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Chapter 3. The Web Beans Reference Implementation

3.1. The numberguess example
3.2. The translator example

The Web Beans Reference Implementation is being developed at the Seam project. You can download the latest developer release of Web Beans from the the downloads page.

The Web Beans RI comes with a two deployable example applications: webbeans-numberguess, a war example, containing only simple beans, and webbeans-translator an ear example, containing enterprise beans. To run the examples you'll need the following:

Currently, the Web Beans RI only runs on JBoss Application Server 5. You'll need to download JBoss AS 5.0.0.GA from, and unzip it. For example:

$ cd /Applications
$ unzip ~/

Next, download the Web Beans RI from, and unzip it. For example

$ cd ~/
$ unzip ~/

Next, we need to tell Web Beans where JBoss is located. Edit jboss-as/ and set the jboss.home property. For example:


As Web Beans is a new piece of software, you need to update JBoss AS to run the Web Beans RI. Future versions of JBoss AS will include these updates, and this step won't be necessary.


Currently, two updates are needed. Firstly, a new deployer, webbeans.deployer is added. This adds supports for Web Bean archives to JBoss AS, and allows the Web Beans RI to query the EJB3 container and discover which EJBs are installed in your application. Secondly, an update to JBoss EJB3 is needed.

To install the update, you'll need Ant 1.7.0 installed, and the ANT_HOME environment variable set. For example:

$ unzip
$ export ANT_HOME=~/apache-ant-1.7.0

Then, you can install the update. The update script will use Maven to download the Web Beans and EJB3 automatically.

$ cd webbeans-1.0.0.ALPHA1/jboss-as
$ ant update

Now, you're ready to deploy your first example!


The build scripts for the examples offer a number of targets, these are:

  • ant restart - deploy the example in exploded format

  • ant explode - update an exploded example, without restarting the deployment

  • ant deploy - deploy the example in compressed jar format

  • ant undeploy - remove the example from the server

  • ant clean - clean the example

To deploy the numberguess example:

$ cd examples/numberguess
ant deploy

Wait for the application to deploy, and enjoy hours of fun at http://localhost:8080/webbeans-numberguess!

The Web Beans RI includes a second simple example that will translate your text into Latin. The numberguess example is a war example, and uses only simple beans; the translator example is an ear example, and includes enterprise beans, packaged in an EJB module. To try it out:

$ cd examples/translator
ant deploy

Wait for the application to deploy, and visit http://localhost:8080/webbeans-translator!

In the numberguess application you get given 10 attempts to guess a number between 1 and 100. After each attempt, you will be told whether you are too high, or too low.

The numberguess example is comprised of a number of Web Beans, configuration files, and Facelet JSF pages, packaged as a war. Let's start with the configuration files.

All the configuration files for this example are located in WEB-INF/, which is stored in WebContent in the source tree. First, we have faces-config.xml, in which we tell JSF to use Facelets:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
<faces-config version="1.2"


There is an empty web-beans.xml file, which marks this application as a Web Beans application.

Finally there is web.xml:

Let's take a look at the Facelet view:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">
<html xmlns=""

  <ui:composit(1)ion template="template.xhtml">
    <ui:define name="content">
       <h1>Guess a number...</h1>
       <h:form id="NumberGuessMain">
          <div(2) style="color: red">
             <h:messages id="messages" globalOnly="false"/>
             <h:outputText id="Higher" value="Higher!" rendered="#{game.number gt game.guess}"/>
             <h:outputText id="Lower" value="Lower!" rendered="#{game.number lt game.guess}"/>
             I(3)'m thinking of a number between #{game.smallest} and #{game.biggest}.
             You have #{game.remainingGuesses} guesses.
             Your guess: 
             <(4)h:inputText id="inputGuess" 
              (5)  <f:validateLongRange maximum="#{game.biggest}" 
            <h(6):commandButton id="GuessButton" 

Facelets is a templating language for JSF, here we are wrapping our page in a template which defines the header.


There are a number of messages which can be sent to the user, "Higher!", "Lower!" and "Correct!"


As the user guesses, the range of numbers they can guess gets smaller - this sentance changes to make sure they know what range to guess in.


This input field is bound to a Web Bean, using the value expression.


A range validator is used to make sure the user doesn't accidentally input a number outside of the range in which they can guess - if the validator wasn't here, the user might use up a guess on an out of range number.


And, of course, there must be a way for the user to send their guess to the server. Here we bind to an action method on the Web Bean.

