XPages Jakarta EE 2.9.0 and Next Steps

Nov 22, 2022, 12:53 PM

  1. Updating The XPages JEE Support Project To Jakarta EE 9, A Travelogue
  2. JSP and MVC Support in the XPages JEE Project
  3. Migrating a Large XPages App to Jakarta EE 9
  4. XPages Jakarta EE Support 2.2.0
  5. DQL, QueryResultsProcessor, and JNoSQL
  6. Implementing a Basic JNoSQL Driver for Domino
  7. Video Series On The XPages Jakarta EE Project
  8. JSF in the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  9. So Why Jakarta?
  10. Adding Concurrency to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  11. Adding Transactions to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  12. XPages Jakarta EE 2.9.0 and Next Steps

Keeping with my productive week off, today I release version 2.9.0 of the XPages Jakarta EE Support project. Similar to the previous release, this one contains new features primarily related to Jakarta NoSQL, but also has some improvements for JSF and a bunch of bug fixes and compatibility improvements.

Jakarta NoSQL

The improvements to the JNoSQL driver come from some needs I came across when moving older lotus.domino/ODA-based code to using JNoSQL repositories. In particular, I added the remaining applicable view entry properties as available fields to map, added better support for reading note IDs, and fetching documents by note ID.

JSF

While JSF support remains limited by not having a proper way to add in third-party component libraries like PrimeFaces, it's still a potentially-compelling tool in an NSF as an alternative to XPages in some cases. Accordingly, I fixed a few bugs I had run into when loading pages after modifying the NSF design. Additionally, I fixed up support for JSF as an MVC view engine. It now properly joins JSP as a mechanism for rendering your output with an MVC structure, and I think there's some real potential there.

Bug Fixes and Compatibility

Most of the other closed issues deal with a few bugs here and there, and in particular involve some improvements for running apps in XPiNC and on a server with Domino Leap also installed. I don't use XPiNC anymore and haven't tried Leap, so I greatly appreciate bug reports specific to these and the assistance in tracking down the trouble.

The Future and Next Steps

I'm pondering now what the next release of the project will focus on. I have no shortage of feature ideas, and there are a few potentially-disruptive changes I'd like to make.

Unfortunately, those changes will be largely confined to improving the support for the specs that are already present and not advancing to new versions. The predicted Java-version wall arrived: Jakarta EE 10 is out and requires Java 11 and above. Since Domino remains mired in Java 8, that means that new versions of the specs and implementations are hard-incompatible until that changes.

On the plus side, there's still a lot of improvements I can make with Jakarta EE 9 as the baseline.

Reorganization

One big one I've been thinking about is a reorganization of the individual libraries that make up the project. The way it's been designed, almost every spec has its own Equinox Feature and XPage Library to go with it. This was fine early on when it was just CDI, EL, and JAX-RS, but it's grown annoying: installing the project in Designer is a seemingly-endless process of approving each plug-in at a time and the list of libraries to check in Xsp Properties is interminable. More critically, being able to selectively turn on and off specs like this doesn't make sense anymore. CDI has grown so important to Jakarta EE in general and this spec in particular that it doesn't make sense to not have it present if you're going to use this project at all. It's a foundational component of so many other parts and is essentially The Way to do Jakarta-based development.

So I'm thinking I'm going to reorganize the projects into fewer features and libraries, which will be a breaking change that will necessitate a bump to 3.0 - fortunately, the numbers line up well for that. I have a few potential options here:

  1. Just lump them all into one. You'd have basically one big switch to say "this is a JEE project" and everything would be on. The virtue here is that this is how I already work and is essentially the recommended way to do things. Additionally, as far as I know, while having additional components may slow first load (though not as much as other parts), I don't think they have a significant impact if enabled but unused during runtime.
  2. Try to line the specs up with one of the existing Jakarta Profiles. Those profiles are meant to be curated selections of useful specs, and this project has enough to implement what in newer versions is deemed the Core Profile. The trouble with this, though, is that the Core Profile is very much geared to be the shared subset with MicroProfile and similar and is a bit thin for Domino's monolith-focused development style. The Web and Full profiles, on the other hand, require "traditional" APIs like EJB that are not present in this project.
  3. Break them apart into my own "core" and "optional" features. For example, it doesn't make sense to use this without JAX-RS, CDI, and Bean Validation enabled, but JSF is entirely independent of the other specs and is among the least likely to be used in practice for now. This would also allow me to establish a running flow where "experimental" features start out as optional add-ins and then eventually make their way to core.

