal here is to find bundles that need to be archived; do it efficiently (only update the archive if necessary) and do it recursively, seeking out bundles in sub-directories.


# Used to prepare a directory for commit to Subversion. This is necessary for certain file types on Mac OS X because what appear to be files in the Finder
# are actually directories (Mac uses the term "bundle" for this concept). It is useless to put the .svn folder inside such a directory, because it will
# tend to be deleted whenever the "file" is saved.  
# Instead, we want to compress the directory to a single archive file; the bundle will be marked as svn:ignore.
# We use tar with Bzip2 compression, which is resource intensive to create, but 
# compresses much better than GZip or PKZip.
# The trick is that we only want to create the acrhive version when necessary; when 
# the archive does not exist, or when any file
# in the bundle is newer than the archive.

require 'optparse'

# Set via command line options

$extensions = %w{pages key oo3 graffle}
$recursive = true
$dry_run = false

# Queue of folders to search (for bundles)

$queue = []

def matching_extension(name)
  dotx = name.rindex('.')
  return false unless dotx
  ext = name[dotx + 1 .. -1]
  return $extensions.include?(ext)

# Iterate over the directory, identify bundles that may need to be compressed and (if recursive) subdirectories
# to search.
# path: string path for a directory
def search_directory(dirpath)
  Dir.foreach(dirpath) do |name|
    # Skip hidden files and directories
    next if name[0..0] == "."
    path = File.join(dirpath, name)
    next unless File.directory?(path)
    if matching_extension(name)
      update_archive path
    if $recursive
      $queue << path

def needs_update(bundle_path, archive_path)
  return true unless File.exists?(archive_path)
  archive_mtime = File.mtime(archive_path)
  # The archive exists ... can we find a file inside the bundle thats newer?
  # This won't catch deletions, but that's ok.  Bundles tend to get completly
  # overwritten when any tiny thing changes.
  dirqueue = [bundle_path]

  until dirqueue.empty?
    dirpath = dirqueue.pop
    Dir.foreach(dirpath) do |name|
      path = File.join(dirpath, name)
      if File.directory?(path)
        dirqueue << path unless [".", ".."].include?(name)
      # Is this file newer?
      if File.mtime(path) > archive_mtime
        return true
  return false

def update_archive(path)
  archive = path + ".tar.bz2"
  return unless needs_update(path, archive)

  if $dry_run
    puts "Would create #{archive}"

  puts "Creating #{archive}"
  dir = File.dirname(path)
  bundle = File.basename(path)
  # Could probably fork and do it in a subshell
  system "tar --create --file=#{archive} --bzip2 --directory=#{dir} #{bundle}"


$opts = OptionParser.new do |opts|
  opts.banner = "Usage: prepsvn [options]"

  opts.on("-d", "--dir DIR", "Add directory to search (if no directory specify, current directory is searched)") do |value|
    $queue << value

  opts.on("-e", "--extension EXTENSION", "Add another extension to match when searching for bundles to archive") do |value|
    $extensions << value
  opts.on("-N", "--non-recursive", "Do not search non-bundle sub directories for files to archive") do
    $recursive = false
  opts.on("-D", "--dry-run", "Identify what archives would be created") do
    $dry_run = true
  opts.on("-h", "--help", "Help for this command") do
    puts opts

def fail(message)
    puts "Error: #{message}"
    puts $opts

rescue OptionParser::InvalidOption
    fail $!

# If no --dir specified, use the current directory.

if $queue.empty?
  $queue << Dir.getwd

until $queue.empty? 
  search_directory $queue.pop

I do love Ruby syntax, it is so minimal, and lets me follow my personal mantra less is more.

I'm sure there's some edge cases that aren't handle well, such as spaces in path names and maybe issues related to permissions. But it works for me.

You do need to have tar installed, in order to build the archives. I can't remember if that's built in to Mac OS X (probably) or whether I obtained it using Fink.

In any case, you need to remember to execute prepsvn in your workspace, to spot file bundles that need archiving, before you check in. It would be awesome if Subversion supported some client-side check-in hooks to do this automatically.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Itch scratching: Even better feedback for all thumbs typists

I was reading through Matt's rundown of Struts 2 (does it suck?) and he strayed into one of my most passionate areas: feedback.

He gave an example of an incorrect property name, and how that would be reported to the user. He showed examples from all the major frameworks, and the Tapestry 4 version, even without its proper CSS styles, won hands-down.

However, as I was reading and responding, it struck me that while other framework can barely tell you what you've done wrong, Tapestry 5 should be telling you how to fix it. In this case, advising you about the possible properties you could have specified, which I've added as TAPESTRY-1737 and fixed.

Here's the result. Not bad for ten minutes work. And remember: property names in Tapestry 5 are already case insensitive, which wipes out probably 50% of your typical typing errors anyway.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Well, Hani has finally Biled the Bearded One. But what a cheap and meaningless shot ... he's upset about a switch from commons-logging to SLF4J? What is it with Hani and commons-logging? Did commons-logging steal his prom date? Did it kick sand in his face at the beach? Maybe it touched him inappropriately as a child. In any case, he's strangely obsessive about anything that touches on the subject.

On a serious note ... people have come out of the woodwork to defend the use of JDK logging, especially inside Websphere (God help them), which does justify a pluggable approach. Again, Log4J does not quite fit all, and because it is based on classes, not interfaces, it gets in the way of mock testing.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Blindness of James Gosling: Java as A First Language

I think Java is an excellent all-around-language. It is truly ubiqitous, well specified, highly performant and well accepted by the industry.

But there's a big difference between those credentials, and the credentials of the first language a developer learns. Regardless, James Gosling feels obligated to recommend Java as the first language anyone learns.

Java as a first language? Please! Yes, Java is simpler than C++, C, Lisp, assembler and all the languages that seasoned veterans, such as James Gosling, are familiar with. But the fact that Java shields you from pointers, malloc() and zero-terminated strings does not make it a good first language!

Java is extremely monolithic: in order to understand how to run a simple Hello World program, you'll be exposed to:

  • Classes
  • Java packages
  • Static vs. instance methods
  • Source files vs. compiled classes
  • Editing vs. Execution
  • Using a compiler or an IDE
  • Method return types and method parameter types
  • The magic (for newbies) that is "System.out.println()"

... in fact, this list is far from exhaustive. A lot of that has fallen off our collective radar ... we're blind to it from seeing it so much over the last ten years or more.

What's important to understand is that people new to programming don't really have a way of understanding the difference between a document and a program, between source code and an application. Certainly the web (with HTML and JavaScript all mixed together) hasn't helped people understand the division intuitively. It's very hard for any of us to think like someone new to our entire world.

I'm rarely in a position to teach people how to program, but when I think about it, only two languages make sense to me: Ruby and Inform.

Ruby, because it is interactive yet fully object oriented. You can start with an interactive puts "Hello World" and quickly work up from there. You get to interact with the Ruby world as objects before you have to define your own objects. There's a nice clean slope from one-off quickies to eventual discipline as a true developer, without any huge leaps in the middle.

