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EJB Deployment

The EJB deployment phase follows the EJB development life cycle and generates the deployment descriptors. Deploying a bean into a container is the mechanism by which the container makes the bean ready to process client requests. EJB deployment can be done using one of many ways described here. But before we go into that, let's look at a simple development tool and the directory structure for packaging the EJBs, followed by the different tools used for EJB deployment.


EJBGen is part of the rich set of WebLogic Server utilities that enable faster EJB development. This is an EJB 2.0 code generator. This tool uses the special JavaDoc tags that are defined in the bean class to generate the home and remote interfaces along with the deployment descriptors. This greatly helps EJB source maintenance because only the bean class needs to be maintained.

EJBGen is implemented as a doclet and the simplest invocation is as follows

javadoc –docletpath <weblogic_library_path>\weblogic.jar –doclet weblogic.tools.
graphics/ccc.gif ejbgen.EJBGenXXXBean.java

where XXXBean.java is the bean class. If EJBGen is used on a bean class that has dependencies with other bean classes, specify the dependent classes in the same command. If XXXBean.java is linked to YYYBean.java then the above command will be as follows

javadoc –docletpath <weblogic_library_path>\weblogic.jar –doclet weblogic.tools.
graphics/ccc.gif ejbgen.EJBGenXXXBean.java YYYBean.java

Let's look at a simple Stateless Session bean example and how we can leverage EJBGen for better code maintenance and development. Let's use the simple Stateless Session bean TraderBean.java example provided with the WebLogic Server installation. The related files for this example is present under the samples/server/examples/src/ejb20/basic/beanManaged directory contained under the WebLogic Server directory. This bean provides two business methods for buying and selling stocks along with other life-cycle methods defined for the Session bean. In order for the EJBGen to automatically generate the deployment descriptors with the appropriate values, the following snippet with the EJBGen Javadoc tags has to be added to the class-level comment.

   ejb-name = statelessSession
    default-transaction = Required
  remote = ejb20-statelessSession-TraderHome
   file-name = ejb20_basic_statelessSession_client.jar

For the EJBGen to generate the Home and Remote interfaces, the business methods buy() and sell() add the javadoc tag @ejbgen:remote-method to the respective method comment to indicate that these methods have to be exposed as remote methods. After making the changes, on invocation of the following command

javadoc –docletpath c:\bea\weblogic81\server\lib\weblogic.jar –doclet weblogic.tools

the deployment descriptors and the Home and Remote interfaces for the TraderBean will be generated. EJBGen also provides a list of options that provides greater control to the user with respect to the generated code.

For a complete list of options and supported tags, refer to http://e-docs.bea.com/wls/docs81/ejb/EJBGen_reference.html.

Packaging EJBs

The bean has to be packaged in a particular directory structure so that it can be deployed correctly. The base directory of the bean should contain the classes within the directory tree represented by its package structure. Apart from the classes, the base directory should also contain a META-INF directory, which should hold the two deployment descriptor files (ejb-jar.xml, weblogic-ejb-jar.xml or weblogic-cmp-rdbms-jar.xml, if applicable). The base directory becomes the root of the JAR file that's created for deployment.

---- com/.../*.class
---- META-INF/ejb-jar.xml
---- META-INF/weblogic-ejb-jar.xml
---- META-INF/weblogic-cmp-rdbms-jar.xml

In earlier versions of WebLogic Server, there was no tool to compile all related modules within an archive file and make it a deployable unit. The appc compiler performs all the predeployment validation and executes the ejbc compiler on the validated module. The validation performed takes care of specifications compliance of the deployment descriptors. For the convenience of the developer, WebLogic Server also provides an Ant task to use the appc compiler. For a complete list of options available for the appc compiler and how to use this tool, refer to http://edocs.bea.com/wls/docs81/ejb/EJB_tools.html.

WebLogic Builder Tool

WebLogic provides a very handy tool called WebLogic Builder, which can be used to assemble your bean module and generate and edit the deployment descriptors. You'll also be able to deploy the bean using this tool. If you're using Windows, this program is available from the Start menu, under ProgramsBEA WebLogic Platform 8.1Other Development ToolsWebLogic Builder.

You can also start this from the Command Prompt. First, set your environment by invoking the setEnv scripts that you can find in your domain directory. This sets your CLASSPATH to include the relevant JAR files of WebLogic. After you've set the environment, invoke the builder tool by executing the following command:

java weblogic.marathon.Main

This displays a Swing-based GUI. Alternatively, you can use the prepackaged script startWLBuilder.sh (Unix) or startWLBuilder.cmd (Windows) that comes with the standard WebLogic Server installation. These files are presented in the server/bin directory under the WebLogic root directory.

Open the base directory where your bean classes are stored by clicking on the FileOpen menu selection. If you're opening your bean module for the first time and if you don't already have a default set of deployment descriptors, the tool asks whether you want the tool to generate a default set of descriptors for you. Clicking Yes on the pop-up message box generates both the ejb-jar.xml and the weblogic-ejb-jar.xml for the beans. Following this, the tool opens the bean module and splits up the view into three windows, as shown in Figure 20.8.

Figure 20.8. WebLogic Builder tool.


The top-left part of the view (left window) lists all the available beans in the module. Under each bean, it lists three parameters: Tuning, Methods, and Resources. The top-right portion of the view (right window) has a tabbed view, which changes based on which subtitle you've clicked on in the left window. The bottom portion of the view is reserved for displaying status messages and errors.

