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ADF Fail Whale: Handling the Database Is Down Gracefully

To most users a JDBC error would mean nothing, particularly if your app is delivered to the general public on the Internet

Java Developer Magazine on Ulitzer

(JDev 11g Like most Oracle applications, when an ADF application loses its connection to the database, the game's up. There's really not much you can do. ADF does detect this situation, presenting the following popup to the user:

But to most users a JDBC error would mean nothing, particularly if your application is delivered to the general public on the internet. In turn the user is left in the application without the ability to do much, resulting actions showing the same popup JDBC error again.

Ideally what we'd like to do is redirect to a web page that gives more useful information, maybe something like the famous Twitter Fail Whale:

The following blog post shows you a solution to do just this. This solution is based on Steve Muench's Dynamic JDBC Credentials example #129. In addition I must give my thanks to Oracle Support for pointing me to Steve's solution.

As usual, please note this solution has yet to be proven in a production environment. Seriously, I've run some arbitrary tests to see if the technique works, but no idea if it'll cover all situations where the database goes down. It's important if you take this example that you test it to ensure it meets your own needs. I'd appreciate it if anybody who does find any issues and resulting solutions, if you could please post them on this post as a comment to assist other readers.

With the following solution I'm not going to bother to explain all the moving parts, just give you the code and where it goes. I'll leave the reader to follow up with their own research on the mechanics of this solution.

All the following work is undertaken in the ViewController project:

1) New class: JdbcDCErrorHandlerImpl.java

package view;

import java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException;
import java.lang.reflect.Method;

import java.sql.SQLException;

import oracle.adf.model.binding.DCBindingContainer;
import oracle.adf.model.binding.DCErrorHandlerImpl;

import oracle.jbo.DMLException;
import oracle.jbo.common.JBOClass;

* Example sourced from Steve Muench example #129
public class JdbcDCErrorHandlerImpl extends DCErrorHandlerImpl {
public JdbcDCErrorHandlerImpl() {

public JdbcDCErrorHandlerImpl(boolean b) {

private static final int INVALID_USERNAME_PASSWORD_ ORACLE_ERROR = 1017;
private static final int ACCOUNT_LOCKED_ORACLE_ERROR = 28000;
private static final int NO_SUITABLE_DRIVER = 0;
private static final int NETWORK_CONNECTION_ERROR = 17002;
private static final int NETWORK_ADAPTOR_ERROR = 20;

public static boolean isFailedDBConnectErrorCode(SQLException s) {
int errorCode = s.getErrorCode();

public void reportException(DCBindingContainer formBnd, Exception e) {
super.reportException(formBnd, e);
if (e instanceof DMLException) {
Object[] details = ((DMLException)e).getDetails();
if (details != null && details.length > 0) {
if (details[0] instanceof SQLException) {
SQLException s = (SQLException)details[0];
int errorCode = s.getErrorCode();
if (isFailedDBConnectErrorCode(s)) {
throw (DMLException)e;

* If we are running in a Faces environment, invoke the FacesContext.responseComplete() method after
* the session invalidate. We use Java reflection so that our code can still work in a Non-Faces environment, too.
private void markResponseCompleteIfUsingJSF() {
try {
Class c = JBOClass.forName("javax.faces.context.FacesContext");
Method m = c.getMethod("getCurrentInstance", null);
Object obj = m.invoke(null, null);
if (obj != null) {
m = c.getMethod("responseComplete", null);
m.invoke(obj, null);
} catch (InvocationTargetException ex) {
throw new RuntimeException(ex);
} catch (IllegalAccessException ex) {
throw new RuntimeException(ex);
} catch (NoSuchMethodException ex) {
throw new RuntimeException(ex);
} catch (ClassNotFoundException ex) {
// Ignore, we're not running in a faces context.

