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It turns out that it's exactly the classpath that causes problems. JDBC driver implemen-
tations rely heavily on Class.forName() and META-INF services. This sort of reflection
doesn't work in OSG i without an explicit package dependency on the driver imple-
mentation. The DriverManager only scans the META-INF /services folder once, on ini-
tialization, so it might not even find all of the available drivers. (Remember that in
OSG i things appear on and disappear off the classpath.)
The general experience of using JDBC in an OSG i environment, therefore, is that
often the DriverManager won't recognize your datasource drivers. Even when the
DriverManager does find the drivers and tries to initialize them, the result is almost
always a ClassNotFoundException .
JPA faces similar problems because it uses similar patterns. EntityManagerFactories
are constructed reflectively from META-INF services by a static Persistence class. The
consequence is that the EntityManagerFactories can't be found and can't be con-
structed if they are found.
Workarounds for both JPA and JDBC are possible, but they're not pretty. They gen-
erally involve strange little wrappers to bundle-ize JDBC and JPA providers and register
them by hand with the static DriverManager or Persistence factory classes. Explicit
dependencies on the exact JDBC and JPA provider in the manifest of the consuming
code are unavoidable.
What the META-INF services pattern is trying to achieve is a loose, service-oriented
coupling between the consuming code and the implementation. The ironic and unin-
tended side effect of this pattern in core OSG i is tight coupling and explicit manage-
ment of implementations.
Happily, enterprise OSG i offers a first-class services solution. It's natural to register
both JDBC and JPA providers as OSG i services. These can then be looked up from the
Service Registry or injected using Blueprint.
With a JDBC provider that adheres to the enterprise OSG i JDBC service specification, an
application is well positioned to access a database using JDBC in a clean, service-oriented
way. But few developers use JDBC to access databases anymore, unless they're writing a
JPA implementation!
The JPA service specification also allows clean, service-oriented database access, but
it's not as complete a solution as the JDBC one. Conventional JPA can be used in both
Java SE and Java EE environments. In Java SE environments, the application needs to
do a reasonable amount of work to get hold of the right bits of the JPA implementa-
tion, define scopes, handle exceptions, and generally manage the lifecycle of the JPA
resources. This is described as unmanaged or application-managed JPA . In a Java EE
environment, the container can take over much of this work, significantly reducing
the amount of boilerplate code.
What's offered by the JPA service specification is the equivalent of the Java SE level
of support. Apache Aries provides extensions to this that bring the support up to the
level of container-managed Java EE .
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