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From bugzi...@apache.org
Subject DO NOT REPLY [Bug 11348] New: - Fatal Problem with VAJ Ant tasks discovered (Goes much deeper than the particular problems with the code)
Date Wed, 31 Jul 2002 22:02:51 GMT
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http://nagoya.apache.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=11348

Fatal Problem with VAJ Ant tasks discovered  (Goes much deeper than the particular problems
with the code)

           Summary: Fatal Problem with VAJ Ant tasks discovered  (Goes much
                    deeper than the particular problems with the code)
           Product: Ant
           Version: 1.5
          Platform: PC
        OS/Version: Windows NT/2K
            Status: NEW
          Severity: Blocker
          Priority: Other
         Component: Optional Tasks
        AssignedTo: ant-dev@jakarta.apache.org
        ReportedBy: nawkboy@yahoo.com


================================================================================
===================================
SYNOPSIS:
After a great deal of effort researching why the Visual Age for Java (VAJ) 
servlets distributed with the Ant VAJ tasks are not working I believe I have 
discovered the underlying problem.  The true problem revolves around untested 
changes to the source code and fundamental misunderstandings of what the code 
is doing.

================================================================================
===================================
APOLOGIES:
Please understand that I am very thankful for the Ant VAJ task code and 
documentation that exist.  Although the code has problems, it still provides a 
great deal of guidance.  With that said, I am going to be brutally honest as to 
what I think has happened in the hope that the underlying organizational 
problem will be solved.

================================================================================
===================================
OVERVIEW OF THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THE CODE MUST RUN:

To understand the Ant VAJ tasks you must first understand the VAJ Remote Tool 
API 
(http://www7b.boulder.ibm.com/vajdoc/vahwebx.exe/en_US/vj32/Synch/13711/toolserv
/concepts/cwtoolov.htm) as well as the VAJ Tool API 
(http://www7b.boulder.ibm.com/vajdoc/vahwebx.exe/en_US/vj32/Extract/0/toolint/re
f/com.ibm.ivj.util.base.Package.html).  IBM has provided a small embedded 
servlet engine that provides an identical interface to the standard servlet 
API.  Although the interface is the same the classes are entirely different. 
(i.e. com.ibm.ivj.toolserver.servletclasses.servlet.http.HttpServlet rather 
than javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet).  By writing a servlet for this embedded 
servlet engine one achieves the ability to externally access the workspace of a 
running VAJ IDE instance.  Within this servlet one can do whatever is necessary 
including accessing the VAJ Tool API.

Unfortunately using the VAJ Remote Tool API seems to be the only way to obtain 
external access to a VAJ Envy repository.  Worse yet this means pushing an IDE 
instance just to do so.  This is bad, but it is the way it is and we must live 
with it.

A very important issue is that making use of the VAJ Remote Tool API is a bit 
awkward and so far the error messages it returns are fairly cryptic.  The 
secret to successfully using the Remote Tool API is to keep down the 
dependencies of the servlets created.  This is particularly important when it 
comes to installing them.  Any remote client code can be as complex as needed 
with as many dependencies as necessary, its simply code that runs inside the 
embedded servlet engine that is tricky.

As should be evident by now, properly testing the VAJ Remote Tool servlets 
without a copy of VAJ is difficult if not impossible.

================================================================================
===================================
THE EVIL THAT NOW EXISTS:

1) The code has been edited by someone who obviously did not take the time to 
understand it and the environment in which it must run.
	Evidence: The imports of the following classes:
	import com.ibm.ivj.toolserver.servletclasses.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
	import 
com.ibm.ivj.toolserver.servletclasses.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
	import 
com.ibm.ivj.toolserver.servletclasses.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
	import com.ibm.ivj.toolserver.servletclasses.servlet.ServletException;

	have been changed to:
	import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
	import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
	import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
	import javax.servlet.ServletException;

	in org.apache.tools.ant.taskdefs.optional.ide.VAJToolsServlet.
	(See the above explanation of the embedded servlet engine if you don't 
see why this is wrong.)

2) The code changes to the VAJ Ant tasks were not even halfway tested.
	Evidence: The problems created by the mistake listed as evil #1 would 
have been detected.

3) In an effort to bring the VAJ Ant task code up to the Jakarta coding 
standards the tool server servlets contain more and more dependencies on the 
Ant libraries.  As mentioned previously this would generally be ok except for 
the difficulties involved in deploying servlets in the embedded servlet 
engine.  I attribute this mistake to evil #1 and #2.
	Evidence A: JDepend now provides a much longer list of dependencies for 
the VAJ Ant tasks than is seen in the VAJ Ant documentation.
	Evidence B: The  
org.apache.tools.ant.taskdefs.optional.ide.VAJToolsServlet class has been 
changed to use the StringUtils class in ant.

4) The install procedures provided in the VAJ Ant task documentation is no 
longer adequate due to evil #3.
	Evidence: The fact I am having problems.

I am sure much more evidence for each evil can be provided, but what is given 
should be adequate proof.
================================================================================
===================================
SOLUTIONS:

1) Separate the VAJ Ant Remote Tool API servlets and the classes it depends on 
from the rest of the Ant VAJ tasks.  This should make the install go much more 
smoothly.  This could probably be accomplished by creating a special target in 
the ant build file.

2) Avoid as many dependencies as possible in the VAJ Ant Remote Tool API 
servlets.

3) Test any changes to the Ant VAJ tasks.  Although awkward it should be 
possible to write junit tests for this nastiness.  I realize this means keeping 
a version of VAJ around.

4) Understand the code and the environment it must run in before blindly 
changing it.

================================================================================
===================================
THANKS:

Thank you for your time and consideration in reading this rather long and 
accusatory posting.

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