Welcome!

Java Authors: ChandraShekar Dattatreya, Elizabeth White, Nikita Ivanov, Adrian Bridgwater, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Java

Java: Article

From JDJ's Next Issue: Large-Scale Java Development Projects with SAP

Managing development environments

Click Here to Download this story's .pdf file!

You know how to write good Java code and deployment to a server is no mystery either. But have you ever had to work in large development teams, maybe geographically dispersed (off-shoring...)? Ever had to address the pain of application software updates?

So often, when evaluating Java development tools, the focus is on productivity in writing code. While this is clearly important, it is essential not to underestimate the importance of managing the entire life cycle of an application - from setting up the development environment, to managing software delivery and maintaining the applications over the life cycle. The larger the project, the more critical this is, both from an efficiency and a financial point of view.

Over the past 30 years SAP has gathered in-depth experience in developing applications with large, geographically dispersed development teams. The delivery of software to the customer and the management of software upgrades and synchronizing these updates with customized code at the customer site are all issues that SAP has mastered. Now SAP is bringing the same high-quality approach to the Java world.

SAP Web Application Server
SAP Web Application Server is a key component of SAP's integration and application platform. SAP NetWeaver provides tool support for productive, model-driven and service-oriented Java development, but also, and this is key, an infrastructure that provides full-scale support for all phases of the life cycle - the Java Development Infrastructure (JDI). This infrastructure - tightly integrated with the SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio, delivered with the application server - reduces overall development TCO and provides for reliability and flexibility in the deployment and change management process.

Synchronized Team Development Made Easy
The JDI gives you the best of both worlds - you can still develop in Java in your local environment, but your team's work is also synchronized via a central development environment.

Within the JDI, the Design Time Repository (DTR) handles file versioning to ensure that all developers are working from the same set of code. Developers access the central service via the SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio, check out files, produce new versions in the local file system, and check them back in after successful local testing. In the DTR perspective, you can compare versions, check version or revision history, and so on. During development, you can synchronize repository and local file systems whenever you wish, or even interrupt the connection between the two and reconnect later.

From the DTR you can manage:

  • Different versions of a development object in the same repository
  • Multiple states of a software component (development and consolidation of several releases)
  • Multiple users making modifications to the same development object (with conflict detection)
Each state of software component development is represented in one workspace. The information about the state of a workspace can be propagated to other workspaces so you can synchronize the work of development teams using various instances of the DTR.

The DTR provides features for change management in a distributed, multiuser development environment. As you replace older versions of files with newer ones, the DTR handles this process centrally and keeps the version history. For more complex projects, though, you'll need more than that. Suppose modifications are occurring directly in end-users' systems, so various versions are being developed in parallel and multiple DTRs are in place. The version history is always deployed along with the files for global version history of the DTR. As a result, versions created in parallel are detected automatically across repository boundaries. Then there are times when, during code modifications, you may not want to have an earlier version automatically overwritten by updates - instead, the DTR supports the merging of two colliding versions, allowing you to combine the advantages of the newer version with your modifications. What's more, to reduce the maintenance effort as much as possible, you would want to integrate bug fixes from older releases into newer ones from the maintenance cycle. The DTR supports this, since changes are always deployed as a whole set of versions, instead of individually. This approach to change management means that the results are unaffected by the sequence in which the changes are applied. With its innovative approach to distributed development, the DTR enhances productivity and reduces costs of development throughout the whole product life cycle.

Component-Based Development for Efficient Projects
The JDI takes a component-based approach to development. A component hierarchy distinguishes multiple levels of granularity:

  • Development objects - the finest level of granularity: Tables, Java classes, and project files that are stored as versioned files.
  • Development components (DCs): The units of the development and build process - they group development objects into larger development components, whereby one DC can contain multiple DCs.
  • Software components: The deployment and installation units that are made up of DCs represent larger building blocks of products.
  • Product: The complete solution.
DCs are at the heart of application development and follow a simple principle: only the parts declared to be public are visible to other DCs. In other words, to use one development component from another DC, you need to explicitly declare this usage. This explicit declaration of dependencies between DCs and precise relationships between objects allows the encapsulation of functionality that leads to a fine-tuned, highly efficient build process in the Component Build Service.

Component Build Service
Speed up the build process and avoid errors with the Component Build Service. Ever experience night-builds of complete applications that fail - followed by another 24-hour wait for the next build? With the JDI, these days are over.

Like the DTR, the Component Build Service (CBS) is a J2EE application that uses a database. It hosts all Java archives needed or produced during software development. For each software component state, a buildspace is set up to contain these archives. You can trigger a central build in the CBS at any time. Central builds apply to modified DCs only, along with any DCs that have dependencies with the changed archives.

This DC build approach allows you to correct errors in smaller chunks, reducing bug-fix cycle times. A failed build process will not affect the build process of any other DC.

The CBS also provides:

  • J2EE cluster support for high performance
  • Automated build scripts for Java development
  • Automatic rebuild of dependent development components after changes to objects
After a successful build, the CBS automatically makes the sources and archives available for use by other developers. Because all archives are centrally stored and up-to-date in the CBS, it is an ideal source for retrieving or updating used libraries in your local file system. Faster build cycles and a current build environment significantly reduce development costs, time, and errors, especially in large projects.

Managing the Development Environment
The development process starts with the definition of a product in the Software Landscape Directory. Here you define which software components are used in the product and the dependencies between them.

This information is imported into the Change Management Service (CMS) where you define the environment for the developers. You create workspaces and buildspaces by defining a track that's used to describe the development environment for one software component state. Fill the buildspaces with all the libraries required for a development configuration. This in turn is imported as an XML file into the SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio, defining the access to those objects the developer needs for his/her task.

After development, the developer releases his/her work to the CMS again. Here the QM triggers the import into the consolidation system, after central releases approves and assembles a software component release. For the next release, it's not necessary to physically set up a new system; simply define a new track.

This gives you complete control of the product life cycle from product definition to application patches.

Key Takeaways
Let's summarize the advantages of this approach:

  • The development infrastructure is set up and managed centrally.
  • All sources are stored centrally in the DTR and retrieved for the central build process, and all archives are stored in the CBS, ensuring that you use the latest version of sources. You're assured a greater degree of safety when using archives.
  • Clearly defining dependencies and encapsulating functions facilitates reuse and maintenance of development components.
  • Distributed versioning and concurrency control allow you to manage large development projects taking place in different locations. Due to the DTR's versioning capabilities, modifications are not overwritten during updates, but can be integrated into the new version.
  • You'll find a centrally managed system landscape - there's no need for each developer to know precisely where to deploy an archive.
For more information on the SAP Web Application Server and the Java Development Infrastructure or to download a trial copy check out www.sdn.sap.com.

More Stories By Wolf Hengevoss

Wolf Hengevoss is a member of the SAP NetWeaver product management team.

More Stories By Chris Hearn

Chris Hearn is the product marketing director, SAP NetWeaver. Educated at Oxford University, England, Chris has 20 years of experience in IT in a variety of roles.

Comments (3) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Unimpressed SAP dev team member 10/25/04 09:41:35 AM EDT

Omigod! SAP now has software configuration management, incremental build and J2EE capabilities...stuff that's been around for years...and sounds like they invented it. All yours for mega Deutsch marks.

Any other infomercials coming from other companies just thinking about joining the 21st century?

Surprised 10/24/04 09:34:02 AM EDT

Is this an advert or an article? How much do you think they get for it?

Jeff Nowakowski 10/23/04 12:54:07 PM EDT

I wonder how much SAP paid for this advertisement? By the way, CVS is free.

@ThingsExpo Stories
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
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 Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...