|By Tilak Mitra||
|March 30, 2004 12:00 AM EST||
JAXB (Java Architecture for XML Binding) provides a convenient way to bind an XML Schema to a representation in Java code and makes it easy for developers to incorporate XML data and processing functions into applications based on Java technology without having to know much about XML itself.
It has been proven over the past few years that the best form of information exchange (in a typical B2B or B2C scenario) is through XML. There are various XML-based standards (schemas) for both the horizontal and vertical market sectors, and there are ongoing efforts to move toward a standardized format.
With the proliferation of XML-based information exchange, the industry will write lots of Java code to consume XML Schema-based documents. JAXB (Java Architecture for XML Binding) provides a convenient way to bind an XML Schema to a representation in Java code. This makes it easy for developers to incorporate XML data and processing functions in applications based on Java technology without having to know much about XML itself.
This article will show developers how to utilize the power, ease, and flexibility of JAXB from within the WebSphere Studio Application Developer (referred to as WebSphere Studio), while developing real-world enterprise applications. With JAXB, developers no longer need to learn the intricacies of XML parsing techniques!
What You Need to Know
Although developers need not worry about XML parsing techniques anymore, they may need to do some reading up.
JAXB is built upon XML Schema, so a sound understanding of XML Schema is imperative in order to harness the power of JAXB. Business domain objects and their structural relationships can be well represented through an XML Schema, provided you have a good understanding of its power. The essence of JAXB lies in its customization of the XML Schema for Java objects. These customizations follow the rules of XML Schema. Adding JAXB customizations to a business domain object model (represented in XML Schema) is simple once the hard work of creating the schema is accomplished.
This article assumes you understand:
- XML Schemas (the more detailed the better)
- WebSphere Studio 5.1
You must have the following products to complete the steps in this article:
- WebSphere Studio Application Developer 5.1
- Java Web Services Developer's Pack (JWSDP v1.3)
JWSDP from Sun Microsystems is a free integrated toolkit you can use to build, test, and deploy XML applications, Web services, and Web applications with the latest Web services technologies and standards implementations. JAXB is an essential part of this package. JWSDP 1.3 must be downloaded and installed (see the Development Environment Setup section for a detailed explanation of the process).
In object-oriented programming (OOP) there are two pivotal concepts: classes and objects. Classes provide the structure for software concepts or entities, whereas objects are live instances of the classes. A similar analogy can be used in XML representation. An XML Schema can be conceptualized as the allowable structure and constructs that can be used in the creation of an XML document (which conforms to the schema). The schema (in XML) and classes (in OOP) are the conceptual building blocks, whereas documents (in XML) and objects (in OOP) are live instances that conform to their respective conceptual building blocks.
Working with Java objects and classes is fundamentally different from working with XML. JAXB brings in the idea of data binding, which creates a correspondence between the XML schemas and the Java classes, and then utilizes the mapping to convert XML documents to and from Java classes. The JAXB schema compiler creates Java classes and interfaces based on the structure of the XML Schema. JAXB libraries are used in marshaling and unmarshaling. Marshaling is the process of turning one or more Java objects into an XML document, whereas unmarshaling is the reverse process - creating a Java object from an XML document.
To use JAXB in a Java application the first step is to run the JAXB compiler (XJC) to create the Java classes and interfaces. For every element in the XML Schema, one or two Java interfaces and corresponding implementation classes (which implement the interfaces) are generated. The implementation classes are generated in a package that is separate from the one in which the interfaces are generated. Other than the interfaces and the implementation classes, JAXB-specific classes are generated to perform marshaling and unmarshaling, and to create instances of the implementation classes, among other things. (Note: The implementation classes are only instantiated through a factory class generated by the JAXB compiler). The two classes that are primarily used in working with JAXB-created Java objects are:
- JAXBContext: Used for marshaling, unmarshaling, and validating XML documents
- ObjectFactory: Used to instantiate the various implementation classes
The first step is to download and install the JWSDP. As a part of JWSDP, the JAXB compile and runtime libraries and executables are installed. The next step is to download the JAXBTestEAR.zip file from www.sys-con.com/websphere/sourcec.cfm and extract the contents into the C:\temp folder. Next, create a new workspace and import the JAXBTestEAR file:
- Create a folder called JAXB and another called workspace under JAXB in the C:\ drive.
- Open WebSphere Studio and point the workspace to C:\JAXB\workspace.
- Select File>Import from the WebSphere Studio menu.
- Select the EAR file type to import (see Figure 1).
- Browse the file system and select the JAXBTestEAR.ear file. Click Finish.
- The imported project in the J2EE Perspectives, Project Navigator tab should look like Figure 2.
- Select External Tools from the WebSphere Studio menu as shown in Figure 3.
- Click New to create a new configuration. In the Main tab, key in the Name, Location, Working Directory, and Arguments as shown in Figure 4. (Browse the File system and Workspace in order to obtain the values.)
- Switch to the Resource tab and check the checkboxes. Highlight the $resource Scope Variable and then choose JAXBTest as the specific resource.
