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Monday, March 19, 2012

JBoss AS 7:: Social Login (Facebook Connect/ Google Authentication)


There is no denying that Social Media is growing leaps and bounds. The concept of social login has prevailed.  Facebook and Google have turned out to the holders of user information that can be used to be the secure gateway into your web applications. Facebook / Google Users are part of what is called "Consumer Identity".
In this article, we will look at a simple web application as part of the PicketLink Social Project, that can help you visualize addition of Facebook Connect / Google Authentication to your web applications.  We will use the fast, free and awesome JBoss Application Server v7 as the runtime.

What is needed?

You will need to get hold of
  • JBoss Application Server v7.1 (at the time of writing, v7.1.1.Final was the latest). 
  • Use the self contained picketlink-reg.war.

Steps to follow

  1. Follow the JBoss AS7 user guide to extract the server.  It is mainly just unzipping a zip archive.
  2. Now copy the attached picketlink-reg.war to standalone/deployments directory of JBoss AS7.
  3. You need to make some configuration changes to standalone/configuration/standalone.xml file to add a security domain as well as a bunch of system properties.
  4. Start JBossAS7 in the standalone mode. 
  5. Test the Web Application.

Configuration Changes to be made in standalone.xml

TIP:  I do attach my "standalone.xml" to this LINK.

 Define a security domain called "external_auth"

<subsystem xmlns="urn:jboss:domain:security:1.1">
<security-domain name="external_auth" cache-type="default">
<login-module code="" flag="required"/>
<security-domain name="other" cache-type="default">
 What Ihave done is inserted a block of security domain configuration inside the security configuration and before the security domain "other".

Define a bunch of system properties.

<property name="CLIENT_ID" value="Insert_your_client_id"/>
<property name="CLIENT_SECRET" value="Insert_your_client_secret"/>
We have defined a block for system properties at the end of the block for extensions and the beginning of management.  Please have a look at the wiki article on JBoss AS7 System Properties, for more information.

Note that I am assuming that your app is deployed on localhost.  If the domain is different, then you have to define an additional system property called "RETURN_URL" that gives a value such as "http://thedomain/picketlink-reg/auth"  (replace thedomain with whatever value you want).

How to test the web application?

You can go to http://localhost:8080/picketlink-reg/
Now you can login either using Facebook Connect or Google Authentication.
Note that the attached web application just outputs the name of the authenticated user and the email address.  You can get more information if desired by changing the configuration settings.

What changes do we need to make a web application use Facebook Connect or Google Authentication as its Authentication Mechanism?

You will need to configure the ExternalAuthenticator in WEB-INF/jboss-web.xml   Look at how the attached picketlink-reg.war application does it.



picketlink-reg.war is available at
My standalone.xml is at Link.  You will need to change the client id and client secret.

This article is also available at DZone. Link is

  • In the Facebook Developer console where your app settings exist,  Edit Settings ->WebSite >
    • Site URL:  Specify the url of your web application.
    • Site Domain:  domain of your web application. (If testing locally, you can specify localhost)

Friday, March 16, 2012

JBoss Community accepted into GSOC 12

With great privilege and honor, I want to share this exciting piece of information that JBoss Community ( has been officially accepted as a participating organization at the Google Summer of Code 2012.

Please take a look at all the participating organizations. List is at

In my view, the GSOC Ideas Page ( is a clear indication of the amazing variety of Open Source Projects hosted at JBoss Community as well as the enthusiasm and team work displayed by all potential administrators and mentors.

Here is to a successful summer for our mentors and students as part of GSOC 12.

Special thanks to Dan Allen,  James Cobb and all the participating mentors to have made this JBoss initiative for GSOC 12 possible.

Real Team Work at JBoss Community to clear the first step in the GSOC 12 Program.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Review: Java Performance: Charlie Hunt, Binu John

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars.  (Strong Buy)

Why you need to buy this book?
1) There is no other strong book on Java Performance in the market.
2) Written by experts who deal with improving the performance of the Hotspot Java VM, on a daily basis.
3) Extensive description on the internals of the Hotspot JVM. Previously the JVM was a blackbox that would run your Java applications. This book will lay out the JVM as an open book. So you have an opportunity to master the JVM.
4) It is from Addison Wesley who publish GREAT books.

My Favorite Chapters:
Chapter 3: JVM Overview.
Chapter 4: JVM Performance Monitoring
Chapter 5: Tuning the JVM, Step by Step

I have had this book for a month now.  But I have not read it completely. The reason is that this is an advanced topic.  The book goes into deep lengths to describe the Hotspot JVM concepts that you have to tread very slowly.  I mean very very slowly.

