Guice and JSF 2

As I’m sure you can tell from previous entries, I’ve been playing with JSF 2 in Google App Engine.  I decided to give Google’s Guice a try for dependency injection instead of Spring.  Why?  This is really just a learning app and why not try something new.

So how do you get Guice to play nicely with JSF?  One solution I saw online was to write a custom ELResolver for JSF that will do the injection.  I found this resource http://snippets.dzone.com/posts/show/7171 that had a full ELResolver implementation.  I had to modify it slightly to get it to work.  Namely, I had to move the Guice Injector creation out of getValue and into a private static variable.  I suspect I could make it not static, but I never gave it a try.  Here’s the source just in case that link dies at some point.  Again, I take no credit for this code other than the small modification mentioned.

/**
 * Bulk of the code taken from
 * http://snippets.dzone.com/posts/show/7171
 **/
package jota.soc.guice;

import com.google.inject.Guice;
import com.google.inject.Injector;
import com.google.inject.servlet.ServletModule;
import java.beans.FeatureDescriptor;
import java.lang.ref.WeakReference;
import java.util.Collection;
import java.util.Collections;
import java.util.Iterator;
import java.util.LinkedList;
import java.util.List;
import javax.el.ELContext;
import javax.el.ELResolver;

/**
 */
public class GuiceResolver extends ELResolver
{

    Injector injector = Guice.createInjector(
            new ServletModule(),
            new SocGuiceModule() );

    //We only need to see the currently processed Objects in our Thread, that
    //prevents multithread issues without synchronization
    private static ThreadLocal currentlyProcessedThreadLocal = new ThreadLocal()
    {
        @Override
        protected Object initialValue()
        {
            return new LinkedList();
        }
    };

    //Im not sure if the synchronized lists seriously slow down the whole EL
    //resolving process
    private static List<WeakReference> alreadyInjectedObjects = Collections.
            synchronizedList( new LinkedList() );

        @Override
    public Object getValue( ELContext context, Object base, Object property )
    {

        //if the list of currently processed property objects doesnt exist for this
        //thread, create it
        List<Object> currentlyProcessedPropertyObjects = (List<Object>) currentlyProcessedThreadLocal.
                get();

        //Handle only root inquiries, we wont handle property resolving
        if ( base != null )
        {
            return null;
        }

        //checking if this property is currently processed, if so ignore it -> prevent
        //endless loop
        if ( checkIfObjectIsContained( property,
                currentlyProcessedPropertyObjects ) )
        {
            return null;
        }

        //add the to-be-resolved object to the currently processed list
        currentlyProcessedPropertyObjects.add( property );

        //now we can savely invoke the getValue() Method of the composite EL
        //resolver, we wont process it again
        Object resolvedObj = context.getELResolver().getValue( context, base,
                property );

        //ok, we got our result, remove the object from the currently processed list
        removeObject( property, currentlyProcessedPropertyObjects );

        if ( resolvedObj == null )
        {
            return null;
        }

        //ok we got an object
        context.setPropertyResolved( true );

        //check if the object was already injected
        if ( !checkIfObjectIsContainedWeak( resolvedObj, alreadyInjectedObjects ) )
        {
            injector.injectMembers( resolvedObj );
            //prevent a second injection by adding it as weakreference to our list
            alreadyInjectedObjects.add( new WeakReference( resolvedObj ) );
        }

        return resolvedObj;
    }

    /**
     * This method will search for an object in a Weak List. If there are any
     * WeakReferences on the way that were removed by the garbage collection
     * we will remove them from this list
     * @param object
     * @param list
     * @return
     */
    private boolean checkIfObjectIsContainedWeak( Object object,
                                                  List<WeakReference> list )
    {
        for ( int i = 0; i < list.size(); i++ )
        {
            WeakReference curReference = list.get( i );
            Object curObject = curReference.get();
            if ( curObject == null )
            {
                //ok, there is are slight chance that could go wrong, if you
                //have to prevent a double injection by all means, you might
                //want to add a synchronized block here
                list.remove( i );
                i--;
            }
            else
            {
                if ( curObject == object )
                {
                    return true;
                }
            }
        }
        return false;
    }

