Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NetBeans Java EE Tip #1 - Entity Classes From Database

The NetBeans IDE is an excellent choice for developing applications of all kind.  Specifically, I use it on a daily basis for developing and maintaining Java EE applications.  Not only has Java EE become much more productive over the past few releases, but the NetBeans IDE has also reduced the time that it takes to develop an application...making Java EE and NetBeans an excellent match!

One of the features that I use the most is the ability to generate entity classes from the database.  NetBeans makes it easy to add an entity class to your project without any coding.

First, right-click on a project package, and choose "New->Entity Classes from Database" (Figure 1).

Figure 1:  New Entity Class from Database

Next, select a data source, and then choose at least one table from the "Available Tables" list, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2:  Choose Table from Available Tables list

Choose the Project, location, and package to which the entity class will be added.  Then specify any preferences to indicate if you'd like named queries, JAXB annotations, or MappedSuperClass instead of entities. (Figure 3)
Figure 3:  Specify Package name and preferences

Lastly, select mapping options for your entity class, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4:  Entity Class Mapping Options have an entity class that is ready to use...compliments of NetBeans IDE!

Figure 5:  Completed Entity Class

Monday, February 08, 2016

A Look at the Upcoming JSF 2.3 Push Support

As mentioned in previous posts, there are a number of enhancements being added to the next release of JavaServer Faces (Mojarra).  JSF 2.3 is slated to be released with Java EE 8 in 2017, but you can get your hands on some of the enhancements and updates to JSF for testing purposes now by building from source or running a milestone release.

One such enhancement to the API is the addition of one-way (server-to-client) websocket based push communication via the f:websocket tag and Push API.  The team at OmniFaces has developed the JSF solution based on the o:socket, which is part of the OmniFaces utility library.  Specifically, JSR 372 Expert Group members Bauke Scholtz and Arjan Tijms have contributed this and many other enhancements and fixes to the Mojarra codebase.  

The patch which enables f:websocket support has not yet been applied to the Mojarra 2.3 branch, but you can obtain the patch from issue JAVASERVERFACES_SPEC_PUBLIC-1396.  Prior to applying the patch to your local Mojarra clone, you should be sure to update your sources from the central 2.3 branch to ensure that you have the latest updates applied.  The usage is simple, very similar to the well documented o:socket feature on the OmniFaces site, perform the following steps to make use of f:websocket.

First, add the
context parameter to the web.xml of your application, and set the value to true.


Client-Side Code

On your client (JSF view), add the f:websocket tag, and specify the channel to which you wish to connect.  You must also specify an onmessage listener that will execute a specified JavaScript function once the message is received.  The optional attribute onclose can also be specified, allowing a specified JavaScript function to execute on close of connection.  In the following example, we specify that the socket will connect to a channel named "duke", along with an onmessage listener named dukeMessageListener:

<f:websocket channel="duke" onmessage="dukeMessageListener"/>

The onmessage listener can be invoked with three parameters (push message JSON object, channel name, message event).  If you simply wish to pass a message, it may look similar to the following:

function dukeMessageListener(message) {

If the optional onclose listener is specified, the corresponding function could accept three parameters (close reason code - integer , channel name, message event), but only the first is required.

In most cases, the intention is to blast out a message from the server to notify all client views having the same websocket channel specification.  There is an optional scope attribute on f:websocket that can be set to "session", and this will limit the messages to all client views with the same websocket channel in the current session only.

Lastly, the optional port attribute can be set to specify a TCP port number other than the HTTP port, if needed.

Server-side Code

Since we are planning to push a message from the server to all connected clients, let's take a look at the server side code.  The new PushContext can be injected into any CDI artifact by including an @Push annotation, and the name of the context can either correspond to the channel name, or an optional channel attribute can be specified on the @Push annotation to indicate the channel to which the message should be broadcast.

@Inject @Push
    private PushContext duke;
public void sendMessage(Object message){

The message will be encoded as JSON and delivered to the message argument of the JavaScript function on the client that is specified for the onmessage attribute of f:websocket.  It is possible to send any type of container, be it a plain String, JavaBean, Map, Collection, etc., as the message.

Example Usage

Suppose that we have an administrative console for our web application, and we want to provide the administrators a means of alerting the clients of something.  The administrative console may have a text area for the message input, along with a commandButton to invoke the sending of the message, as such.

<h:inputText id="pushMessage" value="#{testBean.pushMessage}"/>
<h:commandButton action="#{testBean.sendAdminMessage}" value="Send Message"/>

The JSF controller class testBean would then have a method sendAdminMessage, which takes the message that is stored in the pushMessage String, and sends it to our sendMessage method.

