Writing External Components (for Jabberwocky) with NetBeans

I’ve been working on a NetBeans plugin for the past few weeks. I wanted the plugin because I wanted a place where you could develop, debug and deploy Jabberwocky external components. Download the latest package here. Select the Mayday 2011 download.
The package contains the following

  1. xmpp-gf-container.jar, jabberwocky_support.jar – the latest and greatest Jabberwocky container. I’ve hope to avoid updating the containers but certain issues (see below) have forced me to make changes to the container. See here on how to install the containers if you are new to Jabberwocky.
  2. update directory – this directory contains NetBeans plugin and also the Vorpal framework binaries which I talked about in my previous blog entry

Before I begin I have to say that I have made some rather major modifications to Jabberwocky packaging. Previously, it Jabberwocky components are XAR packages which is basically a JAR file. It is now a WAR package, yes it’s a JavaEE 6 compliant Web ARchive. There are 2 main reason for this change, the first is to do with Glassfish’s architecture (which sort of prevents me from doing certain things); the second is that make this change will allow me to work better with other Glassfish container. Also having a standard WAR package it really makes writing the NetBeans plugin a lot easier.

Installing NetBeans Plugin

The plugin is written for the latest version of NetBeans 7.0. (Don’t even bother trying it on any version other than 7.0). Startup NetBeans 7.0, go to Tools | Plugins | Downloaded | Add Plugins… Navigate to the update directory and select all the NBMs files as shown in the diagram below.


If this or any subsequent images is not clear, right click on the image and select View Image

Creating Jabberwocky External Component

Create a Web application in NetBeans. Select File | New Project | Java Web | Web Application. See diagram below

Select Next for the next 2 screens entering the relevant details for your web application like project name, context path, etc. Then you will come to the fourth screen which is the Frameworks screen as shown below

Select Jabberwocky framework. What this will now do is add the relevant libraries and deployment files into the WAR package. First choose the type of component

  1. Jabberwocky framework – this the the Vorpal framework. If you select this you do not have to fill in the package and class name. The framework will handle that for you
  2. AbstractComponent – selecting this means that you intend to create your external component by extending com.xmpp.component.AbstractComponent abstract class. Enter the package and class name that will extend AbstractComponent.
  3. Component – selecting this means that you intend to implement org.xmpp.component.Component interface. Enter the package and class name that will implement Component.

If your component has any properties, click on the Properties tab and enter the properties as name/value pair. Click Finish to complete the setup.

NetBeans will now display the project and open the xep-0114.xml configuration file.

If xep-0114 file is not opened in the editor area, double click on xep-0114 file in the project window to your left. The editor allows us to configure our external component when we deploy to Jabberwocky. Right at the top is the main component class. If you are using Vorpal (Jabberwocky framework), then you should not change the default class (com.kenai.jabberwocky.core.JabberwockyComponent). Otherwise if you are using the other two types of components, then the fully qualified class name will be display here and you can change this. But remember you can only deploy one external component per WAR package.

Next comes the subdomain properties. This is the subdomain that your component is going to deploy to. Enter the subdomain name, domain and the port number. The Shared secret field is disable. What this means is that you have defined the subdomain in Jabberwocky using the asadmin create-xmpp-subdomain; see this blog.

However if you want to automatically create the subdomain as you deploy the external component, select Create subdomain checkbox. This will enable the Shared secret field. Enter the shared secret of your subdomain (eg. landofthegiants from above is uppercase) or leave it blank to use the default shared secret. Note that this option only creates the subdomain definition in Jabberwock and not with the XMPP server. The Cleanup checkbox ask Jabberwocky to cleanup the subdomain definition when you undeploy your component.

Now you can write your component. If you are using Vorpal, then you need to write some message handlers. My previous blog gives a brief tutorial on using Vorpal.

If you are using AbstractComponent or Component, then the plugin will generate an appropriate template for you.

You need to also ensure that the Glassfish instance that you are deploying to supports Jabberwocky. To check if the Glassfish instance supports Jabberwocky, right click on the project node (eg. EchoUpperCaseComponent in the diagram above) and select Properties. The following dialog box will open.

The Server combo box will show a list of Glassfish instances that supports Jabberwocky. If the Glassfish instance that you have chose as your deployment server supports Jabberwocky, then that instance will be displayed here. If however you have accidentally selected Tomcat, then this combo box will be blank. Pull down the combo box to see which instance supports Jabberwocky. Also changing this do not change the actual deployment server of the web project. (I’ll fix this one day). You have to select Run under Categories and chose a Glassfish instance that matches this combo box.

Finally you are ready to deploy. Right click on the project node and select Deploy.

If all goes well you will see some communication between your component and the XMPP server in the output window.

If you switch over to the Services tab, you should also see your component deployed under Applications.

Note: if you fail to see any communications between your component and the XMPP server and you are sure its not because of your component, then undeploy your component from Glassfish. Open the build.xml file and save it. Then build and redeploy your component.

With this plugin I hope to make external component development on Jabberwocky easier. In my next blog I’ll show you how you can add external component to an existing WAR file.

Till then, give me feedbacks (love it, indifferent, sucks). If you discover any bugs send me a comment or file a bug at the Jabberwocky home.

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