Java IDL: The "Hello World" Example With The POA-Tie Server-Side Model

This document is a high-level overview of how to create a complete CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) application using IDL (Interface Definiton Language) to define interfaces and the Java IDL compiler to generate stubs and skeletons. This document describes using the POA-Tie Server-Side Model. You might want to use the Tie model instead of the typical Inheritance model if your implementation must inherit from some other implementation. Java allows any number of interface inheritance, but there is only one slot for class inheritance. If you use the inheritance model, that slot is used up. By using the Tie Model, that slot is freed up for your own use. The drawback is that it introduces a level of indirection: one extra method call occurs when invoking a method.

The other part of this programming model is the Portable Object Adapter, or POA, which is designed to meet the following goals:

This document contains:

Defining the Interface (Hello.idl)

The first step to creating a CORBA application is to specify all of your objects and their interfaces using the OMG's Interface Definition Language (IDL). IDL has a syntax similar to C++ and can be used to define modules, interfaces, data structures, and more. The IDL can be mapped to a variety of programming languages. The IDL mapping for Java is summarized in IDL to Java Language Mapping Summary.

The following code is written in the OMG IDL, and describes a CORBA object whose sayHello() operation returns a string and whose shutdown() method shuts down the ORB. To learn more about OMG IDL Syntax and Semantics, read Chapter 3 of the CORBA 2.3.1 Specification.

Hello.idl

module HelloApp
{
  interface Hello
  {
  string sayHello();
  oneway void shutdown();
  };
};
NOTE: When writing code in OMG IDL, do not use an interface name as the name of a module. Doing so runs the risk of getting inconsistent results when compiling with tools from different vendors, thereby jeopardizing the code's portability. For example, code containing the same names could be compiled with the IDL to Java compiler from Sun Microsystems and get one result. The same code compiled with another vendor's IDL to Java compiler could produce a different result.

To complete the application, you simply provide the server (HelloServer.java) and client (HelloClient.java) implementations.

Implementing the Server (HelloServer.java)

The example server consists of two classes, the servant and the server. The servant, HelloImpl, is the implementation of the Hello IDL interface; each Hello instance is implemented by a HelloImpl instance. The servant is a subclass of HelloPOA, which is generated by the idlj compiler from the example IDL. The servant contains one method for each IDL operation, in this example, the sayHello() and shutdown() methods. Servant methods are just like ordinary Java methods; the extra code to deal with the ORB, with marshaling arguments and results, and so on, is provided by the skeleton.

The HelloServer class has the server's main() method, which:

The code that is different from that in the default tutorial is highlighted in bold.

HelloServer.java

// Copyright and License 
import HelloApp.*;
import org.omg.CosNaming.*;
import org.omg.CosNaming.NamingContextPackage.*;
import org.omg.CORBA.*;
import org.omg.PortableServer.*;
import org.omg.PortableServer.POA;

import java.util.Properties;

class HelloImpl extends HelloPOA{
  private ORB orb;

  public void setORB(ORB orb_val){
    orb = orb_val;
  }
  
  public String sayHello(){
    return "\nHello world !!\n";
  }
  
  public void shutdown(){
    orb.shutdown(false);
  }
}

public class HelloServer{

  public static void main(String args[]){
    try{
      // create and initialize the ORB
      ORB orb = ORB.init(args, null);

      // Get reference to rootpoa & activate the POAManager
      POA rootpoa = POAHelper.narrow(orb.resolve_initial_references("RootPOA"));
      rootpoa.the_POAManager().activate();

      // create servant and register it with the ORB
      HelloImpl helloImpl = new HelloImpl();
      helloImpl.setORB(orb); 

      // create a tie, with servant being the delegate.
      HelloPOATie tie = new HelloPOATie(helloImpl, rootpoa);

      // obtain the objectRef for the tie
      // this step also implicitly activates the object
      Hello href = tie._this(orb);
           
      // get the root naming context
      org.omg.CORBA.Object objRef = orb.resolve_initial_references("NameService");
      
      // Use NamingContextExt which is part of the Interoperable
      // Naming Service specification.
      NamingContextExt ncRef = NamingContextExtHelper.narrow(objRef);

