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Configuring the WebLogic-Eclipse Plug-in

Designed to run the WebLogic Server from the Eclipse IDE

The WebLogic-Eclipse plug-in is designed to run the WebLogic Server from the Eclipse IDE. With the WebLogic-Eclipse plug-in, the WebLogic Server gets started and stopped from Eclipse. An application deployed in the WebLogic Server can be debugged from Eclipse with the plug-in. By installing the WebLogic plug-in in Eclipse the WebLogic Server can be configured and administered from the Eclipse IDE by setting the server classpath and JVM options in Eclipse.

Overview
A J2EE developer is commonly required to administer the WebLogic Server and debug applications deployed in the WebLogic Server. While the WebLogic Server administration console can start and stop the WebLogic Server, the administration console doesn't provide for setting the JVM options and the server classpath. The JVM options and server classpath have to be set in the startWebLogic script. And to debug an application deployed in the WebLogic Server, an IDE with a remote debugger is needed. With the WebLogic plug-in the WebLogic Server can be administered from the Eclipse IDE. In this tutorial we'll develop a J2EE application consisting of a Session EJB and a servlet, deploy the application in the WebLogic Server from the Eclipse IDE, and debug the application in Eclipse.

Preliminary Setup

Installing the WebLogic-Eclipse Plug-in
Now we'll install the WebLogic-Eclipse IDE. In the Eclipse IDE select Help>Software Updates>Find and Install. The Install/Update frame gets displayed. Select Search for new features to install and click on the Next button. The Install frame gets displayed. Click on the New Remote Site button to specify an update Web site from which to install a plug-in. In the New Update Site frame specify a name and the URL from which the WebLogic-Eclipse plug-in is installed. The URL for the WebLogic-Eclipse plug-in is https://eclipse-plug-in.projects.dev2dev.bea.com/update. An update site configuration gets added. Select the checkbox for EclipseWebLogic for "Sites to include in search" and click on the Next button. In the features to install frame select the WebLogic-Eclipse Feature and click on the Next button.

Select the license terms and click on the Next button. In the Install location frame the directory in which the WebLogic-Eclipse plug-in will be installed is specified. Click the Finish button to complete the configuration of the WebLogic plug-in. The JAR Verification frame is displayed. Click the Install button to install the WebLogic-Eclipse plug-in. Restart the Eclipse workbench for the plug-in to get installed. The WebLogic-Eclipse plug-in gets installed in the Eclipse IDE. The Run>Start WebLogic and Run>Stop WebLogic features get added to Eclipse.

Configuring the WebLogic-Eclipse Plug-in
After installing the WebLogic-Eclipse plug-in we'll configure the plug-in in the Eclipse IDE. First, create a project with which the WebLogic plug-in is to be configured. Select File>New>Project. In the New Project frame select Java>Java Project and click the Next button. In the Create a Java project frame specify a project name and click the Next button. In the Java Settings frame add a source folder for the project. Click the Add Folder button. In the New Source Folder frame specify a folder name. A message frame prompts to set the bin folder as the build output folder. Next, add the libraries required for the project. The example application requires the J2EE JAR in the classpath. Select the Libraries tab and click on the Add External JARs button.

Add the J2EE 1.4 j2ee.jar file to the project. The j2ee.jar gets listed in the project Libraries. Click the Finish button to complete the configuration of the project. A project gets added to the Eclipse IDE Package Explorer view.

Next, we'll specify a WebLogic Server configuration. Select Window>Preferences. The Preferences frame gets displayed. Select the WebLogic node. In the WebLogic preference page select the version of the WebLogic Server to be configured. Specify the different field values, which are listed in Table 1. The values may vary depending on the directory in which the server is installed and in which the domain is configured. Click on the Apply button to apply the specified values.

If any JAR files have to be added to the server classpath, select the WebLogic>Classpath node. JAR/Zip files or directories can be added before the WebLogic libraries or after the WebLogic libraries. Select the WebLogic>JavaVM Options node to specify JavaVM options. For example, modify the weblogic.ProductionModeEnabled property. Set the property value to false to start the server in development mode. Click on the Apply button to apply the JavaVM options.

Next, specify the projects to be debugged with the WebLogic Server configuration. Click on the Add button. Select the projects to be added to the plug-in configuration. To debug a project, the project has to be in the plug-in configuration. Click the OK button.

The selected projects get added to projects list. Click on the Apply button and then the OK button. The WebLogic plug-in gets configured with a project and the WebLogic Server.

Developing and Debugging a WebLogic Application
After configuring the WebLogic plug-in, develop a J2EE application to deploy and debug in the WebLogic Server. The example J2EE application consists of a Session EJB and a client servlet. The J2EE application is available in the resources zip file (source code for this article can be found by viewing the article online in the WLDJ archives, http://wldj.sys-con.com/read/issue/archives/, Vol. 5, iss. 2). Extract the resources zip file to a directory. In the Eclipse project EclipseWebLogic, which was configured in the previous section, import the src directory of the J2EE application with File>Import. In the Import frame select the File System node and click the Next button. In the File system frame select the directories/files to add to the project and click the Finish button. (See Figure 1)

The example J2EE application files get added to the project. Build the project with the Ant build.xml file. Right-click on the build.xml file and select Run>Ant Build. The J2EE application gets built and deployed in the WebLogic Server applications directory. Next, start the WebLogic Server in the Eclipse IDE with Run>Start WebLogic. The Session EJB/Servlet application gets deployed in the WebLogic Server as listed in the applications node.

Run the WebLogicServlet in the browser with the URL http://localhost:7001/weblogic/webLogicPlug-in. The output from the servlet is displayed in the browser. Next add an exception (a NullPointerException) to the client servlet to demonstrate the debugging feature of the WebLogic plug-in. In the WebLogicServlet servlet replace

out.println(sessionEJB.getEclipsePlug-in());

with

String str=null;
out.println(str.toString());

Add a breakpoint to the servlet with Run>Add Java Exception Breakpoint. In the Add Java Exception Breakpoint frame select the NullPointerException. Delete the previous build directory and build the application with the build.xml. Select the Debug perspective. In the Debug perspective the WebLogic Server is shown to be running at localhost host.

Run the example servlet (with the NullPointerException) in the browser. Because the servlet has an exception the server gets suspended and the Debug perspective displays the NullPointerException. The application can be debugged with the debug features in the Run menu item.

Conclusion
Thus the WebLogic Server gets administered from the EclipseIDE with the WebLogic plug-in and applications deployed in the server are debugged from the Eclipse IDE. A limitation of the WebLogic plug-in is that debugging JSPs isn't supported. The 2.0 version of the plug-in will have additional features.

More Stories By Deepak Vohra

Deepak Vohra is a Sun Certified Java 1.4 Programmer and a Web developer.

More Stories By Ajay Vohra

Ajay Vohra is a senior solutions architect with DataSynapse Inc.

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