Maven Native Chronicles: Running Automated Notes-based Tests

  • Feb 27, 2016

This post isn't really in my ongoing Java thread, though it's related in that this is the sort of thing that may come up in fairly-advanced cases. This post will assume a functional knowledge of Maven, Tycho, and JUnit.

For Darwino, I ran into the need to run unit tests on Domino-adapter code during the Maven build process. Since the Domino project tree uses Tycho, this ended up differing slightly from standard Maven testing. Rather than using the src/test/java directory in the same project to house the associated tests, Tycho prefers the very-OSGi-native method of having a separate project, but declaring it a "fragment" plugin attached to the primary one. In OSGi terms, a fragment is a special type of plugin that, when loaded by the runtime, gets glommed on to a specified host plugin and runs in its same classpath. In other cases, this may be used to provide platform-specific additions, add locale resources, or other uses.

So I created a new fragment project, which is structurally much like a normal plugin, but with an extra line in the MANIFEST.MF:

Fragment-Host: com.example.some.parent.plugin

This line tips off the OSGi environment to its nature. In the pom.xml, there are a number of important differences related both to how Tycho handles test fragments and the necessity of loading the Notes native libraries:

<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
	xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">
	<modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion>
	<parent>
		<groupId>com.example</groupId>
		<artifactId>some-parent</artifactId>
		<version>1.0.0-SNAPSHOT</version>
	</parent>
	<artifactId>com.example.some.parent.plugin.test</artifactId>
	<packaging>eclipse-test-plugin</packaging>

	<build>
		<plugins>
			<!--
				By default, Tycho doesn't include the other fragment plugins when running the test.
				So here, we manually include the appropriate features. 
			 -->
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
				<artifactId>target-platform-configuration</artifactId>
				<version>${tycho-version}</version>
				
				<configuration>
					<dependency-resolution>
						<extraRequirements>
						
							<requirement>
								<type>eclipse-plugin</type>
								<id>com.ibm.notes.java.api.win32.linux</id>
								<versionRange>[9.0.1,9.0.2)</versionRange>
							</requirement>
							
							<requirement>
								<type>eclipse-feature</type>
								<id>com.example.some.native.feature</id>
								<versionRange>0.0.0</versionRange>
							</requirement>
							
						</extraRequirements>
					</dependency-resolution>
				</configuration>
			</plugin>
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
				<artifactId>tycho-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
				
				<configuration>
					<testSuite>${project.artifactId}</testSuite>
					<testClass>com.example.some.parent.plugin.test.AllTests</testClass>
				</configuration>
			</plugin>
		</plugins>
	</build>
	
</project>

The preamble is the same as usual for Maven, but the packaging is slightly different. Instead of eclipse-plugin, this should be packaged as eclipse-test-plugin. Tycho's packaging doesn't particularly care about whether or not it's a fragment, but it does care about its test nature.

Things get a little interesting in the target-platform-configuration block. These two entries have similar purposes: to cause Tycho to load up other, native-artifact fragments required to run the tests. The first one showed up in the Java series: it contains Notes.jar, but, because it is itself a fragment (and can't be directly depended upon by the test project), Tycho won't automatically load it unless directed to. The second one serves a similar purpose, but loads a feature instead. This feature contains references to a number of distinct platform-dependent native-artifact fragments, and specifying this dependency causes Tycho to consider each one without having to specifically enumerate them in the POM.

The final block is a little simpler, and it just tells Tycho where to start when it goes to run the fragment as a test suite. The AllTests class is a test suite in the JUnit 4 convention, with @RunWith and @Suite.SuiteClasses annotations.


There's another catch to this, though: Notes has some specific demands on its environment, and in particular must be run with knowledge of a Notes program directory, a data directory, a notes.ini, and an ID file (unless you're doing DIIOP (which you probably shouldn't)). The specifics of what the libraries expect in their runtime environment and how they should be loaded in their API calls vary a little from platform to platform, and I ended up with a pile of "just keep trying stuff until it works" code. The result, though, is that I have automated tests running on Windows, Linux, and OS X. First, there's the large platform-specific section of my root POM, which defines platform-activated profiles that set up environment variables:

<!-- These profiles add support for specific platforms for tests -->
<profiles>
	<profile>
		<activation>
			<os>
				<family>Windows</family>
			</os>
			<property>
				<name>notes-program</name>
			</property>
		</activation>
	
		<build>
			<plugins>
				<plugin>
					<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
					<artifactId>tycho-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
					<version>${tycho-version}</version>
					
					<configuration>
						<skip>false</skip>
						
						<argLine>-Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -Djava.library.path="${notes-program}"</argLine>
						<environmentVariables>
							<PATH>${notes-program}${path.separator}${env.PATH}</PATH>
						</environmentVariables>
					</configuration>
				</plugin>
			</plugins>
		</build>
	</profile>
	<profile>
		<id>mac</id>
		<activation>
			<os>
				<family>mac</family>
			</os>
			<property>
				<name>notes-program</name>
			</property>
		</activation>
	
		<build>
			<plugins>
				<plugin>
					<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
					<artifactId>tycho-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
					
