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Together ControlCenter Accelerator for WebLogic Workshop

Together ControlCenter Accelerator for WebLogic Workshop

Before I dig into this review, I should let it be known that I have a lengthy background in, and preference for, command-line tools. Scripting is my thing. I love tools like Ant, Cactus, XDoclet, and EJBGen. I get frustrated when I'm dealing with tools that make it hard to peek behind the scenes to see what's going on. Generally, I don't get excited about IDEs. I certainly understand and respect their value (especially when dealing with something as complex as J2EE design, development, and deployment). I take advantage of whatever IDE my current client has standardized on to perform such tasks as remote debugging, EJB entity bean/database mapping, and so on.

I'm a fan of the BEA Weblogic Workshop 7.0 IDE's look and feel. It is amazingly lightweight and really intuitive. As nice as the Workshop IDE was, though, it was narrowly focused and stand-alone (you have to go elsewhere to model and develop your server-side components).

This brings us to this review: the ControlCenter Accelerator for BEA WebLogic Workshop. Accelerators are ControlCenter plug-ins that integrate additional features into the product. For those not in the know, I'll briefly describe the WebLogic Workshop technology, and then get into the review itself .

BEA WebLogic Workshop
WebLogic Workshop simplifies the development, deployment, and debugging of Web services. Workshop also provides transparent message buffering and stateful Web services with conversational capabilities. Workshop developers are provided with several out-of-the-box "controls" that allow you to easily expose any number of back-end J2EE components as Web services. It uses a "javadoc"-style metadata facility to describe the Web services without necessarily having to know the Java programming language. The metadata is used to generate the appropriate Java classes that implement the Web services. Workshop consists of two separate implementations: the server-side components embedded into WebLogic Server and the associated IDE. The Accelerator interacts with the server-side components and integrates the functionality of the Workshop IDE within ControlCenter.

Installation/Configuration
Installation is a breeze. Just execute the Accelerator install program and go (ensure that you already have ControlCenter 6.0.1 installed first).

Once installed, configuration is simply a matter of going into ControlCenter's Tools->Options->Default Level, selecting the Web services node in the options hierarchy, and then BEA WebLogic Workshop within this node. Enter the information about your specific WebLogic Workshop Domain and save it. If you don't yet have a Workshop Domain set up, you can use the WebLogic Platform's domain wizard to do this (selecting the Workshop domain type). Figure 1 shows a sample Accelerator configuration.

Features
The following list represents the major features of the ControlCenter Workshop Accelerator. The example that follows illustrates these features while developing a simple EJB and exposing it through a Workshop Web service.

  • WebLogic Workshop Diagrams: Provide new Web service diagrams. Add Web services and controls, and connect them visually while staying synchronized with the source code.
  • JWS and CTRL editing: Because JWS files and CTRL files are Java class files, developers can take advantage of ControlCenter's powerful editing features, which include code sense, syntax highlighting, and macros.
  • Control creation: Create controls from Web services, whether they are JWS files or defined by WSDL (Web Service Definition Language). Create database controls from ER diagrams, or EJB controls from existing EJBs.
  • Deployment: Deploy and test with the click of a button.

    Accelerator Example
    The following example demonstrates some of the capabilities of the Accelerator. I'll create a "Hello World" session EJB and deploy it to the WebLogic server. In addition, I'll access the EJB in a Web service using a Workshop EJB control.

    Step 1: Setting Up the Project
    We'll set up the project by creating a Web service diagram.

  • Click the New Diagram button on the horizontal menu bar of the Designer Pane to open the New Diagram dialog.
  • Select the Together tab in the dialog and then choose the Web service diagram type.
  • For Diagram name, enter "HelloWorldServiceDiagram" and then click OK.
  • Click the Start WebLogic Server button on the horizontal menu to start the server.

    Step 2: Modeling the EJB
    Now you'll design the HelloWorld session EJB. In addition, you'll add the EJB to an assembler diagram so that you can deploy the EJB. (An assembler diagram represents a .jar file that contains the EJB.)

  • From the Designer pane, select the tab for the <default> diagram.
  • Click the Session EJB button on the vertical toolbar. Click on the diagram where you want to place the EJB.
  • Rename the EJB to "HelloWorldSessionBean".
  • Right-click the EJB and choose New | Business Method.
  • In the Designer pane, rename the method as follows:

    +sayHello:String

  • In the Editor pane, add the following return statement for the method:

    public String sayHlelo(){
    return "Hello World";
    }

  • Click the New Diagram button on the horizontal menu bar of the Designer Pane. The New Diagram dialog opens.
  • Select the Together tab in the dialog and then choose EJB Assembler.
  • For Diagram name, enter "helloWorldJAR" and click OK.
  • Make sure that helloWorldJAR is open in the Designer pane. Go to the Explorer pane, right-click on the HelloWorldSessionBean, and choose Add as Shortcut. The EJB appears in the assembler diagram.

