Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

Monitoring and Controlling WebLogic Servers with WLST

Writing scripts merged with Java is more natural than ant

Scripting languages have recently garnered a bit of attention. With the arrival of Groovy and Jython, writing scripts merged with Java is more natural than Ant. Using XML to call Java methods has always been forced, mostly because it's hard to express flow, conditional expressions, and custom Java code in a markup language (although things have improved a lot since Ant 1.5).

Why a scripting language? Well, if I have a completely blown IDE for Java programming, using Jython or Groovy can look backwards. You can code in fewer lines (though not much less), but I want the imports written automatically. I want compiler warnings while coding and I need refactorings. Plug-ins for these languages are still outside of Java IDE's capabilities.

But there are times where you just don't have a full IDE configured. Think about jobs that should be automated to be agile, or about server administrators. These people don't have anything like Eclipse, and their work can't be done in advance. You can't code for system administration. This is where tools like WLST come in and make the world a better place.

WLST (WebLogic Scripting Tool) is a Jython module that helps write scripts to administer and modify a server installation remotely. It comes in two flavors: offline, which can configure a server instance that doesn't exist yet, and online, which needs a WebLogic server to connect to. Both versions are in beta and are poorly documented, but they promise to improve and will be in some future WebLogic release.

We're going to focus on the online version here, because its functionalities are more complete than the offline version.

Automating Server Configuration:
Let's start by getting rid of that nasty WebLogic server configuration. Your typical development team replicates the same config in several hosts, changing only a couple of parameters such as the IP, hostname, and TCP port. In a relatively typical project, the process must be executed for each developer's PC, integration test host, and production. Ant tasks resolve great in this context, but it's not prepared to handle things like custom JMX beans.

We're going to create and launch the server, configure it, and do a shutdown, using a mixture of ant and WLST. First, let's create the server in Listing 1. For simplicity's sake, we're going to use the ant task here because combining WLST offline and online would mess things up.

I check the properties because when you deploy on more than one brand of app server it's easy to use the wrong build.properties file (see Listing 2).

We have just removed the whole domain directory, created a new clean one, and left the server running, so now in Listing 3 we can connect and configure it.

The server stop is necessary because some setting changes, i.e., security authenticators, need a graceful shutdown to be stored on disk. Omitting this step would kill the server in a hard way at the end of the ant script

Note: the WLST task is forked, and so, if WLST finds an error in your script, ant still will say "build successful," something that might confuse the person launching the script.

Let's split the WLST script into two parts to reuse as much of it as possible for administration tasks later. I have used the great examples enclosed with the WLST bundle and the output of the saveDomain() command as starting points. The saveDomain() generated script isn't very polished, but it serves to indicate the tool's possibilities (see Listing 4).

The loadProperties task converts all the entries in the administration.properties file to Jython variables. We've used the first methods of a Jython class to administrate the WebLogic server instance. It can easily be extended to create and remove DataSources, a JMS environment, and even security realms.

MBean Methods
What you have seen is a way of creating and configuring MBeans (there's another way that will be explained in the next section). The downside is that you have to know the attributes and methods supported, and WLST doesn't document them. How can I guess which methods are available?

Well, the first way that comes to mind is going to the config.xml file or the web console and assume the attribute names hasn't changed. If we have a decent IDE we also can open the MBean interface class and see what's in there (it's the same as the MBean name, ending with 'MBean'). It won't show you code, but you can check which methods are available.

I prefer connecting to http://e-docs.bea.com/wls/docs81/javadocs/index.html and checking the contents of the package weblogic.management.configuration. For example, if we go to the ServerMBean class, we can see two interesting and not particularly well-known methods isJDBCLoggingEnabled() and setJDBCLoggingEnabled(). We can check them by opening the wlst interactive shell as laid out below:

 


wls:/mydomain/config> server=home.getAdminMBean('myserver', 'Server')
wls:/mydomain/config> server.setJDBCLoggingEnabled(1)
wls:/mydomain/config> server.isJDBCLoggingEnabled()
1

('home' is a variable of type AdminMbeanHomeImpl and can be studied as any other MBean; the only problem is that there's no javadoc available since it's an internal class).

If these last three commands aren't easily understood, don't worry. The shell will be covered in the next section.

Command Line System Administration
A system administrator can also administer the WebLogic server instance manually by using the interactive shell. The advantage here is you don't have to know a priori the MBean interfaces when trying to modify the system config. For this part, you have to include weblogic.jar, jython.jar, and wist.jar in the classpath and start the main class weblogic.WLST, which is the interactive console.

Keep it mind that this is Jython. Quotes and double quotes are used for string delimitation; instantiation doesn't need a new operator (as a matter of fact it's a syntax error); semicolons aren't required because each line ends with a carriage return; and variables don't have to be declared (a la Unix shell scripts). If that's not enough for you, please refer to the Python and WLST docs.

We need to start connecting to a WebLogic server instance. We can choose to use the AdminTool script developed before, or connect manually:

 


execfile('AdminTool.py')
admin.connect()

or

 


connect('weblogic', 'weblogic', "t3://localhost:7001)

Connecting to weblogic server instance running at t3://127.0.0.1:7001 as
username weblogic ...

Successfully connected to Admin Server 'myserver' that belongs to domain 'mydomain' is system output and should be formatted as code.

