Thursday, January 28, 2010

JMX Portable Extension for CDI

CDI (Contexts and Dependency Injection) is a new standard that makes application development easier by providing type safety dependency injection, scope binding (request, session, application, etc.) and contextual lifecycle management of Java components. It also  exposes a powerful SPI (Service Provider Interface) to extend its functionality through portable extensions.

JMX (Java Management Extensions) provides a consistent, well defined interface to monitor and manage your applications by exposing objects (MBeans) through an MBeanServer. Currently, there are two ways to expose an object as an MBean: you can either provide an interface of your class, in which case, you won’t be able to add textual descriptions for your exposed fields and methods; or you can implement, which is cumbersome and difficult to maintain.

JSR-255, the JMX specification 2.0, is an initiative that will make the writing of MBeans easier through annotations. However, by the time of this writing, the JSR is inactive as stated here.

I’ve decided to write my first own portable extension that will allow you to expose any object automatically or manually through JMX by just adding some simple annotations. You can download the complete code from here.

Let’s take a look at the following example:

When the bean is instantiated by CDI, a dynamic MBean is created and registered on an MBeanServer to expose the attributes and methods annotated with @ManagedAttribute and @ManagedOperation respectively. You can then use any JMX Agent Viewer to monitor and manage your code.

Figure 1. JBoss AS JMX Console. A view of an MBean.

You don’t have to worry anymore about obtaining an MBeanServer, registering the MBean and unregistering it. This is all done automatically for you. It’s a simple way of instrumenting your code without writing complex and uneven administration interfaces!

Creation and registration of the MBean is done when the bean is instantiated by CDI, not on startup. If you want the MBean to be registered on startup, you will have to annotate your class with the @Singleton and @Startup annotations.

If you don’t want the object to be automatically registered on instantiation but still want to register it yourself later in the code, you can set the autoRegister property of the @MBean to false. To register your object programmatically, you use the MBeanFactory service to create a DynamicMBean instance, and then register it to an MBeanServer. For example:

You can even expose objects that are not annotated with @MBean. In this case, all fields and methods from the class are exposed. Any @ManagedAttribute or @ManagedOperation annotations will be ignored.

CDI Integration

Writing the portable extension was pretty straightforward. First, I created a class that extends javax.enterprise.inject.spi.Extension with a method to observe the ProcessInjectionTarget event:

Basically, what we are doing here is replacing the InjectionTarget with a wrapper class that will register and unregister the MBean if the @MBean annotation is present and autoRegister is true

To register the portable extension, I created a file called javax.enterprise.inject.spi.Extension with only one line:


I used TestNG and Arquillian to write and execute the tests inside a remote JBoss AS 6.0.0.M1 container. One of the tests looks like this:

Arquillian is a JBoss project for running tests on different containers. By the time of this writing, it hasn’t been release but you can download the code from SVN and build it using Maven 2.

What’s next?

It would be nice to support the following:

  • Automatic and manual registration of MBeans for JBoss Seam.
  • Manual registration of MBeans in any J2SE environment.
  • @ManagedAttribute annotation on methods that return information.
  • Name for operation parameters.
  • Notifications using annotations.
  • Message keys from resource bundles for descriptions.

You can check the project on Google Code here. Please, feel free to download it and give it a try!


Matt Corey said...

A simple, but very nice extension... I would definitely encourage you to go for the Notifications support -- if there's a way to streamline the current implementation mechanism for that, it would be a great improvement...

Nice work!


Pete said...

Very nice!

Good to see you are using Arquillian. We are trying to get an alpha release out, but are blocked on some good docs - hopefully we'll get this done this week coming, so soon you can depend on it ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great stuff German!

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Jérôme said...

That's the missing link !

Is there a V1.0.0 release planned ?

Anonymous said...


Ben Kirby said...

Brilliant extension, very useful and clear.

I've been having a problem with the classloader used when invoking the registered bean via a JMX Console in a browser. The autoRegister code (and the example given for registering a bean yourself, after startup) both use mBeanServer.registerMBean(Object object, ObjectName name) - the only public registration option available. This causes the classloader on the bean to be set to null, which means that, when invoking, you only get the classloader of jmx-console.war, which limits the classes available for use by your method.

The solution for this involves substituting mBeanServer.registerMBean(Object object, ObjectName name) for a different method of registration - see for details.

Ben Kirby said...

You'll also currently need to make the fix specified by Jeremy Norris at before you can invoke any exposed methods with parameters.

Manoj Bharadwaj said...

German, thanks for sharing.

I started exploring this to use it in JBoss7. I was able to use it with one modification.

updated locateMBeanServer method in to following:
private MBeanServer locateMBeanServer() {
MBeanServer mBeanServer = null;

ArrayList al = MBeanServerFactory.findMBeanServer(null);
if (al.isEmpty())
mBeanServer = MBeanServerFactory.createMBeanServer();
mBeanServer = (MBeanServer) al.get(0);
return mBeanServer;

This also removed the dependency on jboss:jboss-jmx:4.0.2 as this is old and updating it to broke the earlier code and the above change enabled me to register the MBean.

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Anonymous said...

I've integrated this in JBoss AS 7.1.1 but when connecting via JConsole I can not display or modify my attributes. The property is marked as "writeable=true" but in the JConsole the value is displayed red with value "Unavailable". What might be the problem here? How can I fix this?

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