    /**
     * checks if an object is contained in a collection (really the same object '==' not equals)
     * @param object
     * @param collection
     * @return
     */
    private boolean checkIfObjectIsContained( Object object,
                                              Collection collection )
    {
        for ( Object curObject : collection )
        {
            if ( object == curObject )
            {
                return true;
            }
        }
        return false;
    }

    /**
     * removes an object from a list. really removes the given instance, not an other
     * object that fits equals
     * @param object
     * @param list
     */
    private void removeObject( Object object, List list )
    {
        for ( int i = 0; i < list.size(); i++ )
        {
            if ( list.get( i ) == object )
            {
                list.remove( i );
            }
        }
    }

    @Override
    public Class<?> getType( ELContext context, Object base, Object property )
    {
        return null;
    }

    @Override
    public void setValue( ELContext context, Object base, Object property,
                          Object value )
    {
    }

    @Override
    public boolean isReadOnly( ELContext context, Object base, Object property )
    {
        return false;
    }

    @Override
    public Iterator<FeatureDescriptor> getFeatureDescriptors( ELContext context,
                                                              Object base )
    {
        return null;
    }

    @Override
    public Class<?> getCommonPropertyType( ELContext context, Object base )
    {
        return null;
    }
}

That sure looks like a lot of code to me. I know Spring also provides a custom ELResolver for dependency injection. I found two links talking about resource injection here and here and thought I would try writing my own resource injector. Here’s how it ended up:

package jota.soc.guice;

import com.google.inject.Guice;
import com.google.inject.Injector;
import com.google.inject.servlet.ServletModule;

import com.sun.faces.spi.InjectionProvider;
import com.sun.faces.spi.InjectionProviderException;
import com.sun.faces.vendor.WebContainerInjectionProvider;

/**
 * JSF injection provider for Guice.
 * @author Joel Weight
 */
public class GuiceInjectionProvider implements InjectionProvider
{
    public GuiceInjectionProvider()
    {
        System.out.println( "creating guice injection provider" );
    }

    /**
     * default injector provided by the web container.
     */
    private static final WebContainerInjectionProvider con =
                                                       new WebContainerInjectionProvider();

    /**
     * Custom guice injector that will load our modules.
     */
    private static final Injector injector = Guice.createInjector(
            new ServletModule(),
            new SocGuiceModule() );

    @Override
    public void inject( Object managedBean ) throws InjectionProviderException
    {
        // allow the default injector to inject the bean.
        con.inject( managedBean );
        // then inject with the google injector.
        injector.injectMembers( managedBean );
    }

    @Override
    public void invokePostConstruct( Object managedBean )
            throws InjectionProviderException
    {
        // don't do anything here for guice, just let the default do its thing
        con.invokePostConstruct( managedBean );
    }

    @Override
    public void invokePreDestroy( Object managedBean ) throws
            InjectionProviderException
    {
        con.invokePreDestroy( managedBean );
    }
}

It’s a very simple implementation. It delegates everything to the default container InjectionProvider, and then adds a touch of Guice. I then added this to web.xml:

    <context-param>
        <param-name>com.sun.faces.injectionProvider</param-name>
        <param-value>jota.soc.guice.GuiceInjectionProvider</param-value>
    </context-param>

And all my guice injections are occurring as expected. I am no longer using the custom ELResolver implementation. Obviously it’s not a general solution since I am instantiating my guice modules right in the provider rather than configuring it somehow, but it was enough for me right now.

If I run into any problems with this solution I’ll let you know, otherwise I would love to hear from any gurus as to how this could be problematic.

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2 thoughts on “Guice and JSF 2

  1. An alternative to this would be to use CDI, which is a part of Java EE 6…it works right out of the box with glassfish v3.

    1. True, Zack, and if you have control of your container, that may be the better route. In my case, where I was running JSF on Google App Engine (I believe they use Jetty) that wasn’t an option.

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