I'm currently waffling between #1 and #3, with a slight lean towards #1. If I can be sure that either everything or nothing is present, I could get rid of some weird hedges and workarounds, like how the JAX-RS implementation doesn't "officially" know about the CDI library yet references CDI classes explicitly by name.

New Application Types

Currently, to use this project, you can either put your code into an NSF and use the automatic behavior of the libraries or you can put your code in OSGi-based webapps or Servlets and then manually manage integration with these specs.

Both of these are limited by their reliance on the many assumptions IBM built in to how these apps should work. In-NSF apps require that all Jakarta code come from a request including "xsp" in the URL or to a file ending in ".jsp", ".jsf", or ".xhtml". If you're writing, say, an MVC-based app, all of your URLs are going to have to start with something like "foo.nsf/xsp/app/...", which is okay but ugly. Additionally, the way these apps are implemented - NSFComponentModule - severely limits my hooks for listening for things like application and session expiration, which hampers CDI's lifecycle handling a bit.

For a good while, I've pondered the notion of adding another ComponentModule type to handle the case where you want to go all-in on Jakarta EE. With this idea, the new module implementation would have full control over incoming requests, allowing URLs without the xsp/app bit in there, and would have better handling of lifecycles. In this way, I could make it so that your could would look more like (or be identical to) a "normal" .war-based webapp, with fewer workarounds for the existing XPages stuff. This would also allow me to do things like lessen the amount of Servlet 2.5-to-5.0 bridging and could assist tremendously in improving JSF support.

Along similar lines, I've been considering doing something similar for OSGi-based webapps, and I've made some progress along those lines in a feature branch. The idea here would be to do something similar to how you can deploy web.xml-based webapps via OSGi now, but with built-in support for Jakarta EE 9 features (with web.xml then being optional). With this setup, you'd be able to write an app that does an Import-Package for the various jakarta.* packages you want and add a bit in your MANIFEST.MF to signal to this project that it should participate. This could either be a variant of the extension point used by the existing OSGi webapp support or using the Web-ContextPath directive from the OSGi spec. One of the goals here would be to make it so that you would be able to write a Jakarta EE 9 app using normal development tools - Eclipse/IntelliJ/VS Code, Maven, etc. - and then just use maven-bundle-plugin to add the OSGi info you need without having any specific dependencies on Domino bits, especially the nightmare of depending on the non-redistributable XPages OSGi artifacts.

Other Options

And, in the mean time, I have a bunch of other tasks I could work on. Slowly converting my client project to Jakarta NoSQL instead of direct ODA use has turned up a whole slew of things that would be useful to add (for example, stampAll support), so I can slowly burn down that feature-request list.

There's also the notion of documentation! While a lot of the behavior of this project is in theory documented by virtue of the upstream specs and the general world of Jakarta blogs, videos, and courses, there's enough to know about the specifics of the interactions with Domino that more documentation is in order. Historically, I've just done this by expanding the README, but it's gotten pretty unwieldy at this point. It would probably make sense to break the specifics and examples out into at least wiki pages, if not a format that can be built into a PDF/etc. and included in the distribution.

So yep, I'll have my hands busy with this thing for a good while more, I figure.

More Open-Source Updates for Notes/Domino 12.0.2

Nov 21, 2022, 1:27 PM

The other day, I talked about some changes/workarounds for Notes/Domino 12.0.2. Today, I made a few updates to some of the open-source projects I maintain, including another update to the generate-domino-update-site Maven plugin.

