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From David Jencks <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] enhance the assemble server portlet usability
Date Mon, 25 Aug 2008 19:51:00 GMT

On Aug 25, 2008, at 12:12 PM, Jay D. McHugh wrote:

> Hey all,
> I have been trying to get my thought straight on profiles/templates.
> And, I think I just might have done it (we'll see).  Warning, there is
> very little 'implementation' here - mostly food for thought.
> First of all, I think that it would be useful to have several ways of
> thinking about groups of modules.  Right now, we have maven artifacts
> and plugins (that are groups of artifacts).  In this discussion, we  
> are
> trying to figure out how to divide/build up a server.  And, the idea  
> of
> profiles came up to group plugins that are necessary for a particular
> function.
> So far, I like everything about the direction that the discussion is
> going.  But, I have two ideas that I think might improve the
> managability of server building/configuration.
> The first involves adding a list of profiles that the different
> Gernonimo modules/artifacts would 'satisfy' into the pom's.  That  
> would
> enable us to stay away from manually building/rebuilding the list of
> default included ('provided by Geronimo') profiles.
> The second would be to add one more level of grouping artifacts -
> templates.  The idea would be that profiles group modules that  
> provide a
> particular function and templates would group profiles that (when
> combined) provide a particular server.
> For example, right now, we provide five distinct 'flavors' of  
> Geronimo:
> minimal (framework), little-G (tomcat), little-G (jetty), JEE5  
> (tomcat),
> and JEE5 (jetty).  Those would correspond to five 'provided' templates
> for Geronimo.
> As an (extremely oversimplified) example, here is what the little-G
> template might look like:
> <template id='little-g-tomcat'>
>  <description>Geronimo Tomcat Little-G Server</description>
>  <version>2.1.2</version>
>  <includesProfile>
>    <!-- full function profiles -->
>    <profile id='geronimo framework' version='x.x' />
>    <profile id='tomcat web container' version='x.x' />
>  </includesProfile>
>  <includesPlugin>
>    <!-- individual plugins, either provided or 'customer specific' -->
>  </includesPlugin>
>  <includesArtifact>
>    <!-- individual libraries -->
>  </includesArtifact>
> </template
> A template like this would be relatively easy for either a program or
> user to build and allows for almost unlimited customizability in
> describing what should go into building a server.  Then, rather than
> having our server assembly portlet actually do the work of making an
> actual server - it could simply output the template.  Or, we could  
> have
> a new option that would allow for template creation and export (ie:
> export current server as template).
> Then we could either check the currently assembled server against the
> template (and pull down whatever profiles/plugins are needed) or  
> have a
> 'load template' function that would apply the template to a new
> (presumably framework only) server.
> Thoughts?

I think this idea is worth pursuing and thinking about some more.  I  
think that the "group of plugins" plugin might provide all the  
functionality you want.  Here are some comments on the current state  
of things that I think might clean up the situation a bit.

First of all, right now the stuff in the foundation is a bit unsettled  
and shifting.  There's boilerplate which is kind of the foundation for  
the server, but it has quite a bit too much stuff in it.... mostly all  
the bin/*.jars used to start various servers, and the geronimo  
schemas.  Both of these should be possible to eliminate by enhancing  
parts of the plugin installation process: the schemas can be extracted  
from the classpath of some car, and the jars are relabeled packed car  
files.  The other part of the foundation is the gshell cars which I  
suspect can all be made dependencies of boilerplate.  Then you'll only  
need to specify boilerplate as a single foundation dependency to get a  
working server with whatever else you may want.

Previously I was considering that we don't want to have dependencies  
on the foundation stuff from other real plugins so we could have  
slimmer alternate foundation setups but maybe if we can slim down  
boilerplate we could have an entry for boilerplate in the root  
geronimo-plugin.xmls without having a dependency.  I think this might  
involve a change to the c-m-p plugin metadata generation.

Second, plugins are really built on dependencies.  So if you have an  
application you want to assemble a server around, all you need to do  
is specify that plugin plus the foundation goo.  If you want a server  
you can  deploy web apps to you can just specify [jetty6/tomcat6]- 
deployer.  So IMO a profile ought to be a really really short list of  
plugins.... the full server ought to be pretty short.  It might be  
interesting to see just how short it can be right now.

Third, I think it will be really really unusual that anyone would  
include an artifact in a "group" plugin or one of your templates.  If  
its brought in only in this way it can't be an any classloader so will  
be inaccessible to any normal operations.  The only reason I can think  
of is to make it available to some kind of additional deployment  
process but I'm having trouble thinking of an actual example.