Inform, used to create interactive text adventures, is also intriguing. It's specifically designed for non-programmers, and has a laser-focused UI. It is interactive: you type a little bit about your world and hit Run to play it. Again, you experience an object oriented environment in an incredibly intuitive way long before you have to define to yourself, or to the language, what an object is.

Inform is truly some amazing software, given that advanced Inform games will make use of not just object oriented features, but also aspect oriented. Here's a little example I brewed up about a room built on top of a powerful magnet:

"Magnet Room" by Howard Lewis Ship

A thing is either magnetic or non-ferrous. Things are normally non-ferrous.

The Test Lab is a room. "A great circular space with lit by a vast array of ugly
flourescent lights.  In the center of the room is a white circular pedestal with a
great red switch on top. Your feet echo against the cold steel floor."

The red switch is a device in the test lab. It is scenery.

The double-sided coin is in the test lab. "Your lucky double sided half dollar rests
on the floor." The coin is magnetic.  Understand "dollar" as the coin.

A rabbits foot is in the test lab. "Your moth-eaten rabbits foot lies nearby."

Magnet Active is a scene.

Magnet Active begins when the red switch is switched on. 

When Magnet Active begins: say "A menacing hum begins to surge from beneath the

Magnet Active ends when the red switch is switched off.

When Magnet Active ends: say "The menacing hum fades off to nothing."

Instead of taking a thing that is magnetic during Magnet Active: say "[The noun]
is firmly fixed to the floor."

That's not a description of my program; that's the actual program. It's literate; meaning equally readable, more or less, by the compiler and the author. It's still a formal language with all that wonderful lexical and BNF stuff, it's just a bit richer than a typical programming language.

What I like about Inform is that you get a complete little game from this:

Magnet Room
An Interactive Fiction by Howard Lewis Ship
Release 1 / Serial number 070831 / Inform 7 build 4W37 (I6/v6.31 lib 6/11N) SD

Test Lab
A great circular space with lit by a vast array of ugly flourescent lights.  In the
center of the room is a white circular pedestal with a great red switch on top. Your
feet echo against the cold steel floor.

Your lucky double sided half dollar rests on the floor.

Your moth-eaten rabbits foot lies nearby.

>take dollar

>drop it

>turn switch on
You switch the red switch on.

A menacing hum begins to surge from beneath the floor.

>take dollar
The double-sided coin is firmly fixed to the floor.

>take foot

>turn switch off
You switch the red switch off.

The menacing hum fades off to nothing.

>take dollar


The way rules work, especially in the context of scenes, is very much an aspect oriented approach. It is a pattern-based way to apply similar rules to a variety of objects. I've seen this kind of thing with aspect oriented programming in Java, but also with pattern based languages such as Haskell and Erlang.

The point is, using Ruby or Inform, you can learn the practices of a programmer ... dividing a complex problem into small manageable pieces, without being faced with a huge amount of a-priori knowledge and experience in order to get started. Both Ruby and Inform are self-contained environments designed for quick and easy adoption. That's something Java missed the boat on long, long ago!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Handling direct URLs in Tapestry 5

So, I'm starting work on the 1% web portion of my otherwise 99% Swing project. It's about sending invoices by email and allowing external users to view invoice PDFs, and accept or reject them.

I wanted to get a tracer bullet going; the process is kicked off when some COBOL code, via typical Rube Golderberg shenanigans, GETs a URL of the form /sendinvoice/invoice-number/email-address.

Well, in Tapestry terms, that could be a page with an activate event handler method:

package com.myclient.pages;

import org.apache.tapestry.util.TextStreamResponse;

public class SendInvoice 

    Object onActivate(String invoiceNumber, String emailAddress) 

        // TODO: Generate and send the email
        return new TextStreamResponse("text/plain", 
          String.format("OK %s / %s", invoiceNumber, emailAddress));
Returning a StreamResponse (that's the interface, TextStreamResponse is a simple implementation) allows your code to bypass the normal HTML response with one you control. This kind of thing was way too complicated to do in Tapestry 4 so I'm very happy with how minimal the Tapestry 5 approach is.

I fired this up and it worked the first time, echoing back to me the information I passed in the URL. If you don't provide at least two values in the URL, Tapestry will bypass this activate event handler method and will just render out the page; the page template simply announces to the user that they munged up the URL in some way.

This is something that would be pretty easy as a servlet, but is even easier in Tapestry. Just create the SendInvoice page and provide the onActivate() method. onActivate() gets called based on the number of path elements provided in the URL. When there are two (or more), this method gets invoked with the first two. Tapestry can automatically coerce from string to other types, but here both values happen to be strings anyway.

Obviously, much more to do (under deadline ... I don't really have time to blog this). I'm just happy to be doing a little Tapestry on my day job

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So long, commons-logging, hello SLF4J

I'm finally taking a bit to do something I've wanted to do for a long time: get away from commons-logging and switch over to SLF4J.

Commons-logging has a justified reputation for causing more problems than it solves. It's basic premise, that you should need to be able to switch between logging implementations, is very appealing to framework developers. Who am I to mandate that you use Log4J in your application? Sure, I mandate things like Javassist and a bunch of other dependencies, but for some reason, Log4J is too much. I'm not sure where this mindthink came from, but it is prevalent among framework folks.

Anyway, it's not a bad idea, though 99.99999% of applications use commons-logging as a wrapper around Log4J. I haven't yet met someone who uses JDK logging, or anything home brew. Why would you?

It's the implementation of commons-logging that the problem. First off, it called a "logger" a "log". I think that's just wrong, and (in fact) always preferred the term "category" (now deprecated by Log4J). To my mind, the category or logger is what you logged to, the log itself is the console, or a file, or something that receives the formatted output.

Also, commons-logging's ultra-late binding approach always causes class loader frustration and memory leaks. Every time they claim to get that fixed up, some new variation pops up.

The non-Apache follow on to commons-logging is SLF4J. It does things right: Logger, not Log. Better yet, Logger is an interface (it's a class in Log4J) which makes my EasyMock-addled brain quite happy. Finally, SLF4J takes a very simple, very sane approach: you combine the API JAR with one of several implementation JARs. That's it ... no class loader magic, no dynamic binding. This is an ideal solution for those same 99.99999% of applications out there.

This may cause some minor pain for Tapestry 5 early adopters, as they'll have to switch their (JCL) Log parameters to (SLF4J) Logger. Sorry, T5 is alpha ... but not for long, and this is a kind of last opportunity to make such a large change.

Update: Dion's been laughing from the sidelines but he's missing the point. He's put up a smokescreen that boils down to "just use System.out.println". But that's not what a logging framework is about ... it's about filtering, and organizing, a little bit about formatting, but mostly about being able to control what does log and what doesn't without hacking a lot of code (instead just tweaking a couple of control files).

Friday, August 24, 2007

Maven: Love to Hate or Hate to Love?

I've been struggling hard with Maven this week, and its really be bringing me down. I love the theory of Maven, but the execution is so awful I'm very close to eating crow and switching back to a Ant build, maybe using Ivy.

