Published September, 2006
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BlueDragon for J2EE Servers (BlueDragon/J2EE) allows CFML applications to be deployed as standard J2EE web applications in either open directories or as web application archive (WAR) files. While most web applications on J2EE servers are built with servlets, JSPs, EJBs, and other components of the J2EE specification, BlueDragon makes it possible to deploy CFML applications on J2EE servers as native J2EE components, and to integrate CFML and native J2EE components.
This document offers a brief overview of J2EE web applications, explaining both the benefits of CFML (for J2EE developers) and the benefits of J2EE deployment (for CFML developers). It then describes how to create standard J2EE web application components that include the BlueDragon CFML runtime. CFML pages are then added to these web applications, which can be deployed onto any standard J2EE application server without requiring the installation of proprietary Allaire/Macromedia ColdFusion Server software.
ColdFusion® Markup Language (CFML) is a popular server-side markup language for building dynamic database-driven web sites. Unlike scripting-based alternatives such as ASP or PHP, CFML is based primarily on HTML-like markup tags (CFML also contains a scripting language component). CFML is characterized by its low learning curve and ease-of-use, particularly for web developers who do not have a technical background in programming languages such as C/C++ or Java. CFML was originally developed by Allaire Corporation in the late 1990’s; Allaire was acquired by Macromedia, Inc. in early 2001, which in turn was acquired by Adobe Systems Inc. in late 2005.
Over the past several years, many organizations have begun adopting standards-based application servers for their Internet and intranet web site deployments. In particular, there has been a significant migration to application servers based on the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standard defined by Sun Microsystems, Inc. and its partners. This standardization on J2EE servers creates a problem for organizations that have legacy applications implemented in CFML: prior to the introduction of BlueDragon these applications could only be deployed on proprietary Allaire/Macromedia ColdFusion application servers.
BlueDragon allows existing CFML applications to be redeployed as standard J2EE components (WAR or EAR files) onto standard J2EE application servers, eliminating the need for proprietary Allaire/Macromedia ColdFusion servers, and without requiring a lengthy and expensive rewrite of the CFML into JSP. The redeployed legacy CFML applications can then be enhanced using standard J2EE technologies (servlets, JSP, EJB, etc.), or web developers can continue to enjoy the productivity and ease-of-use of CFML, but in a standard J2EE environment.
A general discussion of the motivation for and benefits of deploying CFML on J2EE is offered in a New Atlanta-written article published in the April 2004 ColdFusion Developers Journal, “Making the Case for CFML on J2EE”:
There are many benefits to redeploying CFML applications to J2EE servers, including (but not limited to):
· possibilities of clustering, load-balancing, and fail-over as provided by the J2EE server for all web applications, including options such as session replication across multiple servers;
· options of persisting sessions across server restarts;
· deploying multiple independent instances (where each independent deployed web application is isolated from others—even on the same machine—with its own administrative settings, JVM configuration, and more);
· management controls provided by J2EE servers to stop, start, redeploy and otherwise configure and manage web applications;
· reporting mechanisms provided by J2EE servers to track requests, sessions, and more;
· option to use J2EE datasources, providing enhanced pooling, clustering, configuration, management, and more.
Finally, it’s possible to integrate CFML with Java, Java objects, EJBs, and other J2EE components, including sharing session and application variables, as well as including back and forth between CFML pages and JSPs/servlets. Because this functionality is supported also in our BlueDragon Server JX edition, the topic of integrating CFML with Java is covered in the BlueDragon 6.2.1 User Guide.
The BlueDragon/J2EE web Application (discussed in section 3) by default has no BlueDragon license key embedded within it, so that it runs as a single-user (localhost-only) developer mode. You may request an evaluation license key to extend it to be accessible from any client. Contact your BEA Sales Representative or visit the BEA corporate Web Site at http://www.bea.com in order to contact BEA Sales.
To use your
software in a full-scale production environment, you must purchase a production
license, and place the license (license.bea file) under the
To purchase a license, contact your sales representative or visit the BEA corporate Web Site at http://www.bea.com in order to contact BEA Sales.
To use the Update License Utility, go to
The core technology of BlueDragon is a CFML runtime and execution module that is implemented as a standard J2EE servlet. Building web applications that include the BlueDragon CFML runtime allows the deployment of CFML pages onto standard J2EE servers without installing proprietary Allaire/Macromedia ColdFusion server software. BlueDragon is highly compatible with Macromedia’s ColdFusion MX Server, with some limitations and some enhancements. See the BlueDragon CFML Compatibility Guide for details:
BlueDragon is a highly optimized, high-performance CFML runtime engine. CFML pages are compiled into an internal representation that is cached in memory and executed by the BlueDragon runtime when CFML pages are requested by client browsers.
