We currently have a web application loading a Spring application context which instantiates a stack of business objects, DAO objects and Hibernate. We would like to share this stack with another web application, to avoid having multiple instances of the same objects.
We have looked into several approaches; exposing the objects using JMX or JNDI, or using EJB3.
The different approaches all have their issues, and we are looking for a lightweight method.
Any suggestions on how to solve this?
Edit: I have received comments requesting me to elaborate a bit, so here goes:
The main problem we want to solve is that we want to have only one instance of Hibernate. This is due to problems with invalidation of Hibernate's 2nd level cache when running several client applications working with the same datasource. Also, the business/DAO/Hibernate stack is growing rather large, so not duplicating it just makes more sense.
First, we tried to look at how the business layer alone could be exposed to other web apps, and Spring offers JMX wrapping at the price of a tiny amount of XML. However, we were unable to bind the JMX entities to the JNDI tree, so we couldn't lookup the objects from the web apps.
Then we tried binding the business layer directly to JNDI. Although Spring didn't offer any method for this, using JNDITemplate to bind them was also trivial. But this led to several new problems: 1) Security manager denies access to RMI classloader, so the client failed once we tried to invoke methods on the JNDI resource. 2) Once the security issues were resolved, JBoss threw IllegalArgumentException: object is not an instance of declaring class. A bit of reading reveals that we need stub implementations for the JNDI resources, but this seems like a lot of hassle (perhaps Spring can help us?)
We haven't looked too much into EJB yet, but after the first two tries I'm wondering if what we're trying to achieve is at all possible.
To sum up what we're trying to achieve: One JBoss instance, several web apps utilizing one stack of business objects on top of DAO layer and Hibernate.
Are the web applications deployed on the same server?
I can't speak for Spring, but it is straightforward to move your business logic in to the EJB tier using Session Beans.
The application organization is straight forward. The Logic goes in to Session Beans, and these Session Beans are bundled within a single jar as an Java EE artifact with a ejb-jar.xml file (in EJB3, this will likely be practically empty).
Then bundle you Entity classes in to a seperate jar file.
Next, you will build each web app in to their own WAR file.
Finally, all of the jars and the wars are bundled in to a Java EE EAR, with the associated application.xml file (again, this will likely be quite minimal, simply enumerating the jars in the EAR).
This EAR is deployed wholesale to the app server.
Each WAR is effectively independent -- their own sessions, there own context paths, etc. But they share the common EJB back end, so you have only a single 2nd level cache.
You also use local references and calling semantic to talk to the EJBs since they're in the same server. No need for remote calls here.
I think this solves quite well the issue you're having, and its is quite straightforward in Java EE 5 with EJB 3.
Also, you can still use Spring for much of your work, as I understand, but I'm not a Spring person so I can not speak to the details.