Archive for the ‘Java’ Category

To Interface or NOT for Value Beans in Java

October 24, 2009 Leave a comment

What is a Java Interface


There are a number of situations in software engineering when it is important for disparate groups of programmers to agree to a “contract” that spells out how their software interacts. Each group should be able to write their code without any knowledge of how the other group’s code is written. Generally speaking, interfaces are such contracts.

In this blog,  I am trying to present very common design pattern in projects, which I kind of don’t agree with.

This pattern is to define Interface for all data beans and value beans.  In most of the projects, I have worked in past (and current one too), I have observed, Architects have defined interface for any kind of bean flowing between layers of software.

For example  ‘Person’ and associated ‘Address’ bean.  So, there will be a Person interface and an Address interface. And there will be ‘PersonImpl’ and ‘AddressImpl’ object implementing respective interfaces.  Now Person interface has common getters and setters for properties like name, age, height and Address interface has getters & setters for addressLine1, addressLine2, city, zipcode, country etc.  So we can imagine implementing classes have defined class variables for corresponding each getter and setter. Now big question comes to mind, Why we have defined interface for this object? Why not to keep single class Person having getter/setter and it’s class variables.

Common Reasons (and why I think, they are wrong)

  1. It can have multiple, different implementations. As I have heard from architects, they just want to expose interface to integrating layers/client. And if later on, we change implementation, it won’t visible or require any code change on their side. Well, why we will have different implementations, in first place? These beans have getter and setter of certain property. How come you can have different implementation?
  2. We want integrating client to write their own implementation. Again, why? It’s simple data bean carrying data around. I think, this is another example of ‘abuse’ of interfaces by architects who are following more of text books version, instead of thinking out of box. Interfaces are contracts of expected behavior of operations, not data beans. Data beans doesn’t have behavior, they are mere payload objects. If they are more than payload, then I would put your design in question.
  3. To support legacy objects. Argument is, their legacy code of databeans have behavior. Now to bridge to new version of software, they need to use interfaces for databeans. Hence they provide bridged data beans implementing new data beans. And later on, when they move away from legacy, we will just use new implementation of interface. This is clear sign of ‘design’ smell. If you want to bridge to legacy code, then use bridge services objects. Bridged services will take care of handling legacy operations on legacy bean. Your new beans shouldn’t have any kind of behavior, encapsulating or hiding legacy smell. That was main reason to start new project, right?
  4. So that, we can have multiple inheritance. If your data bean’s getters/setters are not suppose to have different kind of implementation, hence why different objects will implement same implementation. Those different objects rather extend common super implementing class.
  5. (write in comments, I will add here)

Problems I have faced and I hate it

  • Whenever I need to add/remove any property, first you will have to fix interface. Hence doubling my effort in refactoring.
  • If same interface is implemented somewhere else, then changing interface (in prev step), I will have to change all other classes too. Question comes, why other implementing class, just simple extends original class.  They all are data beans,  no behavior.

Only behavior, data beans/value beans (must) contain, implementing equals() and hashCode() methods.  Well, we get those as part of Object class. Another possible ‘operations’ can from other interfaces like ‘Comparable’ or ‘Serializable’. If you get gist of it, none of  interfaces defined operations as accessors for properties.

In end, I am trying to advocate, to keep java programming simple and productive. Yes, we can boost of designing complex mutli-layered system, but at the cost of productivity and maintainability. Lets keep any kind of operability or logic in business classes.  Any logic or code in data beans, is destined for future refactoring some time.

Categories: design pattern, Java Tags: ,

Why I decided to host website using Amazon EC2

October 2, 2009 23 comments


Cloud computing is something, we been listening and reading about from past couple of years.  From my perspective, it is virtual machines running on virtualized hardware. Hence giving us dual benefit of running any image on any kind of hardware. We can dynamically launch any image and also dynamically expand/reduce available hardware capacity. Hence the word ‘Elastic’ & ‘Cloud’. In cloud computing world, amazon is more established compare to others.  So rest of article will use Amazon EC2. Amazon elastic computing allows user to launch any image (from their growing library of public images). They are called ‘AMI’s. You pay per use of images. (hourly usage rate plans). Hence it makes it easy to choose any image w/o binding to any contract.

Why cloud computing is better than tradition web hosting?

Answer is, it is not. If you looking to run simple apache web server and few php based applications then web hosting companies give best pricing and pre-configured applications.  Decision comes, if you looking for better hardware and more RAM for your applications.

Pros, Comparing amazon EC2 smallest image & virtual private server (VPS) plans.

  1. Amazon EC2 guarantees one CPU core whereas 4-5 VPS images run per CPU core.
  2. RAM available is 1.7GB for EC2 instance and VPS gives maximum of 512MB to 756MB (for plans >$40/mo) (for simultaneous multiple J2EE web applications, you wish for more RAM.)
  3. Available capacity is elastic. You can expand it as required, compare to fixed capacity available in VPS/Dedicated plans.
  4. Once you finished configuring your images, you can make current installation as another image incase you want multiple instances running.
  5. Amazon EC2 instance are running with better reliable infrastructure comparing.
  6. If you pre-pay for EC2 account, your average cost of running website 24×7, for whole month comes to $42 something, which is comparable to good VPS plans with lots of memory.

Hence comparing to dedicated hosting, amazon ec2 seems to be better option, if we start comparing relability factor, ability to instantly increase computing capacity, price and many other options.

I decided to give it try to move my website.

