Web’s fear and maven

All is well and good on your jetty or tomcat servers, then one of your client want to deploy your application in websphere application server, and trouble begins

 - JNDI lookup for datasources
 - Classloading mess
    - Verbose classloading and parent last
    - Jboss tattletale
    - Cleanup undesired dependencies
        - Maven exclusions
        - Correct scope
        - Maven war plugin : packagingExcludes
        - Patched jar
    - Keep it clean
         - maven-enforcer-plugin and friends
         - Combining Groovy-Sonar-Jenkins

Jndi lookup

If your client plan to use websphere, may be he wants to use the built-in websphere datasource, an implementation collecting various statistics about connection, prepared statement,…
You probably want to keep your jetty/tomcat compliance and if you are in webphere switch to the specific implementation (jndi datasource, jta transaction manager,…)
You can use the spring profiles to lookup your datasource via jndi instead of using dbcp or another datasource implementation.

	<bean id="dataSource" class="org.springframework.jndi.JndiObjectFactoryBean" abstract="false"
		<property name="lookupOnStartup" value="false" />
		<property name="cache" value="true" />
		<property name="proxyInterface" value="javax.sql.DataSource" />
		<property name="expectedType" value="javax.sql.DataSource" />
		<property name="jndiName" value="java:comp/env/jdbc/MyDataSource" />

If you plan to use jta transactions, and multiple datasources/queues, don’t forget to use XA transactions or tweak your transactions to avoid mixing access in a single transaction (and design it for possible data loss).
Also reduce the isolation level through the datasource property webSphereDefaultIsolationLevel (the default one is repeatable read).
If you have long running transaction like quartz job, test them extensively.

Classloading mess

We are in 2012… osgi is there since a long time and I’m still struggling with websphere and its bundled xerces.

Verbose classloading and parent last

To diagnose classloading issues like NoClassDefFound, Violation Constraint,… you can enable the verbose classloading.
To minimize the side effect of the bundled jars in websphere you setup the classloader policy of your application and module to parent last.

Jboss tattletale

I know that it’s ironic but this tool developed by JBoss will save you hours of trial and errors.
To audit your web-inf/lib, jboss tattletale is THE tool to identify :
– undesired dependencies like the one bundling javax.** classes
– duplicate jars (often due to maven relocation)
– duplicate classes


Launch mvn clean package
Then take a look at the report, you will perhaps discover duplicates classes like the one from commons-logging and use jcl-over-slf4j

or duplicate quartz jar :


and many other undesired dependencies.

Cleanup Undesired dependencies

Maven exclusions

Since maven 2.x resolves dependencies transitively, it is possible for unwanted dependencies to be included in your project’s classpath. Projects that you depend on may not have declared their set of dependencies correctly, for example. In order to address this special situation, maven 2.x has incorporated the notion of explicit dependency exclusion. Exclusions are set on a specific dependency in your POM, and are targeted at a specific groupId and artifactId. When you build your project, that artifact will not be added to your project’s classpath by way of the dependency in which the exclusion was declared.


Correct scope

For example excluding test artifact by specifying the correct scope.


Exclude jdbc drivers by defining them as provided (idem for your datasource implementation)




In extreme case… putting exclusions is just too long and boring. Configuring the maven war plugin to exclude the jar can be a faster way but remember that if this dependency breaks something in your application, it’s still there in your unit tests.


Patched jars

Some open source jars bundles multiple times the same classes, for example org.w3c.dom.UserDataHandler is bundled in xom, jaxen and many more.
This interface was also bundled in websphere and two jars in the web-inf/lib, one of them was sealed leading to java.lang.LinkageError: loading constraint violation: loader.
So I removed them from the jar and upload a xom-1.1.patched.jar to the corporate maven repository. It’s really ugly but it’s working.

Keep it clean

maven-enforcer-plugin and friends

Maven provide a default rules to enforce some rules, on[e] of them is for banneddependencies.

But there is another set of rules provided by the pedantic pom enforcer

Have you ever experienced symptoms like headaches, unfocused anger or a feeling of total resignation when looking at a Maven project where everybody adds and changes stuff just as they need? Do people call you a “POM-Nazi” if you show them how to setup proper and well organized projects?

If so, the Pedantic POM Enforcers are absolutely the thing you need!