The example exists of 4 classes, the first two of which are binding types. First, there is the @Random binding type, used for injecting a random number:


public @interface Random {}

There is also the @MaxNumber binding type, used for injecting the maximum number that can be injected:


public @interface MaxNumber {}

The Generator class is responsible for creating the random number, via a producer method. It also exposes the maximum possible number via a producer method:


public class Generator {
   private java.util.Random random = new java.util.Random( System.currentTimeMillis() );
   private int maxNumber = 100;
   java.util.Random getRandom()
      return random;
   @Produces @Random int next() { 
      return getRandom().nextInt(maxNumber); 
   @Produces @MaxNumber int getMaxNumber()
      return maxNumber;

You'll notice that the Generator is application scoped; therefore we don't get a different random each time.

The final Web Bean in the application is the session scoped Game. By making Game session scoped, you can only play the game once per browser session. You could easily add a reset button - a good exercise for the reader :-)

You'll also note that we've used the @Named annotation, so that we can use the bean through EL in the JSF page. Finally, we've used constructor injection to initialize the game with a random number. And of course, we need to tell the player when they've won, so we give feedback with a FacesMessage.


public class Game {
   private int number;
   private int guess;
   private int smallest;
   private int biggest;
   private int remainingGuesses;
   public Game() {}
   Game(@Random int number, @MaxNumber int maxNumber) {
      this.number = number;
      this.smallest = 1;
      this.biggest = maxNumber;
      this.remainingGuesses = 10;
   // Getters and setters for fields
   public String check() {
      if (guess>number) {
         biggest = guess - 1;
      if (guess<number) {
         smallest = guess + 1;
      if (guess == number) {
         FacesContext.getCurrentInstance().addMessage(null, new FacesMessage("Correct!"));
      return null;

The translator example will take any sentences you enter, and translate them to Latin.

The translator example is built as an ear, and contains EJBs and enterprise beans. As a result, it's structure is more complex than the numberguess example.

First, let's take a look at the ear aggregator, which is located in webbeans-translator-ear module. Maven automatically generates the application.xml and jboss-app.xml for us:


We're doing a couple of things here - firstly we set the context path, which gives us a nice url (http://localhost:8080/webbeans-translator) and we also enable class loader isolation for JBoss AS.


If you aren't using Maven to generate these files, you would need META-INF/jboss-app.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE jboss-app
    PUBLIC "-//JBoss//DTD J2EE Application 4.2//EN"

and META-INF/application.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<application xmlns="" 
  <description>Ear Example for the reference implementation of JSR 299: Web Beans</description>

Next, lets look at the war. Just as in the numberguess example, we have a faces-config.xml (to enabled Facelets) and a web.xml (to enable JSF and attach Web Beans services to the servlet container) in WebContent/WEB-INF.

More intersting is the facelet used to translate text. Just as in the numberguess example we have a template, which surrounds the form (ommitted here for brevity):

<h:form id="NumberGuessMain">
      <tr align="center" style="font-weight: bold" >
            Your text
            <h:inputTextarea id="text" value="#{translator.text}" required="true" rows="5" cols="80" />
            <h:outputText value="#{translator.translatedText}" />
      <h:commandButton id="button" value="Translate" action="#{translator.translate}"/>

The user can enter some text in the lefthand textarea, and hit the translate button to see the result to the right.

Finally, let's look at the ejb module, webbeans-translator-ejb. There are two configuration files in src/main/resources/META-INF, an empty web-beans.xml, used to mark the archive as containing Web Beans, and ejb-jar.xml. Web Beans provides injection and initializtion services for all EJBs, and uses ejb-jar.xml to enable this, you'll need this in any EJB project which uses Web Beans:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<ejb-jar xmlns="" 

We've saved the most interesting bit to last, the code! The project has two simple beans, SentanceParser and TextTranslator and two enterprise beans, TanslatorControllerBean and SentenceTranslator. You should be getting quite familiar with what a Web Bean looks like by now, so we'll just highlight the most interesting bits here.

Both SentanceParser and TextTranslator are dependent beans, and TextTranslator uses constructor initialization:

public class TextTranslator { 

   private SentenceParser sentenceParser; 
   private Translator sentenceTranslator; 
   TextTranslator(SentenceParser sentenceParser, Translator sentenceTranslator) 
      this.sentenceParser = sentenceParser; 
      this.sentenceTranslator = sentenceTranslator;

TextTranslator is a stateless bean (with a local business interface), where the magic happens - of course, we couldn't develop a full translator, but we gave it a good go!

Finally, there is UI orientated controller, that collects the text from the user, and dispatches it to the translator. This is a request scoped, named, stateful session bean, which injects the translator.


public class TranslatorControllerBean implements TranslatorController
   @Current TextTranslator translator;

The bean also has getters and setters for all the fields on the page.

As this is a stateful session bean, we have to have a remove method:


   public void remove()

The Web Beans manager will call the remove method for you when the bean is destroyed; in this case at the end of the request.

That concludes our short tour of the Web Beans RI examples. For more on the RI, or to help out, please visit

We need help in all areas - bug fixing, writing new features, writing examples and translating this reference guide.