XPages Jakarta EE 2.5.0 And The Looming Java-Version Wall

May 25, 2022, 2:41 PM

Earlier today, I published version 2.5.0 of the XPages Jakarta EE Support project. It's mostly a consolidation and bug-fix release, but there are few interesting features and notes about the implementation. Plus, as teased in the post title up there, there's a looming problem for the project.

New Features

There are two main new features in this version.

First, I added some configurable CORS support for REST services. Fortunately for me, RestEasy comes with a CORS filter by default, and it just needs to be enabled. I wired it up using MicroProfile Config to read some values out of xsp.properties:

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rest.cors.enable=true                   # required for CORS
rest.cors.allowCredentials=true         # defaults to true
rest.cors.allowedMethods=GET,HEAD       # defaults to all
rest.cors.allowedHeaders=Some-Header    # defaults to all
rest.cors.exposedHeaders=Some-Header    # optional
rest.cors.maxAge=600                    # optional
# allowedOrigins is required, and can be "*"
rest.cors.allowedOrigins=http://foo.com,http://bar.com

I also added support for using the long-standing @WebServlet annotation. Though REST services will generally do what you want, sometimes it's handy to use the lower-level Servlet capability, and now you can do so inline:

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@WebServlet(urlPatterns = { "/someservlet", "/someservlet/*", "*.hello" })
public class ExampleServlet extends HttpServlet {
	private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
	
	@Inject
	ApplicationGuy applicationGuy;

	@Override
	protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse resp) throws ServletException, IOException {
		resp.setContentType("text/plain");
		resp.getWriter().println("Hello from ExampleServlet. context=" + req.getContextPath() + ", path=" + req.getServletPath() + ", pathInfo=" + req.getPathInfo());
		resp.getWriter().println("ApplicationGuy: " + applicationGuy.getMessage());
		resp.getWriter().flush();
	}
}

Consolidation

There were a couple specs where I had previously either copied the source into the repository (CDI, Mail) or had maintained a local branch fork (NoSQL). Those were always uncomfortable concessions to reality, but I decided to look further into ways to handle that.

For NoSQL, part of it was what I talked about in my last post: using Eclipse Transformer to make use of javax.* compiled binaries and source converted to jakarta.* automatically. But beyond that, it had the same problem that I had forked Mail for. Namely, it hits the same trouble that lots of non-OSGi code does in an OSGi context, where it uses ServiceLoader in a non-extensible way. Though I have an open PR to make use of the pseudo-standard "HK2" ServiceLoader provider, waiting for that would mean continuing the local-build trouble.

Instead, for all of these cases I made use of OSGi's Weaving capability to re-write those parts of the class files on the fly. While this is a bit unfortunate, it works well in practice. The only real down side for now is having to be a bit more careful when bumping the versions in the future, but this type of code changes very rarely.

The Looming Wall

While this has been going swimmingly, I've started to hit some real impediments with Domino's Java version. The next release of Jakarta EE, version 10, requires Java 11 as a minimum. This is similar to the move Equinox (Domino's OSGi framework of choice) made just under two years ago, and which has itself bitten me with a blockage to upgrading Tycho to version 2.0 and above. Java 11 is about four years old now, and is no longer even the latest LTS release, so this all makes sense.

I've known this was coming for a while, but incompatible versions of JEE specs and implementations started to trickle in over the past year, leading to me leaving notes for myself about maximum versions. JEE 10 itself is fairly imminent now, so I'll be capped at the ones released with JEE 9 a while ago.

So I've been pondering my options here.

In one sense, I solved this problem years ago. The Domino Open Liberty Runtime project has had the ability to download any version of open-source Java that you want, and I expanded it last year to let you pick from several common flavors. Liberty maintains a breathless pace of advancement, adding official support for Java 18 the month after it came out. If one wants to run JEE apps on Domino, that's the most complete way. However, though it does its job technologically well, it's not exactly a natural fit for Domino developers in its current state.

But I've been considering anew a notion I had years ago, which is to write an extension for Liberty so that it reads class files and resources out of an NSF directly. In some early investigation a bit ago, this started to appear quite doable. In theory, I could write an adapter that would take an incoming request for "foo.nsf" and then read files out of the NSF in the same way XPages does, but instead feeding them to Liberty's runtime. Doing this would essentially implement all remaining JEE and MicroProfile specs in one fell swoop on top of the "any Java version" support, but would add the fault-prone attribute of running a separate process and proxying requests to it. In practice, that setup has proven itself good, but it's certainly more complicated than the "single process on port 80" deal that Domino's HTTP is now.