One of the things that concerns me with Maven is that for a tool whose goal is to be a "project comprehension tool" (giving quick access to Java source, Javadoc and other reports) it's almost impossible to find the source or get any insight into how Maven is built. Yet so much about Maven is impossible to find, with broken links, missing and out of date documentation, and other hazards running rampant.

I've been hunting around for 30+ minutes, trying to find the source to MavenCli. It's in the maven-core library. Good luck finding a link to that off the Maven web site. Through arcane means and Google searches I eventually stumbled across http://maven.apache.org/ref/ but 2.0.7 is not present there. So they rolled out a release without external documentation? I guess that's OK when you need a magical incantation to even find the documentation.

Well, I'm getting closer to my answers, but I'm probably still shiv'ed because Maven developer guidelines mandate zero documentation in the source. Or anywhere else. In fact, I believe the maven-fuckyou-plugin exists to strip documentation out of your source and seems to be enabled by default in all the Maven modules.

Well, eventually I answered my own question: -Dmaven.repo.local=directory allows me to control where the local repository exists. This is for my Bamboo server that needs to build multiple branches that share the same version numbers, so I don't want them to use the same repository.

Anyway, that's what it should be (from the tiny fraction of the code that's visible). But it blows up real good, apparently unwilling to download files into this repository, and spewing errors that make it appear as if artifacts were not present in the remote repository.

So, when Maven is useful it is very useful, but when it gets in your way, it totally blocks you.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quick and dirty Java application launcher

I've been busy working at a new company, for a new client, helping out on an existing product. The product is a Swing application and so I ran into my old nemesis: the ugly, buggy, hand maintained script to launch the application. You know the beast: start.bat and start.sh that you dread having to maintain.

We have a nifty, Maven based build, and a continuously evolving set of dependencies. Nobody wants to have to maintain that in two or three additional locations.

I've been seeing these kinds of scripts for years and hating them all along. Mostly, these scripts exist to find a bunch of JARs, put together a classpath (often by creating a monster CLASSPATH environment variable), then run Java to launch a particular class.

Previously, I've pushed to use Ant to do this. Ant is great a searching directories, building up classpaths, and invoking Java programs. It's pretty much inherently cross-platform. Who cares if it says "BUILD SUCCESSFUL" at the end?

Sun's tried to tackle this before, with the typical half-assed, lame results. Executable JAR files, Java Web Start, etc. Always stuff that looked good on some engineer's workstation, but never made sense in terms of a real development and deployment scenario. Ten years of Java later and it's still too much work to write a Java application to do a simple job. Meanwhile, Ruby and Groovy are so easy to run, it's painful (or laughable, or both).

JDK 1.6 has a new option to search a directory and pick up the JARs it finds. But we're targetting JDK 1.5 for both the client and the server. Thus my little launcher utility:

package org.example.launcher;

import java.io.File;
import java.io.FilenameFilter;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;
import java.net.MalformedURLException;
import java.net.URL;
import java.net.URLClassLoader;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

 * A wrapper used to assemble the classpath before launching the actual
 * application. The big trick is assembling the classpath before the launch.
 * Yep, this is functionality that should be built right into Java.
 * <p>
 * This is packaged into a JAR with no dependencies.
public final class LauncherMain {

  private static final List<URL> _classpath = new ArrayList<URL>();

   * Usage:
   * <pre>
   * java -jar mblauncher.jar some.class.to.launch [--addclasspath dir] [--addjardir dir] [options]
   * </pre>
   * <p>
   * The --addclasspath parameter is used to add a directory to add to the
   * classpath. This is most commonly used with a directory containing
   * configuration files that override corresponding files stored inside other
   * JARs on the classpath.
   * <p>
   * The --addjardir parameter is used to define directories. JAR files
   * directly within such directories will be added to the search path. 
     * <p>Any
   * remaining options will be collected and passed to the main() method of
   * the launch class.
  public static void main(String[] args) {

    List<String> launchOptions = new ArrayList<String>();

    if (args.length == 0)
      fail("No class to launch was specified.  This should be the first parameter.");

    String launchClass = args[0];

    int cursor = 1;

    while (cursor < args.length) {

      String arg = args[cursor];

      if (arg.equals("--addclasspath")) {
        if (cursor + 1 == args.length)
          fail("--addclasspath argument was not followed by the name of the directory to add to the classpath.");

        String dir = args[cursor + 1];


        cursor += 2;

      if (arg.equals("--addjardir")) {

        if (cursor + 1 == args.length) {
          fail("--addjardir argument was not followed by the name of a directory to search for JARs.");

        String dir = args[cursor + 1];


        cursor += 2;



    String[] newArgs = launchOptions.toArray(new String[launchOptions

    launch(launchClass, newArgs);

  private static void launch(String launchClassName, String[] args) {

    URL[] classpathURLs = _classpath.toArray(new URL[_classpath.size()]);

    try {
      URLClassLoader newLoader = new URLClassLoader(classpathURLs, Thread


      Class launchClass = newLoader.loadClass(launchClassName);

      Method main = launchClass.getMethod("main",
          new Class[] { String[].class });

      main.invoke(null, new Object[] { args });
    } catch (ClassNotFoundException ex) {
      fail(String.format("Class '%s' not found.", launchClassName));
    } catch (NoSuchMethodException ex) {
      fail(String.format("Class '%s' does not contain a main() method.",
    } catch (Exception ex) {
      fail(String.format("Error invoking method main() of %s: %s",
          launchClassName, ex.toString()));

  private static void add(String directoryName) {
    File dir = toDir(directoryName);

    if (dir == null)


  private static File toDir(String directoryName) {
    File dir = new File(directoryName);

    if (!dir.exists()) {
      System.err.printf("Warning: directory '%s' does not exist.\n",
      return null;

    if (!dir.isDirectory()) {
      System.err.printf("Warning: '%s' is a file, not a directory.\n",
      return null;

    return dir;

  private static void search(String directoryName) {

    File dir = toDir(directoryName);

    if (dir == null)

    File[] jars = dir.listFiles(new FilenameFilter() {

      public boolean accept(File dir, String name) {
        return name.endsWith(".jar");


    for (File jar : jars) {


  private static void addToClasspath(File jar) {
    URL url = toURL(jar);

    if (url != null)

  private static URL toURL(File file) {
    try {
      return file.toURL();
    } catch (MalformedURLException ex) {
      System.err.printf("Error converting %s to a URL: %s\n", file, ex

      return null;

  private static void fail(String message) {
    System.err.println("Launcher failure: " + message);


This gets packaged up as an executable JAR (i.e., with a MainClass manifest entry pointing to this class). Launching ends up looking like.
java -jar launcher.jar --addjardir lib org.example.MyMain --my-main-opt
Basically, the -jar launcher.jar and its options (--addjardir) replaces any other classpath manipulations. Once the classpath is setup, launcher emulates Java in terms of locating MyMain and executing its main() method, passing any remaining options.

