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From Jan Dockx <>
Subject ValueHandlers on WebSphere 6.1
Date Thu, 30 Oct 2008 15:53:51 GMT
We are working with ValueHandlers for enterprise applications that  
will be deployed on WebSphere, currently We believe that the  
current OpenJPA implementation has made a less than stellar choice in  
how to load value handlers, and suggest a change. But since this is a  
long term solution, we also ask for pointers on how to work around the  
issuefor for our current WebSphere problem.

ValueHandlers are naturally (or so we find) specific for certain value  
types, that are often dependent on the semantics of your business, and  
thus are part of the application, in some way bundled in the ear you  
are deploying. We do unit testing out of the container with OpenJPA  
1.0.3, and everything works like a charm.

When we deploy on WebSphere however, nothing works. OpenJPA does not  
find our value handlers.
Luckily OpenJPA is open source :-), so we found with certainty that  
the reason is that OpenJPA tries to load the value handler with the  
class loader that loaded the meta information for the property. The  
class of that object is part of OpenJPA, and inside WebSphere, OpenJPA  
is loaded with a class loader that has no access to the application  
code, the code in the ear. So, ClassNotFoundException. Bummer.

The long term solution, we believe, is not to use the classloader  
associated with the meta information for the property (i.e., the  
OpenJPA class loader), but instead the class loader of the entity for  
which we are working (which is also reachable via the parameters of  
the method that does the loading). Using the class loader of the  
actual value we want to handle is not an option, since the value can  
be null. The entity however is normally also part of the application,  
the ear, and cannot be null.

In the short term: how can we kick WebSphere in a mode  
(settings? deploy as shared lib? some init code?) where the current  
OpenJPA implementation in there will find our ValueHandler class?

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