.NET Meet Java (and vice versa)

Here are my notes from this session, which, BTW, is the best talk I’ve seen today. (The best yesterday was Eric Whitley’s.)

Interesting stat: 80% of the Fortune 500 use .NET.

Microsoft is committed to a January 2007 release of Excel Services for the Web, which has interesting implications for ALUI. Perhaps there’s an opportunity here for building ALUI/MS Excel integration the right way. Finally.

The .NET Application Accelerator is coming in a matter of weeks. It will expose any .NET application as a WSRP service that can be consumed by ALI or WLP.

BEAWorld, here we come

All of us at bdg are very excited about BEA World 2006. We’ve got our booth all ready to go, we’ve got bdg mousepads and playing cards to give away along with a brand new 4Gb iPod nano (to one lucky winner). Be sure to stop by our booth, located in the Portal Pavilion, just off the corner of BEA’s main exhibit in the center of the exhibition hall.

On top of all that, I was given a short (but sweet) speaking spot at the ALUI Developer User Group on Monday toward the end of the day (not sure exactly what time). I’ll be presenting on ALUI TagLibs, my favorite topic as of late.

Can’t wait for the big event — see you there!

bdg-podcastOn a related note, the bdg Plumtree Podcast, after an almost one-year hiatus, returned last week with Episode 4. Believe it or not, we’re back today in Episode 5 with our first special guest, long-time Plumtree/ALUI supporter and frequent contributor to the dev2dev forums, Eric Whitley.

My Love Affair with ALI Taglibs

There’s been some recent activity on this very old thread in the newsgroups regarding displaying the help link in a portlet. Until G6, this could only be done with native code AFAIK. But, if you supress the portlet title bar, there really aren’t many places where you can put native code in a portlet.

Enter G6 and the extensible taglib support, a quiet little feature that (without any fanfare or marketing by BID) has seriously changed my life.

The source speaks for itself. It look 15 minutes to write. (Granted, I already had my ALUI development environment all set up.)

HelpURL.java:

package com.bdgportal.alui.taglibs;

import com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.*;
import com.plumtree.portaluiinfrastructure.tags.*;
import com.plumtree.portaluiinfrastructure.tags.metadata.*;
import com.plumtree.server.*;
import com.plumtree.xpshared.htmlelements.*;

public class HelpURL extends ATag {

public static final ITagMetaData TAG;
public static final RequiredTagAttribute PORTLET_ID;
  public static final RequiredTagAttribute ID;
  public static final OptionalTagAttribute SCOPE;

static
{
 TAG = new TagMetaData("helpurl",
   "Puts the help URL for this portlet into the variable specified by the ID attribute.");

 PORTLET_ID = new RequiredTagAttribute("portletid",
   "The portlet ID.",
   AttributeType.INT);

 ID = new RequiredTagAttribute("id",
   "The name of the variable in which the help link should be stored.",
   AttributeType.STRING);

 SCOPE = new OptionalTagAttribute("scope",
   "The scope used to store the the help link.",
   AttributeType.STRING, Scope.PORTLET_REQUEST.toString());
}

public HTMLElement DisplayTag() {
 ((IXPList)GetState().GetSharedVariable(GetTagAttributeAsString(ID),
  Scope.GetScope(GetTagAttributeAsString(SCOPE)))).Add(
     ((IPTWebService)((IPTSession)GetEnvironment().GetUserSession()).GetWebServices()
  .Open(((IPTGadget)((IPTSession)GetEnvironment().GetUserSession()).GetGadgets()
  .Open(GetTagAttributeAsInt(PORTLET_ID), false)).GetWebServiceID(), false))
  .GetProviderInfo().ReadAsString("PTC_HTTPGADGET_HELPURL"));
 return null;
}

public ATag Create() {
 return new HelpURL();
}
}

To deploy this code, see the excellent section on edocs about creating custom Adaptive Tags.

To use this code in a portlet, do the following.

myportlet.htm:

<span xmlns:pt='http://www.plumtree.com/xmlschemas/ptui/'>
	<pt:mytaglibns.helpurl pt:portletid="234" pt:id="helplink"/>
	<pt:core.html pt:tag="a" href="$helplink">Help</pt:core.html>
</span>

I didn’t test this, so YMMV. Have fun!

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • That’s slick, Chris – that’ll be handy for porting between devstageprod where objectids may be different 🙂

    Posted by: ewwhitley on September 13, 2006 at 6:20 AM

  • Hi, This code makes ten database requests just to get the the IPTWebService object for given portlet. Is there any better way to do this?

    Posted by: Piotr Dudkiewicz on May 18, 2007 at 6:48 AM

  • Sorry, but there’s no better way to get the help URL out of the web service. ALUI is optimized to make calls to its database and the UI code does that everywhere — it’s a dynamic web application, so that should be expected.

