Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Configuring Maven to Fetch Artifacts from Multiple Repositories

It is quite common to have a situation where a project needs to source for artifacts from more than one source. This post quickly explain 3 different ways to achieve this.

Repositories settings in pom.xml

In pom.xml, you have the <repositories/> tag which can be used to specify the repositories a project should search and download artifacts from. For example:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Common Date-Time Operations In Java - Formatting and Parsing Date-Time

In Date and Time With Java, a general overview of date/time related API was given. This post walks through formatting and Parsing Date-Time in Java.

Parsing and Formatting Date and Time.

What is the difference between December, 04, 1984 and 12/04/1984, and 04/Dec/1984 and ... or difference between 13:00hr and 1PM and...

Formating. They all represent the same date and time but are formatted differently.

Formatting date/time values as string, and parsing date/time values expressed in string into objects, are one of the common tasks when dealing with date/time. 

Formatting allows you to take a Java object that represents date or time and convert it into a string represention using a predefined formatting.

Conversely, with parsing, you take date or time values expressed as strings and have it converted it into valid Java date or time objects.

We quickly go over how to accomplish these tasks:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Date And Time With Java

How do you deal with dates and time in Java and perform common operations like finding difference between two dates or translate dates into a particular string formats?

This post seeks to provide an answer to those questions.

I would start off by giving a brief description of the available date related classes and packages you might encounter on the Java platform and then do follow up posts exploring some of the common date/time operations like how to format date-time, dealing with time zones and locale, finding differences between dates/times etc.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Hooking Into Container and Bean Life Cycle in Spring.

"What is the difference between BeanFactoryPostProcessor and BeanPostProcesser" This, said one of my colleagues, was part of his interview question, a question to which he promptly replied: "I don't know".

Once you pass the stage of actually getting Spring to work, passing the configuration huddle, in no time, the next couple of things you would probably run into would involve using or hooking into the various life-cycles in Spring and you start seeing things like BeanFactoryPostProcessor, BeanPostProcessor, DisposableBean, InitialzingBean, PostConstruct etc, which all seems to be callbacks mechanism that enables you plug in, somehow, into all the magic going on in Spring.

...And probably just like me, it all starts feeling like too much to grasp...Also, sooner or later, you run into the *Aware sets of interfaces.

Dang! What are all these, How do they fit into the picture? I just want to write a web application, why do I have to grapple with all these what not?

I initially had all these concepts swirling all about without having any concrete mental model to attach them to or a good understanding of what actually is going on. I knew about the @PostConstruct annotation and maybe what it does, I also have come across various *Post Processors and maybe the IntializingBean interface a couple of times, but actually grokking and understanding where they fit did not happen until after spending some time working with other parts of Spring which allowed for a broader view of what is going, helping create some sort of mental model.

Monday, June 09, 2014

How to Autowire a Bean That Requires Constructor Argument In Spring

Spring allows you to inject a managed object (bean) as a dependency into another object via the @Autowired annotation.

For example, if I have a UserService that has a dependency on UserRepository, I can have the UserRepository injected using @Autowired annotation like this:

UserRepository Class...
class UserRepository {
UserRepository () {}

UserService Class...
class UserService {

private UserRepository userRepository;

UserService () {}


This is done using Field Injection. The same thing can be accomplied using Setter Injection:

class UserService {

private UserRepository userRepository;

UserService () {}

@Autowired // Using setter injection
public void setUserRepository(
UserRepository userRepository) {
this.userRepository = userRepository


or via Constructor Injection:

class UserService {

private UserRepository userRepository;

@Autowired // Using constructor Injection
UserService (UserRepository userRepository) {
this.userRepository = userRepository


There are different opinions on which method is "the right way" but since this post is not about that debate. I would point you to this post instead: Why I changed My Mind About Field Injection

Which ever method you choose to use, you are essentially doing the same thing: instructing Spring to supply an object's dependency by using the @Autowired annotation.

But what happens when the Object you want injected in has a constructor that requires an argument?

Making Aliases Permanent

Aliases provides you with short cuts to commands or group of commands.

