19 September 2010

OpenJPA and OSGi

In my previous review of OSGi support in JPA 2.0 persistence providers, I promised to explain my setup for using OpenJPA in an OSGi environment.

The solution I'm going to outline is by no means final, and in the meantime, my first shot has been greatly simplified using some valuable input from the Apache Aries User mailing list.

In the past, brute force solutions like DynamicImport-Package were more or less the only way to let a JPA provider bundle access all the required classes for a persistence unit from application bundles. Since Release 4.2, the OSGi Enterprise Specification standardizes a whole lot of OSGi service wrappers for well-known Java EE APIs, including JPA, JDBC, JTA and JNDI, so this should be the preferred way of integrating  JPA providers into an OSGi environment.

The Apache Aries project provides (partial) implementations for some of the OSGi enterprise services and a whole lot of other things beyond the scope of this article. Fortunately, all their service implementations are nicely modular, so it is quite easy to use just the JPA and JNDI Services from Aries to make OpenJPA work on OSGi, following the OSGi Enterprise spec rather closely (though not fully).

Here is an overview of the required steps:
  • Get OSGi bundles for OpenJPA and all its dependencies, plus the required Aries bundles.
  • Publish the datasource to be used by your persistence unit as an OSGi service.
  • Make sure that your persistence.xml satisfies a number of restrictions.
  • Run the OpenJPA enhancer and package all classes and metadata of your persistence unit into a bundle with a special manifest header.
  • Start your OSGi framework. The JPA Service will publish an EntityManagerFactory service for each persistence unit.
  • In your client bundles, import your persistence bundle, OpenJPA and javax.persistence, get the appropriate EntityManagerFactory from the service registry and use it just like in an unmanaged Java SE environment.
Each step is explained in more detail in the following sections. I'm using Java 1.6.0, Maven 2.2.1 for collecting the dependencies, Eclipse 3.5.2 for doing most of the work, and the corresponding Equinox version as OSGi runtime.

Get the dependencies

The main JAR in the OpenJPA binary distribution is an OSGi bundle, but most of the included dependencies are plain old JARs, so you need to go shopping for osgified versions of all required libraries. All the required bundles for this example can be found in the SpringSource Enterprise Bundle Repository.

The following is the best part of a Maven POM for copying all the dependencies to a local directory target/platform/plugins.

You need to add the OSGi framework, javax.persistence (I copied both of them from Eclipse 3.5.2) and a JDBC driver bundle for your database. Then copy the whole lot to a new directory to be used as target platform for your Eclipse workspace.

      <name>SpringSource Enterprise Bundle Repository - External Bundle Releases</name>


Register a data source service

A persistence unit requires a data source, either from a javax.sql.DataSource or from a JDBC driver URL. This may be a matter of taste - in this article, I'm focusing on the DataSource.

Create a DataSource for your database using any suitable driver and register it as an OSGi service with the javax.sql.DataSource interface and optionally some additional identifying properties of your choice, e.g. name=myds, in case you have more than one DataSource in your system.

It is useful to do this from a separate bundle, so that this bundle will be the only one in your system with a direct dependency on the JDBC driver.

Adapt your persistence.xml

If you have a persistence.xml which works on Java SE oder Java EE, you will probably have to modify it  to make it work with OSGi and Aries. Here is an example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<persistence version="2.0" xmlns="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/persistence"
  xsi:schemaLocation="http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/persistence http://java.sun.com/xml/ns/persistence/persistence_2_0.xsd">
  <persistence-unit name="myapp" transaction-type="RESOURCE_LOCAL">

First, you need to specify the RESOURCE_LOCAL transaction type explicitly, or else OpenJPA will complain about a missing transaction manager. This is because Aries creates a container EntityManagerFactory and not a stand-alone one.

Second, your data source has to be a non-jta-data-source. Note the special syntax for accessing your data source as an OSGi service via JNDI. To make this work, you need to include the Aries JNDI Service bundles. To select a specific data source by properties, you can append an LDAP filter to the JNDI URL, e.g. osgi:service/javax.sql.DataSource/(name=myds).

Third, you need to prevent the persistence provider from scanning your persistence unit for entity classes, since this may lead to classloader problems. To do so, either list all your classes explicitly if you use JPA annotations, or include all mapping files if you use XML metadata and set exclude-unlisted-classes to true to prevent the provider from scanning your bundle.

If you get funny exceptions like

org.apache.openjpa.persistence.PersistenceException: Error extracting class information from "bundleresource://23.fwk1421571929/".
Caused by: java.io.FileNotFoundException: /myapp/plugins/test.openjpa/bin (Is a directory)

then check if you have set this option. (This problem may be specific to Eclipse, but I'm not sure about that.)

Package your persistence unit bundle

To turn your persistence unit into a persistence bundle, make sure you have all mapping data resources and all entity classes included. In addition to the usual OSGi headers, insert the following one into your manifest:

Meta-Persistence: META-INF/persistence.xml

This is the hook for Aries to discover your persistence bundle using the extender pattern. If all goes well, an EntityManagerFactory will be registered as an OSGi service.

In theory, your persistence bundle should only depend on javax.persistence and not on org.apache.openjpa. In practice, you currently need to include this unwanted import, or else you will get exceptions of the following kind:

java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: org/apache/openjpa/enhance/PersistenceCapable

Apparently, OpenJPA tries to load one of its own classes via your persistence bundle class loader, which is incorrect.

Use the EntityManagerFactory service in your clients

Finally, to work with your persistence unit from client bundles, just get hold of the appropriate EntityManagerFactory service any way you like, using the filter (osgi.unit.name=myapp).

Update 26 Sep 2010: I have submitted some sample code for inclusion into the OpenJPA test suite. The sample is attached to OPENJPA-1815.