In addition to allowing the deployment of CFML pages onto standard J2EE servers, BlueDragon is packaged in a standalone server configuration built on New Atlanta’s award-winning ServletExec web application server. Additional information about BlueDragon and ServletExec can be found on New Atlanta’s web site:
BlueDragon/J2EE allows deployment of CFML applications using standard web applications as defined by the Java Servlet 2.3 specification. Therefore, BlueDragon/J2EE runs on any J2EE server or JSP/servlet engine that supports standard web applications or web application archive (WAR) files; it has been tested and is supported on the following:
J2EE Application Server
BEA WebLogic 8.1 and 9.0
JSP/Servlet Engines (non-EJB)
Apache Tomcat 5.0 and 5.5
BlueDragon/J2EE should run on any operating system supported by these application servers; New Atlanta has tested and supports the following operating systems:
· Windows 2000/XP/2003
· Mac OS X 10.1
· Solaris 7, 8, or 9
· AIX 4.3.3 and 4.3.10
· HP-UX 10.20 and 11.0
BlueDragon/J2EE is supported on Java 1.4.2 and 1.5.
If you’re having difficulty installing or using BlueDragon, visit the self-help section of the New Atlanta web site for assistance:
Details regarding paid support options, including online-, telephone-, and pager-based support are available from the New Atlanta web site:
For BEA Systems technical support, go to:
The other relevant manuals available in the BlueDragon
documentation library are:
Each offers useful information that may be relevant to developers, installers, and administrators. BlueDragon, BEA WebLogic Edition documents are available atand additional documents are available in PDF format from New Atlanta’s web site:
This section is an introduction to J2EE web applications for developers who are new to this subject. Experienced J2EE developers may want treat this as a refresher, or skip to the next section, “BlueDragon Webapp Template”.
In J2EE terminology, a web application (or webapp) is a collection of Java servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSP), JSP tag libraries, Java classes, HTML documents, GIF/JPEG images, style sheets, and other resources. A J2EE webapp can be deployed as a single component onto any J2EE application server that implements the Java Servlet API 2.3 (or later) specification.
A J2EE webapp is characterized by a specific directory structure, and a configuration file named web.xml that is also referred to as the webapp deployment descriptor. The following book contains an excellent in-depth discussion of J2EE web applications:
More Servlets and JavaServer Pages
by Marty Hall
Sun Microsystems Press / Prentice-Hall PTR, 2002
Content that is to be served to the client is placed directly in the top-level directory of a webapp. A webapp may contain sub-directories within the top-level directory; for example, it may contain an images sub-directory to hold GIF and JPEG files.
Within the webapp top-level directory is a special sub-directory named WEB-INF. The J2EE server will not serve any content from the WEB-INF sub-directory to the client; therefore, this is the place to put configuration files, Java class files, or other resources that need to be protected. The web.xml deployment descriptor is placed directly within the WEB-INF sub-directory (see further discussion of web.xml, below).
There are two special sub-directories within the WEB-INF directory: the classes sub-directory that is used to hold unbundled Java .class files, and the lib sub-directory that is used to hold Java .jar archives. Any Java classes placed in these sub-directories are automatically available to the webapp (that is, they don’t need to be added to the J2EE server’s classpath or otherwise configured in any way). This is the location to put files to be called via CFOBJECT, createObject, and Java CFX tags.
In summary, the key features of a J2EE webapp are:
· Content that is to be served to the client (HTML, GIF, JPEG, CFM, JSP, etc.) is placed directly within the webapp top-level directory or its sub-directories.
· The WEB-INF sub-directory is located within the webapp top-level directory. The J2EE server will not serve any files from WEB-INF to the client.
· The web.xml deployment descriptor is located directly within the WEB-INF directory.
· The classes and lib sub-directories within WEB-INF are used to store Java .class and .jar files, respectively.
When deploying a webapp onto a J2EE server, a URL prefix (referred to as the context path or context root) is associated with the webapp. This deployment process is referred to as registering the webapp and the specific procedures vary based on the J2EE server. After the webapp is registered with the J2EE server, all URLs that match the context path are mapped to the webapp for processing.
The top-level directory serves as the document root for the webapp. When an incoming URL matches (starts with) the context path of a webapp, the portion of the URL after the context path is interpreted as being relative to the webapp top-level directory. In this way, the context path acts as a sort of virtual directory that maps to the webapp physical directory.
