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Programming WebLogic Resource Adapters

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Understanding Resource Adapters

The following sections introduce WebLogic resource adapters, the BEA WebLogic Server implementation of the J2EE Connector Architecture:


Overview of Resource Adapters

A resource adapter is a system library specific to an Enterprise Information System (EIS) and provides connectivity to an EIS; a resource adapter is analogous to a JDBC driver, which provides connectivity to a database management system. The interface between a resource adapter and the EIS is specific to the underlying EIS; it can be a native interface. The resource adapter plugs into an application server, such as WebLogic Server, and provides seamless connectivity between the EIS, application server, and enterprise application.

Multiple resource adapters can plug in to an application server. This capability enables application components deployed on the application server to access the underlying EISes. An application server and an EIS collaborate to keep all system-level mechanisms—transactions, security, and connection management—transparent to the application components. As a result, an application component provider can focus on the development of business and presentation logic for application components and need not get involved in the system-level issues related to EIS integration. This leads to an easier and faster cycle for the development of scalable, secure, and transactional enterprise applications that require connectivity with multiple EISes.

Comparing WebLogic Server and WebLogic Integration Resource Adapters

It is important to note the difference between BEA WebLogic Integration (WLI) resource adapters and BEA WebLogic Server resource adapters. WebLogic Integration resource adapters are written to be specific to WebLogic Server and, in general, are not deployable to other application servers. However, WebLogic Server resource adapters written without WLI extensions are deployable in any J2EE-compliant application server. This document discusses the design and implementation of non-WLI resource adapters. For more information on WebLogic Integration resource adapters, see BEA WebLogic Adapter 8.1 Documentation.

Inbound, Outbound, and Bidirectional Resource Adapters

WebLogic Server supports three types of resource adapters:

Comparing 1.0 and 1.5 Resource Adapters

WebLogic Server supports resource adapters developed under either the J2EE 1.0 Connector Architecture or the J2EE 1.5 Connector Architecture. The J2EE 1.0 Connector Architecture restricts resource adapter communication to a single external system using one-way outbound communication. The J2EE 1.5 Connector Architecture lifts this restriction. Other capabilities provided by and for a 1.5 resource adapter that do not apply to 1.0 resource adapters include:

Another important difference between 1.0 resource adapters and 1.5 resource adapters has to do with connection pools. For 1.5 resource adapters, you do not automatically get one connection pool per connection factory; you must configure a connection instance. You do so by setting the connection-instance element in the weblogic-ra.xml deployment descriptor.

Although WebLogic Server is now compliant with the J2EE 1.5 Connector Architecture, it continues to fully support the J2EE 1.0 Connector Architecture. In accordance with the J2EE 1.5 Connector Architecture, WebLogic Server now supports schema-based deployment descriptors. Resource adapters that have been developed based on the J2EE 1.0 Connector Architecture use Document Type Definition (DTD)-based deployment descriptors. Resource adapters that are built on DTD-based deployment descriptors are still supported.

This document describes the development and use of 1.5 resource adapters. For more information on WebLogic Server resources adapters that are based on the J2EE 1.0 Connector Architecture, see the BEA WebLogic Server 8.1 version of Programming WebLogic Resource Adapters.


J2EE Connector Architecture

The J2EE Connector Architecture defines a standard architecture for connecting the J2EE platform to heterogeneous Enterprise Information Systems (EISes), such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, mainframe transaction processing (TP), and database systems

The resource adapter serves as a protocol adapter that allows any arbitrary EIS communication protocol to be used for connectivity. An application server vendor extends its system once to support the J2EE Connector Architecture and is then assured of seamless connectivity to multiple EISes. Likewise, an EIS vendor provides one standard resource adapter that can plug in to any application server that supports the J2EE Connector Architecture.

For a more detailed overview of the J2EE Connector Architecture, see Section 3 "The Connector Architecture" of the J2CA 1.5 Specification.

J2EE Architecture Diagram and Components

Figure 2-1 and the discussion that follows describe a WebLogic Server implementation of the J2EE 1.5 Connector Architecture.

Figure 2-1 Connector Architecture Overview

Connector Architecture Overview


The connector architecture shown in Figure 2-1, Connector Architecture Overview, on page 2-5 demonstrates a bi-directional resource adapter. The following components are used in outbound connection operations:

The following components are used for inbound connection operations:

System-Level Contracts

To achieve a standard system-level pluggability between WebLogic Server and an EIS, WebLogic Server has implemented the standard set of system-level contracts defined by the J2EE Connector Architecture. These contracts consist of SPI classes and interfaces that are required to be implemented in the application server and the EIS, so that the two systems can work cooperatively. The EIS side of these system-level contracts are implemented in the resource adapter's Java classes. The following standard contracts are supported:

These system-level contracts are described in detail in the J2CA 1.5 Specification.


Resource Adapter Deployment Descriptors

The structure of a resource adapter and its run-time behavior are defined in deployment descriptors. Programmers create the deployment descriptors during the packaging process, and these become part of the application deployment when the application is compiled.

WebLogic Server resource adapters have two deployment descriptors, each of which has its own XML schema:


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