Third, if we give all our "group of plugins" plugins moduleIds and  
figure out how to keep them from getting "loaded" in any server, then  
I think your template is just a plugin.... you can have other plugins  
which happen to be profiles, "real" plugins, and plain artifacts.

So... here are some steps I can see forward...
- figure out how a plugin with a module ID can have no effect on any  
config files, not even getting added with load="false".  Boilerplate  
might already be an example of this.  I think though that we'll need  
another flag in the maven xml. This will enable arbitrary nesting of  
"group of plugins" plugins.

- figure out how to get dependencies into geronimo-plugin.xml without  
getting into the classloader dependencies or service dependencies   
Then the "root" plugins such as j2ee-system can pull in boilerplate  
and the gshell dependencies without trying to start them or load their  

- figure out how to copy files out of the car's classpath when  
installing a plugin. (right now you can only copy files out of the car  
itself). This will let us populate the schema directory automatically  
as plugins are installed.

- figure out how to install "root" plugins into bin as jars.... or how  
to start them directly from their unpacked repository locations.  The  
latter might be better but  I suspect would require quite a bit of  
gshell support.

david jencks

> Jay
> Lin Sun wrote:
>> Here is what I am thinking.   Let me take the Web profile as an  
>> example:
>> So we want to allow users to check/select the Web profile to select
>> all the necessary geronimo plugins for little G.   Users would only
>> see Web profile, instead the 10+ geronimo plugins.
>> -------------------------------------------------
>> Select from the following Profiles/Plugin Groups:
>> __ Web (when this selected, we'll install the 10+ geronimo plugins  
>> for
>> the user to get little G env.)
>> __ Web Service
>> ...
>> -------------------------------------------------
>> In order to do this, we'll need to know which geronimo plugins can  
>> get
>> the users to the Web profile and store this relatonship somewhere  
>> that
>> is avail for both admin console and command line custom assembly.   I
>> come to the conclusion that we need some sort of group of plugins
>> function and David reminded me about the geronimo-plugin.xml that has
>> no module-id can work as group of plugins.   Here is the wording from
>> the schema:
>> If no module-id is provided, that means this is a plugin group, which
>> is just a list of other plugins to install.
>> With that, I can just build a geronimo plugin group for web profile
>> and have the 10+ geronimo plugins listed as dependencies.   This
>> geronimo plugin group can be available as part of the assmebly, along
>> with the other geronimo plugin groups.
>> The idea is that if a user selects Web profile in either admin  
>> console
>> or command line, we can just select the corresponding geronimo plugin
>> group behind the scene, which would install all its dependencies.
>> Now back to the web services sample, we 'll have 2 web service  
>> plugin groups:
>> web service CXF - cxf and cxf-deployer
>> web service Axis2 - axis2 and axis2-deployer
>> The web service Jetty plugin group will be included in the jetty
>> javaee5 assembly and web service tomcat plugin group will be included
>> in the tomcat javaee5 assembly.   Initially, I plan to only support
>> custom server assembly from the current local server, so when user  
>> has
>> jetty assembly, he will see web service CXF.   When user has tomcat
>> assembly, he'll see web service Axis2.   In the long run, we could
>> present both to the users and they can just pick either one.
>> I hope above addressed your questions.   Please feel free to let me
>> know any other comments you may have.
>> Lin
>> On Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 11:57 PM, Jarek Gawor <>  
>> wrote:
>>> Hmm.. I'm not sure how this profile idea fits in with what the user
>>> have to select in the "assemble a server" portlet. Would there be a
>>> profile for axis2 that only has two plugins axis2 and axis2-deployer
>>> defined? And there would be a similar profile with two plugins for
>>> cxf? And the user would either pick the axis2 or cxf profile and
>>> combine it with the jetty or tomcat profile? I'm just not sure how
>>> this relates to the steps the user would have to go through in the
>>> portlet to create the desired server.
>>> Jarek
>>> On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 4:20 PM, Lin Sun <>  
>>> wrote:
>>>> I have been thinking a bit more on how we achieve this.   Here is  
>>>> my
>>>> idea and I welcome your input -
>>>> So we have a need to allow users to install groups of  
>>>> plugins(function
>>>> profile), instead of individual plugins.   Install individual  
>>>> plugins
>>>> are nice for standalone apps, but for system modules, I think it  
>>>> would
>>>> be better to allow users to install groups of plugins as functional
>>>> profiles(unless the user is an expert user).    What we need is to
>>>> expose the groups of plugins for certain functions available to our
>>>> users and allow them to select the ones of their interest to  
>>>> build the
>>>> customer server.
>>>> I am proposing in addition to store plugin metadata of each  
>>>> plugin in
>>>> the plugin catalog, we could also host installable groups of  
>>>> plugins
>>>> information there (or in a separate catalog file).   For example,  
>>>> for
>>>> a function such as Web (same as little G) that has been discussed  
>>>> in
>>>> above posts, we could have the following plugin metadata -
>>>> <geronimo-plugin xmlns="