					<configuration>
						<skip>false</skip>
						
						<argLine>-Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -Djava.library.path="${notes-program}"</argLine>
						<environmentVariables>
							<PATH>${notes-program}${path.separator}${env.PATH}</PATH>
							<LD_LIBRARY_PATH>${notes-program}${path.separator}${env.LD_LIBRARY_PATH}</LD_LIBRARY_PATH>
							<DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH>${notes-program}${path.separator}${env.DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH}</DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH>
							<Notes_ExecDirectory>${notes-program}</Notes_ExecDirectory>
						</environmentVariables>
					</configuration>
				</plugin>
			</plugins>
		</build>
	</profile>
	<profile>
		<id>linux</id>
		<activation>
			<os>
				<family>unix</family>
				<name>linux</name>
			</os>
			<property>
				<name>notes-program</name>
			</property>
		</activation>
	
		<build>
			<plugins>
				<plugin>
					<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
					<artifactId>tycho-surefire-plugin</artifactId>
					<version>${tycho-version}</version>
					
					<configuration>
						<skip>false</skip>
						
						<argLine>-Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -Djava.library.path="${notes-program}"</argLine>
						<environmentVariables>
							<!-- The res/C path entry is important for loading formula language properly -->
							<PATH>${notes-program}${path.separator}${notes-program}/res/C${path.separator}${notes-data}${path.separator}${env.PATH}</PATH>
							<LD_LIBRARY_PATH>${notes-program}${path.separator}${env.LD_LIBRARY_PATH}</LD_LIBRARY_PATH>
							
							<!-- Notes-standard environment variable to specify the program directory -->
							<Notes_ExecDirectory>${notes-program}</Notes_ExecDirectory>
							<Directory>${notes-data}</Directory>
							
							<!-- Linux generally requires that the notes.ini path be specified manually, since it's difficult to determine automatically -->
							<!-- This variable is a convention used in the test classes, not Notes-standard -->
							<NotesINI>${notes-ini}</NotesINI>
						</environmentVariables>
					</configuration>
				</plugin>
			</plugins>
		</build>
	</profile>
</profiles>

Each block is kicked off both by a specific OS combination, using Maven's OS names (you can also target specific architectures within them), as well as the presence of a notes-program property. This is a convention I've adopted to go alongside the notes-program property that points to the XSP plugins; this one instead points to the root Notes or Domino install to use for execution.

Windows is the easiest since Notes still feels most at home on there. There, it's just a matter of adding the Notes program root to the Java library path and the environment's PATH. From there, the Notes libraries automatically picked up the data directory and notes.ini, presumably from the registry.

The Mac is mildly more complex: in addition to the two settings from Windows, I also ended up adding the program path to LD_LIBRARY_PATH and DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH. I'm not entirely sure both are needed, but hey, it works this way. In addition, I had to specify Notes_ExecDirectory. After that, the tests found the location of the data dir and Notes Preferences, presumably due to Mac OS conventions.

Linux needed the most hand-holding, which shouldn't be too surprising for those who have installed Domino on Linux - it doesn't seem to respect any platform conventions there. In addition to specifying the notes-program property and using it in the same places as on the Mac, I also added two more properties to my Maven config: notes-data, to point to the data directory, and notes-ini, to point to notes.ini. I used the notes-data property to specify the Directory environment variable that the Notes libraries look for, and then I also specified NotesINI. That's not something that the Notes libs look for, but instead it's a way to shuttle the configuration to the Java code that actually executes the tests.

That leads to the final hurdle: initializing the Notes environment in the JUnit test classes. To do that, I specified a @BeforeClass method that checks for the presence of the Notes_ExecDirectory and NotesINI environment variables. If they're present (i.e. it's Linux), it calls NotesInitExtended with the value of Notes_ExecDirectory as the first argument and = plus the value of NotesINI as the second. Afterwards, whether or not that was called, it calls NotesThread.sinitThread(), and from then on NotesFactory.createSession() will generate proper native sessions.

There's also an @AfterClass method that is the mirror of that: it calls NotesThread.stermThread() and then, on Linux, NotesTerm.


So yeah, there are a lot of hoops to hop through! Hopefully, this post will be helpful for someone attempting to do the same thing I did, and it'll cut down on a lot of searching around and trying to piece together a working environment.

That Java Thing, Part 16: Maven Fallout

  • Feb 23, 2016

So, after the last post's large task of converting to Maven, this step is mostly about picking up the pieces and expanding on some of the concepts. We'll start with M2Eclipse, usually rendered as just "m2e".

m2e

m2e is the set of plugins that acts as Eclipse's interface to Maven. It more-or-less replaces the earlier maven-eclipse-plugin, though you will likely still see references to that around. Eclipse doesn't have any inherent knowledge of how Maven works, m2e has the complicated task of reading your projects' pom.xml files and adapting them to Eclipse's internal configuration. So, for example, in our projects it saw the presence of Tycho and determined that they should be imported as OSGi projects. In other cases, m2e may pick up the presence of things like Android plugins to trigger the use of the Android development tools.