@Inject @Push
    private PushContext duke;


public void sendAdminMessage(){
    FacesContext.getCurrentInstance().addMessage(null, new FacesMessage("Message has been broadcasted"));


public void sendMessage(Object message){

Any client that will receive the message should contain the f:websocket tag, pointing to the duke channel.  The client should also include minimally a JavaScript function to be invoked when the message is received.

<f:websocket channel="duke" onmessage="dukeMessageListener"/>

<p:growl id="messages"/>

function dukeMessageListener(message) {
        facesmessage.severity = 'info';

In this particular example, a PrimeFaces growl message component will be updated when the message is received.

JSF 2.3 is shaping up well thanks to all of the excellent contributions from the JSR 372 Expert Group members.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Utilizing the JSF 2.3 f:convertDateTime Tag with the Java 8 Date-Time API

One of the features that is in-progress for the upcoming JSF 2.3 release is support for the Java 8 Date-Time API.  This support was added to the Mojarra 2.3.0 - Milestone 4 Snapshot before JavaOne 2015.  In this post, we'll take a brief look at this newly added support, which allows one to utilize the Java 8 Date-Time API with the standard JSF components via usage of the enhanced f:convertDateTime tag.  We will take a look at running an example application so that you can begin testing the features of JSF 2.3 today.

There are a number of posts covering the new f:convertDateTime functionality.  My fellow JSF 2.3 Expert Group member Arjan Tijms has an excellent post covering the new features of JSF 2.3:  Anghel Leonard also has a repository with some great test sources:

In short, the f:convertDateTime tag now supports type attribute values that cover the Java 8 Date-Time data types.  Namely, you can now specify: both, date, time, localDate, localTime, localDateTime, offsetTime, offsetDateTime, and zonedDateTime.  You can then specify the pattern attribute on the tag to convert to the appropriate Date-Time format.

I have modified the sources for an application that I had written last year, AcmePools, such that it now supports the JSF 2.3 constructs when compiled and executed against Mojarra 2.3.0 - Milestone 4.  The updated sources have been posted to a new repository for JSF 2.3 testing purposes: My post from 2014, Building and Testing, has been updated to include details on utilizing the new Git repository for Mojarra.  It covers the basics of building Mojarra, and testing against the snapshot.  Please follow the directions in the post to get started.  Next, clone the new AcmePools sources that are compatible with JSF 2.3, and open the project in NetBeans, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1:  AcmePools-JSF23 in NetBeans

Once you've got the project open in NetBeans, you are ready to begin testing.  Take a look at the /job/List.xhtml view, and look at the "Job Date" column of the dataTable.  The h:outputText component has an f:convertDateTime tag applied to it, which will convert the date to the localDate type, as seen below.

         <f:facet name="header">
             <h:outputText value="Job Date"/>
         <h:outputText value="#{item.jobDate}">
              <f:convertDateTime type="localDate" pattern="MM/dd/yyyy"/>

Taking a look at the jobDate field of the Jobs entity, you can see that it is of type LocalDate:

@Column(name = "JOB_DATE")
private LocalDate jobDate;

Similarly, if we look at the /job/Create.xhtml view, you can see that the standard inputText component can contain an embedded f:convertDateTime tag to perform the required input conversion.  In this case, we are using the PrimeFaces tag library, which also works with the f:convertDateTime tag.

<p:inputText id="jobDate" value="#{jobController.selected.jobDate}" title="Job Date">
     <f:convertDateTime type="localDate" pattern="MM/dd/yyyy"/>

Behind the scenes, this all works because of some changes made in the Mojarra javax.faces.convert.DateTimeFormatter class.  JSF 2.3 requires the use of Java 8, which enables the JSF developers to directly modify the sources to include Java 8 Date-Time classes.  As a quick test, I've modified the index.xhtml view of the application to include a Date-Time testing panel at the top.

<p:panel header="Date Test Panel">
    <p:inputText value="#{testController.todaysDate}">
        <f:convertDateTime type="localDate" pattern="dd-MM-yyyy"/>
    <h:outputText value="#{testController.todaysDate}">
        <f:convertDateTime type="localDate" dateStyle="short" />
    <h:outputText value="#{testController.todaysDate}">
        <f:convertDateTime type="localDate" dateStyle="long"/>
    <h:outputText value="Today's Date is (old): #{testController.oldStyleDate}">
        <f:convertDateTime type="date"/>

The test panel looks like that in Figure 2.
Figure 2:  Date-Time Test Panel

Note that the AcmePools-JSF23 project can also be used to test other new JSF 2.3 features.  Download the sources, along with Mojarra 2.3.0 and get started testing JSF 2.3!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Jython - Mature, but Fresh!