    Step 3: Modeling the Web Service and EJB Control
    We'll create an EJB control for the session EJB created in the previous step. In addition, we'll model a Web service that instantiates the EJB control.

  • From the Designer pane, select the tab for HelloWorldServiceDiagram.
  • Click the Generate EJB Control from EJB existing in Model button on the horizontal menu bar. The Select EJB(s) from deployment diagram dialog opens.
  • Click the file chooser button and expand the Model node.
  • Select the helloWorldJAR node and click OK.
  • Click OK to add HelloWorldSessionBean Control to your Web service.
  • Click the Web service button on the vertical toolbar and then click on the diagram.
  • Rename the Web service "HelloWorldService".
  • Use the Web Service Association Link button on the vertical toolbar to connect the Web service with the EJB control. Note that the link also generates an instance of the EJB control in the Web service named "myHelloWorldSessionBeanControl".
  • Rename the instance variable "myEJB". Figure 2 shows the updated HelloWorld Service Diagram

    Step 4: Building the Project
    We'll add functionality to our Web service so that a client user on the Web can see the result of calling the session EJB's sayHello() method. Specifically, we will add a method that can access the EJB using the EJB control.

  • From the HelloWorldServiceDiagram, select HelloWorldService and then click the Add Method button on the horizontal menu bar. This adds a method called method1() to the Web service.
  • In the Designer pane, rename the method signature as follows:

    +callMyEJB():String

  • In the Editor pane, code the implementation for this method as follows:

    /** @jws:operation */
    public String callMyEJB()throws java.rmi.RemoteException {
    return myEJB.sayHello();
    }

    Note: When we used the Add Method button in the previous step, Together ControlCenter automatically inserted the /** @jws:operation */ tag.

    Step 5: Deploying the Project
    We'll deploy our project by testing the Web service in a Web browser.

  • Select HelloWorldService in the diagram and click the Test Web Service button on the horizontal menu bar of the Designer pane. The Deployment Expert for the helloWorldJAR diagram appears.
  • Uncheck the Open XML editor for the generated Deployment Descriptor(s) option.
  • Check the Hot Deploy to server option.
  • Accept the remainder of the default settings for the expert, clicking Next to continue and then click Finish. After deployment, a Web browser opens.
  • In the Web browser, select the Test Form tab.
  • Click the callMyEJB button to call the session EJB.
  • Verify the result of the operation. The EJB should return the string "Hello World".

    Summary
    The really nice thing about this product (and, really, its main reason for being) is that it takes the powerful, but relatively narrowly focused and stand-alone, feature set of the WebLogic Workshop 7.0 IDE and integrates it into ControlCenter's comprehensive J2EE design, development, deploy environment. This enables a developer to intermix Workshop Web services development with that of EJBs, servlets, JSPs, and Apache SOAP Web services, among others, while utilizing ControlCenter's modeling, refactoring, design pattern support, and documentation-generation capabilities.

    Product contact info:
    Borland Software Corporation
    100 Enterprise Way
    Scotts Valley, CA 95066-3249 USA
    Ph: (831) 431-1000

    Customer Service:
    [email protected]

    Corporate and Government Sales West/Central:
    1 (800) 632-2864
    East: 1 (800) 662-2667

    Platform Requirements
    The ControlCenter Accelerator for Workshop requires ControlCenter version 6.0.1 and integrates with WebLogic Workshop 7.0. It is supported on Microsoft Windows (NT, 2K, XP), Linux, and Solaris.

    This Accelerator requires that the following software is installed on your system:

  • Together ControlCenter 6.0.1 or higher
  • BEA WebLogic Server 7.0 or higher
  • BEA WebLogic Workshop 1.0 or higher

    Download
    www.togethersoft.com/developers/integrations/ beawlw_download.jsp?c=205

    Pricing
    The price for the Accelerator is $500.00.

  • More Stories By Steve Buzzard

    Steve Buzzard is currently working as a J2EE principal architect with Anexinet Corporation (www.anexinet.com), a leading systems integration firm headquartered in Philadelphia, with offices in New York and Washington D.C. Steve has over 19 years of experience in professional software development and has been working almost exclusively with the WebLogic Technology Stack since late 1998.

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