Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Getting Started With RichFaces

This post is a quick start tutorial for getting started with Jboss RichFaces. RichFaces is based on JSF(JavaServer Faces) Technology, that will enable you to develop RIA(Rich Internet Applications) in Java.

Jboss tools has a rich toolset for Rapid Application Development using Eclipse. I suggest you download the Jboss Tools (3.0 as on date of this post) and install it in eclipse. The installation instructions are given online. I downloaded the Zip file and copied it over to my plugins folder for Eclipse. Here is the link for Jbosss Tools



You need to download the RichFaces Library.

Jboss Tools

Eclipse 3.4 (Ganymede) for JEE Developers

Apache Tomcat

JDK 1.6


Since the Jboss tools is installed you would be able to easily create a new JSF Project using File > New Project > JSF Project .

This will start a wizard

Once the project is created Jboss Tools will automatically add the following libraries for you, just like shown below

Next go ahead and add the RichFaces Library from the ${RichFaces Unzipped Folder}\lib to the lib directory of the eclipse web application

You would also need the JSF 1.2 library jars. You can download the jar files from the following location


We need the following 3 jar files from the JSF 1.2 Mojarra project

Add the following to the web.xml for the RichFaces Filters and Servlet prameters

Now the configuration part is over. Let's do some coding for the jsp page


The first thing we will do is to make sure that when the user hits the URL he gets redirected to our JSF page. In order to do this create a new JSP page bu right clicking webcontent folder File >JSP File . Choose the template as a JSPRedirect

Add the following lines to the jsp source

Next lets create new JSP page and set its Template as JSPBasePage using the above option. Switch the Workspace perspective to Web and as soon as the page is open you will see on the right hand side the RichFaces toolbox as shown below.

Next Add the Bean class User.java

We need to add the Bean to the Managed Beans section of faces-config.xml file

Once this is done we are ready to run the project. Go ahead and right click on the project in the Package Exlporer and choose Run As > Run On Server. This will bring the echo.jsf file

Here is the output of the project. The echo.jsf page does a AJAX request and refreshes the value inside the PanelGrid component.

until next post :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Loading JDBC Driver Programmatically

In one of the tools that I am writing I wanted to allow the user to choose a driver and use it to connect. It took me almost 2 days to get to a solution because the defaul implementation of JDBC does not make this a friendly story.

However, loading a jar file programmatically is no big deal. You use java.net.URLClassLoader to load the class and get an instance to the newly loaded class. Let me start with this piece of code

//lets say the jar file resides in /usr/home/user/myfile.jar
String pathToURL = "usr/home/user/myfile.jar"
URL url[] = new URL[1];
url[0] = new URL("jar:file:/"+pathToURL+"!/");

URLClassLoader classLoader = new URLClassLoader(url);
//now get the class you are interested in

Class myClass = classLoader.loadClass("org.package.MyClass");

This should all work fine until the time you want to load a JDBC driver jar file programmatically at run time. The restriction here is that the call to


will result in looking at the system class path and it appears there is no way to add your own jar files into that space. After a lot of search I found a feasible solution. There are some methods in the URLClassLoader like

protected void addURL(URL url);
protected Class findclass(String name);

As you might have guessed these are less useful since these have access modifier of protected. Had it been public then we could have done something of this sort

ClassLoader sysClassLoader = ClassLoader.getSystemClassLoader();
//and then

//hopefully this should have worked

However, as these methods are protected you cannot use them. So as far as i can think, you cannot use the DriverManager.getConnection and pass it the url since you don't have the jar file in the System ClassLoader. The solution is to implement your own ClassLoader and get the driver from their, sounds a bit weird here is how you will want to go about it

public class JDBCClassLoader extends URLClassLoader {

//override the methods of interest
public Class findClass(String name) {
return super.findClass(name);

public JDBCClassLoader(URL[] urls) {

So in the above code we define 2 methods of interest. 1 is the 1-arg constructor which passes on the url's array to the super implementation and the 2nd method is the findClass method that will give us back the Driver class that we want to get an instance of

In the implementation class we need to use this

String pathToJDBCJar = "/home/usr/binvij/library/mysql/mysql.jar";
URL url[] = new URL[1];
url[0] = new URL(pathToJDBCJar);

//instantiate our overriden class
JDBCClassLoader loader = new JDBCClassLoader(url);
//this should bring the class instance
Class cls = (Class) loader.findClass("com.mysql.jdbc.Driver");
//get an isntance of this class
java.sql.Driver driver = (java.sql.Driver) cls.newInstance();
//ask the driver to connect to the database

And this will load the driver and connect with the target database server.
Until next post..