Though it tries mightily, m2e is the source of a lot of the consternation that can come with a switch to Maven-based development. Because most Maven plugins don't have any inherent allowances for working in an Eclipse environment, adapters have to be written for each one in order for them to work with m2e - this is what the dialog yesterday installing the Tycho adapters was about. In some cases, these don't exist and you have to tell m2e to ignore the plugin; in other cases, the adapters DO exist, but are flawed in some way. Most of the time, things go alright, but there are enough edge cases that it can be irritating.

For this kind of task, m2e is pretty unobtrusive, but it's important to know it's there.

Updating the .gitignore

One side effect of m2e's behavior is that it's not a good idea to remove Eclipse's project configuration files from the Git repository. This is not required, but it can avoid a number of annoying problems when dealing with multi-person Maven projects. To start with, open the .gitignore file from the root of your local Git repository (you can get to this easily using Eclipse's Git Repositories view, in the "Working Directory" part of the repo). Add some lines at the end to ignore .project and .classpath, so your whole file should now look like:

._*
Thumbs.db
.DS_Store

*.class

# Mobile Tools for Java (J2ME)
.mtj.tmp/

# Package Files #
#*.jar
*.war
*.ear

# virtual machine crash logs, see http://www.java.com/en/download/help/error_hotspot.xml
hs_err_pid*

# Eclipse project files
.project
.classpath

Depending on how your (hypothetical) team wants to work, it may also make sense to ignore the .settings/ directory, which stores some additional Eclipse project information. However, some of that information may be useful to share - for example, on-save code-cleaning behavior that isn't readily expressed in Maven.

Due to the way Git works, just adding the files to the .gitignore won't remove them from the repository: instead, they'll just no longer show up in the list for new changes. In order to also remove them from the repository without deleting them from the filesystem, go to the "Navigator" pane in Eclipse (if it doesn't show up currently, you can add it via Window → Show View → Navigator), find each .project and .classpath file in the four projects (some will only have the former), right-click, and choose Team → Advanced → Untrack:

Now, commit the changes - though the files remain on the filesystem, they should show up as deleted in the commit dialog:

The target Folder

This one is one we've already prepped a bit for. Whereas most Eclipse projects store their binary output (Java class files, Jars, etc.) in the bin folder or elsewhere, the standard Maven behavior is to use target. For most of the projects, this doesn't matter - we had already configured the plugin to use a subfolder here for its classes, and the temporary files for other aspects don't matter. However, it's still important to know about this; when you're looking for the compiled or packaged output of a Maven project, this is the place to look, and we'll run into this when building the update site.

Building the Update Site

There's an important changed involved now with how the update site is built: it does not involve opening the site.xml and clicking "Build All" anymore. Instead, it involves right-clicking the root project ("parent-xsp") and choosing Run As → Maven Install:

There are two logical followup questions when seeing this change: "what?" and "why?". They're both bound together to what the nature of a Maven project is, and, significantly, the way Eclipse interacts with them. Maven is primarily a command-line tool - granted, it's a set of Java classes, but the primary way to interact with it is via the command line. m2e does a lot of work to interpret the projects in the same way as the `mvn` command-line tool, but it's just a secondary interpretation due to the way Maven and Eclipse work.

The way to fully build a Maven-ized project in a way that fully uses the configuration is to run the command-line tool. Fortunately, m2e comes with its own embedded version and doesn't require you to use a terminal, but the abstraction is very leaky - and this is why you use "Run As" instead of any of the normal "Build"-related commands. The "Run As" commands construct a CLI-type environment and execute the embedded Maven, which is what then does the real work.

Since "parent-xsp" is the root of our projects, it's the starting point to execute a Maven build. When you run this, you'll see a lot of chatter in Eclipse's Console view, particularly the first run: Maven will seek out the plugins needed to build the projects and install them to the local Maven repository (stored in ".m2/repository" in your home folder). After that, it will build and package each of your projects. There's a whole phase system going on here (similar in concept to the XPages lifecycle), as well as many configuration options, but the important part here is that the "install" command (called a "goal" in Maven parlance) is the last phase that we will worry about, and it will cover everything we need here.

Upon completion, the Console text should end with something like this (incidentally, "Reactor" is Maven's term for the entire blob of modules being processed):

[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Reactor Summary:
[INFO] 
[INFO] parent-xsp ......................................... SUCCESS [  0.617 s]
[INFO] com.example.xsp.plugin ............................. SUCCESS [  1.647 s]
[INFO] com.example.xsp.feature ............................ SUCCESS [  0.411 s]
[INFO] com.example.xsp.update ............................. SUCCESS [  4.143 s]
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] BUILD SUCCESS
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Total time: 30.310 s
[INFO] Finished at: 2016-02-23T13:55:20-05:00
[INFO] Final Memory: 80M/191M
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Part of this process is the cration of the update site, which, due to how we configured it, will be represented twice in the "target" folder in "com.example.xsp.plugins": as a tree of files inside the "site" folder and also zipped up into the "site_assembly.zip" file. There's also a file named "site.zip", but that contains just the site.xml, which is not important. It's these files that you should now target with Designer and the NSF Update Site when updating the plugin. In fact, it'd be a good idea to delete the "features" and "plugins" folders from outside the "target" folder now - they won't be used any more.