2) New class: JdbcPagePhaseListener.java

package view;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpSession;

import oracle.adf.controller.v2.lifecycle.Lifecycle;
import oracle.adf.controller.v2.lifecycle.PagePhaseEvent;
import oracle.adf.controller.v2.lifecycle.PagePhaseListener;
import oracle.adf.model.bc4j.DCJboDataControl;
import oracle.adf.model.binding.DCBindingContainer;
import oracle.adf.model.binding.DCDataControl;
import oracle.adf.model.binding.DCExecutableBinding;
import oracle.adf.model.binding.DCIteratorBinding;

import oracle.binding.DataControl;

import oracle.jbo.uicli.binding.JUControlBinding;
import oracle.jbo.uicli.binding.JUCtrlActionBinding;

* Example sourced from Steve Muench example #129
public class JdbcPagePhaseListener implements PagePhaseListener {
public JdbcPagePhaseListener() {

public void afterPhase(PagePhaseEvent event) {

private HttpSession getHttpSession(PagePhaseEvent event) {
return ((HttpServletRequest)event.getLifecycleContext(). getEnvironment().getRequest()).getSession(true);

public void beforePhase(PagePhaseEvent event) {
if (event.getPhaseId() == Lifecycle.PREPARE_MODEL_ID) {
DCBindingContainer bc = (DCBindingContainer)event. getLifecycleContext().getBindingContainer();
// Force the Data Control to be referenced before the prepareModel phase to cause the possible JDBC connection
// failure to be signalled now instead of during the page rendering.
List dcList = getADFBCDataControlsList(bc);

* Return a list of ADFBC data controls used by this page. See how this is used in the beforePhase method above.
private List getADFBCDataControlsList(DCBindingContainer bc) {
List dcList = null;
// if bc == null, means non data bound page, as such no data controls to exercise
if (bc != null) {
dcList = new ArrayList();
List ctrlBindings = (List)bc.getControlBindings();
if (ctrlBindings != null) {
for (JUControlBinding ctrlBinding : ctrlBindings) {
DCIteratorBinding iter = ctrlBinding.getIteratorBinding();
DCDataControl dc = null;
if (iter != null) {
dc = iter.getDataControl();
} else if (ctrlBinding instanceof JUCtrlActionBinding) {
dc = ((JUCtrlActionBinding)ctrlBinding).getDataControl();
if (dc != null && dc instanceof DCJboDataControl && !dcList.contains(dc)) {
DCJboDataControl bcdc = (DCJboDataControl)dc;
List exeBindings = (List)bc.getIterBindingList();
if (exeBindings != null) {
for (DCExecutableBinding exeBinding : exeBindings) {
DataControl dc = null;
if (exeBinding instanceof DCIteratorBinding) {
dc = ((DCIteratorBinding)exeBinding).getDataControl();
if (dc != null && dc instanceof DCJboDataControl && !dcList.contains(dc)) {
DCJboDataControl bcdc = (DCJboDataControl)dc;
return dcList;

3) New file: ViewController/adfmsrc/META-INF/adf-settings.xml


4) Modify the DataBinding.cpx file ErrorHandlerClass property

SeparateXMLFiles="false" Package="view" ClientType="Generic" ErrorHandlerClass="view.JdbcDCErrorHandlerImpl">

5) Add an error-page entry in the web.xml


6) Add the corresponding html page from the last entry, displaying whatever friendly error message you want to show.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Chris Muir

Chris Muir, an Oracle ACE Director, senior developer and trainer, and frequent blogger at http://one-size-doesnt-fit-all.blogspot.com, has been hacking away as an Oracle consultant with Australia's SAGE Computing Services for too many years. Taking a pragmatic approach to all things Oracle, Chris has more recently earned battle scars with JDeveloper, Apex, OID and web services, and has some very old war-wounds from a dark and dim past with Forms, Reports and even Designer 100% generation. He is a frequent presenter and contributor to the local Australian Oracle User Group scene, as well as a contributor to international user group magazines such as the IOUG and UKOUG.

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