An you have also an extra rule set @codehaus

Combining Groovy-Sonar-Jenkins

It’s quite easy to create a small groovy script that
– will check the jars in web-inf/lib against a baseline list
– failed the build or if you are less paranoid…
– send a mail to your team,
– or just contribute to a sonar manual measure

Let’s define our baseline, for some jar you want to get noticed if a different version is bundled, for your module you accept any version.
And use this baseline as a whitelist if it’s a different version or if there’s no match then it’s a new dependency -> requires to test a websphere deployment.


Then create the manual measure in sonar

You can define a manual measure

And now the groovy script to analyze the latest war file and post the manual measure to sonar and send you a mail😉 :

import java.util.zip.ZipFile;

//authenticated post
def postSonarMeasure = { resource,metric,val, sonarhost,token ->
	def script = "resource=${resource}&metric=${metric}&val=${val}&text=fromgroovy&description=fromgroovy";
	println script
	URL url = new URL("${sonarhost}/api/manual_measures?"+script);
	URLConnection conn = url.openConnection();
	conn.setRequestProperty ("Authorization", "Basic ${token}")
	OutputStreamWriter wr = new OutputStreamWriter(conn.getOutputStream());
	result=  conn.getInputStream().getText()
	println 'metrics created '+result;
	return result

def sonar = 'https://continuousbuild.com/sonar'
def mavencoordinate='com.company:mywebapp'
def token = 'myuser:mypassword'.bytes.encodeBase64().toString()

//curl http://continuousbuild.com/sonar/api/manual_measures?resource=com.company:mywebapp&metric=unverifiedwebinfjars
//http://jira.codehaus.org/browse/SONAR-2966 <not_supported/>  
// 1. define the metrics
// 2. add a measure manually
// 3. launch an analysis
// 4. check the data through api/manual_measures
def postSonarUnverifiedWebInfJars = { value ->

def getActualContentOfWebInfLibFromLastestWar ={
	// find latest war file in target directory
	fileWar = new File("./target").listFiles().findAll(){ it.getName().endsWith('.war')}.sort() { a,b ->
		a.lastModified().compareTo b.lastModified()
	println "Checking WEB-INF/lib from "+fileWar.canonicalPath;
	//and create actuals with content
	ZipFile file = new ZipFile(fileWar)
	actuals = file.entries().collect { entry -> if (entry.getName().startsWith('WEB-INF/lib/')) return entry.getName().substring('WEB-INF/lib/'.length()) }
	actuals = actuals.findAll {it!=null && !it.equals('')}
	return actuals

def getBaseLine = {
	new File("./baseline.txt").eachLine { if (!it.trim().isEmpty())allowed.add(it) }
	return 	allowed
	actuals =getActualContentOfWebInfLibFromLastestWar();
	allowed =getBaseLine();

	println "************************************ "
	println "actuals "+actuals.size()
	println "allowed "+allowed.size()
	println "************************************ "

	unallowed = [];
	unmatched = [];

	allowedNonMatching = [];

	actuals.each { actual ->
		ok = allowed.find() { allow ->
			boolean match= (actual =~ '^'+allow)
			if (match) {
				println "matching " +actual +" "+ allow
			return match;
		if (ok==null) {
			unallowed.add("unmatched dependencies ! '${actual}' ")
			println "unmatched dependencies ! '${actual}' "
	if (!unallowed.isEmpty() || !allowedNonMatching.isEmpty) {
		def msg =  "The ${project} problem dependencies : \n"+unallowed.join('\n')+" \n add exclusions or adapt baseline.txt check if websphere deployment is ok.\nplease.\n"+actuals.join('\n');
		 ant = new AntBuilder()
		 ant.mail(mailhost:'mysmtp.server.com', subject:"${project} : undesired dependencies detected !" ,tolist:'myaddress@mestachs.com'){

		println msg.toString()
	println "************************************ unused constraint from baseline.txt"
	allowedNonMatching.each {println it}
	println "*************************"
	println "************************************ append content to baseline.txt"
	unmatched.each {println it}
	println "*************************"

Enable the run of this scripts via maven plugin in a dedicated profile


or via jenkins groovy post scripts.


  1. #1 by nellistos on October 10, 2012 - 9:34 pm

    Great and practical tips…I know how you feel tattletale🙂 was a great find hehe by @arapidhs

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