Using the retepMicroKernel – Part 1

In the first of four posts introducing the retepMicroKernel project, I will describe what the project is, it’s goals and how it can be used to implement lightweight server side application running either standalone or within a J2EE environment. Part 2 will show how to write an application for the kernel and Part 3 will show how to add a web console to your application while Part 4 will show how to integrate an application into a J2EE environment.

Overview

The retepMicroKernel comprises four distinct components:

  • Binary launcher
  • MicroKernel
  • WebConsole
  • Apache Maven plugin

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Binary launcher

The binary launcher is a platform specific binary who’s job is to configure the application, start the Java virtual machine and finally start the application by bootstrapping the microKernel.

Currently the following platforms are supported:

  • Linux (both 32 and 64 bit ). This is compiled under Ubuntu but is tested on RHEL4 so should work on most x86 and amd64 distributions
  • Mac OSx (Leopard 10.5.x and Java 6 required)
  • Windows XP (not tested on Vista, currently console only)

Other platforms will be supported as an when I get a working virtual image of those platforms.

MicroKernel

This is the core kernel comprising the microKernel, annotations and core services like the in-memory JNDI server.

WebConsole

The WebConsole is an optional component that, when installed, provides a simple but comprehensive console for your application by utilising the built in web server provided by Java 6. With it you can monitor various statistics about your application using any web browser, and add additional actions to your application for management purposes.

Apache Maven plugin

The Apache Maven plugin enables an application to be built, ensuring that all artifacts are present and installed in the correct locations required by the kernel.

Directory Layout

Each microKernel application is organised so that the final application is self contained. Here’s the directory structure – here the application is called myapp:

  • bin – The binary launchers
  • etc – The application’s configuration
  • lib – The microKernel’s jar files
  • lib/myapp – The jar files for the myapp application

The contents of these directories will be covered in Part 2, but the layout is such that you can have multiple applications deployed in the same directory structure – simply have a copy of the binaries with the correct name, configuration under etc and a directory under lib with the application specific jars. In addition, the maven plugin handles all of this for you as it will generate the entire directory structure, ensure the correct artifacts are installed and generate a zip, tar.gz or tar.bz2 artifact containing the final application.

That’s all for the introduction, next in Part 2 I’ll go into depth on how to write a simple application with beans defined either in the standard spring xml fashon, or by utilising the supplied annotations.

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