For example, if the file index.html resides within the webapp top-level directory and the webapp has been configured with a context path of /mywebapp, the following URL will serve index.html from the webapp:
The following URL would serve logo.gif from within the webapp images sub-directory:
Most J2EE servers will use the web application directory name or WAR file name as the name of the context path. If you need to deploy the application to a different context path, particularly if you want to deploy it as the root (/) context path, you must configure the context path during deployment.
Most J2EE servers permit designation of the context path during deployment, whether using the J2EE server’s administration console or command-line tool. Additionally, most also permit indication of the context path using an XML file entry (typically in a file name and using XML entries specific to each J2EE server.) Following are discussions of how to set the context root in a few J2EE servers.
In BEA WebLogic, you must create (or edit) a weblogic.xml file in the web application’s WEB-INF directory, placing in it the following lines:
Notice that this is setting the context path to “/”. Just be sure not to choose a context path that would conflict with any other web application you’ve deployed.
In Macromedia JRun, edit jrun-web.xml in the web application’s WEB-INF directory, using a similar entry:
In Tomcat, make a change to the single conf/server.xml file for the entire server (under the Tomcat install directory), and create a <context> entry naming the desired path and pointing to the deployed web app. So assuming we deployed the BlueDragon621.war file, but we wanted to access it as / instead of /BlueDragon621, use this entry:
<Context path="" docBase="BlueDragon621"/>
For information on setting the context path in other J2EE servers, see the appropriate documentation for that server.
The web.xml deployment descriptor contains configuration information used by the J2EE server to support the webapp. For example, the web.xml file provided with the BlueDragon web application template (see below) contains configuration information that tells the J2EE server how to process CFML files (specifically, it instructs the J2EE server to forward all URLs that end with the .cfm extension to the BlueDragon CFML runtime servlet).
A detailed discussion of web.xml is beyond the scope of this document. However, the web.xml file provided with the BlueDragon web application template (see below) contains all of the configuration information needed to deploy CFML pages; this web.xml file will normally not be modified in any way.
A webapp can be deployed unbundled in an open (or exploded) directory structure, or bundled into a Web ARchive (WAR) file. A WAR file is simply a webapp directory structure bundled into a ZIP file and given the “.war” extension. WAR files can be created using the JDK jar utility or any utility that can create a ZIP file, such as WinZip on Windows or gzip on UNIX. See section 3.2 for more information on creating WAR files.
When you download BlueDragon for J2EE Servers, you’ll find it creates a directory of files including a single war file named BlueDragon621.war, and a directory of files named BlueDragon_webapp_621. You can use either of these to deploy BlueDragon and your CFML onto any standard J2EE server or servlet engine. This section explains how to do that.
The BlueDragon_webapp_621 directory contains a pre-built standard J2EE web application that includes the BlueDragon CFML runtime servlet, and contains all of the Java archives (.jar files) and configuration files needed to support CFML pages. Using BlueDragon_webapp_621 as a starting point, here is a high-level overview of the steps needed to create a standard J2EE webapp that supports CFML pages:
1. Make a copy of the BlueDragon_webapp_621 directory.
2. Add CFML pages and other content files (HTML, GIF, JPEG, JSP, etc.) to the new webapp directory created in Step 1.
3. Deploy the webapp to your J2EE server.
4. Use the BlueDragon administration console to configure any datasources required by the CFML pages.
5. After testing, deploy the webapp to a production server either as an open directory or packaged within a WAR file (See section 3.2 for more information on creating WAR files.)
In addition to the BlueDragon CFML runtime servlet, BlueDragon_webapp_621
contains JDBC drivers for Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and PostgreSQL
databases; JDBC drivers for additional databases can be added by placing their
JAR files into the /WEB-INF/lib directory or adding them
to the J2EE server classpath. The
The BlueDragon621.war file is offered as a compressed version of the BlueDragon_webapp_621 directory. While you can deploy it instead, the following section focuses on using the open directory, and a later section discusses creating your own WAR file from your deployed CFML/J2EE web application, for subsequent deployment on other servers.
Follow these detailed step-by-step instructions to create a standard J2EE web application that supports CFML pages:
1. If you have not already done so, download the installer file which contains the BlueDragon_webapp_621 directory:
2. Make a copy of the BlueDragon_webapp_621 directory (you could simply rename the BlueDragon_webapp_621 directory, but you’ll probably want to use it as a template to create additional webapps in the future). Note that many J2EE servers automatically use the name of the webapp top-level directory as the URL context path (see above for a discussion of URL context paths).