15 September 2010

OSGi Support in JPA 2.0 Persistence Providers

About three years ago, I started working with Hibernate in an OSGi environment, and at that time, I had to roll my own solution for resolving all sorts of classloader issues.

Since then, with OSGi 4.2 and JPA 2.0, there have been major specification releases, followed by implementations; OSGi is growing ever more popular, and the current release of the JPA standard has integrated a lot of functionality which used to be available in proprietary API extensions only.

The OSGi 4.2 Enterprise Specification includes JPA, JTA and JDBC services, so in theory, using JPA in an OSGi environment should stop being an issue, as soon as this specification is supported by all OSGi and JPA implementations.

In practice, the specifications are not yet fully covered by the available implementations, and the degree of OSGi support varies a lot.

In the past few months, I have worked with the current versions of the three certified JPA 2.0 persistence providers, and in my opinion, the ranking for OSGi support is quite clear:
  1. Eclipselink
  2. OpenJPA
  3. Hibernate
Some more details on each provider:


Eclipselink has a fully osgified distribution containing OSGi bundles of Eclipselink itself and all dependencies. To make your entity classes visible to Eclipselink, all you need to do is add a JPA-PersistenceUnits manifest header to each bundle containing one or more persistence units. This is enough for Eclipselink to load all your XML metadata and entity classes.

No ugly hacks, no buddy policies or fragments, it just works out of the box.

So for a quick start with JPA under OSGi, Eclipslink is definitely the best choice, even though the OSGi 4.2 JPA Service Specification is not yet fully supported (for instance, the Meta-Persistence header does not work), but this will be of little or no concern to most users.

Leaving OSGi aside, I have been bitten by a number of bugs in Eclipselink, discussed in earlier articles. If you do not use any of these features, you may be very happy with Eclipselink. For me, this set of bugs is currently a no-go, so I have migrated my OSGi applications from Eclipselink to OpenJPA.


The silver medal goes to OpenJPA: OSGi does not appear to be on the top of the agenda of the OpenJPA core developers, but since OpenJPA is used under OSGi by Aries, another Apache project, there is at least a certain level of OSGi support.

In the binary distribution, the OpenJPA aggregate JAR is an OSGi bundle, but most of the dependencies are plain old JARs, so you need to find osgified versions of the dependencies on your own. The same goes for the Maven artifacts.

Once you have downloaded the appropriate OSGi bundles, you still have to do some extra work to ensure that OpenJPA finds your persistence units and your entity classes, and there are a couple of minor issues with the enhancer and with user-defined value handlers.

I will explain the details of my setup and some of the problems that should be addressed in OpenJPA in my next post.


Sadly, regarding OSGi support, Hibernate 3.5.x is not much different from the 3.2.x release I discussed in my earlier articles. The distribution contains plain old JARs, no OSGi bundles. The latest osgified version available from the SpringSource Enterprise Bundle Repository is 3.4.0, and the SpringSource versions never used to work for me, so I expect that the steps described in my 2008 article are still required to make Hibernate work on OSGi.

Disclaimer: I did not try to make Hibernate 3.5 work on OSGi, due to its lack of support of a number of JPA 2.0 features used heavily by my applications. For this reason, I have stopped using Hibernate, both on OSGi and on Java EE.

12 September 2010

JPA 2.0: Ordered Collections

In earlier posts, I wrote about problems with persistent maps, a new feature introduced in JPA 2.0. Ordered collections with explicit order columns are another JPA 2.0 feature which, again, is not yet fully robust in all JPA 2.0 compliant and TCK tested implementations.

I'm currently working with a simple JPA model for OpenStreetMap (OSM). There are ways and nodes, and each way has a sequence of nodes. Of course the order of the nodes is important, and a node may be used more than once for a given way.

Thus, the nodes collection has to be a List, not a Set, and we need an explicit order column specifying the sequence number of the nodes along the way. Sorting the nodes by ID would not make any sense, obviously.

Here is a snippet from the model:

@Table(name = "ways")
public class OsmWay
    private long id;
    @ManyToMany(cascade = CascadeType.ALL)
    @OrderColumn(name = "sequence_id")
    @JoinTable(name = "way_nodes", 
               joinColumns = @JoinColumn(name = "id"), 
               inverseJoinColumns = @JoinColumn(name = "node_id"))
    private List<OsmNode> nodes = new ArrayList<OsmNode>();

This entity is represented by two tables:

  id bigint NOT NULL

CREATE TABLE way_nodes
  id bigint NOT NULL,
  node_id bigint NOT NULL,
  sequence_id integer,

I've tested this scenario on Hibernate 3.5.3, Eclipselink 2.1.1 and OpenJPA 2.0.1: Hibernate and OpenJPA pass, Eclipselink fails with 2 issues.

First, the generated DDL is incorrect: There is a PRIMARY KEY (id, node_id) for way_nodes. This should be (id, sequence_id).

Second, the order of the list items is not maintained in all contexts. It is ok when the collection is lazily loaded, e.g.

OsmWay way = em.find(OsmWay.class, wayId);
List<OsmNode> nodes = way.getNodes();

but it is broken when using a fetch join:

String jpql = "select distinct w from OsmWay w join fetch w.nodes";
TypedQuery<OsmWay> query = em.createQuery(jpql, OsmWay.class);
List<OsmWay> ways = query.getResultList();
OsmWay way = ways.get(0);
List<OsmNode> nodes = way.getNodes();

The funny thing is, the nodes are neither ordered by sequence_id nor by node_id. In my test case, the way has 5 nodes, one of which appears twice in different positions.

So here is some more evidence for my claim that the JPA 2.0 TCK is insufficient.