..For example, instead of always having to type ls -la to get the long listing format of a directory's content, you can set up a short form, say ll and type that instead. You do this via aliases by typing in an open terminal this:

alias ll='ls -la'

It would set up an alias of ll that equates to 'ls -la'. As you see the format of setting up an alias is:

alias alias_name="command"

The only issue with this, is that the alias is lost once you end the terminal session. i.e. once you close the terminal. To make the aliase permanent you need to add it in a place where it gets loaded and available at the start of a terminal session.

The most appropiate place to put the aliases in other to make it permanent is in an hidden file called .bashrc in the user's home directory. Or better still, put it in a file usually named as .bash_alaises and have it refereced from .bashrc

This is straight forward.

with vim ~/.bashrc

and you add the aliases in the .bashrc file as shown above. The other, more prefered way is to create another file, usually named .bash_aliases and put your aliases inside instead.

The reason this works is due to the presence of a code section in .bashrc that loads the content of the .bash_alaises.

The portion of the .bashrc looks like this:

If you do not have this piece of code, feel free to add it.

All this has been easy, straight forward and clear enough. The confusing part to all this, especially if you are new to linux, is the seemingly plethora of other files you can put your aliases in and all mysteriously seem to get the job done.

If you do a google search you may find results that points to other files where you can define aliases. /etc/profile, ~/.profile, ~/.bash_login, .bash_profile

The reason these all seems to work is because they are all special kinds of files that have their contents sourced by the shell at different point in time. Some are sourced at login, some are sourced when the shell is invoked interactively.

To really understand how they all fit, lets go over some basic stuff here:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Configuring Aspect With Spring AOP

tl;dr Using AOP involves you identifying cross cutting concerns (Advice), extracting them out into a separate module and have them called at certain points in your code execution (Join Point) using certain expressions (Point-cut) to select these points where you want your cross cutting concern logic to run. Configuring thus involve telling Spring where your extracted logic is and the point-cut required to know where to apply them.

This post is part of the Configuring Spring Series.

Develop a sizable application and you would soon find yourself repeating some operations: certain logic; function calls that keeps recurring now and then. An example of such a recurring operation is logging. At different places, through out your application, you may find the need to have some information logged; either for debugging purposes or for auditing or for whatever reasons logging was invented. After a while you would soon find out that the log calls are sprinkled about the place in your code base. Not good.

I have worked on a code base where this was the case. This is generally not advisable for various reasons: One, it fast become tedious having to repeat the same boring logic over and over again. Two, it leads to code entanglement as you have the flow of business logic being interrupted by mundane things that does not add to the business logic at hand. Third, it leads to code scattering. Same logic scatted all over the place. Even though the logic might be encapsulated into a method or function call, the method or function call would still be scattered all about the place. Not too good.

The explicitly of having to repeat these recurring calls might seem like a good thing, but with scale, it becomes not that much of a good thing.

Would it not be nice if it were possible to extract out, these recurring method calls, have it in some sort of separate module and then have it magically called when those operations that require them are reached during your code execution?

These kind of problems/situations is what Aspect Oriented Software Development seeks to solve/mitigate with Aspect Oriented Programming. It allows you to extract operations that cut across different aspect of your application and have them called when needed.

These kind of operations are usually called cross-cutting concerns, because, well they cut across various concerns in your application. :)

Apart from logging, operations that you would most likely run into, that can easily be classified as being cross-cutting concerns includes: Authorization, Error Handling, Performance Monitoring etc.

This post describes the process of configuring Spring framework in other to be able to use AOP in your application. As you might have guessed, the topic of Aspect Oriented Programming is a very broad one. And since these post are mainly focused on configuration activities in Spring, I would not go into details of programming with Aspects; but instead explain basic concepts needed to get started and provide an overview of how AOP can be configured in Spring Application.

If you are familiar with event driven languages like Javascript (or any UI framework in most languages), you won't be totally wrong if you think the concept of Aspect sounds very familiar to what you do when you define functions as event handlers. And with event delegation, you can have this function registered to be executed when certain operations/event occurs within your application. The same reason why doing this makes sense also applies to why Aspects are recommended.

So let's get started with some of the basic concepts.