    Posted by: bucchere on May 29, 2007 at 2:03 PM

  • It seems that ALUI is optimized to do as many database calls as it’s possible;) Thanks.

    Posted by: Piotr Dudkiewicz on June 1, 2007 at 2:46 AM

Searching Intrinsic ALI Properties Using the PRC

There’s a problem with the IDK PRC API for search that’s tripped up users in the dev2dev forums and that stymied me for the first time today while coding up a custom search application for one of our customers.

The problem is that there’s a hardcoded limitation in the IDK that prevents you from calling PortalField.forID if the passed in object ID is less than 100. This prevents you from searching on some really useful properties, including e-mail address! For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this limitation was imposed.

The good news is that I found a workaround. It involves a quick two-file IDK patch that entails subclassing two classes. The only catch is that you need to put the child classes in the same package as the IDK (because the parent classes have package-private constructors).

Here’s the source code that does the trick.

com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.IntrinsicPortalField.java:

package com.plumtree.remote.prc.search;

import com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.PortalField;
import com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.xp.*;

public class IntrinsicPortalField extends PortalField {
  private IntrinsicPortalField(IntrinsicXPPortalField xpField) {
    super(xpField);
  }

  public static final IntrinsicPortalField EMAIL_ADDRESS;

  static {
    EMAIL_ADDRESS = new IntrinsicPortalField(IntrinsicXPPortalField.forID(26));
  }
}

com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.xp.IntrinsicXPPortalField.java:

package com.plumtree.remote.prc.search.xp;

import com.plumtree.openfoundation.util.XPIllegalArgumentException;

public class IntrinsicXPPortalField extends XPPortalField {

  private IntrinsicXPPortalField(String name, boolean isSearchable, boolean isRetrievable) {
    super(name, isSearchable, isRetrievable);
  }

  public static IntrinsicXPPortalField forID(int propertyId) throws XPIllegalArgumentException {
    return new IntrinsicXPPortalField("ptportal.propertyid." + propertyId, true, true);
  }
}

I used e-mail address (ID = 26) as an example, but you can put any properties in there that you want. Then, when you’re setting up your search filter, just use IntrinsicPortalField instead of PortalField. For example:

IFilterClause filter = searchFactory.createOrFilterClause();
filter.addStatement(IntrinsicPortalField.EMAIL_ADDRESS, Operator.Contains, searchQuery);

Since IntrinsicPortalField is a subclass of PortalField, the PRC has no problem with it. I’ve tested this with e-mail address and it works flawlessly. I’m sure other properties will work perfectly well too.

Enjoy!

Comments

Comments are listed in date ascending order (oldest first)

  • Thank you, Chris 🙂 Now that Chris has kindly posted a workaround, any possibility of having this put into an IDK hotfix?

    Posted by: ewwhitley on August 27, 2006 at 2:39 PM

  • I second Eric’s opinion. Can you guys just remove the artificial restriction of 100 from the IDK in the next release? Seems to work fine without it and it would obviate the need for my silly patch.

    Posted by: bucchere on August 30, 2006 at 2:31 PM

  • Here is an e-mail I received from a person who attempted to use my patch:

     

    I found your blog because I am having the same problem you describe with searching Intrinsic properties. However, I am now having trouble actually “patching” the IDK. How exactly would I go about repackaging everything with these new java files included? Thank you very much for your time and help.

    Here was my response:

    Thanks for your note. Assuming that you’re building a Java web application, all you need to do is compile the patch along with all your other application code. You can put the class files for the patch in WEB-INF/classes or you can make a jar (e.g. myapp.jar) and put the class files for the IDK patch there and then drop the jar in WEB-INF/lib. You can then put everything into a .war or .ear (or not).

    The magic of the Java classloader is that all the .class files in WEB-INF/classes and all your .class files inside jars in WEB-INF/lib all end up loaded into the same memory. That means that if you have two class files in two different jars, but they’re both in the com.plumtree.remote.portlet package (meaning you have the line package com.plumtree.remote.portlet; at the top of your source files and your .java files live in com/plumtree/remote/portlet), then they’ll act like they’re in the same package. This means that you’ll have access to all package private member methods, which the patch needs in order to compile.

    Posted by: bucchere on August 30, 2006 at 7:23 PM

  • Hi mate, I think this is very helpfull but I was wondering where can I find corresponding ID’s for all standart and custom user properties, when I’m using

    forID(26) method? Thanks in advance!

