Friday, February 12, 2010

Create and Run a JEE6 Client Application with Netbeans 6.8 and Glassfish V3 - Part 1: Creating a Basic Application

While there are lots of examples around on how to create web based EE6 applications, it is a little harder to find a concise tutorial for developing and deploying EE application clients. This is part one of a two part article aiming to share some experiences on that topic.

Assuming you have a copy of Netbeans 6.8 with Glassfish V3 integration already installed and working, let's start with creating a new Enterprise Application project:

In the next dialog, we name the project "GlitterEA" and stay pretty much with the default options. After clicking next, we configure the application to use the default Glassfish 3 domain and to attach both an EJB and an application client module, the latter one with a suitable main class:

Next up, we want to get our EJB module set up to do something useful. For the example, our domain model is a very simple microblog service, to which users can publish their messages and read what others have written. We will create a single entity, accompanied by a stateless session bean exposing the needed services.

We start bottom up by creating a new JavaDB database from within the Netbeans Services tab as described here in the Netbeans documentation. We name it glitter, which will be also the username and the password, and stay with the default location.

Next we create a suitable connection pool as well as a matching JDBC resource for our application. Right click on the Glitter-ejb project and select New > Other... > Glassfish > JDBC Connection Pool:

We name the pool glitterPool and chose our newly created database for the connection:

In the next dialog, we add something like Glitter Microblogging as description. We leave the connection pool properties as suggested and proceed with the Next button. Since we don't have to change any optional connection pool properties as presented in dialog step 4, we chose to short circuit by clicking Finish.

Now we want to add a JDBC resource to which we can refer in our application. Right click on the Glitter-ejb project and select New > Other... > Glassfish > JDBC Resource. Chose glitterPool as the pool to use, and name the resource jdbc:/glitterDS. We are safe to click finish now since we don't want to provide additional properties.

Now we are ready to actually work on our EJB module. First off, we add an appropriate persistence unit. Right click on the Glitter-ejb project and select New > Persistence Unit. Configure it as seen here:

Note: Please check the generated sun-resources.xml file in the Server Resources folder. After adding the JDBC resource, you might experience an empty <property /> element in there. Remove the line, since Glassfish will give you a terribly long exception stack when parsing an property element without name attribute during resource setup at deploy time.

Let's get to coding. Create a new source package in the Glitter-ejb module, for example net.itneering.glitter.ejb. Right click on the newly created package and chose New > Entity Class. Name it GlitterPost and stay with the Long primary key type. Two more properties need to be added in the resulting Java class, username and content. In addition, a named query for selecting the posting timeline is put in place. Slightly shortened, this will be the resulting code:

            query="SELECT p FROM GlitterPost p ORDER BY DESC")
public class GlitterPost implements Serializable {

    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO)
    private Long id;

    String username;
    @Column(length = 2000)
    private String content;

    public Long getId() {
        return id;

    public void setId(Long id) { = id;

    public String getUsername() {
        return username;

    public void setUsername(String username) {
        this.username = username;

    public String getContent() {
        return content;

    public void setContent(String content) {
        this.content = content;


To expose some useful services for the client application, a simple stateless session bean is added by right clicking on the same source package and choosing New > Session Bean. It is called GitterPostEJB and will also need an remote interface:

Some basic CRUD methods are added to GlitterPostEJB, as well as the EntityManager reference to be injected with an EntityManager instance for the GlitterPU persistence unit:

public class GlitterPostEJB implements GlitterPostEJBRemote {

    @PersistenceContext(unitName = "GlitterPU")
    private EntityManager em;

    public GlitterPost createPost(GlitterPost post) {
        return post;

    public void deletePost(GlitterPost post) {

    public GlitterPost updatePost(GlitterPost post) {
        return em.merge(post);

    public List<GlitterPost> findPosts() {
        Query query = em.createNamedQuery("findAllPosts");
        return query.getResultList();

    public GlitterPost findPostById(Long id) {
        return em.find(GlitterPost.class, id);

Two of these methods we will need for our application client, so let's expose them in the GlitterEJBRemote interface:

public interface GlitterPostEJBRemote {
    public List<GlitterPost> findPosts();
    public GlitterPost createPost(GlitterPost post);

That's pretty much it for the EJB module. Now it's time to check if the client application will work as expected. We will check both the findPosts and the createPost methods with a simple call sequence and some printing to standard out. Modify the Main class of the Glitter-app-client module as follows:

public class Main {
    private static GlitterPostEJBRemote glitterPostEJB;

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        List<GlitterPost> list = glitterPostEJB.findPosts();
        glitterPostEJB.createPost(new GlitterPost());
        // Now the list should contain the post we just created
        list = glitterPostEJB.findPosts();

Save the file and right click the GlitterEA project. Select Run to start the application. If everything worked out well, the following output will be shown in the GlitterEA console:

Copying 1 file to /Users/rene/NetBeansProjects/GlitterEA/dist
Copying 4 files to /Users/rene/NetBeansProjects/GlitterEA/dist/GlitterEAClient
Feb 12, 2010 10:25:34 PM com.sun.enterprise.transaction.JavaEETransactionManagerSimplified initDelegates
INFO: Using com.sun.enterprise.transaction.jts.JavaEETransactionManagerJTSDelegate as the delegate

In the second part of this article we will add a simple JFrame based Swing form to enable users to post messages and to check the central timeline. It will also cover how to deploy to a standalone server and run the client both with the appclient tool and with Java WebStart. The final source code of the project will then be published as well.

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