Monday, March 30, 2015

Customizing Blogger


I want to start by blaming Markus Eisele for my misadventures. I was looking at his blog and liked the makeover he gave it. I did find the template he was using, but decided that I would write my own. Well I thought this should be an easy thing to do. I severely underestimated the challenge of making a custom template for myself. It turns out that one of the easiest things turns out to be the hardest. Alright Markus you are off the hook... it may just be my bravado, and belief I can build a better mousetrap that led me down the long lonesome road.

Google is well known for having good and sometimes great APIs for their technology. Blogger is an exception to that rule. There is not one clear cut schema for their layout that I can find ironically using Google itself. You figure with all of the templates and bloggers that this would be covered ad nauseum.  It is not though.


I was looking for a simple and elegant framework to make my blog sites look professional, and also make them portable. I had the following requirements:
  1. Mature framework
  2. Can be found on a CDN
  3. Easy to use
  4. Simple to implement
  5. Well Documented
  6. Lots of examples
  7. Flexible
  8. Customizable
  9. Response UI
  10. HTML5
  11. Portable
  12. JSF Compatible
  13. Works with NetBeans IDE for Tooling
I looked at a number of frameworks including Foundation, and Bootstrap. I ended up choosing Foundation since it seemed to be easier to use for me. Your milage my vary.

The first thing I wanted to know was what was the minimum required for a template on Blogger. I discovered that are a couple of versions of the template: an HTML 4.01 version (v.1) and an HTML 5 version (v.2) which are somewhat a hybrid mix of XML, and (X)HTML. I published the basic templates on Gist as shown below.

I have a couple of different blogs and found them to be different so I thought I would share my findings.

The next thing I needed to find out was what was the minimal template I would need for using with Foundation. The template below uses a CDN to deliver the required JS/CSS. The template below is the culmination of a lot of work to make it work with the visual tools on Blogger. Remember to backup your existing template before installing mine.


I finally have a working blog site using the new template, and will update all of my sites to use it. My personal non-technical blog site was the first to use the new template. It is still a work in progress, but it looks very nice. Take a peek for yourself at John Yeary Blogger site.

I have compiled a list of links that I found helpful in trying to figure out their layouts and tags in the references below.



Template References

Additional References

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Simple Method to invoke @PreDestroy on a Class

I was experimenting with how to invoke a @PreDestroy annotated method in a class. This will approach will work with other annotations as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

JSF 2.x Tip of the Day: Implementing a ViewMapListener

A map of the lands where the Trobadors flourished. 
"France 1154-en" by Reigen - Own work
Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


There are a number of SystemEvents supported by JSF 2.x. A question that comes up frequently is how to implement them. In a number of cases on stackoverflow, it is implemented using a PhaseListener. I was looking for a way to cleanup the view map, or just get values from it before it was destroyed. I decided that the simplest way to do so was to implement a ViewMapListener. I also noticed that there were very few posts on how to implement it using the faces-config.xml so I decided to use that approach since it was instructive and more clear to me.


The basic implementation requires that you add our listener implementation to the faces-config.xml. The example I have here is designed to get called on a PreDestroyViewMapEvent which is called on a normal navigation. We can force it though by adding a @PreDestroy annotation to a method to invoke before being destroyed. Inside the method we would need to get the UIViewroot view map, and call clear(). This would cause our listener to be invoked too. It would be a good cleanup mechanism for cleaning up resources on session expiration too, but at the moment this does not work on JSF 2.1. The @PreDestroy is not called on session timeout on JSF 2.1. This is expected to be an enhancement in JSF 2.2+.

The code for the project can be downloaded from Bitbuket here: viewmaplistener-example



The example above is just one mechanism of using a SystemEvent listener. You may decide to read values from the map, and add them to the session, or manipulate it in some other way before the data is destroyed.

Friday, December 26, 2014

ExecutorService Conundrum

I was asked by someone to solve a problem with threads that they were having. They wanted to cancel a Future that was sent to an ExecutorService. I told them to look at a previous posts I had done on the subject. However, they insisted that this was different. So I took a look at the code. Alas, it was slightly different, but like most folks including me, they were too close to the problem to see the answer. I looked at it, and at first glance I thought something was askew, but it was not.

The code for this project can be downloaded here: runnable-example
As you can see from the results of the run, the future is canceled, but still keeps running. Then it gets interrupted, and breaks. So the question is why is it still running after being canceled.

Here is the Runnable and the main class to execute it:

So the do you have an answer? The answer is at the bottom of the blog. Don't peek... think!