      // bind the Object Reference in Naming
      String name = "Hello";
      NameComponent path[] = ncRef.to_name( name );
      ncRef.rebind(path, href);

      System.out.println("HelloServer ready and waiting ...");

      // wait for invocations from clients
      orb.run();
      } 
      
    catch (Exception e){
      System.err.println("ERROR: " + e);
      e.printStackTrace(System.out);
    }
    
    System.out.println("HelloServer Exiting ...");
        
  }
}
 

Implementing the Client Application (HelloClient.java)

The example application client that follows is the same as the one presented in the default tutorial. The server implementation is the only file that is changed from that example. The example client application:

HelloClient.java

// Copyright and License 
 
import HelloApp.*;
import org.omg.CosNaming.*;
import org.omg.CosNaming.NamingContextPackage.*;
import org.omg.CORBA.*;

public class HelloClient{

  public static void main(String args[]){
  
    try{
      // create and initialize the ORB
      ORB orb = ORB.init(args, null);

      // get the root naming context
      org.omg.CORBA.Object objRef = 
          orb.resolve_initial_references("NameService");
          
      // Use NamingContextExt instead of NamingContext. This is 
      // part of the Interoperable naming Service.  
      NamingContextExt ncRef = NamingContextExtHelper.narrow(objRef);
 
      // resolve the Object Reference in Naming
      String name = "Hello";
      Hello helloImpl = HelloHelper.narrow(ncRef.resolve_str(name));

      System.out.println("Obtained a handle on server object: " + helloImpl);
      System.out.println(helloImpl.sayHello());
      helloImpl.shutdown();
      }
      
    catch (Exception e) {
      System.out.println("ERROR : " + e) ;
      e.printStackTrace(System.out);
    }
  }
}
 

Building and Running Hello World

Despite its simple design, the Hello World program lets you learn and experiment with all the tasks required to develop almost any CORBA program that uses static invocation.

This example requires a naming service, which is a CORBA service that allows CORBA objects to be named by means of binding a name to an object reference. The name binding may be stored in the naming service, and a client may supply the name to obtain the desired object reference. The two options for Naming Services shipped with this version of the Java SE are tnameserv (Solaris, Linux, or Mac OS X or Windows), a transient naming service, and orbd (Solaris, Linux, or Mac OS X or Windows), which contain a Naming Service. This example uses orbd.

When running this example, remember that, when using Solaris software, you must become root to start a process on a port under 1024. For this reason, we recommend that you use a port number greater than or equal to 1024. The -ORBInitialPort option is used to override the default port number in this example. The following instructions assume you can use port 1050 for the Java IDL Object Request Broker Daemon, orbd. You can substitute a different port if necessary. When running these examples on a Windows machine, subtitute a backslash (\) in path names.

To run this client-server application on your development machine:

  1. Create the program files or download and unzip the file HelloTie.zip.
  2. Change to the directory that contains the program files.
  3. Run the IDL-to-Java compiler, idlj, twice on the IDL file to create stubs and skeletons. This step assumes that you have included the path to the java/bin directory in your path.
      idlj -fall  Hello.idl
      idlj -fallTie Hello.idl
    

    You must use the -fall option with the idlj compiler to generate both client and server-side bindings. This command line will generate the default server-side bindings, which assumes the POA programming model. The -fallTie option generates another file, HelloPOATie, which is used to create a Tie. For more information on the idlj options, see the man page for idlj (Solaris, Linux, or Mac OS X or Windows).

    The idlj compiler generates a number of files. The actual number of files generated depends on the options selected when the IDL file is compiled. The generated files provide standard functionality, so you can ignore them until it is time to deploy and run your program. The files generated by the idlj compiler for Hello.idl, with the -fall command line option, are:

    • HelloPOA.java

      This abstract class is the stream-based server skeleton, providing basic CORBA functionality for the server. It extends org.omg.PortableServer.Servant, and implements the InvokeHandler interface and the HelloOperations interface. The server class HelloImpl extends HelloPOA.

    • _HelloStub.java

      This class is the client stub, providing CORBA functionality for the client. It extends org.omg.CORBA.portable.ObjectImpl and implements the Hello interface.