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Database Connection Pooling with DBCP

Let's continue with pooling. In this post, I will explain DBCP connection pooling. Here is the sample code for connection pooling without using JOCL.

try {
// connection uri
String uri = "jdbc:mysql://localhost/world";
// load the basic driver
// create the connection pool
ObjectPool pool = new GenericObjectPool();
// create a connection factory
ConnectionFactory connFactory = new DriverManagerConnectionFactory(
uri, "root", "pwd1234");
// create a poolable connection factory that wraps the
// connectionfactory
PoolableConnectionFactory poolableConnFactory = new PoolableConnectionFactory(
connFactory, pool, null, null, false, true);
// create the pooling driver
PoolingDriver poolingDriver = (PoolingDriver) DriverManager
poolingDriver.registerPool("demo", pool);
// get connection

Connection conn = null;
for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {

System.out.println("Creating connection: " + i);
conn = (Connection) DriverManager
Statement stmt = conn.createStatement();

ResultSet rset = stmt.executeQuery("show tables ");
if (i == 2 || i == 8) {


Before I explain any further let's also have the UML Class diagram

// create a connection factory
ConnectionFactory connFactory = new DriverManagerConnectionFactory(
uri, "root", "pwd1234");

We start with creating a GenericObjectPool and then a ConnectionFactory class. This class is actually responsible for creating a connection to the database and has 1 method of interest CreateConnection(). It creates a connection object for the specified database uri and passes it on.

Next we create a ConnectionFactory for maintaining the lifecycle of the Pool. We use the PoolingDriver object for sql Driver. The Apache Commons Pooling implements its own Driver class called the PoolingDriver which is an implementation of pooling logic for database connections.

PoolingDriver class implements the Driver class and hence overrides the Driver class methods. PoolingDriver class implements pooling logic inside the Connect method. In the onnect method it calls the getConnectionPool method. The method signature looks like this

public synchronized ObjectPool getConnectionPool(String name) throws SQLException

In the pooling test program we had the following code segment

PoolingDriver poolingDriver = (PoolingDriver) DriverManager
poolingDriver.registerPool("example", pool);

The register pool method here adds the Pool object, in this case a GenericPoolObject instance along with the keyword example inside a hash map. So when a call is made inside the getConnectionPool method it has 2 ways of getting a connection

1.Checking the hashmap, if one exists
2.Parsing the jocl file

In this scenario since we are not using a jocl file it gets the “demo” pool object from the hash data structure that we had registered above using PoolingDriver.registerPool. Once it gets the ObjectPool interface it calls the borrowObject method inside it.

From here onwards the implementation is a bit tricky to understand. In our case the ObjectPool is actually an instance of org.apache.commons.pool.impl.GenericObjectPool.
The borrowObject method actually depends on the Factory class methods for actual creation and any other life cycle methods of the Pool. Inside the borrowObject method it calls the


This call actually ends up in the call for PoolableConnectionFactory.makeObject. It would be interesting to see how this is all interlinked. Its simple when we created the object for PoolableConnectionFactory we passed on the GenericObjectPool to this class and the constructor does the following


So we sucessfully end up setting the factory field to this i.e. PoolableConnectionFactory. Interesting ? Then makeObject method calls the connectionFactory object's createConnection to create an actual Connection method.

Until next post :)

Disclaimer :This post is provided 'as is' and confers no express or implied warranties or rights.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Object pooling using Apache Commons

In this post I will give an introduction to Apache Commons Pools http://commons.apache.org/pool/

What is Pooling and why we need to care

Pooling is a mechanism used for either Object pooling in J2EE application servers or for database connection pooling.

Pooling is important since we know that object creation involves heavy processing. So each time when you request a connection towards database that will end up in creating a new object in the heap. This involves a bit of CPU work. And once your are done the object gets cleaned up from memory.
However, consider a web scenario where there might be thousands of requests towards database and creating and cleaning up connection objects can be time consuming.