Now we can start playing with it. With WLST, the JMX tree can be traversed as a Unix filesystem, where the JMX MBeans are directories and its attributes are files. Keep in mind the Python syntax all the way through, and remember that WLST still doesn't recognize wildcards. That's the reason why we're going to omit most of the ls() output (see Listing 5).

We could have also gotten that far on a single cd('/JDBCConnectionPools/MyPool') command. WLST always remembers the cmo (Current Managed Object), the MBean corresponding to the current 'folder' we're browsing. So, these commands are equivalent from the practical point-of-view:

 


wls:/mydomain/config/JDBCConnectionPools/MyPool> cmo
[Caching Stub]Proxy for mydomain:Name=MyPool,Type=JDBCConnectionPool
wls:/mydomain/config/JDBCConnectionPools/MyPool> pwd()
'/JDBCConnectionPools/MyPool'

Now, let's change a couple of random properties (see Listing 6). Remember that Python doesn't have boolean attributes. The server can return true and false (since it runs Java), but you can't assign those values. Don't worry, though; if you check it through the WebLogic console, your boolean value of 1 has been interpreted correctly by the server.

You could have gotten the same result using the equivalent techniques shown in the section above about "Automating Server Configuration." I find this way easier for systems administrators, and the first way for developers preparing scripts. It just fits better in each different kind of toolset: system administrators are more used to Unix shells, and developers feel more comfortable with the "smell" of Java.

Managing the Server Configuration Example: A Real Case
It's common to need to peep inside those nasty JDBC calls. One sometimes really wants to be able to see the conversation between the WebLogic server and the database, and why in hell the query returns 0 rows, or profile performance, okay. Logging the JDBC calls (not just the SQL, please, but the parameters too) with a hot-plug capability should be nice. Wanna give it a try?

First, let's download the p6spy JDBC driver. It is a JDBC wrapper that will log anything that goes through it. To configure it, put the p6spy.jar and the directory containing the p6spy.properties in the server classpath (don't forget the directory, or WebLogic will complain as if the JAR file were not present). Tune the p6spy.properties to your needs.

What we want to achieve is the creation of two Connection Pools, one directly with Oracle JDBC driver and the other through p6spy. Then, we will change the datasource to point to the p6spy datasource without restarting the server (if we believe the Web console interface, this change does not need a reboot).

We will start by executing the administration script developed earlier:

 


wls:/(offline)> execfile('AdminTool.py')

Connecting to weblogic server instance running at t3://127.0.0.1:7001 as
username weblogic ...

Successfully connected to Admin Server 'myserver' that belongs to domain 'mydomain'. It also is system output and should be formatted accordingly.

We can create the Connection Pool now.

 


wls:/mydomain/config> admin.createPool("P6SPY Connection Pool",
"com.p6spy.engine.spy.P6SpyDriver")
JDBCConnectionPool with name 'P6SPY Connection Pool'
has been created successfully.

In the WebLogic console we can see the following (well, the WebLogic log line will only appear if you have the 'debug to console' option activated):

 


<28-feb-2005 20H18' GMT> <Info> <JDBC> <BEA-001132>
<Initialized statement cache of size "10"
for connection in pool "P6SPY Connection Pool".>
1109621928226|0|1|statement|SELECT 1 FROM DUAL|SELECT 1 FROM DUAL
1109621928242|0|1|statement|SELECT 1 FROM DUAL|SELECT 1 FROM DUAL

which shows the connection pool initializing and new connections test. We'll suppose that the dataSource doesn't exist yet. If we were clean, we would have foreseen it and created the method in our AdminTool class, but we can still do it via the interactive shell in Listing 7.

We have started directing the datasource to the P6SPY connection pool, so you can check your application and see that it really logs JDBC statements; try it with a test case. Now, there are two ways to disable the logging. Since we have the datasource in a Jython variable, we can do it the 'Java' way:

 


datasource.setPoolName(MY_POOL_NAME)

or, the 'system administrator' way shown in Listing 8.

Conclusion
WLST is an awesome tool capable of boosting your application server configuration and remote maintenance. It still lacks a find/locate option (for the not uncommon case where one needs to find a configuration option and can't recall its location) with wildcard support. But when it finally gets bundled with WebLogic 9 it's sure to be useful.

Resources

  • The p6spy open source driver: www.p6spy.com/
  • Download WLST online: http://dev2dev.bea.com/codelibrary/code/wlst.jsp
  • Download WLST offline: http://dev2dev.bea.com/codelibrary/code/wlst_offline.jsp
  • Strategies for WebLogic domain configuration: www.sys-con.com/story/?storyid=47096&DE=1
  • Martin Fowler on scripting languages for complex tasks not easily achieved with XML: http://martinfowler.com/bliki/BuildLanguage.html
  • More Stories By Ignacio Coloma

    Ignacio Coloma is a J2EE architect at InfoInnova. For the last six years he has been developing applications for e-banking, air transport, e-government, and message processing systems. Currently he is extending J2EE applications with scripting languages.

    Comments (1) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    Most Recent Comments
    [email protected] 10/03/08 09:23:49 AM EDT

    Good article.
    Couldn't find the listings though.
    Are they missing ?

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
    DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
    Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
    Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
    Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
    Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
    "Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
    The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
    In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
    We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
    The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
    20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
    WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
    "We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
    Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
    Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
    We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
    Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.