    Posted by: ggeorgiev on September 19, 2006 at 1:16 AM

  • This gets you the standard (intrinsic) ones:
    select objectid, name from plumdbuser.ptproperties order by objectid where objectid < 200;
    1 Name
    2 Description
    3 Object Created
    4 Object Last Modified
    5 Open Document URL
    6 Content Type ID
    7 Plumtree Document Image UUID
    8 Content Language
    9 Content Tag
    26 Email Address
    50 Full Text Content
    60 Document Submit Content Source
    61 Document Upload Repository Server
    62 Document Upload DocID
    71 Related Communities
    72 Related Folders
    73 Related Portlets
    74 Related Experts
    75 Related Content Managers
    80 Snapshot Query Reference
    101 Keywords
    102 Subject
    103 Author
    104 Created
    105 Document Title
    106 URL
    107 Category
    111 Comments
    112 Modified
    152 Phone Number
    153 Title
    154 Department
    155 Manager
    156 Company
    157 Address
    158 Postal Code
    159 State or Province
    160 Country
    161 Employee ID
    162 City
    163 Address 2
    

    For the custom ones, change the where clause to >= 200.

    Posted by: bucchere on September 23, 2006 at 6:53 PM

Everyone likes a friendly URL

As part of our BEA World strategy for this year, we’re revamping our corporate web site, http://www.bdg-online.com. You should expect an unveiling in the upcoming weeks.

While there will be some revised and some additional content, this is primarily an infrastructure upgrade, including moving to more powerful virtual hosts and upgrading the backend from ASP to ASP.NET (yes, I know, it’s about time).

One of things that really bugs me about ASP and ASP.NET is the failure to include built-in support for friendly URLs. By friendly I mean something that doesn’t end in .asp, .htm, .aspx or some other extension and naturally also doesn’t have a querystring (?foo=bar&boo=moo . . . etc.). For example, http://www.bdg-online.com/customers is a lot more friendly than http://www.bdg-online.com/customers.asp and definitely more friendly than something like http://www.bdg-online.com/content.aspx?p=/customers.

Java provides a nice facility for this in the form of servlet mappings. Since a lot of people are using MVC these days, you are probably going to set up servlet mappings anyway. Here’s an example from a sample web.xml file:

<servlet>
 <servlet-name>customers</servlet-name>
 <servlet-class>com.bdg-online.www.Customers</servlet-class>
</servlet>

<servlet-mapping>
 <servlet-name>customers</servlet-name>
 <url-pattern>/customers/*</url-pattern>
</servlet-mapping>

But what about ASP or ASP.NET? No one cares about ASP any more, so I didn’t bother to research that. But for .NET, I came up with a simple and elegant solution to the friendly URL problem. All you need to do is add the following code (or something like it) to your Global.asax.cs file:

protected void Application_BeginRequest(Object sender, EventArgs e)
{
 if (!Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("htm") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("css") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("ico") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("jpg") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("js") &&
     !Request.RawUrl.EndsWith("gif"))
 {
   if ("".Equals(Request.RawUrl) || "/".Equals(Request.RawUrl))
   {
     Context.Server.Transfer("default.aspx");
   }
   else
   {
     Context.Server.Transfer(Request.RawUrl + ".aspx");
   }
 }
}

You’ll note that I forward requests to the corresponding aspx page, as long as the request isn’t for static content (images, css, etc.).

Of course you also need to do two things:

  1. Configure an .aspx page for every friendly URL you want resolved
  2. Add a wildcard mapping in IIS for * (files without extensions) to the asp.net ISAPI filter

The process for #2 is a little involved. It’s also different for IIS 5 (XP) and IIS 6 (2003). I don’t feel like posting screen shots right now, but if anyone wants to give this a trial run and can’t figure out how to do #2, just e-mail me and I’ll walk you through it.

I just came up with this a couple of hours ago and I haven’t put it through much testing, so YMMV.

More adventures in desktop linux

Everything I do in linux seems to be an adventure. That couldn’t be more true for Oracle 10g. After fighting with the installer, monkeying around with the ALUI database scripts and editing the start-up script, I got the database to start, but it would only shut down immediately afterword. Drats!

This morning, I deleted every trace of Oracle 10g from my system and attempted an install of Oracle 9i. The adventure begins . . . .

First off, Oracle 9i requires JRE 1.3.1, which Sun is planning to retire very soon (as soon as Java 6 comes out). Damn, I remember working on Java 1.0 — am I getting old?

JRE 1.3.1 doesn’t install cleanly on Fedora Core 5. Then again, does anything? Java is closed-source — meaning you can’t build it yourself — so once again I was in a linux bind. When I tried to unpack the 1.3.1 JRE I downloaded from Sun, it gave me this:

tail: `-1' option is obsolete; use `-n 1' since this will be removed in the future
Unpacking...
tail: cannot open `+486' for reading: No such file or directory
Checksumming...
1 The download file appears to be corrupted. [etc]

I downloaded the file again a few times to make sure it really wasn’t corrupted. Of course it wasn’t.

