Apache AXIS 2

Written by klee on April 16th, 2010

Two years ago (2009), a colleague of mine and I presented at RMOUG on using Oracle’s BPEL with Microsoft’s SQL Server to create Web services. Since we were using SQL Server instead of Oracle, we had to create xsd files to define our data. This took quite a bit of time, though not nearly as much time as dragging arrows to connect each of the items in the xsd file. In the end, we had a working deployment that realistically took about six months of duration and maybe 300 hours of work. Most of the problems were due to lack of available documentation at the time, and a difficult time getting Oracle’s BPEL product to play nice with SQL Server. The same service using an Oracle database could be done quite fast. Once you get the hang of it, we are talking minutes. Of course testing takes quite a bit more time.

Well, fast forward to the present. I was in a meeting and the topic of using Web services in Application Express was bantered about. After a few minutes, most of the team was looking at me. I am the one who experiments with products, and they were correct in assuming that I had the solution. Actually, there is a weather example available at Oracle. I was able to demo this example in a few minutes, and show how easy Web services are to integrate into APEX. The conversation then moved on to discussing whether the organization should use our purchased SOA suite to build a Web service library, but that is an entirely different story.

I found myself unable to stop thinking about the difficulty experienced using SQL Server and BPEL. I really couldn’t stop thinking about it. So, I did something about it. Several years ago, I had written a paper on Web services using AXIS. This had been several years ago and AXIS was now using a completely rewritten code base. What’s a guy to do? After downloading the Axis2 1.5.1 Release, I extracted and deployed the included war file to the Tomcat server running on my laptop. There is a samples directory, and one of the easiest ways to get started is the pojoguide example. Basically, there are four files that make up this sample. There is the service definition, src/META-INF/services.xml. In this file, you name the web service that is defined in the service directory.
In the data directory is a bean, src/pojo/data/Weather.java, which simply defines the output. For simple Web services in AXIS2, it seams easy to just create a class, and either return this class, or an array of the defined class as output. Believe me, this method is really easy to use! Okay, the rpcclient is more complicated. In my case, I replace this with a client directory, and created a Test.java file. I use this to test my Web service. After all, it is really just a Java class. In the end, I simply use a browser to test my Web service, displaying the results in my browser. The big deal is the data in the service directory. src/pojo/service/WeatherService.java contains the actual Web service. The class is the Web service, and all methods can be services that you call. Easy cheesy! For examples, I have just copied the pojoguide directory and simply renamed it, then updated the four classes described above. Of course, you have to update the build.xml file to point to the correct files and directories, but that isn’t too bad. Use ant to build the Web service to generate deployable file and test the service itself.

So back to my original point. After downloading the jtds SQL Server driver from SourceForge, I copied the jar file to the lib directory under axis2/WEB-INF and restarted Tomcat. I also had to add this to my build path in ant to get an error free compile. Now I could connect to my database. 15 Minutes later I had created my first AXIS2 Web service in years. Another ten minutes, and I was able to integrate this into APEX. Two great products working together. Technology is awesome!


Power Outage this morning

Written by klee on March 24th, 2010

Nothing like getting a foot of snow, then having the power go out to start your day! Luckily, my employer saw the wisdom in closing today.

I had to pick up one of my kids from the local theater last night. When I dropped him off, there was just the start of a little rain. When I picked him up, I had chains on the tires. A good thing as there were several cars that has slid off into ditches on the way. Front wheel drive with chains beats 4WD every time. Even though it is Spring, Winter just isn’t that far away, especially when you live close to 7,000 ft in elevation.

The power went out twice this morning. I have an older TripLite UPS on my server. By the time I got down to the basement, everything was off. At some point, I really need to hook up the cable from the ups to my server that notifies when power is going down and to shut down nicely.

I was lucky in that nothing was really corrupted. I have about four years of half.com history of the top 200 book lists that I have been scrapping with a perl script. Originally, I was going to use the data to create lists of books that are valuable, and hopefully can be found at local library book fairs. Although I thought this was a good idea, it never amounted to much. I still keep track of the top 200 list.

I’ll post a picture of my server in the basement later for anyone that wants to see my setup!


My server room


Oracle Portlets with multiple datasources

Written by klee on March 12th, 2010

I just finished creating an updated portlet for work. There were two changes that were needed, data from two different database instances and the format was changed to use <dt> and <dd> tags. This allows for a rolling scrollable format to be defined by a cascading style sheet.

I thought this would take a couple of hours, so estimated this at about four hours to complete. Now I’m finished, and it is six hours after starting. So what went wrong? The biggest mistake that I made was not really understanding what happens when the files are bundled up for deployment. When creating the two separate model projects, I used the same name for the package name. I was using different names for the model projects, so no problem, right? Wrong! When the files get packaged, the package names are used in a combined classes directory. Since I have two different bc4j.xcfg files defined, one of them gets clobbered and I get an obscure jbo oracle error.

If you are using multiple models in a project, just use a unique package name for each one, and things will go much better for you! Though, it might still take six hours instead of two…


WPTouch Plugin installed

Written by klee on February 22nd, 2010

For those that use an iPhone or iTouch, I have installed the WPTouch Plugin. This should make viewing much more better!


RMOUG Presentation, Part 2

Written by klee on February 18th, 2010

ScreenToaster video of Ubuntu Install and Oracle XE


RMOUG Presentation, Part 1

Written by klee on January 31st, 2010

For RMOUG (February 17 – 18, 2010) this year, I have a presentation called, “APEX – Moves from the Garage to the Basement”. I wasn’t sure if my presentation would be accepted based on the title. Who knew? The title is actually supposed to be a play on the real life story of HP starting their business in the Garage. For developer’s today, the same can be accomplished with a spare PC, Internet connection, and a few pieces of software including ApEx. To get this really going, I added information on setting up dyndns with a cable modem, which is the setup I personally have, and seems fairly common. This can be extended to most any broadband setup as well. The idea of the basement came from my own setup as well. I have a 24 port gigabit switch in my basement, so I setup a small table that has an old PC and a UPS next to the router.