As for the "Build All" button in site.xml, it's best to pretend it doesn't exist. It will still work, but it will break your Maven build, because it overwrites the "qualifier" in the version numbers. This is, admittedly, a drag: it's convenient having a clear, logical button to build the site, and it's very inconvenient that Eclipse doesn't tell you not to use it any more. However, the Maven process, besides being now required, has a nice advantage: now building the update site will no longer cause Git to want to check in the change. That's something that can get annoying very quickly when working with another developer on a non-Mavenized OSGi project.

Adding Back The Source Plugin

We'll finish the day on an easy one: adding back in the source plugin. Unlike the original setup, which used a separate feature to house the source plugin, we'll now include it in the same feature. You could also continue to have a separate source feature, which would be useful for very large projects where it would actually be a big burden to deploy the source to servers, but, for XPages libraries, it's generally not worth the cognitive hassle.

Since we already configured the Tycho source plugin earlier, this is just a matter of adding a reference to the (implied) source plugin to the feature.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<feature
      id="com.example.xsp.feature"
      label="Example XSP Library Feature"
      version="1.0.0.qualifier">

   <description url="http://www.example.com/description">
      [Enter Feature Description here.]
   </description>

   <copyright url="http://www.example.com/copyright">
      [Enter Copyright Description here.]
   </copyright>

   <license url="http://www.example.com/license">
      [Enter License Description here.]
   </license>

   <plugin
         id="com.example.xsp.plugin"
         download-size="0"
         install-size="0"
         version="0.0.0"
         unpack="false"/>

   <plugin
         id="com.example.xsp.plugin.source"
         download-size="0"
         install-size="0"
         version="0.0.0"/>

</feature>

Now, the source will be included in the output and bundled with the main feature when it's installed. Commit this change:


At this point, we're basically back to where we were previously, OSGi-wise, but in a much better position to scale the project further and take advantage of supporting systems. The next couple posts will cover some of those potential systems, as well as remaining large conceptual topics. There's a great deal to know when it comes to Maven, but it's all helpful.

That Java Thing, Part 15: Converting the Projects

  • Feb 22, 2016

Prelude: there was a typo in the previous entry. Originally, the file URL read "file://C:/IBM/UpdateSite", but, on Windows, there should be another slash in there: "file:///C:/IBM/UpdateSite". I've corrected the original post now, but you should make sure to fix your own settings.xml file if needed. Otherwise, Maven will complain down the line about the URI having "an authority component".

The time has come to do the dirty work of converting our existing plugin projects to Maven. There will be some filesystem-side reorganizing and not every project will make it (looking at you, source project), but overall it's mostly a job of pasting a bunch of XML into new files.

For the first leg of this, I recommend removing the projects from your Eclipse workspace by selecting them, right-clicking, and choosing Delete:

On the confirmation dialog, do not select "Delete project contents on disk" - we don't actually want to get rid of the files.

Next, find the projects on your filesystem, create a new folder alongside them named "com.example.xsp", and move the projects inside it. In Maven parlance, we're creating a "multi-module project", and this new folder is the top level in our module hierarchy. This can contain arbitrary levels and can be very helpful in project organization, but this will be a pretty simple parent-and-children case. Next, dive into the folder and delete the "com.example.xsp.source.feature" - we'll be able to generate this through Maven now, and so we can trim down our project count slightly.

Now, create a file named pom.xml in the "com.example.xsp" folder alongside the subfolders, and fill its contents with this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
	xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">
	<modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion>
	<groupId>com.example</groupId>
	<artifactId>parent-xsp</artifactId>
	<version>1.0.0-SNAPSHOT</version>
	
	<packaging>pom</packaging>

	<modules>
		<module>com.example.xsp.plugin</module>
		<module>com.example.xsp.feature</module>
		<module>com.example.xsp.update</module>
	</modules>

	<properties>
		<project.build.sourceEncoding>UTF-8</project.build.sourceEncoding>
		<tycho-version>0.24.0</tycho-version>
		<compiler>1.6</compiler>
	</properties>

	<repositories>
		<repository>
			<id>Luna</id>
			<layout>p2</layout>
			<url>http://download.eclipse.org/releases/luna/</url>
		</repository>
		<repository>
			<id>notes</id>
			<layout>p2</layout>
			<url>${notes-platform}</url>
		</repository>
	</repositories>

	<build>
		<plugins>
			<!--
				Maven compiler options
			-->
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.apache.maven.plugins</groupId>
				<artifactId>maven-compiler-plugin</artifactId>
				<version>3.1</version>
				<configuration>
					<source>${compiler}</source>
					<target>${compiler}</target>
					<compilerArgument>-err:-forbidden,discouraged,deprecation</compilerArgument>
				</configuration>
			</plugin>
			
