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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Enterprise JavaBeans - J2EE/EJB Overview

   Enterprise JavaBeans are server-side, modular, and reusable components that comprise specific units of functionality. They are similar to the Java classes we create every day, but are subject to special restrictions and must provide specific interfaces for container and client use and access. In addition, they can only run properly in an EJB container, which manages and invokes specific life cycle behavior. You should consider using EJB components when the application design requires scalability, transactional processing, or availability to multiple client types.

     EJB components come in three varieties, each with its own defined role and life cycle:

  • Session beans — These may be either stateful or stateless, and are primarily used to encapsulate business logic, carry out tasks on behalf of a client, and act as controllers or managers for other beans.
  • Entity beans — Entity beans represent persistent objects or business concepts that exist beyond a specific application's lifetime; they are typically stored in a relational database. Entity beans can be developed using bean-managed persistence, which is implemented by the developer, or container-managed persistence, implemented by the container.
  • Message-driven beans — Message-driven beans listen asynchronously for Java Message Service (JMS) messages from any client or component and are used for loosely coupled, typically batch-type, processing.
     This tutorial covers the EJB 2.0 specification (see Resources), which has significant differences from the previous versions. In particular, container-managed persistence is newly implemented in the 2.0 version, and message-driven beans are a brand new bean type.
     Much of the code in bean methods will be familiar, but, to function effectively, EJB components must be able to access J2EE resources, and know how to respond to life cycle calls and callbacks from the EJB container. Unfortunately, the specification defines life cycle methods in three different areas: some are defined in The Home Interface; others in the various bean interfaces included in the javax.ejb package; still others are simply mandated by the specification. The complete life cycle and related methods for each bean type are discussed in the appropriate section. You will frequently see the pattern of methodName() in the exposed client interface, with a matching ejbMethodName() for life cycle methods.
     According to the J2EE specification, "Applications must be able to access resources and external information in their operational environment without knowledge of how the external information is named and organized in that environment." J2EE makes use of the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) to accomplish this goal. EJB components fit under this definition of resources, and session and entity beans must provide a home interface to allow the container and clients to obtain a reference to a specific bean. The container makes the bean available via JNDI. Message-driven beans, which have no direct client, are an exception to the general rule for required interfaces.
     It is very important to understand that Enterprise JavaBeans are never accessed directly by clients. Instead, the container generates proxy objects that implement the home and component interfaces and are used by the client for communication with a bean. The proxy objects then call upon the bean to perform the requested task. This mechanism allows the container to coordinate and manage beans however and wherever it sees fit; the client remains blissfully unaware of the internal details.

http://www.conceptgo.com/gsejb/ov04.html

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