I also have a domain name and use the custom dyndns service for less than 30 dollars (US) a year. An extra bonus, is Mail for Google Apps. I run the server from by basement, but have all of my mail routed through Google. That isn’t part of the presentation, but thought I would add that. Google, for me, just can’t be beat when used as a spam filter. I used to run my own mail server with postfix and spam-assassin. I just couldn’t keep up with the new ways I was getting spam, and really didn’t appreciate what was coming through and available to my kids. Using Google as a filter has solved this issue about 99.999 percent of the time.

I will add postings of how I set this up soon. Right now, the latest Ubuntu LTS server has been released, and I need to check this out with another virtual machine install. As for that, if anyone wants to know, I use both VMWare and VirtualBox. I had almost made the switch to VirtualBox completely, but am waiting to see what the fallout of this software will be with the Sun acquisition by Oracle. I have always though Oracle’s VM Software was lacking, so it will be interesting to see what develops! I wish I could be testing ApEx 4.0 as well with the new server VM. That will have to wait for another post when the software becomes available to the general public.


First week of training on UCM Admin down, one week of Site Studio training to go!

Written by klee on January 23rd, 2010

UCM Admin Training with Jason Stortz


Favorite Linux Command

Written by klee on December 31st, 2009
find . -name ".svn" -exec rm -rf {} \;

RMOUG 2010 – February 17 – 18, 2010

Written by klee on October 25th, 2009

I will be presenting a fun session titled, “ApEx – From the Garage to the Basement”. This session will discuss how entrepreneurs can build a working environment for ApEx development in their basement with an old PC and Internet connection. In the past where companies like HP started in the garage; today, we have developers creating applications using a PC tucked away in the basement.

Hopefully, this presentation will be a fun time for all. Hope to see you there!


Steps taken to increase performance in Moodle using Oracle database

Written by klee on September 29th, 2009

This may be a little off topic, but I was on a team to help resolve a performance issue with Moodle using Oracle for the backend database. The following is part of the solution that was found.

Changing the CLOB datatype to VARCHAR2(4000) in the m_config database table provided the most help. The following links were the resources I found to point this out.


Using SQLDeveloper, I performed the following actions to the data after stopping the Apache Web server.

create table m_config_original as (select * from m_config);
drop table m_config;
insert into m_config (select * from m_config_original);

Restart the Apache web server

With this single change, the pages displayed in 2/3 less time based on
the original display time. This was a significant amount – 15 seconds
down to 5 seconds.

Additional Notes:
Before applying the changes to the m_config table, I needed to determine
if the oci8 driver was the main problem. I was able to verify that the
OCI8 driver was not the issue by running the following test page on the
moodle server. Here is the PHP code:


# Sample code for make connection with Oracle Database and send simple DDL,DML and query commands from oci8 extension.
# Database instance: fuju
# host name :  fuju.exzilla.net
# lintener port number : 1521
# user : scott
# Password : tiger
# You can connect to database server from this program without setting tnsnames.ora.
# fuju at exizilla dot net, Jan10,2002
# Modified from original of " http://www.php.net/manual/en/function.ocilogon.php "

print "<HTML><PRE>";
# Sample connection string, use your own values before testing
# $db = "(DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS_LIST = (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = fuju.exzilla.net)(PORT = 1521)))(CONNECT_DATA=(SID=fuju)))";
$c1 = ocilogon("username","password",$db);
$c2 = ocilogon("username","password",$db);

function create_table($conn)
{ $stmt = ociparse($conn,"create table hellotable (hellocol varchar2(64))");
echo $conn." created hellotable\n\n";

function drop_table($conn)
{ $stmt = ociparse($conn,"drop table hellotable");
echo $conn." dropped hellotable\n\n";

function insert_data($conn)
{ $stmt = ociparse($conn,"insert into hellotable
values('$conn' || ' ' || to_char(sysdate,'DD-MON-YY HH24:MI:SS'))");
echo $conn." inserted hellotable\n\n";

function delete_data($conn)
{ $stmt = ociparse($conn,"delete from hellotable");
echo $conn." deleted hellotable\n\n";

function commit($conn)
{ ocicommit($conn);
echo $conn." committed\n\n";

function rollback($conn)
{ ocirollback($conn);
echo $conn." rollback\n\n";

function select_data($conn)
{ $stmt = ociparse($conn,"select * from hellotable");
echo $conn."----selecting\n\n";
while (ocifetch($stmt))
echo $conn." <".ociresult($stmt,"TEST").">\n\n";
echo $conn."----done\n\n";

# start Main program
echo "<h3> Start :: Simple oci8 extension functions test </h3><p><hr><p>";

insert_data($c1);   // Insert a row using c1
insert_data($c2);   // Insert a row using c2

select_data($c1);   // Results of both inserts are returned

rollback($c1);      // Rollback using c1

select_data($c1);   // Both inserts have been rolled back

insert_data($c2);   // Insert a row using c2
commit($c2);        // commit using c2

select_data($c1);   // result of c2 insert is returned

delete_data($c1);   // delete all rows in table using c1
select_data($c1);   // no rows returned
select_data($c2);   // no rows returned
commit($c1);        // commit using c1

select_data($c1);   // no rows returned
select_data($c2);   // no rows returned

print "</PRE></HTML>";

echo "<hr><h3> End :: Simple oci8 extension functions test </h3>";


This test confirmed that the OCI8 driver was functioning correctly and
was not the problem.

With this change, performance improved by reducing the time to display pages by 67%!