Simplify OSGi application tests with the OSGi Helper library

Testing OSGi applications and services has always been a difficult challenge. Despite the development of several frameworks such as OPS4J Pax Exam, or junit4osgi, writing tests requires a non-negligible amount of code to manage the OSGi aspect of the test. Indeed, waiting and getting the service under test or releasing the service requires dealing directly with the OSGi framework and so the OSGi API. The OSGi Helper library is a small collection of classes to let tests focus on the behavior to verify instead of drowning the code in the depths of the OSGi development model.

The OSGi Helper library was developed by the Innovation department of akquinet, and was contributed to the OW2 Chameleon project.

This post explains the benefits brought by the library in comparison to plain OSGi tests.
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Start developing Play! applications with Scala

The Play! Framework offers a new way to develop web applications. Relying on a stateless model, a light but complete stack and no big turnaround times for debugging, Play! makes developing Scala applications really efficient. akquinet is using Play! in several projects. But, what makes Play! even better and your development even more efficient is the Scala support. You can develop your application using the Scala language.

This blog post explains how to set up Play! and your development environment to develop web applications efficiently. It covers the Play framework and the Scala module installation, the integration inside the Eclipse IDE, the Source Code Management configuration and the deployment into Apache Tomcat and JBoss AS.

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Integrating Scala components in a Java application

Scala is starting to be really popular, and there are many reasons why you might like to use it in your current projects. At akquinet we’re now using Scala inside Java applications to reduce the amount of written code and to benefit from Scala’s flexibility. However, integrating Java and Scala in the same application requires some tricks. Using Java classes in Scala is pretty straightforward; however, using Scala classes in Java is not.

Scala has several language features which cannot be directly mapped to Java, for example function types and traits. Here we will describe how these language features are compiled to Java byte code and how to access them from Java afterwards.

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Creating Web Applications with Play! – An introduction

Play! is an open-source framework for building web applications in Java or Scala. It is stateless and promotes RESTfulness: it embraces web-oriented architecture. But best of all, Play is simple, fast and ultimately fun. It is also pretty powerful and allows the development of sophisticated web applications in an efficient way. akquinet is now using Play as the basis for different applications.

To illustrate how easy and powerful Play is, this blog post presents a miniature web application.

It’s a basic library interface, where books may be checked out and returned at the press of a button. Then, the page reloads and the updated availability status is shown.

The following is just a small sample of what Play can do. Play is a sophisticated framework with many other features that we don’t have room to represent here (such as excellent support for testing, the ability to configure dynamic routing to create clean, RESTful URLs, and access to a wide variety of modules such as user authentication), but the intention of this post is simply to show how Play can enable you to build powerful web applications quickly and easily.
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Spotlight on OW2 Chameleon

When building applications for specific domains, we often face a more and more important issue: how do I build the runtime required by the application? For enterprise applications, JEE application servers provide a technical stack containing all required services, but for desktop applications, or communication gateways there are no all-in-one solutions. Indeed, the runtime must fit to the environment and application requirements, making it complex to achieve in a flexible way.

akquinet launched the OW2 Chameleon project in 2009. Chameleon provides a way to build OSGi-based runtimes including the required services and your application. This article explains the motivations behind Chameleon and how Chameleon makes our software development more flexible, robust and efficient.

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Android Activities and Tasks series – Activity Attributes

The previous post of the Android Activities and Tasks series explained the concept of Android’s intents. We have seen how to use them to launch activities and how to utilize intent flags to customize the behavior of the launch to our needs.

In this post, we focus on activities themselves and explain the properties we can set on an activity or task to influence the activity launch behavior on the receiver side. In detail:

  1. activity launch modes
  2. task attributes
  3. task affinities of activities

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Testing maven plugins with the verifier approach

Maven is a great build tool that has already proven its benefits. But sometimes, you need an extension for a custom task or need. Luckily, Maven is extensible and allows you to write plugins.

Now, when implementing a Maven plugin, you generally want to test it as well. If possible, we want do do that automatically. Those tests then run on your continuous integration server and you’re notified when, unfortunately, you (or someone else) broke something. Automatic Maven Plugin tests can be done with different approaches. This post focuses on a strategy suitable for integration tests.
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Mavenizing Javascript Projects

Installing an automatic build process for your projects is very common today and best practice. In the java world Maven is a very popular build tool and has proven its matureness over the years. In this blog post we will show you the benefits of a Maven build and how we can utilize them for javascript projects. Finally we present two maven archetypes for creating ready to go fully mavenized javascript projects for your first steps.

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Reusing Android components with Rindirect.

Android applications can grow very quickly. As they are composed of components (Activities, Services and Content Providers), it should be easy to extend an existing application to create new applications by just reusing already developed components. Recently, the akquinet Mobile Team had to develop several versions of the same application with a different set of features. This might sound easy, but Android does not really support such kind of modular development. Indeed, we faced several issues coming from the Android development model.
This blog post explains the encountered issues and how we fixed them by using rindirect. This tool allows, inside an Android application, to integrate components defined in other Android applications. This reuse pattern is close to impossible to achieve without rindirect or implies major limitations. Rindirect is developed by akquinet and is now available as open-source. This tools is well suited for Maven-based development, and so, works pretty well alongside the maven-android plugin.
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