The Jython team has been doing a lot of work over the years to maintain one of the most mature alternative languages for the JVM.  Jython is of course Python for the JVM, and the latest iteration of Jython is 2.7, which brings it ever closer to matching the complete functionality of the  C-based Python 1 for 1.  For instance, Jython 2.7 provides built in support for setuptools, which is an essential part of the Python ecosystem for installation of Python modules, and adds support for dictionary comprehensions.  It also provides more robust integration between Java and Python, so that Python modules can be used more easily from Java, and vice versa.

I had the pleasure of writing an article about the latest version of Jython recently with Jim Baker, one of the key Jython developers.  I've known Jim for a long time now, and it was great to have the opportunity to write an article with him, and his expertise really makes the article, as he delves into technical information behind key insight to how it works.  In the article, readers are provided with a brief introduction to Jython, then they are taken through some of the key features in Jython 2.7 via an example-driven explanation.  Readers learn how to work with Java libraries from Jython, how to install Python modules, and more.

I want to thank Oracle and Andrew Binstock for giving Jim and I the opportunity to write an article for the excellent Java Magazine.  I also want to thank Jim for taking the time to work on this turned out excellent and it was great working with you.

You can read the article entitled "Jython 2.7: Integrating Python and Java" in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Java Magazine.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

CJUG Adopt-A-JSR - September 2015 Meetup

On Tuesday, September 29th, the Chicago Java User Group (CJUG) held its second online only session that focused on the Adopt-a-JSR initiative for Java and Java EE.  CJUG has formally adopted JSR 366 - Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 8 (Java EE 8) Specification, and the group has been partaking in the Adopt-a-JSR initiative by promoting information regarding the upcoming Java EE release, and specifically targeting the JSRs that are part of the all-encompassing JSR 366 umbrella.

During this latest session, we provided a brief overview of the current status for each of the JSRs that are part of Java EE 8, and we paid special attention to those that are already in-progress.  To the point, the following JSRs are currently in active movement:

JSR 365 - CDI 2.0
JSR 367 - JSON-B
JSR 368 - JMS 2.1
JSR 369 - Servlet 4.0
JSR 370 - JAX-RS 2.1
JSR 371 - MVC 1.0
JSR 372 - JSF 2.3
JSR 374 - JSON-P
...and most recently, there has been mention of Java Batch 1.1 getting started...

It is also worth mentioning that there are a number of other JSRs planned for inclusion with Java EE 8, but they've not had much activity, as yet.

While not each of these JSRs have active sources that are ready for testing, they have all made some progress either via mailing list discussion, or early specification drafts.  After providing the overview, we delved into a couple of the more active JSRs, including JSR 372:  JSF 2.3, and JSR 374:  JSON-P.  In doing so, we demonstrated how to check out the sources for these JSRs, add them to an IDE, such as NetBeans, and then perform a build and testing.  While we did not have enough time to get into any specific issues in detail, we also looked at the JIRA for JSR 374 and held short discussions on a few of the issues.

We then took a break from Java EE, and focused a bit on OpenJDK and the JDK 9 project.  Bob Paulin demonstrated how it is possible to pull down the JDK 9 sources and begin working with early builds of the modularity solution now.  During Bob's demonstration, he created a fully-functional modular program.  We also discussed the possibility of future CJUG involvement in the Adopt-a-JSR program for Java SE.

In summary, the September 2015 Adopt-a-JSR session was a great chance for us to provide a current status of the ongoing efforts towards Java EE 8, and it also gave us a chance to demonstrate what is currently possible with JDK 9.

If you are interested in listening to the audio from the Adopt-a-JSR session, please use the following link:  Audio for CJUG Adopt-a-JSR Sept 2015

We plan to hold more sessions online that focus on Adopt-a-JSR in the near future.  Please stay tuned for more...

Friday, June 05, 2015

Utilizing the Java 8 Date-Time API with JSF and Java EE 7

If you are using Java 8 with Java EE 7, then there may be some quirks that you run into when trying to utilize some of the Java 8 new features.  One such quirk is that the new Date-Time API does not work with many of the Java EE 7 APIs by default since they are built to work with java.util.Date and/or the older Date APIs.  However, this is not a road block, as there are many ways to work around such issues.  In this post, I will demonstrate how you can tweak your JSF application to allow use of the Java 8 Date-Time APIs along with JPA and date converters.