- Click Apply to save the configurations. Click Run to run the JAXB compiler (xjc.bat) and generate the Java classes and interfaces. The output in the output console will resemble Figure 5.
The example we will develop is a simple GUI menuing system. A widget is a conceptual element that defines the whole set of drawing components that constitute a graphical user interface. Examples of widgets are rectangles, squares, circles, and any other drawable visual component. Our simplistic GUI consists of three visual components in the form of rectangles, squares, and circles. The Widgets component encapsulates a list of the visual components (rectangles, squares, and circles) in any random order. A client can construct the visual components from a given XML document and then retrieve the details of each visual component (to be used in any way the client requires).
Listing 1 illustrates the XML Schema (for the example scenario) in some detail. The xs:annotation element is a container for the xs:appinfo and xs:documentation elements, which contain additional information. These two elements are dedicated to holding machine-processable (xs:appinfo) information and human-readable documentation (xs:documentation).
The section highlighted in blue denotes the JAXB-specific global customizations of the schema that are applicable to the entire schema file. The section highlighted in red denotes the JAXB-specific customizations in which the package where the generated files will be placed is defined (in this case, com.ibm.domainobjects).
In the globalBindings section the collectionType = java.util.ArrayList is highlighted in blue. It denotes that any Collections that are created inside the Java objects all conform to the List interface in Java and are actual instances of ArrayList.
The xjc:serializable element makes sure that all the generated classes are serializable. (This is particularly important when objects are sent and received over the wire while data transfer between various application tiers is performed.)
A superClass called Shape is also defined. This denotes that all the elements defined in this schema have a common superclass called Shape. I show this here in order to illustrate that the classes that are created from the schema can also refer to external classes, i.e., classes that are not created by the JAXB compiler.
The definition of the Widgets element shows that there is a property called "Widgets" that is defined. Had this property not been defined, the binding compiler would have autogenerated a name for the list of choices (for the rectangles, squares, and circles). The autogeneration usually takes the names of the subelements and combines them with "Or". Hence the accessor name for the list would have been something like:
Clearly this is not meaningful. The jxb:property name="Widgets" denotes that the accessor method will be getWidgets, which is clearly much more intuitive than the autogenerated name.
In the example, I will demonstrate:
- How to set up the usage of the external JAXB compiler from WebSphere Studio
- How to use the JAXB compiler to generate Java interfaces and classes
- How to create the Java classes from an XML document
- How to instantiate Java classes, set their attributes, and then generate the corresponding XML document (the reverse of the previous step)
Using the JAXB Generated Classes
The JAXB compiler is run only once. There is no need to run it again if the schema is not changed. However, if the schema undergoes any changes, then the JAXB compiler preprocessing step must be executed again in order to regenerate the Java interfaces and classes. In this event, it is advisable to delete all of the generated classes from a previous run of the JAXB compiler before running this step again. This is particularly helpful in cases in which elements in the schema are deleted. The generated classes from the new run of the compiler do not delete the old generated classes and hence some unused classes from the previous version of the schema will be left behind.
Once all the classes are generated, the fun begins, with the bulk of the tedious (if you consider it so) setup work already completed. It is time to use the generated classes in order to convert XML documents into Java classes and vice versa. We will concentrate on a client class called JAXBTester. This class demonstrates two activities. It first reads in a given XML document from which it creates the Java object structure/tree.
Analysis of JAXBTester
JAXBTester has three methods. A brief explanation of each of the methods is in order.
Notice how not a single line of XML-specific code needs to be coded by the developer; the specifics of the conversion are all contained inside the generated classes.
Running the Sample
Before running the client class several steps must be followed in sequence:
- The JAXB compiler must be run to generate the Java object tree. (This step should already have been completed.)
- The import statements that are commented out in the JAXBTester must be uncommented. The method bodies of unmarshallIt and marshallIt that are commented out need to be uncommented prior to compilation of JAXBTester. These portions are commented out because the classes that are referenced (both in the import statements and inside the methods) are all generated classes. When the EAR file was imported, these generated classes did not exist; hence, prior to Step 1 JAXBTester would not have compiled.
- The value of the absPathToXML, which denotes the path to the schema.xml file, must be changed (if required) to reflect the path to the file in the file system.
This article introduced you to the basics of JAXB. The most important aspect of this article was the demonstration of how JAXB can be used in a J2EE application and how the all development can be achieved from our friendly and most loved IDE - WebSphere Studio.
The best way to learn JAXB is to get very familiar and comfortable with XML Schema and then learn the tricks of JAXB customizations. The best way to learn XML Schema is to read a book on it, and then apply the concepts in real-world scenarios, exploiting the various features. (The O'Reilly book XML Schema is my favorite.)
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Jul. 31, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 305
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,403
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jul. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 458
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 108
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Jul. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 273
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,061
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jul. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,163
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,274
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,185
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,765
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,043
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jul. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,030
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 327
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jul. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,905
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
Jul. 26, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,576
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 393
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,959
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 462
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,539
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,491