Then I found this great blog post that explained exactly what was going wrong and offered an easy fix. Easy, that is, if you’re a developer. (I’m becoming more and more convinced every day that linux is not at all poised to take over the desktop unless the entire earth’s population goes out and gets a CS degree.)

Alas, the antiquated JRE was really to roll and now it was time to run the Oracle installer. Of course, that didn’t run either. Instead, it spat out JRE errors;

Error occurred during initialization of VM
Unable to load native library: /tmp/OraInstall2006-08-19_11-59-35AM/jre/lib/i386/libjava.so: symbol __libc_wait, version GLIBC_2.0 not defined in file libc.so.6 with link time reference

Nice. Back to Google.

The fix this time came (ironically) from IBM’s web site. No problem, just make a change to libcwait.c, recompile it as a shared object and then set the LD_PRELOAD variable. I’m sure my mom could do that, right?

Then of course I had the standard “this only works under X” problem, but I had already figured that one out. Here’s the error:

Xlib: connection to ":0.0" refused by server
Xlib: No protocol specified
Exception in thread "main" java.lang.InternalError: Can't connect to X11 window server using ':0.0' as the value of the DISPLAY variable.
at sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment.initDisplay(Native Method)
at sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment.(X11GraphicsEnvironment.java:59)
at java.lang.Class.forName0(Native Method)
at java.lang.Class.forName(Class.java:120)
at java.awt.GraphicsEnvironment.getLocalGraphicsEnvironment(GraphicsEnvironment.java:58)
at java.awt.Window.(Window.java:188)
at java.awt.Frame.(Frame.java:315)
at java.awt.Frame.(Frame.java:262)
at oracle.sysman.oii.oiic.OiicInstaller.main(OiicInstaller.java:593)

And the fix (as root):

%>xhost +
%>xterm &
%>su - oracle
%>/tmp/Disk1/runInstaller &

And finally, the Oracle 9i installer launched. Now of course it’s totally hung at 18% on “Linking Oracle Net Required Support Files” and it’s been stuck there since before I started writing this blog post.

Gotta love it.

Watch for deprecated methods in the G6 server API

We’re doing a G6 upgrade at one of our customer sites and we noticed that one of our PEIs (that used to set a user preference) was dying due to our use of APIs that worked in 5.0.4 but no longer work in G6.

(Just for the record, I guess I have a different idea of the meaning of deprecated when it comes to APIs. I thought that if you deprecate an API it means “please don’t use this as it might be removed in future versions of the API.” For BEA AquaLogic, I guess it means “this method just doesn’t work any more.”)

Here’s an example: AddPersonalSetting has been replaced by AddPreference.

public Redirect OnAfterLogin(Object userSession, ApplicationData applicationData)
{
IPTSession session = ((IPTSession)userSession);
session.GetMyPages().OpenPage(0 - userId)
.AddPersonalSetting("UserSettingName", "UserSettingValue");
}

Here’s the new G6 way to do this:

public Redirect OnAfterLogin(Object userSession, ApplicationData applicationData)
{
IPTSession session = ((IPTSession)userSession);
session.GetSessionInfo()
.AddPreference("UserSettingName", "UserSettingValue", 0);
}

Mingle posted on the BEA/Plumtree Code Share

I’m very pleased to announce that Mingle, a prototype of a BEA/Plumtree Web 2.0 social networking application, has been posted on the BEA/Plumtree Code Share!

Mingle was bdg’s winning entry in Odyssey 2005’s Booth of Pain competition.

Mingle features a set of adaptive portlets that work together to help people find one another and form social networks based on personal interests, physical proximity, etc. The portlets consist of:

Adaptive User Search (JSP): each keystroke issues an EDK/PRC search API call to help people find other people quickly and easily. Clicking on a person re-focuses the Network Browser, causing the browser to center on that person’s network.

Network Browser (Java/JSP): built as a Java applet leveraging an opensource hyperbolic graphing project (HyperGraph), this portlet shows the physical connections between people and allows you to browse the network.

Featured Person Profile (JSP): when a person double-clicks on another person in the Network Browser, this portlet shows that person’s complete user profile, include all the EOD attached to that user (Name, Address, Hobbies, etc.).

Del.icio.us Hobby Links (C#.NET): when a person clicks on the featured person’s hobby of choice, this portlet makes an adaptive request to del.icio.us to download social bookmarks relevant to the hobby.

Google Map Locator (HTML/Javascript): when a person clicks on the feature person’s address, this portlet makes an adaptive request to a free geocoder and then to Google Maps to display an interactive map of the person’s address in the portal.

Mingle is bdg’s second open source offering to the BEA/Plumtree community. You can download the source and install it on your own BEA/Plumtree deployment.

Have fun, and if you run into problems, please don’t hesitate to contact us.