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From Sachin Patel <>
Subject Re: [wtp-dev] Proposal for Merging Server Runtime and Server Instance
Date Thu, 02 Mar 2006 00:34:29 GMT
So hopefully this will make sense... :)

In the two proposal notes I sent, the discussion is around the 3  
concepts in WTP, "runtimes", "servers", and "facets" and what we can  
do to improve the definition, design and interaction between the  
frameworks that these concepts represent.  So for those not familiar  
with WTP, let me start by describing these concepts from a "users  

So currently WTP has a notion of defining a "runtime" and defining a  
"server".  So for a user wanting to create a j2ee app using WTP and  
deploy it to geronimo the user must perform currently two distinct  
tasks.  (1) Is to define a Geronimo runtime using a wizard which asks  
the location of the runtime which you would point to a geronimo  
installation.  During project creation you would choose this newly  
defined runtime and what this essentially does is configures the  
project to add a JRE and a "runtime classpath container" which  
contains all of the geronimo spec jars + other G jars.  This means  
that this project is "targeted" to be deployed to geronimo.

Now in order to deploy that application, the user currently has to  
perform a second task, and that is to define and point to the actual  
server instance.  You may immediatly ask yourself, didn't I just do  
that by defining the runtime?

This is currently confusing to users, as the note below indicates.   
Not only are the definition of the terms confusing in discussions as  
many times there are used interchangably, but from a users  
perspective they need to manage in the UI both the list of servers  
and runtimes and the mapping between the two.  And most of all what  
is confusing in the above case, both the runtime and the server are  
pointing to the same thing!  This usability needs to change.  So one  
of the proposals is for these two to be merged togather, with all  
server instances being runtimes, but not vise versa.  Runtimes may or  
may not represent a server instance.  (Multiple server instances may  
have unique configuration/launching data in distinct location but  
share the same runtime jars.  For example WebSphere has a concept of  

So with that re-read below and hopefully the note will make more sense.

Facets are basically a unit of function that can be applied and  
removed to a given WTP project.  For example, if a user is wanting to  
create a "Web Project" the "web facet" is selected and this creates  
the project directory structure specific for a web project, web.xml,  
etc.... So how do facets relate to geronimo runtimes and servers?

Since G is headed toward a model where a user can produce a custom  
server image (i.e web container only, no j2ee, etc...) each  
distribution may be different.  So after defining a runtime by  
pointing to this installation, some facets may or not be applicable  
to add on a project.  So from a tooling perspective we should be able  
to ask...Given this "runtime" what kind of capabilties do I have?  
What kind of projects can I create?

Now the second use case is that a user may not be interested in  
deploying his app yet and only concerned is developing a project that  
would be supported geronimo.  So they may or may not have a local  
geronimo install image.  So with our integration and use of maven, we  
should be able to take a more appcentric approach in the tools as  
well.  So the user should be able to simply choose the ejb project  
creation wizard, select geronimo, and we should be able to  
dynamically generate the minimum runtime for that project by pulling  
in the necessary jars from their local install or from a maven repo.

I hope that helps.

- sachin

On Mar 1, 2006, at 5:35 PM, Dain Sundstrom wrote:

> Sachin, can you translate this from eclipse speak to geronimo speak?
> -dain
> On Mar 1, 2006, at 1:23 PM, Sachin Patel wrote:
>> Please respond with any comments or concerns you have with this  
>> second proposal as it will have a direct affect on G tooling.
>> - sachin
>> Begin forwarded message:
>>> From: "Konstantin Komissarchik" <>
>>> Date: March 1, 2006 4:02:33 PM EST
>>> To: "General discussion of project-wide or architectural issues."  
>>> <>
>>> Subject: [wtp-dev] Proposal for Merging Server Runtime and Server  
>>> Instance
>>> Reply-To: "General discussion of project-wide or architectural  
>>> issues." <>
>>> Currently the server tools framework has a separate notion of  
>>> runtime and a server. Typically, the runtime is supposed to  
>>> represent the server install location, while server instance  
>>> supposed to represent an actual runnable server configuration.  
>>> The runtime then functions almost like a factory for server  
>>> instances. You can have any number (including zero) of server  
>>> instances associated with a runtime. While that separation can be  
>>> a good thing in some situations, it’s has turned out to be in a  
>>> problem in others. In particular:
>>> The runtime is supposed to be a full description of the server,  
>>> including its capabilities (which facets are supported). While  
>>> that is true in some cases, often the actual server configuration  
>>> is necessary in order to get the complete understanding of what’s  
>>> supported. See 
>>> id=111545 for one example of this.
>>> Having to create and maintain separate lists of runtimes and  
>>> servers has shown to be confusing for users. Extra steps are  
>>> necessary. The user has to know about the preferences page for  
>>> managing runtimes and the servers view for managing servers.  
>>> Often there is confusion as to which one you are talking about.  
>>> People use terms server and runtime interchangeably, etc.
>>> Some runtimes (such as Tomcat) do not have additional server  
>>> configuration, in which case the extra step of creating a server  
>>> from a runtime is very unnecessary.
>>> I’d like to propose that the server runtime and server instance  
>>> be merged into one. I believe we can do that without detriment to  
>>> the use cases that gave rise to the separation. We can do that by  
>>> allowing a runtime to also (optionally) be a server. That is, all  
>>> servers would be runtimes, but not all runtimes would be servers.  
>>> When creating a runtime via the new runtime wizard, the runtime  
>>> provider will have full flexibility in determining whether the  
>>> runtime that’s created is a server or not. Some runtime providers  
>>> (such as Tomcat) may always create servers. Others, such  
>>> WebLogic, may do that optionally based on user’s input. For  
>>> instance, if the user specifies just the WebLogic install  
>>> location, then the created runtime would not be a server, but if  
>>> the user also provides the domain configuration directory, then  
>>> the runtime becomes a startable server. A project can be targeted  
>>> to either one for development, but only the latter one can be  
>>> used to run/debug the app. This approach places a lot of  
>>> flexibility in the hands of the runtime providers. It’s  
>>> conceivable that some may even allow a runtime that’s not a  
>>> server to be “converted” into a server by specifying additional  
>>> information.
>>> The users would manage the list of runtimes via a new Runtimes  
>>> workbench view. The view would be extensible, allowing the server  
>>> tools framework to plug in and mark those runtimes that are  
>>> servers with decorations and additional actions, such as start,  
>>> stop, and status monitoring. This would replace the dedicated  
>>> Servers view.
>>> At the api level, IRuntime would be adaptable to IServer (as  
>>> applicable) and IServer would be adaptable to IRuntime (always).  
>>> The server tools would maintain the markers that indicate which  
>>> runtimes are servers and surface this via api for use by the  
>>> runtime providers. This would not be surfaced to the end user via  
>>> UI.
>>> So how would we handle use cases that drove to the separation of  
>>> the runtime and the server?
>>> I want to just write code. I haven’t created a server and I don’t  
>>> want to create one. I will worry about running/debugging later.  
>>> The above proposal leaves this in the hands of runtime providers.  
>>> If creating a server instance configuration is not trivial, the  
>>> new runtime wizard should let the user opt out of that. The end  
>>> result would be an un-runnable runtime that the user can still  
>>> develop against.
>>> I don’t want to have to specify the location of my server install  
>>> every time I create a new server instance. This can easily be  
>>> handled in the runtime creation wizards by remembering the prior  
>>> selections in an editable combo box.
>>> Thoughts?
>>> - Konstantin
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