A while back JBoss/Red Hat decided to nix their portal product and team up with eXo and their GateIn portal. Besides the obvious question about that name, has anyone heard of this portal before? Not me that’s for sure. The second question that’s obvious – why didn’t JBoss team up with LifeRay and their product? We’ll again no clue about those things, but how is this portal? What are it’s basic capabilities? How well does it integrate with other JBoss tools like Seam? Is there any integration with Alfresco?
Getting GateIn and getting it working is pretty easy. I downloaded from the JBoss site – I grabbed the latest community edition (3.1 at time of writing). I grabbed the zip for the version with JBoss AS. Once you get that extract it to your hard drive – I extracted to c:GateIn
You’ll need to have Maven 2.2.1 installed for the next part. There’s a readme.txt in the root directory . You need to edit the files mentioned. Its not exactly clear what paths to put in this file – always amazes me that a couple of good examples are not in files like this. On my machine I have JBoss installed in: C:jboss-5.1.0.GA so for the two entries I used these values:
You can then run the maven script. When I ran maven it ran out of memory so I had to increase the memory for maven. I set my MAVEN_OPTS like this: MAVEN_OPTS=”-Xmx512m” in the mvn.bat file. The maven job will take a long time to run and you’ll need an internet connection running. Mine crapped out a few times. I just kept restarting it or stopping and restarting the script if it got hung up. Eventually it completed successfully and I can start up the server. I’m installing this on my XP Pro T61p Thinkpad with 2 GB of RAM.
You’ll need to startup the server from your root: rootpackagingpkgtargetjbossbin. So that didn’t do exactly what I expected – install gatein to the jboss server I already had. I’ll have to figure out how to move it over to my real JBoss server later. For now we can explore the portal engine a little bit.
Using the GateIn Portal 3.1
Operating the portal is pretty straightforward. There’s a a few different accounts for various roles setup for you. There’s only a few minimal gadgets available – always strange. I started messing around and boom – crash. I ran out of memory and the jboss server crashed. You can see from my task manager screen that the server is definitely consuming an enormous amount of memory. I’m not sure why this is the case or what will happen if I start to actually “do” anything.
Here’s a screen capture of the stack dump for the memory issue. This happened when I was adding pages and tabs to my dashboard as “Mary”. Ah well I restarted the server and got more memory errors so I guess I will have to investigate this. I grabbed Hyperic’s JBoss monitoring tool to check out what was going on. The basic problem is that the settings as configured in the JBoss startup script (run.conf.bat) will allocate more memory than it can get on my machine:
set “JAVA_OPTS=-Xms512M -Xmx1024M -XX:MaxPermSize=256M”
The line says to the JVM that it can let the heap grow to 1024 MB of RAM and also keep 256 MB for the perm size option. I’ve used this in the psat for other jboss instances on my laptop, however I suppose I don’t remember another program that would actually use it. I changed this to:
set “JAVA_OPTS=-Xms512M -Xmx512M -XX:MaxPermSize=256M”
Prior to the change the JVM was taking about 1100-1200 MB of RAM. With this change the JVM is now only taking 288MB. I’m not sure I understand why the change is so much. I would have thought it would go down to about 500-600MB. Either way the server now appears to be fairly stable. Performance has not changed that much – in general on my machine things are snappy after then have been loaded up at least once. The hypersonic database seems to be working ok so far.
I poked around thru the interface and things seem to be working and pretty clear. I added tabs, pages, dashboards, and a few users. The navigation is pretty intuitive and the features are pretty obvious. There’s a definite “enterprise” theme to the software that would need to be changed up to use it in an extranet capacity.
Overall a pretty nice package, but I’ll have to keep an eye on the memory and resource consumption. I’ll also have to figure out how to get it to run on my own jboss server and with my own database. Its too bad there are a few more useful portal gadgets included in the distro. I’ll be taking that on next. I see that there is an Alfresco FlexSpaces gadget for the portal so I’ll have to give that one a shot. I’d also like to see what kinds of other social tools there are – blogs and wikis and forums I would be cool. Of course I’ll also take a look at the GateIn-Seam portal bridge to see how it works.