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RAP/Equinox WAR products

Project Lead: Holger Staudacher

Mentor: Rüdiger Herrmann

This project is part of the Google Summer of Code 2010

WAR deployment for Equinox based applications


The purpose of the RAP project is to enable developers to build rich, Ajax-enabled Web applications using the Eclipse development model, plug-ins and a Java-only API. After completing a RAP application the next step is generally to publish the application on a web server, i.e. in a servlet container or application server. But this step, also known as deployment, sounds simpler than it is in the real world. When searching the RAP newsgroup for "WAR deployment" 210 threads appear. The reason for this is that many developers have problems deploying a RAP application. These problems exist because RAP products build on top of Server-Side Equinox. Equinox has special requirements for the deployable archive. To making things easier for beginners and to simplify the deployment process a good approach and tooling is needed. The goal of this GSoC 2010 project is to provide this approach and tooling.

How does this fit in the RAP context

RAP is probably the biggest consumer of the Server-Side Equinox technology. With this fact it's in the interest of the RAP community to have a good concept and tooling for users. This project will be mentored by the lead of the RAP team (Rüdiger Herrmann) and initially hosted at the RAP CVS. While doing this project as part of Eclipse RAP we can recognize user needs because there is a bunch of people at the RAP community which are interested in a good concept and tooling for deploying Equinox and RAP based applications. At a later stage, the results can hopefully be contributed to PDE (aka "Equinox Tooling"), though this is outside the scope of this project.

Why does Equinox have special deployment requirements?

While deploying a Server-Side Equinox Application, Equinox and all bundles required by the application need to be integrated in a servlet-contianer. The incoming requests must be forwarded from the Equinox instance to the participating resources. This creates certain requirements for successfully deploying an Equinox based application as a WAR. The requirements are:

  • All dependencies need to be resolved for the bundles that are being deployed.
  • The config.ini must be set up properly.
  • The javax.servlet bundle must be excluded from the deployment.
  • The servletbridge (both sides) must be present.
  • A bundle that provides the HttpService must be present.
  • The basic folder structure must be intact (WEB-INF folder, web.xml, etc.).

How can the deployment process be improved?

A good approach for building eclipse based applications is the RCP product approach. With this approach developers can create product configurations. These configurations are the basis for exporting RCP applications as executable products. To improve the server-side Equinox deployment process this approach can be adopted. A concept called the WAR product should be introduced. With this concept developers can create WAR product configurations which hold the necessary information for exporting an Equinox based application as a deployable WAR.

Having a good approach is one thing, but the right tooling is needed as well. Decent tooling exists for the RCP product. PDE comes with wizards for creating product configurations and for exporting a product. In addition, a configuration editor is available to help avoid syntax errors. Similar tooling for the WAR product will be needed. This tooling will make the deployment process much simpler and avoid errors during deployment. This tooling can act as the basis for the WAR product tooling and will make RCP developers feel at home.

Primary goals


Glass.gif Needs some investigation/research

Progress.gif Work in progress

Ok green.gif Bug fixed (CVS / Builds)

Ok green.gif let the user choose the name of the .warproduct configuration
Ok green.gif make the workspace bundles selectable (basic settings)
Ok green.gif provide a way to start from an osgi/rap launch configuration (take all bundles and so on)
Ok green.gif Investigate which parts can be reused from the PDE product editor and how to make it pluggable.
Ok green.gif Provide a way to add bundles and features - bug 315475, bug 315476
Progress.gif bundle validation
Progress.gif make sure all added bundles can be resolved (if not show error marker)
Ok green.gif make sure the javax.servlet bundle is not contained into the used bundles
Ok green.gif make sure a bundle which provides an HTTP service is present (maybe hardcoded org.eclipse.equinox.http.servlet?)
Ok green.gif make sure that the needed equinox bundles are included (servletbridge and so on). Maybe they can be resolved from the target platform (show error marker if they can't be resolved)
Progress.gif make sure all bundle dependencies can be resolved (if not show error marker)
Ok green.gif library management - bug 315473
Ok green.gif provide a way to add external libraries which are placed in the lib folder within the WEB-INF
Ok green.gif make sure the org.eclipse.equinox.servletbridge*.jar is included into the lib folder
Progress.gif web.xml configuration - provide a way which make's web.xml configuring easy (maybe these things can be distributed over the whole editor e.g. meta info on the overview tab and so on) - bug 315477
Ok green.gif let the user choose which commandline arguments will be used (-console and so on). Only allow valid arguments.
Ok green.gif let the user choose if the framework controls should be enabled
Ok green.gif make the framework launcher exchangeable (default should be org.eclipse.equinox.servletbridge.FrameworkLauncher)
Ok green.gif let the user define own init-params with key/value pairs
Ok green.gif make meta data editable (display-name, servlet-class, servlet-name and so on)
Ok green.gif let the user choose a servlet mapping (/* by default, what about the .jsp mapping?)
Ok green.gif make it possible to start the export within the editor
Ok green.gif let the user choose which .warproduct configuration should be used
Progress.gif validate the .warproduct file (there should be errors e.g. if the bundle dependencies could not be resolved)
Ok green.gif provide a way to define a destination for the .war file
Ok green.gif make sure the exported file ends with .war
Glass.gif make it optional if an ant script should be generated for the used configuration (nice to have if it's enough time left)
Ok green.gif create WEB-INF structure defined with the options within the .warproduct configuration
Ok green.gif create the config.ini on the fly
Ok green.gif add launch.ini with static content (the default content)
Ok green.gif add all libraries to the lib folder
Ok green.gif put all plugins/features into the eclipse folder (plugins/feature folder)
Ok green.gif add the web.xml to the WEB-INF folder

The described functionality may change during the coding period.

UI Sketches

  • .warproduct new wizard
  • .warproduct editor
Editor overview.png
Editor features.png
Editor plugins.png
Editor xml.png
  • .warproduct export wizard
ExportWizard war.png

Community Involvement

Getting the source

The .warproduct tooling will be initially developed as part of the RAP tooling. After finishing the project the tooling will be contributed back to PDE. See the RAP CVS page for more informations.

Open issues

To see all the open issues and feature requests of this project, take a look at [warproducts&short_desc_type=allwordssubstr this query].

New ideas

Do you have a great idea for the warproducts? Just open a new feature request.