Named mocks in EasyMock 2.3

This is a great new feature of EasyMock 2.3: you can name your mocks as you create them.

This is wonderful news, I can't wait to try it out. Why? Because once you get going with half a dozen different mocks that implement the same interface, it's a lot of work to figure out which one actually failed. This is going to make creating and maintaining some of my more complex tests much easier.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tapestry 5 Preview at OSCON 2007

Yesterday was my session at OSCON. 45 minutes to covert Tapestry 5? Not a hope, especially with Rod Johnson running a little long.

I got the typical stunned reaction, followed by "is it done yet? Can I use it?" People crave T5 once they see it, and the presentation I do barely scratches the surface of what it can do today.

I've converted the presentation to PDF, which is great considering I had to flash through a lot of stuff about the grid very quickly.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Upgrading Maven 2.0.5 to 2.0.7

I've been using Maven a bit for my "day job", converting a multi-module Ant build over to Maven. Since I just pushed out Tapestry 5.0.5 (awaiting a release vote), it seemed like a good time to look at upgrading to Maven 2.0.7.

The "day job" work has shown that having a traditionally stuctured aggregate project is viable even when using Eclipse. The Maven plugin for Eclipse is smart enough to read the parent POM as well as the child POM's in each module when building the overall classpath. I expect to restucture Tapestry 5 this way pretty soon, which will make it even easier to checkout and build the code than today. This structure, as a single mega-project, will make things easier when refactoring across module boundaries (a pain to do today, when using multiple Eclipse projects). However, the command line build will be very important, as it will catch some dependency issues that the Eclipse build will not.

Speaking of which ... Maven 2.0.7 (and 2.0.6 I believe) has tweaked dependencies. I had a couple of "runtime" scope dependencies inherited from tapestry-ioc to tapestry-core. These compiled fine in 2.0.5 but need to be changed in 2.0.7 to compile. In my case, since javassist was a "runtime" scope in tapestry-ioc, none of the javassist classes were visible when compiling tapestry-core.

A handy tool inside Maven for diagnosing this is the dependency plugin:

$ mvn dependency:resolve
[INFO] Scanning for projects...
[INFO] Searching repository for plugin with prefix: 'dependency'.
[INFO] org.apache.maven.plugins: checking for updates from tapestry
[INFO] org.apache.maven.plugins: checking for updates from howardlewisship.com
[INFO] org.apache.maven.plugins: checking for updates from codehaus.snapshots
[INFO] org.codehaus.mojo: checking for updates from tapestry
[INFO] org.codehaus.mojo: checking for updates from howardlewisship.com
[INFO] org.codehaus.mojo: checking for updates from codehaus.snapshots
[INFO] artifact org.apache.maven.plugins:maven-dependency-plugin: checking for updates from tapestry
[INFO] artifact org.apache.maven.plugins:maven-dependency-plugin: checking for updates from howardlewisship.com
[INFO] artifact org.apache.maven.plugins:maven-dependency-plugin: checking for updates from codehaus.snapshots
[INFO] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Building Tapestry Core Library
[INFO]    task-segment: [dependency:resolve]
[INFO] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] [dependency:resolve]
[INFO] The following files have been resolved: 
[INFO]    commons-codec:commons-codec:jar:1.3 (scope = compile)
[INFO]    commons-logging:commons-logging:jar:1.0.4 (scope = compile)
[INFO]    javax.servlet:servlet-api:jar:2.4 (scope = provided)
[INFO]    jboss:javassist:jar:3.4.ga (scope = runtime)
[INFO]    junit:junit:jar:3.8.1 (scope = provided)
[INFO]    log4j:log4j:jar:1.2.9 (scope = test)
[INFO]    org.apache.tapestry:tapestry-ioc:jar:5.0.5 (scope = compile)
[INFO]    org.apache.tapestry:tapestry-test:jar:5.0.5 (scope = provided)
[INFO]    org.easymock:easymock:jar:2.2 (scope = provided)
[INFO]    org.openqa.selenium.client-drivers:selenium-java-client-driver:jar:0.8.1 (scope = provided)
[INFO]    org.openqa.selenium.server:selenium-server:jar:0.8.1 (scope = provided)
[INFO]    org.testng:testng:jar:jdk15:5.1 (scope = provided)
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Total time: 3 seconds
[INFO] Finished at: Sat Jun 30 00:20:31 PDT 2007
[INFO] Final Memory: 4M/9M
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Talking in Boulder and Denver

I'm doing back-to-back JUG talks next week:

Jun 13: Denver JUG

Jun 14: Boulder JUG

I'll be doing the same talk, a compressed introduction to Tapestry 5.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Free and Excellent Code Coverage for Eclipse

The EMMA plugin for Eclipse is my latest addition to the "can't live without it" category. It allows you to run applications and test suites from within Eclipse and gather code coverage ... better yet, that code coverage data is shown visibly in your code, much as it is in an HTML Cobertura report.

The plugin is slick, fast, easy and non-intrusive.

The one thing you do need to do is split your output directories, so that production code goes into bin, and test code goes into test-bin; this allows you to turn off coverage information for your test classes, and just gather

Of course, IDEA also has code coverage, based on EMMA, built right in.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tapestry at JavaOne 2007

JavaOne was a lot of fun this year; I didn't arrive in time for the JavaFX keynote, but I understood it to be underwhelming. Yep ... that's what Java needs ... to take on Adobe and Microsoft in Adobe's home territory.

On the other hand, this was a very social JavaOne; lots of good conversations and meeting with people I only know online.

I also attended the Java Server Faces 2.0 Expert Group kickoff. I can't really see where that's going to go, alas. It's not like everyone bowed down and said "JSF 2.0 shall be Tapestry" (not even Jacob Hookom, who does see Tapestry as a good model for much of JSF 2.0). But I did get a chance to chat with Gavin King ... about motorcycles. He's riding a Ducati now, and I'm thinking about picking up a new bike once I buy a house. Gavin --- I used to ride a Yamaha FZR1000.

The best part of the JSF meeting was when Jonathan Swartz stopped by. We shook hands and talked about how slow adoption of JCP standards.

Elsewhere ... the fun part about the RubyEnv parody ad ...

... is that Tapestry is jar #3. Interesting, though I guess it's hard to know what "JSF in a Jar" looks like, or "Struts in a Jar" for that matter. My intention is to reverse the meaning, make Tapestry 5 something that'll make the Ruby guys envious. We'll see.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Tapestry at JavaOne

Not only am I doing my Tapestry 5 "BOF" session (Tapestry 5: Java Programming Language Power, Scripting Ease), but there's also TS-7354 (Fast Feedback Loop: Unit Testing Strategies for Tapestry) and BOF-9834 ( Grails, Sails, and Trails: Rails Through a Coffee Filter).

I'll be arriving Tuesday afternoon and staying through Saturday. JavaOne is always hectic, especially right around my session. However, I'd be glad to meet with people informally; drop me an e-mail at hlship AT gmail DOT com and we'll see.