That route also wouldn't inherently support XPages, which would be something of an impediment to the XPages JEE project's original remit. That's something I've also pondered, and in theory I could make an auto-vivifying version of the XPages Runtime project that grabs all the pertinent XPages bundles from the current server and patches them into the Liberty server as an extension feature, similar to how all the built-in Liberty features work. This could be done, but I'll admit that I balk a bit at the prospect. Though I run XPages outside Domino constantly, it's with full knowledge of the tradeoffs and special considerations. Getting a normal NSF-based XPages app to run in this way would take some additional work.

Anyway, those options could work, but none of them are great. The true fix would naturally be for HCL to move to a newer Java version in Domino's HTTP stack, but I don't control that, so I'll content myself with considering what to do in the mean time. Admittedly, pondering this sort of thing is enjoyable in its own right. Also fortunately, even without tackling this, there's still plenty of stuff in the pile for me to tackle as the fancy strikes me.

Putting Eclipse Transformer To Use In Dependency Wrangling

May 24, 2022, 3:46 PM

Tags: jakartaee java

Setting code aside, the backbone of the XPages Jakarta EE Support project is its dependency pool. In it, I use my fork of the p2-maven-plugin to wrangle all the spec and implementation dependencies. Aside from just collecting them, this file does a ton of work to create and reconfigure their OSGi bundle rules to get everything working on Domino.

There have been limitations, though, and some of them have to do with the Jakarta NoSQL project. Though there are side branches of that project using the jakarta.* namespace, the main master branch is still on javax.* for a couple Jakarta depenencies. Historically, I've dealt with this by running a build locally and deploying it to OpenNTF's Maven server. However, this adds a bit of randomness to the mix: if a snapshot build of NoSQL goes out to the main repository that happens to be newer, then building the dependency repository locally might pick up on that instead, since it's named the same thing.

Transformer

Fortunately, IBM wrote the solution for me: Eclipse Transformer. This Transformer is a rules engine to translate files (Java and related resources, namely) based on configuration - and, while it's generic, it's really designed for the transition from javax.* to jakarta.* namespaces.

It allows you to do these transformations at runtime or (as I'll be doing here) ahead of time, even if you don't have access to the original source. Though I do have access to the source, it's more useful at the moment to act like I don't.

I'd known about the tool and have seen how it's used heavily by both app servers and implementation vendors to be able to support both old- and new-style uses, and so I've kept it in mind for in case the need ever came up. It's a perfect fit for this.

p2-maven-plugin

I considered a couple ways to handle this, but realized the cleanest for now would be to integrate it into the dependency pool generator that I already have, since it fits right in with the OSGi transformations I'm doing.

So I went on over to the p2-maven-plugin fork and got to work. When defining Maven artifacts to bring in, the format looks like this:

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<artfiact>
    <id>jakarta.servlet:jakarta.servlet-api:4.0.4</id>
    <source>true</source>
</artfiact>

Now, Servlet already has a jakarta.* version, but it'll be useful here as an example that avoids the other transformations I'm doing.

My addition is to add a transform configuration option here, with jakarta as the only value for now:

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<artfiact>
    <id>jakarta.servlet:jakarta.servlet-api:4.0.4</id>
    <source>true</source>
    <transform>jakarta</transform>
</artfiact>

...and that'll be it! When that is specified, the code will now run the artifact and its source JAR transparently through Transformer and the version you get in your p2 repository will reflect the transition. And, well, it works perfectly in my case. The resultant NoSQL spec and dependencies are functionally equivalent to the ones in the jakarta.* source branch, but without having to actually change the source files yet. Neat.

Implementation

Though it took a bit to track down the best way to do it, it turned out that Transformer is quite easy to embed into a Java app like the Maven plugin. The majority of the code ends up being effectively Java boilerplate to provide the default values for Jakarta transformation. Truncated, it looks like this:

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String inputFileName = t.getAbsolutePath(); // the artifact in ~/.m2/repository
File dest = File.createTempFile(t.getName(), ".jar"); //$NON-NLS-1$
String outputFileName = dest.getAbsolutePath();

Map<String, String> optionDefaults = JakartaTransform.getOptionDefaults();
Function<String, URL> ruleLoader = JakartaTransform.getRuleLoader();
TransformOptions options = /* build TransformOptions object that reads the above variables */

Transformer transformer = new Transformer(logger, options);
ResultCode result = transformer.run();
switch(result) {
case ARGS_ERROR_RC:
case FILE_TYPE_ERROR_RC:
case RULES_ERROR_RC:
case TRANSFORM_ERROR_RC:
	throw new IllegalStateException("Received unexpected result from transformer: " + result);
case SUCCESS_RC:
default:
	return dest;
}

There are plenty of options to specify, but that's really about it. Once given the Jakarta defaults, it will do the right thing in the normal case, both for the compiled class files as well as the source JAR.