			<!--
				Tycho plugins
			-->
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
				<artifactId>tycho-maven-plugin</artifactId>
				<version>${tycho-version}</version>
				<extensions>true</extensions>
			</plugin>
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
				<artifactId>tycho-packaging-plugin</artifactId>
				<version>${tycho-version}</version>
				<configuration>
					<strictVersions>false</strictVersions>
				</configuration>
			</plugin>
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
				<artifactId>tycho-compiler-plugin</artifactId>
				<version>${tycho-version}</version>
				<configuration>
					<source>${compiler}</source>
					<target>${compiler}</target>
					<compilerArgument>-err:-forbidden,discouraged,deprecation</compilerArgument>
				</configuration>
			</plugin>
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
				<artifactId>tycho-source-plugin</artifactId>
				<version>${tycho-version}</version>
				<executions>
					<execution>
						<id>plugin-source</id>
						<goals>
							<goal>plugin-source</goal>
						</goals>
					</execution>
				</executions>
			</plugin>
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
				<artifactId>target-platform-configuration</artifactId>
				<version>${tycho-version}</version>
				<configuration>

					<pomDependencies>consider</pomDependencies>
					<dependency-resolution>
						<extraRequirements>
							<requirement>
								<type>eclipse-plugin</type>
								<id>com.ibm.notes.java.api.win32.linux</id>
								<versionRange>[9.0.1,9.0.2)</versionRange>
							</requirement>
						</extraRequirements>
						<optionalDependencies>ignore</optionalDependencies>
					</dependency-resolution>

					<filters>
						<!-- work around Equinox bug 348045 -->
						<filter>
							<type>p2-installable-unit</type>
							<id>org.eclipse.equinox.servletbridge.extensionbundle</id>
							<removeAll />
						</filter>
					</filters>

					<environments>
						<environment>
							<os>linux</os>
							<ws>gtk</ws>
							<arch>x86</arch>
						</environment>
						<environment>
							<os>linux</os>
							<ws>gtk</ws>
							<arch>x86_64</arch>
						</environment>
						<environment>
							<os>win32</os>
							<ws>win32</ws>
							<arch>x86</arch>
						</environment>
						<environment>
							<os>win32</os>
							<ws>win32</ws>
							<arch>x86_64</arch>
						</environment>
						<environment>
							<os>macosx</os>
							<ws>cocoa</ws>
							<arch>x86_64</arch>
						</environment>
					</environments>
					<resolver>p2</resolver>
				</configuration>
			</plugin>
		</plugins>
	</build>
</project>

So... yeah, there's a lot going on here. This is the biggest of the "XML dumps" we're going to have and contains by far the greatest number of bizarre "you just have to know about it" parts. "POM" stands for "Project Object Model" - it's the language Maven uses to describe the project. Let's tackle the file from near the top (ignoring the XML header):

project and modelVersion

These elements are effectively just boilerplate: the project element is the root of our project descriptor and it contains some definitions to let XML editors parse the file format. In turn, the modelVersion describes to Maven the specific version we're working with, which has been "4.0.0" for as long as I've been doing this.

groupId, artifactId, and version

These elements are obligatory in one form or another in every project, but are less copy-and-paste-able: they define the name and version of your project. These are Maven's equivalents to OSGi's Bundle-SymbolicName and Bundle-Version, though Maven makes an explicit distinction between the overall grouping of the plugin and its specific name. These are essentially arbitrary, but the convention is to use the standard reverse-DNS version of your domain name for the group ID, and then keep this group ID consistent across different projects (...mostly). The artifact ID is less consistent, but it's good to pick a pattern like "projectPrefix-submodule". Here, we actually reverse that a bit to call it "parent-xsp" in order to emphasize that this project's purpose is entirely to be a parent to the submodules and not an interesting artifact to consume itself. We'll break this convention again for the submodules due to our use of Tycho/OSGi.

packaging

A project's packaging describes the sort of output. By default, if this is left un-specified, it's jar - a normal, run-of-the-mill Jar file. There are a few other common ones you may run into - such as war for J2EE web apps or bundle for non-Tycho OSGi bundles - and the one we're using here is pom. This is actually kind of the "none of the above" option: the "pom" is just the file we're editing now, and is included with every project type. Having a packaging type of pom generally means that either the project has no real outputs of its own (as is the case here) or it's an "ad hoc" project that doesn't fit an existing type.

modules

This block is the hallmark of a parent project: it lists the relative folder paths that contain the submodules. In this case, the names line up with the names we'll use for the submodules, but this could potentially vary depending on the folder names and locations. Parent-child module relationships don't have to be physically hierarchical on the filesystem, but it's a good convention when you don't have a specific reason to break it.

properties

This block is the project-level equivalent to the user-level property we defined in .m2/settings.xml. There are two types of properties that can go here, with no obvious distinction between them: known configuration properties used by Maven itself and arbitrary named variables used by the person writing the pom.

The first property - project.build.sourceEncoding - is an example of the former. During execution, Maven will reference this property defined in the project (or one of its parents) when determining the text file encoding to use. This could be set to something else if you're working with non-Unicode files, but it's important to set it here so that file interpretation will not be platform-dependent. These properties can be read like an equivalent of EL for the project XML: it sets a property of sourceEncoding within the build node in project, but more consisely (more or less).