Other factors to consider

  • 1.7 GB of available RAM and 160 GB of drive capacity, gives me chance to run java apps w/o worrying about available memory.
  • It was learning experience for me, (as average user of linux OS).
  • It’s easy to install applications on ubuntu image. (same goes for other OS like fedora/centOS).
  • I can run MySQL & PostGres DB server together, as required.
  • Java tomcat web server seems to be good enough, but I can try some other servers like glassfish or jboss for better experience.
  • Using it as subversion server. Ping time & bandwidth is better than other servers.
  • Will be using as build server & agent both. (Most probably open source project ‘Hudson’).
Categories: aws, Java, linux Tags: , ,

Java Products BUT PHP based website ?

I am starting to run a website which features java and j2ee products. That site would be more of ecosystem containing forums, blogs, demos for webapps etc. I am java developer, good in web development using j2ee technologies in JSP, JScripts, HTML. Ofcourse if I want to build a website, first thing I think is JSP and which container. (Container is pretty much standard, Tomcat for webapps). Hence quest for nice CMS application or portal application begins. So instead of researching and spending time what container and framework would be fine, I decide to look at major java sites infrastructure. I was pretty sure, for starters like me, it’s easier to replicate their website technologies than build myself. So here what I find.
  • – Running in drupal (PHP based content management site)
  • I recently read blog about “Java Parallel Processing Framework”. When I visited their site, again it was PHP.
  • And many many others.
It has definitely ticked me off, what’s so wrong with j2ee technologies, to run a even simple website. Everyone knows that JSP is far superior technology than PHP. So why j2ee evangelist, who live, eat, blog, earn using jsp, BUT not build their product site using JSP? For simple static site, just HTML is good. No doubt about it. But we try to wrap it up with some dynamic UI page, just in case. Ok so lets wrap that HTML page in JSP. but why PHP? Number of reasons, I think, might be?
  1. There is no simple content management system (CMS) in JSP world
  2. There are not enough JSP/Tomcat hosting available.
  3. We are using 3rd party hosting team, which prefers to use PHP
  4. There are many tools available in PHP, hence running whole website makes more sense.

Lets try to dissect each one by one.

There is no simple content management system in JSP world Yes there are.

  • OpenEdit
  • dotCMS
  • LifeRay
  • Clearspace
Most of them are available as FREE and almost all are free to open source projects. This also brings us to interesting point, do we really need CMS application, for my website? In most of cases, I don’t think. If you are only person to change content and you change content lets say every week, then it is lighter to run simple JSP pages. How many times, you update documentation of product? (Please be not confused with need to source control. I personally prefer everything should be in source control)

There are not enough JSP/Tomcat hosting available.

Over the period of time, with reduce cost of hardware processing and RAM, many good hosting companies are providing tomcat and even jboss hosting. I don’t this as show stopper now, if you want to host site running on tomcat. Here is list of companies, I researched 2 years back. Of course over the period, ,more companies has added.. and their plan prices has dropped.

We are using 3rd party hosting team, which prefers to use PHP

Well, you spending time coding on Tomcat or any other server, how big is deal for you to code JSP or convert html to JSP and throw it in Tomcat. If you are open source project, then you got volunteers. If you are commercial product provider, it makes more sense to use j2ee platform. To me, it puts bad impression if you using PHP and selling j2ee based CMS product. 🙂 To me, springframework is getting more interesting, but it’s running on Drupal? Their MVC or webflow APIs are not mature enough for this simple site?

There are many tools available in PHP, hence running whole website makes more sense.
This is one of most important factor, which deciding between JSP and PHP based hosting. I did some research, I found tools which are not great as PHP counterpart, but they solve the purpose. For Forums

For wikis

  • JSPWiki
  • SnipSnap

For Blogs

  • Apache Roller
  • Peeble

Issue Tracking

  • JIRA
  • TrackPlus (I just read their announcement on

Continous Integration Tools

  • Cruise Control
  • Continuum
  • Luntbuild
  • Hudson


Most common wish is, ‘Single Sign On (SSO)’ for all tools. If it is public website, then I want users to log on once for forums and able to comment to blogs using same profile. Right now, every product is using some kind of security, like j2ee form based security or Spring security or home grown security code. They also document, how to do SSO capabilities, but at this point, it seems more of hassle. Anyways, in case of PHP, I don’t think, people think about luxuries like SSO. Above wish, mentioned ‘user profile’. I am not able to find mature product, whose whole purpose is to manage user profile. Thinking aloud, brings us to point, user profile is essentailly feature of CMS application. So if I need user profile kinda feature on my public site, I can use CMS application. But can we use same user profile application to manage profiles to all other modules like forums or blog or customer service?

Should we always use J2EE for hosting if we are in business of J2EE/Java?
Now, I try to look at whole website hosting task at 35,000 feet. Basically, you want to spend minimal resources to get maximum UI experience. So if using vBulletin or phpBB makes my life easier then why I should stick to idealism of using j2ee? I can try to answer this by using these criteria

Q: I am selling/open sourcing j2ee product which is related to web-app development?
A: You should use JSP based hosting. It definitely puts good impression. Even better use your product in that webapp if possible.

Q: I am open source evangelist for java and j2ee but I still want PHP site?
A: Again, you should use JSP. If you can code in PHP, then you can code same functionality in JSP (assuming you are JSP developer)

Q: I need to use a tool which is perfect in PHP or Python (example Trac or vBulletin)
A: In this situation, using tool like Trac or anything else, shouldn’t matter. Basically, productivity matters. I would suggest to use hybrid solution. (Ofcourse SSO is nearly impossible)


I just read few more user comments. Almost every other user is recommending Drupal for CMS/Portal website. I wish, if something like that comes up in JSP world. If that is made on Spring, it’s even better.
Categories: Java, java based CMS Tags: ,