3. Copy your CFML and other content files (HTML, GIF, JPEG, JSP, etc.) into the webapp top-level directory, creating sub-directories as needed, either before deploying the web application or afterward, depending on your environment and requirements.
4. Deploy the webapp to your J2EE server. On some servers, you can simply copy the web app or WAR file to a particular directory (hot deployment), but on most, you use the application server’s administration console or a command line utility to deploy the web application. See section 3.2 for more information on creating WAR files.
5. Test the webapp by serving the files index.jsp and index.cfm. For example, if you configured a context path of “/mywebapp” use the following URLs (replace “www.myserver.com” with the host name or IP address of your computer):
After verifying that your webapp is registered properly, you can delete the files index.jsp and index.cfm.
6. Access the BlueDragon administration console via the following URL (assuming a context path of “/mywebapp”; replace “www.myserver.com” with the host name or IP address of your computer):
The password to the BlueDragon administration console is blank by default, so you are not required to enter a password to login. You can set the password after logging in.
The main task that needs to be performed via the BlueDragon administration console is to configure any datasources required by your CFML pages. See the BlueDragon User Guide or built-in help files for further information about using the BlueDragon administration console.
8. Deploy your webapp onto the production server either as an open web app directory or by packaging the webapp into a WAR file, as desired or as may be required by the production server. See step 4 above, as well as the remaining sections in this chapter, for more information on web application deployment.
As explained previously, you can deploy your J2EE web applications either as an open directory or as a WAR file. Some J2EE administrators may prefer to deploy code as WAR files, and indeed some J2EE servers may offer additional benefits when code is deployed as a WAR file.
You can create the WAR file manually using the JDK jar utility (which is installed by most application servers) or by using a tool that can create a zip file (such as WinZip on Windows or gzip on UNIX).
The details of using each is beyond the scope of this manual, but the bottom line is that in either approach you simply want to create a compressed file comprising all the files and directories of the open web application you’ve created.
With a tool like WinZip, be careful about how you perform the zip operation. Select all the files and directories in the web app directory at once and zip that (rather than selecting the directory itself and zipping that). Also, do not choose the option to “save full path info”. The resulting zip file contents should appear to contain the files (and subdirectory names) just as it did in the open web application, with the path to web.xml (for instance) being simply WEB-INF rather than yourappname\WEB-INF. Finally, once the zip file is created, simply rename it to a WAR file (or pay attention to name it a WAR file during the zip processing).
Once you’re familiar with the process, it can become a two-step operation.
Before deploying your web application into production, consider the following options which may be required or desirable.
BlueDragon needs to read and write files used by the CFML runtime to a working directory. By default, BlueDragon is configured to use /WEB-INF/bluedragon/work within the webapp as its working directory. For webapps deployed as open directories there is no need to modify this default setting.
For webapps deployed as WAR files, certain J2EE servers and servlet engines may deploy the web application in a way where it is not possible or desirable to write runtime files to the deployed webapp directory (or the WEB-INF sub-directory). Therefore, when deploying a webapp as a WAR file, configure BlueDragon to use a working directory outside of the webapp directory. We recommend using the following directories for Windows and UNIX/Linux, respectively:
Each BlueDragon webapp must be configured to use a unique working directory. The BlueDragon working directory is configured via the BLUEDRAGON_WORKING_DIRECTORY init-param in web.xml. The location to store the bluedragon.xml configuration file (holding admin console configuration changes) is also specified by an init-param, BLUEDRAGON_XML, which should be changed as well.
While you generally should change these value before creating a WAR file and/or deploying the web application to production, some J2EE servers may allow you to edit the web.xml manually or via their administration consoles during or perhaps even after deployment.
If you prefer to control the working directory without modifying each web application’s web.xml file, note that the following also applies:
· If the BLUEDRAGON_WORKING_DIRECTORY init-param is not defined within web.xml, then BlueDragon uses the javax.servlet.context.tempdir attribute provided by the J2EE server to determine the location of its working directory; that is, it creates a sub-directory named "working" within this directory.
· If the <tempdirectory> element is not defined within bluedragon.xml, then BD creates the "temp" directory as a sub-directory of the working directory.
· It’s also possible to define the working directory via the -Dbluedragon.workdir JVM property
The Java Servlet 2.4 specification (paragraph 3.7.1) explains that the temporary directory behavior in more detail. So to let the J2EE server control where the working directory is placed (by its designation of the temporary directory for the web application), simply delete the BLUEDRAGON_WORKING_DIRECTORY init-param from web.xml and the <tempdirectory> element from bluedragon.xml.