>>>> "
>>>> xmlns:ns2="">
>>>>   <name>Geronimo Assemblies :: Minimal + Tomcat</name>
>>>>   <category>WEB Profile</category>
>>>>   <profile>true</profile>
>>>>   <description>A minimal Geronimo server (Little-G) assembly using
>>>> the Tomcat web-container.</description>
>>>>   <url></url>
>>>>   <author>Apache Software Foundation</author>
>>>>   <license osi-approved="true">The Apache Software License, Version
>>>> 2.0</license>
>>>>   <plugin-artifact>
>>>>       <module-id>
>>>>           <groupId>org.apache.geronimo.assemblies</groupId>
>>>>           <artifactId>geronimo-tomcat6-minimal</artifactId>
>>>>           <version>2.2-SNAPSHOT</version>
>>>>           <type>car</type>
>>>>       </module-id>
>>>>       <geronimo-version>2.2-SNAPSHOT</geronimo-version>
>>>>       <jvm-version>1.5</jvm-version>
>>>>       <jvm-version>1.6</jvm-version>
>>>>       <dependency>
>>>>           <groupId>org.apache.geronimo.assemblies</groupId>
>>>>           <artifactId>geronimo-boilderplate-minimal</artifactId>
>>>>           <version>2.2-SNAPSHOT</version>
>>>>           <type>jar</type>
>>>>       </dependency>
>>>>       <dependency start="false">
>>>>           <groupId>org.apache.geronimo.framework</groupId>
>>>>           <artifactId>upgrade-cli</artifactId>
>>>>           <version>2.2-SNAPSHOT</version>
>>>>           <type>car</type>
>>>>       </dependency>
>>>>       <dependency start="true">
>>>>           <groupId>org.apache.geronimo.framework</groupId>
>>>>           <artifactId>rmi-naming</artifactId>
>>>>           <version>2.2-SNAPSHOT</version>
>>>>           <type>car</type>
>>>>       </dependency>
>>>>       <dependency start="true">
>>>>           <groupId>org.apache.geronimo.framework</groupId>
>>>>           <artifactId>j2ee-security</artifactId>
>>>>           <version>2.2-SNAPSHOT</version>
>>>>           <type>car</type>
>>>>       </dependency>
>>>>       <dependency start="true">
>>>>           <groupId>org.apache.geronimo.configs</groupId>
>>>>           <artifactId>tomcat6</artifactId>
>>>>           <version>2.2-SNAPSHOT</version>
>>>>           <type>car</type>
>>>>       </dependency>
>>>> ...
>>>> When a plugin is a profile, it means it just contains a group of
>>>> geronimo plugin dependencies that are installable and can perform
>>>> certain functions.  By installing it, it will simply install the
>>>> dependency plugins.
>>>> Questions -
>>>> How do we build this profile type of plugin?   We could build them
>>>> manually initially to try things but maybe c-m-p could be used  
>>>> here.
>>>> How do we install this profile type of plugin?  I think we could
>>>> leverage the pluginInstallerGBean to install it...when profile is
>>>> true, we just download the dependencies.
>>>> How/Where should we make this file avail?   We could make this file
>>>> avail in geronimo-plugins.xml (or another catalog file in repo) and
>>>> with our server assembly (one assembly contains the plugin  
>>>> profiles it
>>>> have).  When building customer server, when load all the plugins  
>>>> that
>>>> are profile and ask users to pick which ones they want.   If we  
>>>> have a
>>>> framework that can install geronimo plugins, a user can just  
>>>> download
>>>> the framework and pick from our apache repo on which plugin  
>>>> profiles
>>>> they want to build their geronimo server.
>>>> How are we handle the upgrade scenarios Joe mentioned?   No idea
>>>> yet... I think this is a rather complicated scenario.
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> Lin

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