The other two are variables for use later. The names of these have only very loose conventions, but there seem to be a couple common types: ALL_CAPS, camelCase, and hyphen-delimited. You can also specify variables as dot.delimited and they will work the same way, but that makes them more difficult to distinguish from the system-level properties.

repositories

The repositories block is the start of our OSGi-related weirdness. The block itself isn't OSGi-specific - it has its role in other projects that want to make use of dependencies outside of the core public Maven repositories - but the contents is. We're setting two repositories here: one to point to the main Eclipse repository (the Luna version here, but that could just as well be Mars or Kepler) and one to point to the XPages Update Site. This is where the property we set before comes into play, allowing different developers to keep the update site in different locations without changing the project's config.

build

The build section is often the largest part of a POM file - it contains definitions and configuration for various additional Maven plugins used during compilation. We have two tasks to accomplish here: ensure that we use Java 6 for compilation at the root level (to ensure the build doesn't execute as Java 7 or 8 and be incompatible with Domino) and enable a whole slew of Tycho plugins.

The maven-compiler-plugin block specifies the version of the Java compiler plugin to use (3.1, which is actually kind of old, but the differences aren't important) and then provides it with some configuration to set the Java version level and to not choke on forbidden references. Like the Java version, the latter is a nod to Domino: depending on your JVM configuration, you may run into forbidden-reference errors relating to the lotus.domino classes.

The next slew of blocks all relate to loading up various Tycho components. Tycho's job is esentially to construct an entire OSGi environment during the Maven build, and it consists of a number of moving parts, many of which are basically the Tycho version of normal Maven facilities. The tycho-maven-plugin is the core, and its extensions rule is what allows it to worm itself into various phases of the build process. The tycho-packaging-plugin controls the process of bundling the projects as their various types: the plugin, the feature, and the update site (in our case). The tycho-compiler-plugin is the Tycho variant of the Maven one we configured earlier. The tycho-source-plugin is what allowed us to kick the standalone source feature to the curb - it's the equivalent of the Eclipse-specific feature we had been hooking into before.

The tycho-platform-configuration is the scariest of the bunch. This plugin's job is to establish the OSGi Target Platform we're working with, in conjunction with the repository specified above. Not all of this configuration is necessary for our immediate needs, but may come in handy later. The pomDependencies rule is useful when using mixed-type dependencies in more-complicated projects, while the extraRequirements block forces the inclusion of the plugin fragment that contains Notes.jar. The optionalDependencies rule comes in handy from time to time with XPages projects: there are sometimes cases where there's a dependency that Eclipse has and which the server will have, but which will be awkward to get to in Maven, usually relating to dependencies-of-dependencies not related to compilation. The filters block is... I don't know; just keep it in there. The environments block is a way to describe the platforms on which your code can execute - I believe this is primarily used when testing. The resolver is like filters in that it's a "I just copy it around" thing; presumably, it refers to a specific code path for resolving plugin dependencies.

Whew!

Okay, so... that's the first one down! For the most part, you can carry around the whole bottom section pretty much as-is for your XPages Maven projects (as I do), and then gradually become comfortable with the specifics over time. Now, there's some good news and some bad news:

  • The bad news is that there are three more POM files to write.
  • The good news is that they are much, much simpler.

In recent versions of Tycho, they've added the ability to reduce the number of POMs involved, but there are limits to that, particularly to do with Jenkins, so we'll stick to the traditional way for now.

com.example.xsp.plugin

Go into the "com.example.xsp.plugin" folder and create a new pom.xml containing this:

<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
	xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">
	<modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion>
	<parent>
		<groupId>com.example</groupId>
		<artifactId>parent-xsp</artifactId>
		<version>1.0.0-SNAPSHOT</version>
	</parent>
	<artifactId>com.example.xsp.plugin</artifactId>
	<packaging>eclipse-plugin</packaging>
</project>

Like I promised: much simpler. Because the parent POM already brought in all the Tycho plugins and configuration, all we need to do here is the basics. One slightly-unusual aspect here is the packaging type. eclipse-plugin isn't a packaging type known to Maven inherently; instead, it's provided by Tycho, but can be used in the same way.

The artifact ID here is a concession to Tycho: Maven artifact IDs don't usually follow the same full-reverse-DNS conversion as OSGi, but Tycho wants the artifact ID to match the OSGi bundle name.

com.example.xsp.feature

Next up is the pom.xml file in the "com.example.xsp.feature" folder:

<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">
	<modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion>
	<parent>
		<groupId>com.example</groupId>
		<artifactId>parent-xsp</artifactId>
		<version>1.0.0-SNAPSHOT</version>
	</parent>
	<artifactId>com.example.xsp.feature</artifactId>
	<packaging>eclipse-feature</packaging>
</project>

This is very similar to the last, with the only real differences being the artifact ID and the packaging type.

com.example.xsp.update

Now, the pom.xml in "com.example.xsp.update":

<project xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/POM/4.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/maven-4.0.0.xsd">
	<modelVersion>4.0.0</modelVersion>
	<parent>
		<groupId>com.example</groupId>
		<artifactId>parent-xsp</artifactId>
		<version>1.0.0-SNAPSHOT</version>
	</parent>
	<artifactId>com.example.xsp.update</artifactId>
	<packaging>eclipse-update-site</packaging>

	<build>
		<plugins>
			<plugin>
				<groupId>org.eclipse.tycho</groupId>
				<artifactId>tycho-packaging-plugin</artifactId>
				<version>${tycho-version}</version>
				<configuration>
					<archiveSite>true</archiveSite>
				</configuration>
			</plugin>
		</plugins>
	</build>
</project>

This one's slightly longer, but not by too much. Beyond the different artifact ID and packaging, we also provide some additional configuration to the tycho-packaging-plugin. This is among the plugins that were established in the root POM, but it's re-defined here in order to enable the archiveSite configuration option. This will give us a nice ZIP file of the Update Site at the end.