My approach has been to go to the chapters which I am interested in.  Then go back to the chapters that give background information. I strongly recommend that you keep this book close to your work area, because you will require it often, to not only brush up on your reading but also to use it as a reference, when you tune your Java applications. BUT THIS BOOK IS A DEFINITE MUST FOR YOUR COLLECTION.

Let us go chapter by chapter on the ones I have read.

Chapter 2: Operating System Performance Monitoring
I particularly liked the treatment on “monitoring CPU utilization” on various operating systems (windows, linux etc).
There is a lot of information on Memory Usage Monitoring, Disk IO Monitoring that a performance engineer will definitely need.

Chapter 3: JVM Overview
This is a brilliantly written chapter.
Right at the start, the authors state that the users of Java technology see the JVM as a blackbox. My opinion : Well, this is the irony or fact or destiny or whatever. Java Performance has been voodoo over the years. Extensive documentation (that is not confusing) along with reasonable JVM defaults, is the way to go.

The chapter does very well to talk about the ordinary object pointers (OOPS) and the new JDK6+ feature called “compressed oops” to get 32bit like performance on 64bit JVMs. The gist is that compressed oops feature will improve the cpu cache utilization.

The chapter goes into great length to talk about class loading, internal VM architecture etc.  A very very good chapter. Read the section on Garbage collection. There is great discussion on the generations as well as on collectors etc.

Chapter 7: Tuning the JVM step by step

This chapter is just a beauty. There is around 70 pages devoted to this chapter.  So much content just for JVM tuning.  Probably, this topic requires a 1000 pages. But the authors have done the JVM tuning as part of their jobs. So they have condensed the topic in to 70 pages based on their years of experience.

I will update this review as I finish reading the other chapters. I can grumble that the book is very intense but it is a happy grumbling.

Final Commentary:
I have attended talks by Charlie Hunt over the years.  Charlie is extremely knowledgeable and is very passionate about the JVM. No wonder, he has turned up a gem of a book.

Anil Saldhana
JBoss Community
Chicago Java Users Group

Java Performance on Multi-core Platforms By Hunt, Charles J./ Hohensee, Paul/ John, Binu/ Dagastine, David (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Open Source and Security Response

We live in a very interesting world. I term it interesting and not dangerous because I see a lot more good in this world than the bad. So unlike the media who love to portray the bad primarily, I would like to talk about  the good in the world.  A good in the world for the last few years has been Open Source.

Open Source has given many benefits to this world including:
  • Free alternatives to paid Operating Systems.
  • Free open alternatives to the Apple iPhone/iOS ecosystem.
  • Apache Software Foundation, JBoss community, Linux Foundation and other communities that have shipped and are shipping great free open source projects including Apache Httpd Web Server, JBoss Application Server, Linux Distributions etc.
  • Free alternatives to Microsoft Office Ecosystem.

Now let us look at Web Browsers. They have been our gateways to the Internet content. Of course, you need a ISP or a Wifi connection to get to the internet. But the browsers have been the main avenue to access the rich content that is on the internet. Browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera have been very beneficial to the world. All 3 of them take security of their users very seriously.

I was reading about Google Chrome getting hacked in less than 5 minutes (  Ok, it was not magic.  Definitely those guys had knowledge of some zero-day vulnerabilities, that they had not disclosed before, but used it to get to 60K. (Please read up on zero day at

Now let us talk about the value of Security Response to open source projects. Almost all major OSS foundations (Apache, JBoss, Linux etc) are backed by a proactive security response team who stay on top of vulnerabilities in their projects.

As the number of open source projects is on the rise, it is critical that you adopt a open source project that has an excellent security response team as well as provides newer versions of the project with the fixes. Also the ball is in your park to stay on top of newer releases.  If you are unable to manage the patches or get on newer versions of projects, then I suggest strongly that you adopt commercial versions of open source software such as the JBoss Platforms (EAP, SOA-P, EPP etc),  Hadoop (Cloudera/MapR/HortonWorks) etc because these are backed by a security response team, who will provide the necessary patches. Trust me, all software at all times will have at least one vulnerability. Software does not get created by magic but by humans who are prone to mistakes.

For this reason, I feel that the security response is a critical aspect for Open Source Choice and Adoption. Please visit Red Hat's Security Response for additional information: 
as well as understanding the role of open source and security.

We are currently at

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Open Source PicketLink v2.0.2.Final Released

JBoss community project PicketLink has released the latest version to the community.  The version is v2.0.2.Final. You can get a lot of details about this release at

The release will also be included as part of the forthcoming JBoss Application Server v7.1.1 release.

Please use the community forum to ask questions or provide feedback. The forums are located at

The dashboard is at