First things first, if you wish to persist dates using the new LocalDate class (or others that are part of the Java 8 Date-Time API), you need to develop a converter which will automatically convert from java.time.LocalDate to java.util.Date and vice versa in order to work with JPA 2.1.  This is easy enough to do, especially since there is no need to configure any XML to establish the converter.  The following code is a converter that is used to provide Java 8 Date-Time support for JPA:

import java.time.Instant;
import java.time.LocalDate;
import java.time.LocalDateTime;
import java.time.LocalTime;
import java.time.Month;
import java.time.ZoneId;
import java.util.Date;
import javax.persistence.AttributeConverter;
import javax.persistence.Converter;

 * Converter to provide Java 8 Date/Time API Support to JPA
 * @author Juneau
@Converter(autoApply = true)
public class LocalDatePersistenceConverter implements AttributeConverter<LocalDate, Date> {
    public Date convertToDatabaseColumn(LocalDate entityValue) {
        LocalTime time =;
        Instant instant = time.atDate(entityValue).atZone(ZoneId.systemDefault()).toInstant();
        return Date.from(instant);

    public LocalDate convertToEntityAttribute(Date databaseValue) {
        Instant instant = Instant.ofEpochMilli(databaseValue.getTime());
        return LocalDateTime.ofInstant(instant, ZoneId.systemDefault()).toLocalDate();

Looking at the code, the convertToDatabaseColumn() method accepts a LocalDate from the entity, class and then utilizes some of the Java 8 Date-Time API utilities to convert it to a java.util.Date so that it can be stored into the database.  The second method, convertToEntityAttribute() takes a java.util.Date from JPA and converts it in the opposite direction into a LocalDate object for use with your Java 8 based application.  The @Converter annotation registers the class as a converter, and implementing AttributeConverter applies the converter to an entity class in order to convert the state to a database column and back again.

Next, if you attempt to apply a JSF converter to a Java 8 LocalDate within your application, say within a view, you will experience issues unless you write a special FacesConverter implementation to apply against the component that you wish to convert to the LocalDate.  Writing a FacesConverter is just as simple as the entity class attribute converter, and registration is as easy as applying an annotation to the converter.  The following class is an example of the FacesConverter that will convert a java.time.LocalDate to a java.util.Date for use within a JSF component.  Note:  This also works with popular JSF component libraries, such as PrimeFaces.

import java.time.LocalDate;
import java.time.format.DateTimeFormatter;
import javax.faces.component.UIComponent;
import javax.faces.context.FacesContext;
import javax.faces.convert.FacesConverter;

 * Faces converter for support of LocalDate
 * @author Juneau
public class LocalDateTimeConverter implements javax.faces.convert.Converter {

    public Object getAsObject(FacesContext context, UIComponent component, String value) {
          return LocalDate.parse(value);

    public String getAsString(FacesContext context, UIComponent component, Object value) {

        LocalDate dateValue = (LocalDate) value;
        return dateValue.format(DateTimeFormatter.ofPattern("MM/dd/yyyy"));
Now let's look at the code a bit.  This FacesConverter class is registered via the @FacesConverter annotation, and the class can simply implement the javax.faces.convert.Converter interface.  Next, take a look at the implementation.  The getAsObject() method is used to parse a String from the component and return it as a java.time.LocalDate, whereas the getAsString() method accepts a LocalDate object and returns it as a String in the specified date format.  This demonstrates another nice feature of Java 8...the DateTimeFormatter class, which makes it easy to format a java.time.* object.  

That's it...not too difficult to use the nice Java 8 Date-Time API within a Java EE 7 application.  Now let's apply the converter to a date component.  The following markup demonstrates how to apply the converter to a PrimeFaces calendar component.

<p:calendar id="enterDate" converter="localDateTimeConverter" style="width: 100%;"

  readonly="true" value="#{myExcellentJsfController.current.enterDate}">


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting Started with Jython 2.7 in NetBeans IDE 8.0.2

The Jython 2.7 release is on the horizon.  In fact, Jython 2.7 release candidates are available from the Jython site at the time of this writing.  For a list of the new features and repairs, please refer to the Git repository.

Whether you are a seasoned Python or Jython developer, or whether you are looking to learn a new language, the NetBeans IDE makes for an excellent tool to get going with Jython development.  The Python module is easy to install, and it allows one to create new Python/Jython projects from scratch, or create projects from existing sources.  For the most recent information on the NetBeans Python module, please refer to the online documentation at

To use Jython 2.7 with the NetBeans Python module.  You must first create a Python Platform within the IDE that points to your installation of Jython 2.7.  After you've successfully installed the Python module, go to the NetBeans "Tools" menu, and select "Python Platforms".  The Python Platform Manager dialog will open, allowing you to add one or more Python Platforms for use (Figure 1).

Figure 1:  NetBeans Python Platform Manager

To add Jython 2.7 as a platform, click on "New" and then traverse to the Jython installation bin directory, and then select the jython executable.  You can also manage your Python Path and Java Path from this dialog. 

NetBeans provides a great tool for working with Jython, as it allows for easy management of applications, Python eggs, testing, and debugging.