I'm not sure if I'll need it in other cases (NoSQL will move over in the main branch eventually), but it's sure handy here and should be useful in a pinch. From time to time, I've run across dependencies that would be useful to include but use old JEE specs, and this could do the trick in those cases too.

Poking Around With JavaSapi

May 19, 2022, 4:49 PM

Tags: dsapi java
  1. Poking Around With JavaSapi
  2. Per-NSF-Scoped JWT Authorization With JavaSapi

Earlier this morning, Serdar Basegmez and Karsten Lehmann had a chat on Twitter regarding the desire for OAuth on Domino and their recollections of a not-quite-shipped technology from a decade ago going by the name "JSAPI".

Seeing this chat go by reminded me of some stuff I saw when I was researching the Domino HTTP Java entrypoint last year. Specifically, these guys, which have been sitting there since at least 9.0.1:

JavaSapi class files in com.ibm.domino.xsp.bridge.http

I'd made note of them at the time, since there's a lot of tantalizing stuff in there, but had put them back on the shelf when I found that they seemed to be essentially inert at runtime. For all of IBM's engineering virtues (and there are many), they were never very good at cleaning up their half-implemented experiments when it came time to ship, and I figured this was more of the same.

What This Is

Well, first and foremost, it is essentially a non-published experiment: I see no reference to these classes or how to enable them anywhere, and so everything within these packages should be considered essentially radioactive. While they're proving to be quite functional in practice, it's entirely possible - even likely - that the bridge to this side of thing is full of memory leaks and potential severe bugs. Journey at your own risk and absolutely don't put this in production. I mean that even more in this case than my usual wink-and-nod "not for production" coyness.

Anyway, this is the stuff Serdar and Karsten were talking about, named "JavaSapi" in practice. It's a Java equivalent to DSAPI, the API you can hook into with native libraries to perform low-level alterations to requests. DSAPI is neat, but it's onerous to use: you have to compile down to a native library, target each architecture you plan to run on, deploy that to each server, and enable it in the web site config. There's a reason not a lot of people use it.

Our new friend JavaSapi here provides the same sorts of capabilities (rewriting URLs, intercepting requests, allowing for arbitrary user authentication (more on this later), and so forth) but in a friendlier environment. It's not just that it's Java, either: JavaSapi runs in the full OSGi environment provided by HTTP, which means it swims in the same pool as XPages and all of your custom libraries. That has implications.

How To Use It

By default, it's just a bunch of classes sitting there, but the hook down to the core level (in libhttpstack.so) remains, and it can be enabled like so:

set config HTTP_ENABLE_JAVASAPI=1

(strings is a useful tool)

Once that's enabled, you should start seeing a line like this on HTTP start:

[01C0:0002-1ADC] 05/19/2022 03:37:17 PM  HTTP Server: JavaSapi Initialized

Now, there's a notable limitation here: the JavaSapi environment isn't intended to be arbitrarily extensible, and it's hard-coded to only know about one service by default. That service is interesting - it's an OAuth 2 provider of undetermined capability - but it's not the subject of this post. The good news is that Java is quite malleable, so it's not too difficult to shim in your own handlers by writing to the services instance variable of the shared JavaSapiEnvironment instance (which you might have to construct if it's not present).

Once you have that hook, it's just a matter of writing a JavaSapiService instance. This abstract class provides fairly-pleasant hooks for the triggers that DSAPI has, and nicely wraps requests and responses in Servlet-alike objects.

