July 20, 2004
Taking the back off the radio

Inetseft's StyleReport Pro is the bane of my life at the moment. We need to point our reports at different data sources and even different servers under certain circumstances. StyleReport offers no way of soft-coding these values, so the suggestion is that we have a separate instance of each report definition for each combination of server and data source that we might want to use. Yuck.

But... the report definitions are stored as XML files. Editable XML files. Mwahahahahaha!

Now, StyleReport insists that these report definitions live in the file system. This breaks our J2EE application to a certain extent, because J2EE does not guarantee the availability of a file system. In practise, we are OK; we are deploying to Tomcat, which does give you a file system. We need to keep the application's home directory in a configuration file, which is nasty, but which works. Had we needed to deploy to a sterner J2EE server, though, such as WebSphere, we'd have been buggered.

I wonder how many supposedly J2EE applications need access to the filesystem? Quite a few, I'll be bound. So, does this mean that IBM is being a bit over-strict with WebSphere? Well, no; WebSphere runs on platforms with totally non-standard file systems; the AS/400, no, sorry, iSeries, no, sorry, i5.

Anthony points out that with a bit of work, you can give a J2EE application a file system using Commons VFS. Cool stuff.

Posted to Java by Simon Brunning at July 20, 2004 01:05 PM
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