Domino Update Site Generator

In the 4.2.0 release, I added code to (mostly, as it turns out) account for HCL moving the NAPI implementation JAR down to jvm/lib/ext. In subsequent use, I found that, while that will suffice for building applications that use the OSGi dependencies, it didn't work for launching applications using it as a baseline - namely, the NSF ODP Tooling Maven plugin.

Today, I released a 4.2.1 version that improves this behavior by re-adding dependencies in the implementation bundle.

I also created a project page for it on OpenNTF. Though the project has always been hosted at the OpenNTF org on GitHub, I hadn't created a project page for it due to it just being a standalone Maven plugin. I figured it'd be useful to create an official page there for it, though.

NSF ODP Tooling

Speaking of the NSF ODP Tooling, I also found that local operations once again started crashing on macOS. Due to changes in macOS and the very weird ways that Notes works, local operations on there are a very moving target, and I have to do a lot of work in the project to account for changes to the embedded JVM and whether specific Notes versions work better with HotSpot or OpenJ9 JVMs.

Long story short, I release 3.10.0 today to account for this. Though I've found that the spawned JVM will still sometimes crash, it's after completing its work, so I considered that fine for now.

OpenNTF Domino API

Finally, I came to the OpenNTF Domino API. This project has admittedly been neglected for a little while: I'm the only active maintainer, and the client project I use it in targets Domino 11.0.1, so the 12.x builds have remained in an incomplete state for a while.

With the release of 12.0.2, I decided I should finish the wrappers for the new classes added in 12.x, so I did so and uploaded a build for 12.0.2. This primarily adds those wrappers, but also included a contributed fix and changes the distribution packaging to combine the XSP and non-XSP versions.

Notes/Domino 12.0.2 Fallout

Nov 17, 2022, 1:45 PM

Tags: designer java
  1. AbstractCompiledPage, Missing Plugins, and MANIFEST.MF in FP10 and V10
  2. Domino 11's Java Switch Fallout
  3. fontconfig, Java, and Domino 11
  4. Notes/Domino 12.0.2 Fallout

Notes and Domino 12.0.2 came out today. Generally, there are some neat features in development and on the server, but there are also a couple things you may run into depending on your workflow and installation type.

Update Site NSF

The update site NSF that ships with Domino uses SWT for some of its GUI elements when importing contents. This still works fine in the 32-bit client, but is broken in the 64-bit client. My guess on that front is that the 64-bit client doesn't come with a 64-bit native SWT JAR, probably because the SWT version used for this likely pre-dates x64's popularity on the desktop.

For now, the workaround is to use a 32-bit client if you're working with the Update Site NSF. Karsten said he's going to patch the OpenNTF version of the NSF to deal with this, so you can also wait for that one.

Domino Update Site Generator

I maintain the generate-domino-update-site Maven plugin that can be used to generate update sites for OSGi development against the Domino stack. These sites are replacements for the IBM Domino Update Site for Build Management, which was released for 9.0.1 and never updated since. Only HCL can make a new distributable version of that, so my tool lets you generate one for yourself from a Notes or Domino installation.

In 12.0.2, HCL shunted the NAPI implementation JAR down to jvm/lib/ext to support the shared JARs between XPages and agents feature. As a side effect, existing versions of my plugin would lack the NAPI classes.

Today, I released version 4.2.0, which fixes this and also contains improvements to let the plugin work on current Java versions and generate sites based on 12+ macOS clients.

Along these lines, I made Aha idea DDXP-I-352 a couple years ago to request that HCL provide such sites themselves or give OpenNTF permission to provide them, so I'd appreciate it if you voted for that.

The Target Platform Bug

This isn't a new thing, but it's worth mentioning here since it comes up frequently: the target platform bug from 9.0.1FP10 remains. As of earlier this year, defect article KB0086688 mentions this, though the status is "Deferred". If this afflicts you, it may help to bring it up with Support and reference that article.