Meanwhile, did anyone else suffer through Sun's Schedule Builder? Just a horrendous application, made all the worse that it is crying out for the Ajax treatment. Show me the sessions side-by-side, dynamically filter the page by day and time slot and session track, and let me click or drag the sessions I like. For god's sake ... don't make me schedule one sesson at a time and then scroll back to the top of the page!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Launching IntelliJ for the first time...

First the damn cool crowd of NFJS speakers got me to buy a Mac, now they've suckered me into switching from Eclipse to IntelliJ. God help me, I don't even know where to start with this thing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Duh! Annotation values as constants, not literals

One funny thing I discovered recently is that annotation values don't have to be literal values. You can reference constants. Thus I went from:

public class .... 


public class ...

I think this is a Good Thing, even though it's a bit more verbose (a static import helps there) because I know at compile time that there isn't a typo in my constant's variable name ... whereas @Scope("prthread") would not be caught until runtime.

Pleasing the Crowds, Improving IoC, Extending the Community

I've been quite busy of late: a nearby Tapestry 4 project to pay the bills, a bunch of chances to talk to crowds about Tapestry 5 (in Philadelphia, Minneapolis and at home in Portland, Oregon).

I've significantly changed my Tapestry 4 presentation; it now highlights the BeanForm component, then the Table component and lastly Trails. I'm showing the high end of what's possible in Tapestry, rather than showing people the gory little details up front. That usually gets their attention.

I then show what's going on in Tapestry 5 and that really get's peoples jaws dropping. People crave this. They want to use it today. That is the desired effect. Case-insensitive, pretty URLs. Live class reloading. No XML. Incredible performance. Best of breed exception reporting. And we've barely gotten started yet.

I've been busy: Guice has set a high bar for IoC containers, but it still doesn't have certain features that Tapestry is dependent upon. That hasn't slowed me from taking the best ideas from it. Tapestry 5 now has a similar approach to autobuilding, and in most cases, a Tapestry service no longer needs a service builder method. Instead, a module can define a static bind() method and use the ServiceBinder to tell Tapestry about service interfaces and service implementations: Here's an example from the Tapestry module itself:

    public static void bind(ServiceBinder binder)
        binder.bind(ClasspathAssetAliasManager.class, ClasspathAssetAliasManagerImpl.class);
        binder.bind(PersistentLocale.class, PersistentLocaleImpl.class);
        binder.bind(ApplicationStateManager.class, ApplicationStateManagerImpl.class);
        binder.bind(BindingSource.class, BindingSourceImpl.class);
        binder.bind(TranslatorSource.class, TranslatorSourceImpl.class);
        binder.bind(PersistentFieldManager.class, PersistentFieldManagerImpl.class);
        binder.bind(FieldValidatorSource.class, FieldValidatorSourceImpl.class);
        binder.bind(ApplicationGlobals.class, ApplicationGlobalsImpl.class);
        binder.bind(AssetSource.class, AssetSourceImpl.class);
        binder.bind(Cookies.class, CookiesImpl.class);
        binder.bind(Environment.class, EnvironmentImpl.class);
        binder.bind(FieldValidatorDefaultSource.class, FieldValidatorDefaultSourceImpl.class);
        binder.bind(RequestGlobals.class, RequestGlobalsImpl.class);
        binder.bind(ResourceDigestGenerator.class, ResourceDigestGeneratorImpl.class);
        binder.bind(ValidationConstraintGenerator.class, ValidationConstraintGeneratorImpl.class);
        binder.bind(EnvironmentalShadowBuilder.class, EnvironmentalShadowBuilderImpl.class);
        binder.bind(ComponentSource.class, ComponentSourceImpl.class);
        binder.bind(BeanModelSource.class, BeanModelSourceImpl.class);

The ServiceBinder interface is fluent, we could follow on with .withScope(), .withId() or .eagerLoad() if we wanted. In most cases, defaults from there are sensible or come from annotations on the implementation class (and therefore, rarely need to be overridden).

The primary mechanism for injection is via constructor parameters. In general, annotations are not necessary on those parameters any more, and Tapestry will find the correct object or service automatically (primarily by matching on parameter type).

Service builder methods are still useful for when a service involves more than just instantiating a class, such as registering it for some kind of notification from another service:

    public ComponentClassResolver buildComponentClassResolver(ServiceResources resources)
        ComponentClassResolverImpl service = resources.autobuild(ComponentClassResolverImpl.class);

        // Allow the resolver to clean its cache when the source is invalidated


        return service;

The autobuild() method will construct an instance, performing necessary injections. We can then perform any additional realization before returning it.

The end result has been to simplify and minimize the amount of code in the module builder classes.

Tapestry IoC now supports services that do not have a service interface; the actual type is used as the service interface and the service is not proxied: it is created on first reference and can't have interceptors. Normal services are proxied on first reference, and only realized (converted into a full service with a core service implementation and interceptors) on first use (the first method call).

In a step away from the code, we are running a vote to add Dan Gredler as a Tapestry committer. I expect that to run successfully, and I also expect to add a few more people to the roles soon.

I'm getting very excited. Things are coming together nicely (but never fast enough).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ouch! VMWare Fusion is not compatible with VMWare Player

Turns out that VMWare Fusion, the VMWare for Mac OS X, creates an image that isn't compatible with the VMWare player on Windows. This is why I'm happy I do test runs, but it does mean I have to spend another few hours recreating my workshop environment on Windows, using VMWare Workstation. So much for catching a movie tonight, or leaving the house tomorrow.

Hopefully this is something that'll be corrected in a later release.

Tapestry 5 at JavaOne and OSCON

My session at JavaOne has been scheduled:

BOF-6563: Tapestry 5: Java Programming Language Power, Scripting Ease
Esplanade 307-310
May 9 20-07, 8:55pm

In addition to JavaOne and NFJS, I've also been accepted to speak again at OSCON this year. I'm looking forward to spreading the Tapestry 5 message and meeting people using Tapestry, as always!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More Servlet Spec Wish-List Ideas

I'm thinking back to an earlier post about Servlet Spec 2.5 and what's missing.

Here's a few more ideas, based on implementing Tapestry 5 and other things besides. My previous ideas still stand.

web.xml introspection: It would be great to know what's going on inside web.xml. An API to query the web.xml meta-data and learn the names and mappings of the other servlets and filters would be great. Tapestry 5 acts as a filter and it would be handy if it could know what other servlets were in the WAR to help it decide whether to process a URL as inside Tapestry, or let another servlet handle it.

Event registration: Many of the listeners possible with the servlet API only apply to objects created by the servlet container's brain-dead IoC container. If my code needs to recerive notifications as a say, HttpSessionAttributeListener, I currently have to put together a Rube Goldberg machine in order to receive those notifications. There should be an API, perhaps attached to the ServletContext object, for registering for such notifications.

Quality of Service: Currently we have single server or clustered. Single server is not scalable beyond a certain point. Clustered causes a lot of problems managing data and introduces lots of overhead in terms of copying session attributes around the cluster.