Unlike Servlet objects, though, you can set a bunch of stuff on these objects, subject to the same timing and pre-filtering rules you'd have in DSAPI. For example, in the #rawRequest method, you can add or overwrite headers from the incoming request before they get to any other code:

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public int rawRequest(IJavaSapiHttpContextAdapter context) {
    context.getRequest().setRequestHeader("Host", "foo-bar.galaxia");
        
    return HTEXTENSION_EVENT_HANDLED;
}

If you want to, you can also handle the entire request outright:

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public int rawRequest(IJavaSapiHttpContextAdapter context) {
    if(context.getRequest().getRequestURI().contains("foobar")) {
        context.getResponse().setStatus(299);
        context.getResponse().setHeader("Content-Type", "text/foobar");
        try {
            context.getResponse().getOutputStream().print("hi.");
        } catch (IOException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
        return HTEXTENSION_REQUEST_PROCESSED;
    }
    
    return HTEXTENSION_EVENT_HANDLED;
}

You probably won't want to, since we're not lacking for options when it comes to responding to web requests in Java, but it's nice to know you can.

You can even respond to tell http foo commands:

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public int processConsoleCommand(String[] argv, int argc) {
    if(argc > 0) {
        if("foo".equals(argv[0])) { //$NON-NLS-1$
            System.out.println(getClass().getSimpleName() + " was told " + Arrays.toString(argv));
            return HTEXTENSION_SUCCESS;
        }
    }
    return HTEXTENSION_EVENT_DECLINED;
}

So that's neat.

The fun one, as it usually is, is the #authenticate method. One of the main reasons one might use DSAPI in the first place is to provide your own authentication mechanism. I did it years and years ago, Oracle did it for their middleware, and HCL themselves did it recently for the AppDev Pack's OAuth implementation.

So you can do the same here, like this super-secure implementation:

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public int authenticate(IJavaSapiHttpContextAdapter context) {
    context.getRequest().setAuthenticatedUserName("CN=Hello From " + getClass().getName(), getClass().getSimpleName());
    return HTEXTENSION_REQUEST_AUTHENTICATED;
}

The cool thing is that this has the same characteristics as DSAPI: if you declare the request authenticated here, it will be fully trusted by the rest of HTTP. That means not just Java - all the classic stuff will trust it too:

Screenshot showing JavaSapi authentication in action

Conclusion

Again: this stuff is even further from supported than the usual components I muck around in, and you shouldn't trust any of it to work more than you can actively observe. The point here isn't that you should actually use this, but more that it's interesting what things you can find floating around the Domino stack.

Were this to be supported, though, it'd be phenomenally useful. One of Domino's stickiest limitations as an app server is the difficulty of extending its authentication schemes. It's always been possible to do so, but DSAPI is usually prohibitively difficult unless you either have a bunch of time on your hands or a strong financial incentive to use it. With something like this, you could toss Apache Shiro in there as a canonical source of user authentication, or maybe add in Soteria - the Jakarta Security implementation - to get per-app authentication.

There's also that OAuth 2 thing floating around in there, which does have a usable extension point, but I think it's fair to assume that it's unfinished.

This is all fun to tinker with, though, and sometimes that's good enough.

Upcoming Sessions With OpenNTF and at Engage

May 11, 2022, 8:48 AM

Tags: engage openntf

This month contains a few presentations and sessions of note for me, and I realized I should compile a list.

To start out with, I'll be the second presenter at next week's OpenNTF webinar, which will be about the Domino One-Touch Setup capability from V12 onward. The first leg of the presentation will feature Roberto Boccadoro covering its use in the standard case of easing the lives of administrators, while my section will cover more developer-centric needs, particularly my use of it as a tool for repeatable integration-test suites of Domino code. This webinar will take place next week, on May 19th, and you can register for it at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2937214894267353356.

While I won't personally be attending Engage this year, it's shaping up to be a good conference and OpenNTF and Jakarta EE will be well represented (in chronological order):

  • Ro05. Happy Birthday, OpenNTF! Now What? - on Tuesday, Serdar Basegmez (and possibly other OpenNTF directors) will run our traditional community roundtable, where you can hear about what OpenNTF has been up to and provide ideas about where you'd like us to go.
  • De20. Domino apps CI with Docker - also on Tuesday, Martin Pradny will discuss the use of the NSF ODP Tooling project within a Docker container to automate NSF building within a CI infrastructure in a smooth and reliable way.
  • De17. Domino + Jakarta EE = AppDev In Heaven - on Wednesday morning, Daniele Vistalli will cover the XPages Jakarta EE Support project, going over the myriad Jakarta and MicroProfile specifications that it brings to Domino development and showing how you can bring them to bear to fix a lot of long-standing Domino dev limitations.

If you're attending Engage, I definitely suggest you check out all of those.