Tinkering with Mastodon, Keycloak, and Domino

Nov 10, 2022, 1:01 PM

Tags: admin keycloak

Because of what I'll euphemistically call the current historical moment on Twitter, I (like a lot of people) decided to give another look at Mastodon. The normal way one would use it would be to sign up at mastodon.social and be on one's merry way, treating it just like a slightly-different Twitter.

However, Mastodon is intentionally designed to be federated in a way similar to email, and the software is available on GitHub complete with scripts for Docker Compose, Vagrant, and so forth. So I went and did that, setting up my currently-barely-used account at @jesse@pub.frostillic.us.

That on its own isn't particularly notable, nor are the specifics of how I set it up (it was a hodgepodge of a couple posts you can find by looking for "mastodon docker compose"). What I found neat for our purposes here was the way I could piggyback authentication onto stuff I had recently done with Keycloak. Keycloak, incidentally, was the topic of today's OpenNTF webinar, so, if you didn't see it, check back there for the replay when it's posted.

Having done the legwork for setting up Keycloak backed by Domino LDAP for my earlier tinkering, the setup to work with Mastodon was pretty straightforward (as far as these things go). I did the professional thing and took the basic config from a StackOverflow post, tweaking it to suit my needs.

The main Domino-y thing I wanted to tweak here was the username that I ended up with on Mastodon. Internally, the Domino short name for my account is "jgallagh", but I like to go by "jesse" when in an environment small enough to get away with it. So I cracked open the names.nsf subform I had added years ago for POSIX and SSH pubkey purposes and added a Mastodon section:

Screenshot of a 'Mastodon Attributes' section in a names.nsf

(apologies for how bad the new-era fonts look in my poor old Windows VM)

Then, I told my Mastodon config about that field for the UID:

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OIDC_ENABLED=true
OIDC_DISPLAY_NAME=frostillic.us Auth
OIDC_DISCOVERY=true
OIDC_ISSUER=https://<keycloak_url>/auth/realms/<real>
OIDC_AUTH_ENDPOINT=https://<keycloak_url>/auth/realms/<real>/.well-known/openid-configuration
OIDC_SCOPE=openid,profile,email
OIDC_UID_FIELD=mastodonusername
OIDC_CLIENT_ID=<client id>
OIDC_CLIENT_SECRET=<client secret>
OIDC_REDIRECT_URI=https://<mastodon URL>/auth/auth/openid_connect/callback
OIDC_SECURITY_ASSUME_EMAIL_IS_VERIFIED=true

On Keycloak, I made a new realm to cover this sort of "personal" setup to be able to split the user pool and then added a Client definition for Mastodon. I set it up as "Access Type" "confidential" and grabbed the client ID and secret for the config above and then configured the Redirect URI. To get the custom username field over from LDAP, I added a "user-attribute-ldap-mapper" Mapper in the LDAP User Federation definition to bring it in. Then, back in the Client definition, I added a "User attribute" token mapper to the config to bring this in as well so it's added to the JWT.

That covered the auth config, and it's been working well since. When you have OIDC configured in your Mastodon config, it sprouts a button below the main login mechanically labeled "OPENID_CONNECT":

Screenshot of a Mastodon login form with OIDC configured

Clicking that will send you to the configured Keycloak page to do the OIDC dance and, when all goes well, back to a freshly-configured Mastodon account.

Now, technically, this doesn't really gain me much that I couldn't have gotten by configuring the users separately in the Mastodon instance, but the experience is useful. I'm gradually getting really sold on the idea of having a multi-purpose Keycloak instance to handle authentication and authorization. Most of the time, it's a thin layer over what you could get by pointing to Domino LDAP from these disparate apps themselves. However, there are some benefits in that Keycloak is now the only one that has to deal with Domino's weird LDAP and also this gives me a lot of room for fine-grained control and federation with other providers. It's just neat.