There's one other thing to note here: Tycho considers the eclipse-update-site packaging type to be deprecated, and it may be removed in the future. In most examples you'll see outside of Domino, people use eclipse-repository instead. This gets back to the difference between the old-style ("site.xml") Eclipse Update Sites and the new-style ("category.xml", named P2) Update Sites. For now, we use the old-style variant because it works better with Notes and Domino.

In addition to this POM file, we also have two changes to make in the site.xml: remove the source-feature reference (we'll add this back elsewhere later) and clean up the versions:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<site>
   <feature url="features/com.example.xsp.feature_1.0.0.qualifier.jar" id="com.example.xsp.feature" version="1.0.0.qualifier">
      <category name="Example"/>
   </feature>
   <category-def name="Example" label="Example"/>
</site>

The version distinction is to change the Eclipse-generated timestamps at the end of the versions to "qualifier". The reason for this is that, for Tycho, the site.xml acts as a pure configuration file, and will no longer be the site index itself. So Tycho wants the qualifier to be generic, and then will fill it in during compilation. Like the source feature, this will be covered more later.

Last Steps

With our POM files defined, the last step for now is to import the projects back into Eclipse. In Eclipse, go to File → Import, expand the "Maven" category, and choose "Existing Maven Projects":

On the next screen, browse to the "com.example.xsp" directory created earlier. If all goes well, this should find the four projects in their hierarchy:

Everything on this can be left as the defaults, though you may want to specify a more-descriptive working set name - that doesn't affect the project behavior.

When you click "Finish", Eclipse with churn for a bit and then, if you're running Mars and haven't done this before, it will present a dialog about "Maven plugin connectors":

The specifics of what is going on here are a large topic of their own, but the short of it is that Eclipse needs specialized plugins to deal with each Maven plugin, and in this case it's looked for (and found) connectors for Tycho. Click "Finish", "Next", and "OK", accept the license terms, and restart Eclipse as it tells you to.

When Eclipse restarts, it should go through some churning while it updates the Maven projects and should finally settle on no remaining errors.

Closing Out

There will be some things to discuss with the fallout from this conversion, but this will do it for today. Commit your changes, stand up and stretch, and grab a cup of relaxing tea:

That Java Thing, Part 14: Maven Environment Setup

  • Feb 21, 2016

Before diving into the task of converting our plugin projects to Maven, there's a bit of setup we need to do. In a basic case, Maven doesn't require much setup beyond the project file itself - it's a "convention over configuration" type of thing that tries to make doing things the default way smooth. However, since it's also a "Java" thing, that means that anything out of the ordinary requires a bunch of XML.

Our big "out of the ordinary" aspect is OSGi. Maven and OSGi are often at loggerheads, but the conflict won't be too great in our situation. Still, it does mean there will be a few hoops to jump through, and one of those hoops is dealing with our dependency on the XPages runtime plugins. Since these plugins are not packaged as fully-Mavenized artifacts (yet (hopefully)), we'll need to configure Tycho to read the p2 (Eclipse) style.

In part 3, we downloaded the Build Management Update Site from OpenNTF, and we'll reuse that here. What we need to do is create a global Maven settings file that, for now, will just contain a definition of a variable to point to this update site. It would also be possible to specify this inside the project itself, but it's better form to use a consistent variable name (the most common convention is notes-platform) in the project files and then have your local settings point to it on your machine.

The global Maven settings file is called settings.xml and is stored in a folder named .m2 in your user's home directory (e.g. C:\Users\someuser\.m2 or /Users/someuser/.m2). Creating a folder named with a leading dot can be a pain in Explorer and the Finder, so it may be necessary to drop into a command line or other tool to do it. One way or another, create this file and set its contents similar to this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<settings xmlns="http://maven.apache.org/SETTINGS/1.0.0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://maven.apache.org/SETTINGS/1.0.0 http://maven.apache.org/xsd/settings-1.0.0.xsd">
	<profiles>
		<profile>
			<id>main</id>
			<properties>
				<notes-platform>file:///C:/IBM/UpdateSite</notes-platform>
			</properties>
		</profile>
	</profiles>
	<activeProfiles>
		<activeProfile>main</activeProfile>
	</activeProfiles>
</settings>

Adjust the file:// URL as necessary to point to the location on your computer. It has to be a file URL and not a normal path, presumably because repositories are usually expected to be remote HTTP sites.

This is the only configuration we need before getting to the project, but it's a good preview of the sort of "try pasting this big block of XML somewhere" advice you're in for when it comes to Maven use. Over time, the structure of the XML and how it relates to Maven's behavior begins to crystallize, but it's definitely cumbersome to start with, and it will get more opaque before it gets less so.