Simply because you have canceled it, and even interrupted it; it is still a running thread. It is not scheduled, so you are not canceling it before execution.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

JSF 2.x Dynamic Encoding

Encoding Examples
In an Internationalized world, we need to be able to change the encoding of a JSF page dynamically. In this case, we have some characters encoded in UTF-8, but we want to be able to change the encoding on the page, and have the framework handle the character conversions for our web page.

So how do we do it?

One of the simplest ways is to wrap our page in a <f:view /> tag. The tag wraps the <head/> and <body/> elements in our HTML page. In the example above this is accomplished as shown below: The code for the backing bean is shown below:

The Netbeans Maven project can be found here: JSF Dynamic Encoding

Thursday, October 09, 2014

How do I check if a Class is an instanceof another Class without initializing it?

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
We had a recent security audit and a question was posed about how to check a Class without doing an instanceof. This turned out to be a great learning experience. There were a couple of issues that needed to be resolved, first we were loading a Class by passing in its name using something similar to the line below: This will load the Class, but from here how do we check that it is an instanceof without instantiating it?
This can be solved by using isAssignableFrom(Class clazz) as shown below. In this case we are checking if SolientGreen is Green. Some of you will find the moral paradox of being "Green" with Soilent Green.
The second issue is a more potential security problem. How do we load the Class without initializing it. If the Class has a static initializer, the code is executed when the class is loaded. Alas, this is handled by using a variation of Class.forName(String name, boolean initialize, ClassLoader loader) which takes a boolean to determine if the class should be initialized, and a ClassLoader if you want to specify a specific loader.

Finally, we can check the Class like this: When this is run, you will not see the message. Very nice indeed!

So here is the remaining code for education and entertainment:
The code for the project can be downloaded from Bitbucket here: assignable

Friday, October 03, 2014

Cassandra Ruby Gem Issues on Mac OS X 10.9.5

I was trying to resolve some issues with building the cassandra gem on Mac OS X 10.9.5. The solution was a multipart solution. You first need to build thrift first which has a known issue, and then build cassandra. This technical tip is very simple. I didn't want to lose it, and I am sure that there are other people out there who will need it.
Note: Please make sure you have updated all the gems in your repository before executing these commands. This will build both required gems.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

JSF 2.1 Tip of the Day: Clearing the @ViewScope


I was trying to solve an issue in our code where the @ViewScope beans were not being garbage collected. I spoke a number of times with Manfred Riem at Oracle about the weirdness of this issue. The issue simply put was that we were facing a memory leak where the instances of @ViewScope objects were not being removed from the view map. As a result, the pages were being kept in memory. The view map is limited to 32 views which helped to hide the issue. In most cases, it would not appear to normal users of our application. The issue was suddenly evident when the view contained tens of thousands of objects. 32 x 10k is REALLY BIG! It really never made it to 32, the system would stall and crash at about 6 instances.

The Culprit

We had implemented our own custom NavigationHandler. This was working quite well on JSF 2.0.x, but a couple of things happened. The JSF implementation was changed to handle another view scope issue, and our implementation of the NavigationHandler was changed from my original code. The new handler did not handle cleaning up the @ViewScope object view map which is stored in the session. Oh, yeah, the view map in the session was the change to the API too.

The Solution

The solution turned out to be something simple, re-implement the same mechanism in the default NavigationHandler to clear the @ViewScope objects from the view map in the session.

Interesting Observations

I was trying to come up with a mechanism to clear the view map data from the session, and came up with a SystemEventListener to test out some ideas. I thought I would share the code for people to see how the map is cleared. This is an approach to the issue, but as I noted, it was actually something missed in our NavigationHandler. I thought I should post the code for anyone who was looking for ideas on how to manipulate the map, or clear data in it. So without further hesitation. Here is the code.

To implement the listener, you need to add an entry to the faces-config.xml file as shown below.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

JSF 1.2: Project Woodstock Application using JPA

Woodstock Dataprovider Entity Example
Here is another example of using Project Woodstock along with JPA in an Enterprise Application. The project requires the sample database included in NetBeans.

The project was updated using NetBeans 6.5.1.

The code for the project can be found on Bitbucket here: WoodstockJPAApplication

Friday, July 25, 2014

JSF 1.2: Project Woodstock Multiple Selection Table Example

Multiple Selection Table

This is another example of a Project Woodstock project that was converted from Project Rave and Sun Studio Creator 2. This example details a multiple selection table, and was originally created by Winston Prakash.

I have updated the project using NetBeans 6.5.1 and tested on GlassFish 2.1.1.

The updated project can be found on BitBucket here: MultipleSelectionTable