Open Source

Announcing CDISource

In the last few weeks I have been rather busy working on a new project with Rick Hightower, who is fairly well known for his training and writings on Spring and JSF, and Rob WIlliams who is a blogger known as much for meddling in new technologies (and getting mad at them) as he is for intertwining various historical and literary references in his posts. The result of this is the CDISource project which aims to advocate and facilitate the use of the JSR 299 – Java Contexts and Dependency Injection framework across the Java landscape.

If you’ve seen my posts or my site before, you’ll no doubt be aware that I have written at great length about Java EE 6, JSF, CDI , EJB and so on. What I haven’t written about is the many frustrations I’ve come up against in dealing with these frameworks on their own and especially when combined, or how their usefulness is often constrained to the application server container.

Java EE in some ways is an archipelago of frameworks that lacks the cohesiveness and all in one wide screen vision that software developers need. Java EE is about the enterprise, in reality its about the web, or even more specifically about Java EE containers. There’s a whole slew of uses for a good type safe and flexible dependency injection and AOP framework and such as CDI outside of Java EE containers but there is very little information and code to make it actually work.

Our goal is to make CDI useful and usable on its own without Java EE 6, and to give developers the tools and information to do so. To let them write vendor neutral and portable code, and apply agile and best practices. Developers know how to write good software and don’t want to sacrifice that for the sake of using a framework to make things easier. To that end we aim to provide code and information that will help facilitate those practices.

There will be some learning for ourselves along the way and we will have to change some of our previously held concepts. I know over the last few weeks having been getting CDI working and useful outside of the web container it has really altered my perspective on how I think about the dependencies and structure in CDI applications. My perspective has changed even more than when I wrote A Little Less Conversation.

As much as I hate to say it, we did come up with a mission statement, although we found it fairly easy and enjoyable to clearly defined the goals and attitudes of the project.

Our mission is to :

  • Promote and facilitate the use of the Java Context and Dependency Injection (CDI) framework in relation to as many aspects of application development as possible.
  • Enable developers to take advantage of CDI independently of Java EE.
  • Provide lightweight, lean and agile access to the underlying CDI container as a core principle in our efforts.
  • Make testing easy without requiring a complex set of tools or complex deployment scenarios.
  • Enhance both Java EE development as well as the use of CDI in non Java EE application where possible.
  • Promote and enable the use of CDI in a vendor neutral environment and maximize the portability of application code across CDI implementations.
  • Not reject the ideas of Java EE but expand the usability of CDI outside the borders of Java EE application servers with frameworks that are not a part of the specification.
  • Not reject other CDI efforts but to provide another venue to promote those efforts. This is an addition. This is another voice in support of CDI.

We are pretty excited that so far we have been able to live up to the intent of our mission statement with everything we’ve done so far. Over the next few days and weeks you will see articles and tutorials come out of Rick, Rob and I as we write about the CDISource project and we start to showcase some of the code we have written and start giving you an idea of where we are heading.

Right now we have vendor neutral support for starting up CDI outside of the web container and also for testing CDI beans with minimal configuration and intrusion on your test cases. We also have a few other pieces that are nearly ready, as well as dozens of ideas to get started on.

You can start by looking at Ricks brand new introduction of CDI over on JavaLobby. released

I’ve been fairly quiet over the last couple of months as I’ve been working on a few items, working on a new site and working on getting two new Open Source projects final and out the door.

I’ve renamed Spigot to DataValve, and moved it to the new site which will also host my other project called Knappsack which is a set of Maven archetypes for Java EE 6.

The new site will be home to most of my tutorials, articles and other writings, as well as possibly some screencasts and even podcasts. It will in essence be a pure java development site. This blog will go a bit quieter and contain less development stuff, although most opinion will get put out here instead of over there. I’ll also be copying some of my tutorials over there from this blog.

I’m aiming to create a fairly cohesive tutorial site, aided in part by the Maven Archetypes which will give me a firm base onto which I can build tutorials without having to start from scratch, but one archetype is a sandbox Java EE 6 app with project configuration, a demo model and some test data. The sandbox app will let developers create a new skeleton java EE 6 application they can play with. Building on that, there is a sandbox-demo application which as an archetype that creates a full working demo CRUD application using Java EE 6 so developers can see how all the different pieces of Java EE 6 go together. It includes features such as conversations, JPA CRUD, page parameters, CDI injection and events.

Again, I have to say it, but Open Source is Hard. In the past couple of months, I have been working on a whole new site, getting 2 projects ready to roll with documentation and site content to boot as well as working a job, and having some kind of life.

Now it’s out, I can start to focus a little more on getting some more Java EE 6 tutorials and articles out.

A Guide to Spigot For Seam Developers

Note : Spigot has been renamed to DataValve.

(Edit : I renamed this post so it doesn’t seem like Spigot is just for Seam, Spigot can be used with different frameworks or without any at all. However, I wrote this post since Spigot is so familiar to the Seam EntityQuery that it should be easy for Seam users to get the idea)

Seam developers should become familiar with Spigot concepts fairly quickly since they are very similar to those found in the Seam EntityQuery which was one of the main inspirations for the framework. If you imagine taking the entity query class and splitting it in two, one part to keep hold of state and the other to actually fetch the data. The stateful part is the Paginator that keeps track of what the current ordering of the data is, what is the current page and how big the pages are. The stateless part takes the Ejbql and the pagination information and returns a subset of the data. Now imaging that the data provider has the JPA pieces taken out and replaced with an abstract fetchResults method. This method is implemented in subclasses for specific data providers for text files, sql queries, jpa queries, native jpa queries, xml files, comma delimited or just an in memory dataset.
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Spigot 0.9.CR1 released

Note : Spigot has been renamed to DataValve and is hosted over on

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new as I’ve been busy with a new Open Source software project called Spigot. It’s a java library that sits between your application code and your data sources (Hibernate, JPA, JDBC or any arbitrary source of data) and helps with things like pagination and sorting using a common interface so you can switch out data providers and use alternatives.

For query language data providers, Spigot also facilitates excluding restrictions from WHERE clauses when parameters are resolved to null. Parameters are handled using parameter resolvers so there is more than one way to parameterize the query including EL expressions, reflection or a value map on the data provider.

Spigot also provides a few other add-ins like converting any dataset into an in-memory dataset that can itself be paginated and sorted and shared across an application (such as commonly used data in a web application). The IndexedDataProviderCache can give you random access into a dataset with caching and look ahead loading. This lets you hook a dataset with thousands of rows up to a Swing JTable with an instant response and a very small memory footprint since it doesn’t need to load all the objects at once as the provider will load the records as needed and cache the results. This is demonstrated in the Swing Demo in the download. There are also demos for Wicket and CDI with JSF.

You can ready about why I created Spigot in the documentation

Spigot is currently hosted on Project Kenai, where you can download the release, view documentation online or read about 10 ways Spigot helps developers.

Open Source is Hard

I’ve been working on getting my procedural texture library completed and released to the public which should be ready next week. I’m currently going through the difficulties that always go with getting that last bit of polish on a project to get it ready for public consumption. In particular, I’ve just switched over to maven as a build process and moved it into Project Kenai.
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