Depending on your proclivities, this may be a good opportunity to install standalone Maven as well. Eclipse has its own embedded version, so this is not required, but it can be handy sometimes to be able to run Maven from the command line. On your average Linux distribution or OS X with Homebrew, Maven should be installable with a package manager. Otherwise, Maven can be downloaded from maven.apache.org - it doesn't have an installer as such, as it's essentially some scripts around Java classes, but they have tips for adding it to your path.

Next, we'll get to the real meat of this process: actually converting the projects to Maven.

That Java Thing, Part 13: Introduction to Maven

  • Feb 19, 2016

I've been laying warnings that this would be coming and you've seen me grouse about it for over a year, but now the time has come to really dive into Maven for Domino developers.

To lead into it, there are two main topics to cover: what Maven is and why you should bother.

What Maven Is

Maven is a build automation tool, primarily for Java applications but able to work with a number of other languages and environments.

The concept of a "build automation tool" is a strange one when you're coming from a Notes/Domino perspective, and it's the source of a lot of consternation when moving to it. In classic Notes, there conceptually was no build phase for an application: certain things would be compiled on save, but there was rarely any need to think about this. Designer was the way to write applications and it took care of it. With XPages came a bit of Eclipse-ism with the notion of "Build" being a separate, not-necessarily-automatic stage, but there still wasn't much user-facing configuration going on: other than maybe adding a source folder, the IDE just kind of took care of it.

Even for OSGi plugin developers, the need seems a little arcane. Eclipse does have project and build configurations, and it runs through build scripts internally when you export Jars or build an update site. Again, though, this is all largely hidden and the user doesn't normally have to think much about it.

Where this comes in, though, is when you want to start expanding your projects in ways beyond the "single bag of code" stage: automatically including pre-packaged dependencies, making the project cleanly available to others down stream, sharing configuration across projects, and, particularly, automating building, testing, and deployment with an environment like Jenkins. Maven (and the alternatives like Gradle) provide important structure and meta-information to do these things and scale them to ever-larger tasks.

Why You Should Bother

I've found the pro-Maven pitch to be kind of a weird one, since it's sort of like unit/integration testing in that, before you do it, it doesn't seem worth the hassle, but then, when you've switched over, it seems crazy to not do it. Like a cult, I guess, but a somewhat better idea.

I'll start with an important reason: it's good for your career. Unless you want to remain on legacy-maintenance duty forever (which, granted, can be a stable gig), it's important to keep improving your skills, and build automation is a big concept that pays dividends in knowledge in Domino programming and beyond. Once you're familiar with a system like Maven, you start recognizing the same patterns elsewhere: in some of OSGi's capabilities, in older systems like Make, and, crucially, in whatever modern JavaScript toolchains are doing lately. Learning something like this opens up doors.

It also makes testing that much more natural. Building and running automated tests is certainly possible in Eclipse, but Maven's structure strongly encourages it (newly-created projects start with JUnit and a tests directory, to nudge you in that direction), and having test running be a phase in building makes it much more foolproof. The virtue of writing tests creeps up on you: even if you don't go whole-hog TDD, getting into the habit of starting each bug fix with a failing-then-successful test case means you now have a bug you'll never have to see again. Granted, as with a lot of other aspects, the nature of Domino development creates some hurdles, but it's still worth it.

And finally: features, features, features. Once you get comfortable with Maven, it becomes much easier to spin up accompanying source and Javadoc packages for your projects, add in other languages, filter content during builds, create alternate build profiles for different situations, bring in remote resources easily, deploy to targets automatically, manage versioning cleanly, and so forth. These are all things that are possible in the absence of a system like Maven, but Maven brings them all together in a way that is understandable both by your IDE of choice and by faceless servers.

What's Next

The next step will move from high-flown concepts to some brass tacks: preparing a Maven environment for Domino development and getting a look at what Maven's configuration files look like.

Connect 2016 and Darwino 1.0

  • Feb 8, 2016

Last week was Connect 2016 and, while I don't have a full review of it, I felt that it was a pretty successful conference. The new venue was much less weird and more purpose-fitting than expected. Moreover, while the conference content wasn't bursting with announcements and in-depth technical dives like at something like WWDC, it did feel a bit more grounded and less marketing-hollow than the last two. So I'll call it a win.

On the OpenNTF front, the conference saw a bit more in the slow rollout of our improved processes and server infrastructure. Prominic has been graciously providing us with servers to run the Atlassian stack of development apps, and we're gradually putting these to use in building and tracking projects run through OpenNTF. Christian Güdemann talked about his company's move to more-structured development using tools like this, as well as an overview of where OpenNTF in particular is heading. Before too long, the OpenNTF Domino API will fall in line with this, switching to a Gitflow-style branch structure and a clean workflow between Stash, Bamboo, and Jira.

The conference also saw the 1.0 release of Darwino. If you're not familiar with it, Darwino is a platform for Java-based development that provides a document database (with improved takes on classic Domino features like hierarchies and reader/author security) and services that will run the same business logic on Java app servers, iOS, and Android. Of particular interest for Connect was the Domino connector, which does two-way replication with Domino databases. The free-for-non-commercial-use Community Edition is a good place to dive in, and we'll be putting out tutorial videos and posts in the weeks to come.

All in all, last week set the stage for the year to come, and I think it should be a very interesting year indeed.