I would like at least one additional level of service: non-replicated cluster. It assumes sticky sessions such that all requests for a given session are handled by a single box within the cluster. If that box fails, then future requests will be sent to a different box within the cluster, and the application will receive a notification that data has been lost.

Really, most non-financial applications can survive a rare loss of data midway through a session, and having this intermediate service level would allow the vast majority of applications to scale much, much higher than is possible today. I've previously implemented something like this by storing an object in the HttpSession that contained a Map in a transient variable.

Concurrency documentation: Many objects in the Servlet API are shared between threads (ServletContext, HttpSession) and it would be good form, and very useful, to know the proper semantics there. Futher, there needs to be better documentation for application and framework developers about the implications thereof.

In light of what I've learned about the Java Memory Model from Brian Goetz (and his book, Java Concurrency in Practice) any non-synchronized access to a shared object, say a mutable object stored into the HttpSession, is suspect: a potential source of scary, non-reproduceable, intermittent concurrency bugs.

Should all methods of such objects be synchronized? Can the servlet container acquire a lock when the HttpSession is accessed and hold it for the application for the remainder of the request (that would be handy!). Could there be an API for allowing the framework/application to manage access to HttpSession variables?

It's clear that the HttpSession API was designed to store small, immutable objects such as Strings and Integers. It is also clear that most applications don't use it this way (though Tapestry is a little better because it mostly stores individual page fields in the session, which are often small immutables, whereas most frameworks and applications store more complex state holding mutable objects).

... well, I've run out of steam, but I'll be racking my brains for more ideas like these.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tapestry 5 IoC from a Guice Perspective

So Guice has a few good ideas, and with Tapestry 5 still in a fluid state, I've absorbed a few of them into Tapestry 5 IoC. At the core, is the key ObjectProvider interface:

public interface ObjectProvider
    <T> T provide(Class<T> objectType, AnnotationProvider annotationProvider, ServiceLocator locator);

Implementations of this interface plug into a chain-of-command within Tapestry and, via the AnnotationProvider, can query for the presence of annotations to help decide exactly what is to be injected. A lot of Guice's examples, things like the @Blue service, are easily replicated in Tapestry 5 IoC, there's just not a lot of need for it. I supposed it would look something like:

public class BlueObjectProvider {
  private final Map<Class,Object> _blueObjects;

  public BlueObjectProvider(...) { ... }

    <T> T provide(Class<T> objectType, AnnotationProvider annotationProvider, ServiceLocator locator) {
      if (annotationProvider.getAnnotation(Blue.class) == null) return null;

      return objectType.cast(_blueObjects.get(objectType));

Implicit here is a service configuration of implementations, keyed on object type, used when the @Blue annotation is present. Here's what the module would look like:

public class BlueModule {

  public ObjectProvider buildBlueProvider(Map<Class, Object> configuration)
    return new BlueObjectProvider(configuration);

  public void contributeMasterObjectProvider(
    @InjectService("BlueProvider") ObjectProvider blueProvider,
    OrderedConfiguration<ObjectProvider> configuration) {
    configuration.add("Blue", blueProvider);

  public void contributeBlueProvider(MappedConfiguration<Class, Object> configuration,
    @InjectService("MyBlueService") Service myBlueService) {
    configuration.add(Service.class, myBlueService);

public class OtherModule {

  public OtherService build(@Inject @Blue Service service) {
    return new OtherServiceImpl(service);

On the one hand, this is more verbose, since its somewhat more procedurally based than Guice's approach, which is pattern based. On the other hand, it demonstrates a couple of key features of Tapestry 5 IoC:

  • Service construction occurs inside service builder methods; there's no layer of abstraction around service instantiation, configuration and initialization ... you just do it in Java code. There simply isn't a better language for descibing instantiating Java objects and invoking Java methods than Java itself.
  • Dependency injection is a concern of the module not the service implementation. The special annotations go in the module class, and the service implementation class is blissfully unaware of where those dependencies come from or are identified and obtained.
  • Dependencies are passed to the service builder methods, which do whatever is appropriate with those dependencies; in many cases, the dependencies are not passed to the instantiated class, but are used for other concerns, such as registering the new service for event notifications from some other service.
  • The contributeBlueProvider() method can appear in many different modules, and the results are cumulative. This allows one module to "lay the groundwork" and for other modules to "fill in the details". And, again, if this style of injection ("flavored" with the annotations) really became popular, it would be easy to integrate it into the central Tapestry 5 IoC module so it could be leveraged everywhere else.

In fact, in the OtherModule class, you can see how the injection lays out once the groundwork is prepared: Just an @Inject qualified with @Blue and you're done. Again, I can't emphasize enough how well moving construction concerns into the service builder methods works; it gives you complete control, it's unit testable in a couple of different ways, it keeps the service implementations themselves clean (of dependencies on the IoC container -- even in the form of annotations). It also keeps explicit what order operations occur in. HiveMind chased this with ever more complex XML markup to describe how to instantiate, configure, and initialize services.

That last feature, the interaction of multiple modules discovered at runtime, is the key distinguishing feature, and the one that's hardest to grasp. For me, it is the point where an IoC container transitions from an application container to a framework container. In an application container, you explicitly know what modules are present and how they will interact. It's your cake, starting from raw flour, sugar and eggs. Nothings in the mix that you didn't add yourself.

With HiveMind and Tapestry 5 IoC, the goal is to build off of an existing framework, and its interwoven set of services. The framework, or layers of framework, provide the cake, and you are trying to add just the icing. Configurations are the way to inject that icing without disturbing the whole cake, or even knowing the cake's recipe.

So Guice is a good kick in the pants, and Tapestry 5 IoC has evolved; the old @Inject annotation, which used to include a string attribute to name the thing to inject, has been simplified. The @Inject annotation is still there, but the string part is gone. Tapestry primarily works from the object type to match to the lone service implementing that interface. When that is insufficient, there's the MasterObjectProvider and Alias service configurations, which provide plenty of room to disambiguate (possibly by adding additional annotations to the field being injected).

The big advantage is type safety; refactor the name of a service interface and you'll see little or no disruption of the service network, because dependencies are almost always expressed in terms of just the (refactored) service interface, rather than any additional layer of "logical name".

I think there's a growing issue with Google-worship. It was interesting and disturbing to see so many people announce "Spring is dead! Long live Guice!" on various blogs (and I'll even admit to a little envy ... how come Tapestry 5 IoC doesn't generate this kind of interest?). Guice itself is pretty useless by itself, just as Spring's IoC container is, by itself, useless. The value of Spring is in what's built on top of the container: Wrappers for JDBC, Hibernate, JPA, JMS and every other acronym you can name. Transaction support and interceptors. And, more recently, the really solid AspectJ layer. If Guice wants to be a Spring-killer, or even a real player in the IoC space, it needs to embrace and extend Spring: make it easier to use those Spring integrations than it would be using Spring natively.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ruby script for creating new Tapestry 5 projects

One thing with building lots of demos for upcoming presentations, labs, & etc. is that I'm having to use mvn archetype:create a lot and that command line is just hideous.