When you have clicked on the topmost entry in the left window that indicates the path of the bean module, the right window enables you to select general options such as roles. We'll discuss roles when dealing with security for session beans. Clicking on the bean name on the left window—statelessSession, for example—changes the tabs in the right window. The statelessSession is from one of the basic EJB examples packaged within the standard WebLogic Server installation. Now you find three tabs: General, Classes, and Advanced. In the General tab, you can specify the EJB name, the transaction type (Container or Bean), the JNDI name for remote and local lookups, and whether the bean is a Stateful or Stateless Session bean.

In the Classes tab, you can specify the classes that represent the remote home, remote, local home, and local interfaces and the bean class.

With the information given so far, Builder can generate deployment descriptors. When you're done with deployment descriptor generation, you can generate the JAR file that contains your bean modules by clicking the FileArchive menu item, after saving the bean module. This produces a JAR file ready to be compiled by the WebLogic EJB compiler.

After you generate the JAR file, you must validate the deployment descriptors. This can be done by clicking on the ToolsValidate Descriptors menu item. This is an optional step. If you skip it, the server will do it for you when you actually deploy. This is okay for development time, but at production time, it's definitely a good idea to validate the descriptors long before they are deployed. The validation process also generates the RMI stubs and skeletons necessary to make the bean work over the network by invoking the EJBC compiler. During this process, your bean module is checked against several rules that are laid forth by the EJB specification. Correct any reported errors and redo the appropriate steps. At the end of the validation step, the messages window will have the message ejbc successful, as shown in Figure 20.9.

Figure 20.9. EJB Build using the WebLogic Builder tool.


You can now deploy the bean by using the Builder tool. For this, you must have WebLogic server running. Click on the menu item ToolsDeploy Module. This first attempts to connect to the running WebLogic Server. It pops up a window that lists the attributes that it can use to connect to the server. Modify these attributes appropriately and click on Connect. After the Builder application connects with the server, you'll see the next window pop up to tell you some information about where the bean is about to be deployed, and also to enable you to specify the name for the bean. This view is presented in Figure 20.10. After you click on Deploy Module, the bean is deployed in the WebLogic Server container. The status bar of the builder tool tells you whether or not the deployment was successful.

Figure 20.10. Deploying a bean using the WebLogic Builder tool.


Deploying Using the Console

Alternatively, an EJB can be deployed using the WebLogic Console. This supposes that you've properly packaged your bean beforehand. There is some flexibility between a remote deployment and a local deployment.

Let's look at the local deployment first. Start your WebLogic Server and the WebLogic Console. Navigate to the link DeploymentsApplications under your domain in the left-side tree view. Right-clicking this node pops up a menu that provides you with the option to configure a new application. Clicking on this menu item changes the right-side window. Here you'll be able to locate the JAR/EAR file that you originally generated using the Builder tool. If the file isn't present in the list, it can be uploaded to the staging area at this time. See Figure 20.11 for a presentation of this process. Note that you can also select an exploded directory under which the elements of the bean class are located, but let's do it with the uploaded archive file (JAR format) for now.

Figure 20.11. Deploying a bean using the WebLogic Console—pick the JAR.


When you click on Select next to the JAR/EAR file, the view changes to enable you to specify the targets for the deployment. It also enables you to change the name of the component, if necessary. Choose the server from the Available Servers list and move it to the Target Servers list. This can be seen in Figure 20.12. Because our sample WebLogic Server environment is a single server environment using autodeployment, there's no need to choose a specific target (the administration server is automatically targeted).

Figure 20.12. Deploying a bean using the WebLogic Console—finishing up.


After this, click on the Deploy button, which displays the deployment status on the screen. The screen is refreshed automatically every 10 seconds. Finally, when the deployment succeeds, the screen will display a view as shown in Figure 20.13.

Figure 20.13. Deploying a bean using the WebLogic Console—Done!


Alternatively, in a remote deployment using the Console, the deployed application can reside anywhere the user wants. It is uploaded from that directory using the hyperlink and the application is then targeted to the servers, if necessary.


WebLogic Server collects a lot of information about the deployed EJB and presents it inside the Console in the Tuning tab under the DeploymentsEJB Modules menu. The parameters displayed there greatly help in the runtime monitoring of the deployed EJBs and for addressing any performance issues. For a complete list of parameters, refer to http://edocs.bea.com/wls/docs81/ejb/runtime_monitor.html.

Using the weblogic.Deployer Utility

A third way to deploy the bean to the server is by the use of the weblogic.Deployer command-line utility. To use this utility to deploy your bean, use the following command line:

$ java weblogic.Deployer -adminurl http://localhost:7001 -name STATELESSSESSION -user
graphics/ccc.gif system -targets myserver -source ./STATELESSSESSION.jar -activate

Enter a password for the user "system":
Operation started, waiting for notifications...
#TaskID Action     Status Target     Type  Application   Source
0    Activate    Success myserver    Server STATELESSSESSION

Here, the -adminurl parameter identifies the URL of the administration server of your application. -name is the name of the application, and -user identifies the user ID. The -source parameter identifies the source archive file or directory from which the files should be deployed into the server. When invoked, the server requests the password for the specified user ID. After you enter the password, the server displays the status of the deployment as shown in the preceding listing.

The Deployer utility takes a lot of parameters. Full documentation of this utility is available on BEA's Web site at http://edocs.bea.com/wls/docs81/deployment/tools.html.


WebLogic Server allows individual EJB classes to be reloaded without the need to redeploy the entire EJB module. This comes in handy during the development phase when changes to the code are frequent. This feature is facilitated with the help of the individual EJB classloader for implementation classes.

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