Pooling enables the objects to be stored in memory(without any state) when the object is no more in use and retrieve it back to active status whenever the application requests for a new object. This saves the processing time needed for instantiation of an object with each single request. You can get more information on pooling in google.

Apache Commons Pool

In this post I will get started with basics of Commons Pool and which will serve as the basic for understanding Apache DBCP Pooling library which is what is the ultimate goal. Please note that by default most jdbc driver implementations do not implement pooling at the driver level, instead they delegate this task to the Application server or depend on the implementation of application server.

You can download the pools library from the following link http://commons.apache.org/pool/downloads.html and add them to your IDE.

Commons Pools have 2 important packages


The first package introduces the interfaces required for pooling thereby giving a framework. The second package implements them.

The interface ObjectPool defines the common methods that each implementation of a pool should define. The Commons Pool library provides 2 implementations
of the pool (a) GenericObjectPool and (b) GenericKeyedObjectPool

    • GenericObjectPool: provides a wide variety of configuration options, including the ability to cap the number of idle or active instances, to evict instances as they sit idle in the pool, etc.

      GenericKeyedObjectPool: provides the same functionality but allows you to specify a key for each pool and associated the objects to it

  • The Commons Pool implementation separates the life cycle of the object and the way in which they are pooled. This is done by the means of Factory classes.
    Factory class helps to create, destroy, activate, passivate, and validate instances of the class. The PoolableObjectFactory interface defines life cycle methods
    to be used by an ObjectPool. ObjectPool is the interface that defines how the objects are to be pooled.

    Putting the pieces together

    In order to start with pooling you need to implement a PoolableObjectFactory and define the various life cycle methods viz activateObject,destroyObject,
    makeObject,passivateObject,validateObject for your Object.
    The framework provides you with an abstract class called BasePoolableObjectFactory and so that you dont have to implement all of them.

    Next you need to specify an implementation of ObjectPool in this case we will use a GenericObjectPool which derives from ObjectPool.

    We will begin with defining the object that we need to pool.

    public class LaptopComputer {

    private String operatingSystem;
    private String processor;
    private String memory;

    public String getOperatingSystem() {
    return operatingSystem;
    public void setOperatingSystem(String operatingSystem) {
    this.operatingSystem = operatingSystem;
    public String getProcessor() {
    return processor;
    public void setProcessor(String processor) {
    this.processor = processor;
    public String getMemory() {
    return memory;
    public void setMemory(String memory) {
    this.memory = memory;


    Next we define the PoolableObjectFactory implementation for basic life cycle methods

    public class LaptopComputerObjFactory extends BasePoolableObjectFactory {

    static int i =1;

    public Object makeObject() throws Exception {
    System.out.println("\t [LaptopComputerObjFactory] created object "+ i++);

    LaptopComputer tempCompObj = new LaptopComputer();
    //initialize the object
    tempCompObj.setMemory("4 gb");

    return tempCompObj;


    public void passivateObject(Object obj){

    if( obj != null ){
    System.out.println("\t [LaptopComputerObjFactory] passivating object ");
    //going out of state

    LaptopComputer compObj = (LaptopComputer)obj;
    //neutralize object - release state

    public void destroyObject(Object obj) {

    if(obj != null) {

    System.out.println("\t [LaptopComputerObjFactory] destroying Object");
    LaptopComputer compObj = (LaptopComputer)obj;
    compObj = null;


    Testing it out in main

    public static void main(String[] args) {

    try {
    GenericObjectPool genObjPool = new GenericObjectPool(new ComputerObjFactory());
    printStats(genObjPool,"Created Object Pool");

    LaptopComputer comp1 = (LaptopComputer)genObjPool.borrowObject();
    //borrow 10 objects from pool
    for(int i=0;i<5;i++)

    printStats(genObjPool,"Requested 2 objects");

    //return 1 object
    printStats(genObjPool, "Returned 1 object");

    //close the pool
    printStats(genObjPool, "Pool closed");

    catch(Exception ex) {

    printStats method

    static void printStats(GenericObjectPool genObjPool,String strOperation){
    System.out.println("# of Active Pools="+genObjPool.getNumActive());
    System.out.println("# of Idle Pools="+genObjPool.getNumIdle());


    The commons pool implementation uses a doubly linked cursorable list to store the objects. I will delve in more detail about this in the next blog post..