So I took a deep breath, stepped back, and wrote a Ruby script, newproj to simplify the process:


require 'getoptlong'

opts = GetoptLong.new(
  [ "--group", "-g", GetoptLong::REQUIRED_ARGUMENT ],
  [ "--artifact", "-a", GetoptLong::REQUIRED_ARGUMENT ],
  [ "--package", "-p", GetoptLong::OPTIONAL_ARGUMENT ],
  [ "--version", "-v", GetoptLong::OPTIONAL_ARGUMENT ]

group = nil
artifact = nil
package = nil
version = "1.0.0-SNAPSHOT"
error = false

  opts.each do | opt, arg |
    case opt
      when "--group" 
        group = arg
      when "--artifact" 
        artifact = arg
      when "--package" 
        package = arg
      when "--version" 
        version = arg
rescue GetoptLong::Error
  error = true

if error || ARGV.length != 0 || group == nil || artifact == nil
  puts "newproj: --group groupId --artifact arifactId [--package package] [--version version]"
  exit 0

package = package || "#{group}.#{artifact}"

command = "mvn archetype:create -DarchetypeGroupId=org.apache.tapestry -DarchetypeArtifactId=quickstart -DarchetypeVersion=5.0.3"
command << " -DgroupId=#{group} -DartifactId=#{artifact} -DpackageName=#{package} -Dversion=#{version}"

puts command


I'll eventually add to this; it needs the option to control the mvn -o (offline) flag, and further in the future, the ability to choose the correct archetype (once we add more than just quickstart). But this sure beats copying and pasting out of the documentation, like I've been doing.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Q: What's your toughest coding challenge? A:...

I've seen this question before on resumes and other people's blogs. I've never had a specific example that worked well. Previously, I've had vague stories of struggling with, say, Javassist ... but the best story here would involve my own code.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that some of my tests, the integration tests, didn't run very well on the Tapestry Bamboo server (our continuous integration server). Occasionally, even when developing on my Mac, I'd see these anomalous errors.

When things work in unit tests and fail in integration tests, one of the first places to look is for concurrency issues. Tapestry has a lot of code related to concurrency: synchronizing, caching, clearing of caches, on-demand instantiation, the works.

I started seeing things that made me question Java reality. For instance, this method is only invoked from a dynamic proxy, from a synchronized method, and the proxy only invokes the method once, yet I was seeing multiple calls:

public class OneShotServiceCreator implements ObjectCreator
    private final ServiceDef _serviceDef;

    private final ObjectCreator _delegate;

    private boolean _locked;

    public OneShotServiceCreator(ServiceDef serviceDef, ObjectCreator delegate)
        _serviceDef = serviceDef;
        _delegate = delegate;

     * We could make this method synchronized, but in the context of creating a service for a proxy,
     * it will already be synchronized (inside the proxy).
    public Object createObject()
        if (_locked)
            throw new IllegalStateException(IOCMessages.recursiveServiceBuild(_serviceDef));

        _locked = true;

        return _delegate.createObject();


The code that calls this looks something like:

private synchronized SomeService _delegate()
  if (_delegate == null) {
    _delegate = (SomeService) _creator.createObject();
    _creator = null;

  return _delegate;

You can see how this would tend to drive you a bit crazy. Eventually, I realized what was going on ... sometimes a runtime exception (an OutOfMemoryError) would be thrown, so the proxy would never complete _delegate(), and would (later, possibly in a different thread), re-invoke this the createObject() method ... and fail, because the lock was set. Solution:

    public Object createObject()
        if (_locked)
            throw new IllegalStateException(IOCMessages.recursiveServiceBuild(_serviceDef));

        // Set the lock, to ensure that recursive service construction fails.

        _locked = true;

            return _delegate.createObject();
        catch (RuntimeException ex)
            _log.error(IOCMessages.serviceConstructionFailed(_serviceDef, ex), ex);

            // Release the lock on failure; the service is now in an unknown state, but we may
            // be able to continue from here.

            _locked = false;

            throw ex;


I also started seeing bizarre error messages, like: Unable to resolve page 'MyPage' to a component class name. Available page names: Start, MyPage, YourPage.. What the hell was going on there ... was something modifying the underlying CaseInsensitiveMap? But the access methods are synchronized.

Once you start seeing bizarre concurrent behavior, and after listening to a few Brian Goetz talks about concurrency (not to mention his great book) ... well, you can start getting paranoid. Maybe its a bug in the JVM (trust me, it's never going to be a bug in the JVM). Maybe I'm not understanding access to effectively immutable objects outside of synchronized blocks (that's a bit more reasonable).

Then I saw something even more bizarre:

    public  T getService(String serviceId, Class serviceInterface, Module module)
        notBlank(serviceId, "serviceId");
        notNull(serviceInterface, "serviceInterface");
        // module may be null.

        ServiceDef def = _moduleDef.getServiceDef(serviceId);

        if (def == null) throw new IllegalArgumentException(IOCMessages.missingService(serviceId));

        if (notVisible(def, module))
            throw new RuntimeException(IOCMessages.serviceIsPrivate(serviceId));

        Object service = findOrCreate(def);

            return serviceInterface.cast(service);
        catch (ClassCastException ex)
            // This may be overkill: I don't know how this could happen
            // given that the return type of the method determines
            // the service interface.

            throw new RuntimeException(IOCMessages.serviceWrongInterface(serviceId, def
                    .getServiceInterface(), serviceInterface));

See the comment about how that code is not reachable? It was reached! It took a while, but I found out that sometimes I was getting back the wrong ServiceDef object out of the ModuleDef. Rarely, but sometimes.

Then it struck me ... all of this strange behavior was traced to my CaseInsensitiveMap implementation. Sure it has a 100% code coverage test suite ... but when I double checked the code I found some sloppiness: it uses a couple of instance variables as a scratch pad while searching. This means that, under the right timing, even reads of the effectively immutable Map by different threads would interfere with each other, with Thread A getting the result from Thread B's query. Here's a diff of the solution, which basically moved those two scratch variables into their own inner class.

Things are working perfectly (for now), which is a great relief. This bug hunt was a distraction from other things, but better to tackle it now than later. This is also a good example of the need for a continuous integration server ... the fact that the server is on a different OS and JDK ensured that the tests would fail pretty consistently on the CI server even though they mostly worked on my Mac. Brian states this as well is his book ... test on all sorts of hardware with all sorts of memory configurations, because you don't know which one aligns with your bugs and brings them out into the open.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

T5 Spring Integration -- Hibernate next?

I've put together a first pass at Tapestry 5/Spring integration as another new module: tapestry-spring-integration.

It's small and to the point, leveraging the normal Spring configuration for web applications, just making beans available for injection into Tapestry components and services. Also, it makes accessing the Spring beans (from the Tapestry side) case insensitive.

Next up will be some form of Tapestry 5 / Hibernate integration ... however, due to the conflicting licenses, I may take a pass at tapestry-ejb3.

