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Presentation and manipulation of a JNDI repository as a virtual file system Disclosure Number: IPCOM000032456D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Nov-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Nov-05
Document File: 2 page(s) / 87K

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During the development and debugging phases of producing a J2EE application, is it often useful to view the contents of a JNDI repository. This article describes a means of presenting and manipulating this repository in a format which may be accessed using a command-line interface.

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Presentation and manipulation of a JNDI repository as a virtual file system

A program is disclosed for displaying and manipulating the contents of a JNDI (Java Naming and Directory Interface)* repository by presenting it to the user in a format which is readily accessible using command-line tools. The program provides a simulated physical storage volume which bases its virtual contents on the contents of a JNDI object repository.

  A running J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) server contains a database with which resources are registered - these include EJBs (Enterprise Java Beans), data sources, messaging end-points and many others. These are registered and accessed according to the JNDI protocol: an industry standard. Whilst debugging applications, it is useful to examine the contents of this repository and make modifications based upon information obtained. For example, it is useful to perform a lookup of an EJB, create an instance and invoke methods on it directly without the necessity to build a framework around it.

  WebSphere** Studio Application Developer currently provides such a facility in the 5.0+ products, where it is known as the Universal Test Client. This presents an interface to the JNDI as a sequence of web pages. This is a relatively heavyweight interface to the JNDI repository, has the prerequisite of a Graphical User Interface, and is not easy to automate.

  This article proposes presenting the JNDI repository to the user as a virtual, heirarchical filesystem. This is similar in construction to the virtual "/proc" filesystem of Unix***, which presents components of the operating system state as part of the filesystem. This has the advantage that the user can use all the standard tools and scripts they would normally use in their command-line environment, while still being able to browse the JNDI and inspect the state. It would be lightweight (i.e. require no specific user interface) and could be automated using any scripting language available for the host debugging platform.

  The idea could be implemented as an additional mount point within the Unix space, or as an additional network drive in the Windows**** OS. The hooks and navigation routines have already been implemented for the graphical products, therefore extending this to cover a pseudo-filesystem would not require a complete rewrite of existing tools. The idea may be implemented in any operating system which provides an HFS (hierarchical file system) environment.

  There follows an example session where the user navigates to the bean bound to the JNDI name ejb/com/ibm/jnditool/beans/TestHome, creates an instance and invokes a method using standard Unix tools (comments in italics, user input in red, output in black monospace).

Initial starti...