You can determine the value for javax.servlet.context.tempdir by runing the following within a JSP page:
<%=application.getAttribute( "javax.servlet.context.tempdir" )%>
By default, there is no password set for the BlueDragon administration console in the web application made available in the original download. Before deploying the web application to production, you will want to set a password, if not completely remove the administration console as discussed in the next section. You can set the password within the Administration console itself, under General->License & Security, or you can set it in the bluedragon.xml file.
Before deploying your web application into production, you can remove the code supporting the BlueDragon administration console, if you prefer for security reasons to prevent access in production.
To remove it, simply delete the following from the web application:
· the [webapp]\bluedragon\admin\ directory
· the [webapp]\WEB-INF\bluedragon\admin.bda file
If you delete these files after a web application is deployed, you must either redeploy or restart the web application for the change to take effect.
On Windows Servers, BlueDragon is configured by default to automatically load any existing ODBC datasources as defined on the server in the Windows ODBC Datasources panel (available in Control Panel or Administrative tools). See the BlueDragon 6.2.1 User Guide for more information on configuring and using ODBC Datasources.
While this feature of auto-loading ODBC datasources is generally considered a productivity enhancement, it may be desirable in some situations to prevent the process. To do so, simply delete the [webapp]\WEB-INF\bin\ODBCNativeLib.dll file.
If you delete this file after a web application is deployed, you must either redeploy or restart the web application for the change to take effect.
When using BlueDragon for J2EE, you can either use the BlueDragon administration console’s datasource configuration capability, or you can instead use the datasource configuration capability provided by your J2EE application server. In that case, you do not need to configure the datasource in the BlueDragon administration console.
Once configured, you can use the datasource name (technically the JNDI name, in J2EE terms) in tags like CFQUERY, etc. BlueDragon will search first to see if there is a datasource of that name in its configuration, and if none is found, it will then look for the JNDI name in the J2EE environment.
Defining datasources in the J2EE environment may give you additional benefits, such as deployment, clustering, replication, connection pooling and other beneficial features are provided by the J2EE server. Consult your J2EE server documentation.
As discussed in the BlueDragon 6.2.1 User Guide, BlueDragon offers an option for deploying your CFML applications in such a way that the source code is not readable (and optionally not executable beyond a given date, or without a decryption key). Called “precompiled templates”, they can be created using the BlueDragon administration console option Deploy->Precompile. For more information, see the section Precompiled, Encrypted CFML Templates in the User Guide.
The use of URL context paths by webapps may result in the need for special handling of relative URLs within HTML tags (this is not an issue that is specific to BlueDragon, but is common to JSP and static HTML pages within a J2EE webapp). Relative URLs within HTML tags that don’t start with the slash character (/) work properly when deployed within a webapp and do not require any modification. For example, the following HTML tags work the same in both webapp and non-webapp deployments:
However, relative URLs that start with the slash character (/), do not work properly within webapps. This is because the browser interprets these URLs as being relative to the web server document root (that is, relative to the URL “/”), and the browser strips the URL context path when converting these relative URLs to an absolute URL.
BlueDragon provides two CFML enhancements to allow you to specify URLs that are relative to the webapp root directory (the webapp top-level directory) without using URLs that start with “/”. The first method is to use the CGI.Context_Path variable when constructing relative URLs. For example:
The above example is equivalent to the following tag in a non-webapp deployment:
If you have a large number of relative URLs within a CFML page, then you can use the CFBASE tag to set the “base” URL for all relative URLs within the page. For example:
<TITLE>Relative URL Test Page</TITLE>
In the above example, “images/logo.gif” is interpreted by the browser as being relative to the webapp top-level directory (that is, “images” is a sub-directory within the webapp top-level directory). When using the CFBASE tag, all relative URLs within the page are interpreted as being relative to the webapp top-level directory, and not relative to the current page as they would be without CFBASE.
The CFBASE tag is expanded by BlueDragon into an HTML BASE tag with the HREF attribute set to the webapp top-level directory. The optional TARGET attribute to CFBASE has the same function as the BASE tag optional TARGET attribute.
The issue of template paths also applies to CFINCLUDE/CFMODULE template path mappings. Template paths that start with "/" are mapped by BlueDragon to the J2EE webapp document root directory. It’s worth noting that these paths can be mapped to the WEB-INF directory, for example:
The advantage of using WEB-INF is that files within it are never served directly by the J2EE server, and therefore can be accessed by users via a URL.