That licensing is driving me crazy; I've checked repeatedly with the Lords of Apache Licensing, and they maintain that the ASL is not compatible with the LGPL, that by linking to LGPL code (importing LGPL classes, in Java terms) the LGPL "infects" the ASL code, adding an unwanted restriction not present in ASL.

From the sidelines, it's funny and disturbing: The ASL folks talk about "fauxpen source licenses" as if openness was purely black and white, and the least restriction was a total betrayal. Meanwhile, the FSF camp keeps saying the licenses are compatible. Go figure.

I've had discussions with people who really got heated over ASL vs. LGPL. Andrew Oliver, for one, really tried to sell me on the idea that the ASL was a boon for corporations over individuals. From my position, the theoretical taking of "Tapestry" over by, say, IBM and rebranding it as "IBM Web Presentation Objects" (or something) would be laughable ... and even if it did happen, I think it would still be good for Tapestry, which is good for me, and good for the Tapestry community. True open source forks are really rare and look more like a straw man argument than a real consideration.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Screencast #5: Grid Component

The latest Tapestry 5 Screencast is now ready; this one clocks in at almost 11 minutes, and shows me forgetting parameter names and such as I set up a grid with my good ole' fallback: iTunes music data. I actually made a couple of mistakes on purpose to show off the exception reporting (that's only gotten better since 5.0.2, the base line for this screencast).

I think this shows off how quickly and easily you can pull data out of a service and up on the screen. To borrow a phrase: "I don't have time for drag and drop!"

One minor mistake was that I didn't map the context correctly (I had cut-n-pasted an existing launch configuration); thus all the URLs are prefixed with "hilo/" rather than, say, "musiclib/". Oh well. Oops, and I forgot to hide the dock!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tapestry 5.0.2 released

A new preview release, Tapestry 5.0.2 is now available. It fixes a number of bugs and adds a number of features (including line precise exception reporting, and sortable Grid columns). Along the way, I found out some important deployment notes about Tomcat (and JBoss).

The new release is available via the central Maven repository, or via direct download.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tapestry 5 and Groovy

I was curious just how well T5 and Groovy would work together, so I took an existing application, enabled Groovy for it (using the Eclipse plugin) and added a Groove page to my existing application:

package org.example.hilo.pages;

class Holder
  String firstName;
  String lastName;
  int age;

class Groove {

 def message()
   "Get your Groove on, Baby!"
 def onAction()
  println "onAction invoked"
 def items()
   [ new Holder(firstName: "Howard", lastName:"Lewis Ship", age:40), new Holder(firstName: "Scott", lastName: "Simon", age:42) ]

Guess what? It just worked, no problems. I generated a Grid with the two Holder items, my onAction() method is invocable, and I can retrieve the message. It is just bytecode under the covers.

Alas, without some kind of annotation support, there's no way to mark a field as persistent, so there's tremendous limits on what can be accomplished right now. I've heard rumors that some kind of JDK annotation support is forthcoming; failing that, I've thought about an additional file, read at runtime, that would provide class, method and field annotations. But I'd rather someone else does it.

In addition, Tapestry is reading the compiled .class file; I haven't even thought about trying to get things to work from uncompiled .groovy files and I can imagine there may be some class loader headaches there.

Still, for five minutes effort, it was nice. And I really think I could come to really like the streamlined, sensible syntax ... and for god's sake, first class closures!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Updated Tapestry Tutorial

I've updated the Tapestry 5 Tutorial, adding chapter 3, which is about the basics (including ActionLink). I may need to trim down some of the theoreticals, it's a bit verbose.

Tapestry 5.0.2 is ready to be announced on monday; one of the last things in was a renewed Exception Report page, including the return of line precise exception reporting. I've gotten better at design layout & CSS (though still pretty lame) but the results are looking good (you can seen a screenshot of the exception report page in the tutorial).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

T5 coming together rapidly

A long day today, fixing bugs, adding missing features, and otherwise getting things ready for another preview release, 5.0.2. I just re-implemented the support for line precise exception reporting (the part that shows the content of the file in error) and, with a bunch of new CSS tricks up my sleeve, it looks better than ever. At least, on Firefox it does. Somehow I'm sure the ExceptionReport page will pop up when I do the next screencast.

I also added a lot of documentation on page navigation in Tapestry 5, finally documenting exactly what event handler method return values are meaningful, and what behavior they trigger. Of course, that's extensible via service configuration contributions.

I've got many more things on my plate: there seems to be an issue with localization, at least according to one Chinese (or at least, Asian) user. I need to get cracking on nicely integrated JavaScript. I need to support dates with a date translator and some date validators. Lots of stuff related to Ajax, especially the intersection of Ajax and form support. Well, just plain lots and lots more. Joy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

See you at JavaOne!

My Birds of a Feather session, "Tapestry 5: Java Programming Language Power, Scripting Ease" is in for JavaOne. No details on when and where (I predict someplace dank and dark, and late at night when all the good parties are going) but still, it's good to get the nod this year, given how competitive it is.

I promised Ajax features and live demos; I haven't written the Ajax stuff yet, but the live demos will be cake with Tapestry 5.

Hope to see everyone there!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fighting with Tomcat

It all started innocently enough, TAPESTRY-1287: Tapestry does not deploy properly under JBoss 4.0. Just a simple security or configuration problem, no biggie I thought.

Turns out, its not JBoss at all, it's Tomcat 5.5.20.

Tapestry 5 relies on a feature of class loaders: If you invoke ClassLoader.getResources() with a folder path, it returns the URLs of the folders. Sometimes this URL is for a file on the filesystem, and if you open the connection you get a series of lines identifying the files and sub-folders. Other times, the URL is for a JAR and you get a JARURLConnection and ultimately a JarFile instance.

Tapestry uses this information to scan the classpath, including the WAR, for all page and component classes. This is the key part of the case insensitivity feature.

This works great under Jetty and I didn't give it a second thought until this bug popped up.

Alas, Tomcat works very differently. It partially explodes the WAR on deployment, but doesn't extract the classes to WEB-INF/classes. It also doesn't do what Jetty and the JVM's ClassLoaders do, in terms of responding sensibly to folder paths (as discussed above).

That leaves Tapestry 5 out in the cold, because it can't locate any of the web application's pages, either via the supported approach, ServletContext.getResourcePaths(), or via the ClassLoader approach (which is not documented but completely reasonable).

Tapestry isn't the first one to hit the kind of problem; a recent JBoss bug, JBAS-2676 shows that the Facelets crew hit a similar problem, and I've added Bug 41664 to ASF's Bugzilla to see if I can get a response.

So, I'm starting to dig around, to see if there's any magic I can use to kludge together a workaround. I've been hunting around in the debugger, trying to find some object that has a reference to the original WAR, which I could open up and read, just to scan WEB-INF/classes.

If that doesn't come together soon, I'll need a different approach, such as a Maven task to locate the classes and add some kind of index file to the WAR that can be used at runtime. I've really been trying to avoid doing anything that requires anything special during build and deploy, I want everything to just work ... and Tomcat is letting me down!