Friday, October 9, 2015

[OT] Apache CXF: Nothing Else Matters !

One can ask, do web services still matter in the today's world of emerging technologies such as Cloud and Big Data ?

Of course they do still matter. Take Big Data. The important thing to realize is as far as a remote client interacting with your HTTP server which internally initiates BigData flows is concerned it is still a client and HTTP server only - the client submits the data and gets the response it needs - the mechanism used to produce this response is, and has to be, completely opaque to the remote client, nothing unusual here, simply a proper service design leaking no implementation details to the client. In some cases one may not want to link BigData response streams to remote clients but in other cases it may make a perfect sense.

So yes, the web services do still matter because one still needs a production-quality, secure, flexible HTTP layer between the remote clients and internal data systems.

In fact, if you are an Apache CXF user, I can already hear you all saying (or even singing ?), Apache CXF: Nothing Else Matters ! Just make it loud enough to have your colleagues from the other team hear it :-)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Make your CXF JAX-RS servers OpenId Connect ready

We've been doing a lot of work during the last year to ensure CXF developers can start experimenting fast and effectively with the latest RS security advancements such as OAuth2 and JOSE which are also the building blocks for OpenId Connect (OIDC).

With OAuth2 and JOSE modules becoming quite solid, it was time to turn the attention to OIDC, OIDC RP being a starting point - which is a mechanism to log on the users into the servers by federating to OIDC IDP providers such as Google and Facebook.  OIDC is a fairly complex protocol but with OAuth2 and JOSE covered it was not that tricky after all.

The initial result is these two demos:

1. BigQuery

This demo shows a client OAuth2 server that accesses a user's BigQuery data-sets. The demo checks a public data-set of Shakespeare works but once you have a Google Developer account you can easily create your own BigQuery data-set and use the demo to access it instead.

2. Basic OIDC

This demo shows that a server does not have to be specifically coded around OAuth2 flows to use OIDC - it only uses OIDC to log-in the users and then work with these users.

I'd like to encourage you to run these demos - ask at CXF users or #apache-cxf if you have any issues running them and start making your CXF servers OIDC-aware now !

I look forward to the feedback from the early adopters. And please watch this space - this is only a start :-)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Apache CXF and Aries Blueprint Everywhere

Many times, when developing JAX-RS demos, I had to solve the following issue: how to describe the demo endpoints to be run in OSGI and the same endpoints to be run in Tomcat.

Typically I'd create a Spring context file describing few JAX-RS endpoints and use it when running a demo in Tomcat. Next I'd create an equivalent Blueprint context file and run the demo in Karaf.

It works but having to duplicate the contexts in Spring and Blueprint languages is unfortunate. Granted, one can use Spring DM to run the endpoints described in Spring contexts in Karaf but OSGI developers know Spring DM is a finished line.

So we did some work first to make a CXFBlueprintServlet referencing a Blueprint context working in OSGI - the same way a CXFServlet can work with Spring contexts in OSGI with the help of Sprinjg DM.

Next, my colleague Alex suggested to have the same mechanism working in non-OSGI deployments - for the reason described above, i.e, to reuse the same context language (Blueprint) when deploying CXF endpoints to OSGI and servlet containers. As it happens Apache Aries team already did some work for supporting Blueprint in non-OSGI setups, so after doing some more work in CXF and Aries we can now have CXFBlueprintServlet loading Blueprint contexts in standalone Tomcat/Jetty too. Some work still needs to be done here, particularly ensuring such endpoints can run offline, but overall it looks promising.

The short overview is here.  Note the same web.xml and Blueprint context is used in OSGI and non-OSGI setups - the only thing which changes is a single Maven Aries dependency.

Note this mechanism works for CXF JAX-RS and JAX-WS endpoints.

If you are a Blueprint fan: Enjoy!