    • Hello.java

      This interface contains the Java version of our IDL interface. The Hello interface extends org.omg.CORBA.Object, providing standard CORBA object functionality. It also extends the HelloOperations interface and org.omg.CORBA.portable.IDLEntity.

    • HelloHelper.java

      This class provides auxiliary functionality, notably the narrow() method required to cast CORBA object references to their proper types.The Helper class is responsible for reading and writing the data type to CORBA streams, and inserting and extracting the data type from Anys. The Holder class delegates to the methods in the Helper class for reading and writing.

    • HelloHolder.java

      This final class holds a public instance member of type Hello. Whenever the IDL type is an out or an inout parameter, the Holder class is used. It provides operations for org.omg.CORBA.portable.OutputStream and org.omg.CORBA.portable.InputStream arguments, which CORBA allows, but which do not map easily to Java's semantics. The Holder class delegates to the methods in the Helper class for reading and writing. It implements org.omg.CORBA.portable.Streamable.

    • HelloOperations.java

      This interface contains the methods sayHello() and shutdown(). The IDL-to-Java mapping puts all of the operations defined on the IDL interface into this file, which is shared by both the stubs and skeletons.

    The files generated by the idlj compiler for Hello.idl, with the -fallTie command line option, are:

    • HelloPOATie.java

      The constructor to MyPOATie takes a delegate and/or a poa. You must provide the implementations for delegate and/or poa, but the delegate does not have to inherit from any other class, only the interface HelloOperations. For more information, refer to the IDL to Java Language Mapping Specification.

  4. Compile the .java files, including the stubs and skeletons (which are in the directory HelloApp). This step assumes the java/bin directory is included in your path.
       javac *.java HelloApp/*.java
    
  5. Start orbd.

    To start orbd from a command shell on Solaris, Linux, or Mac OS X, enter:

      orbd -ORBInitialPort 1050 -ORBInitialHost localhost&
    

    From an MS-DOS system prompt (Windows), enter:

      start orbd -ORBInitialPort 1050 -ORBInitialHost localhost
    

    Note that 1050 is the port on which you want the name server to run. -ORBInitialPort is a required command-line argument. Note that when using Solaris software, you must become root to start a process on a port under 1024. For this reason, we recommend that you use a port number greater than or equal to 1024.

    -ORBInitialHost is an optional command-line argument. For this example, since both client and server on running on the development machine, we have set the host to localhost. When developing on more than one machine, you will replace this with the name of the host. For an example of how to run this program on two machines, see Running the Hello World Program on 2 machines.

  6. Start the Hello server.

    To start the Hello server from a command shell on Solaris, Linux, or Mac OS X, enter:

      java HelloServer -ORBInitialPort 1050 -ORBInitialHost localhost&
    

    From an MS-DOS system prompt (Windows), enter:

      start java HelloServer -ORBInitialPort 1050 -ORBInitialHost localhost
    

    For this example, you can omit -ORBInitialHost localhost since the name server is running on the same host as the Hello server. If the name server is running on a different host, use -ORBInitialHost nameserverhost to specify the host on which the IDL name server is running.

    Specify the name server (orbd) port as done in the previous step, for example, -ORBInitialPort 1050.

    The server starts and echos the following message back to the terminal:

    HelloServer ready and waiting ...
    
  7. Run the client application:
      java HelloClient -ORBInitialPort 1050 -ORBInitialHost localhost
    

    For this example, you can omit -ORBInitialHost localhost since the name server is running on the same host as the Hello client. If the name server is running on a different host, use -ORBInitialHost nameserverhost to specify the host on which the IDL name server is running.

    Specify the name server (orbd) port as done in the previous step, for example, -ORBInitialPort 1050.

    The client runs and echos the following information back to the terminal:

    Obtained a handle on server object: IOR: 
    ...
    Hello World!
    Hello Server Exiting ...
    

When you have finished this tutorial, be sure to shut down or kill the name server (orbd). To do this from a DOS prompt, select the window that is running orbd and enter Ctrl+C to shut it down. To do this from a shell on Solaris, Linux, or Mac OS X, find the process, and kill it. The name server will continue to wait for invocations until it is explicitly stopped.

Running the Hello World Application on Two Machines describes one way of distributing the simple application across two machines - a client and a server.


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