Monday, September 24, 2007

Installing Roller 3.1 on WebSphere 5.1 - Part1

Roller weblogger, what I thought would be a simple installation, turned out to be a painful one. I am trying to put together some of the major issues I came across and how I fixed them. Partly to blame roller community here, no good documentation, hopefully this will help some of the users getting Roller working on WebSphere, specially, version 5.1.x, AIX 5.3.

The Database

So, I started with database. I am using DB2 version 8.2. The OS is AIX 5.3.
When I tried Roller more than a year ago, it did not have db2 scripts, but thankfully, they have it now. It was easy. But, I was installing in an existing database, so added a separate tablespace for roller tables, and updated the scripts to create tables in the new tablespace.
Everything worked fine on DB side.


Since I will be using Type 4 driver, created a datasource in the WebSphere with jndi name jdbc/rollerdb. Verified the connection, all good.

The WAR file

As documented in the installation guide the war file needs to be updated with hibernate and related jar files. Got all that, and put them in WAR's lib directory. I did not add db2 driver libraries, because WebSphere has them all, and I will be using type4 driver configured in websphere.

Updated the following config files:
hibernate.xml - use DB2Dialect - specify the location of the log file on the server. - updated the upload and cache directory paths. I chose /tmp to start with.
Remove the <dispatcher> tags from filter section in web.xml, as documented there. This is because WAS 5.1 is servlet 2.3.

Yes, roller documentation says not to update file directly, but define a new one, and specify it in JVM settings. Well, test installation, and doesn't matter anyway.

Just to be clear, WAS 5.1 is:
Servlet 2.3,
JSP 1.2 and
JSTL 1.0
(J2EE 1.3)

I thought it is all set now, and will be so easy to install on WebSphere, as it was on Tomcat.


I am deploying the roller in an existing app server in my dev system. Nothing special in that app server, just some other ear files are installed and working great.
Install the roller.war file, providing the context root as roller. Most of the installation takes default settings. And, fnally, see the message - roller_war.ear installed successfully. So far so good.

Recycle the app server. And there is goes:
Module, roller.war, of application, roller_war.ear/deployments/roller_war, fa
iled to start

That's it. No more information. No logs, nothing. Looking around on the web... not much information either. Somewhere I saw the problem could be with listeners denined in roller.tld file. The location of tld is also beyond my understanding. It is in ....WEB-INF/classes/META-INF/tlds/
Open it and I see:


Removed both of these from the tld. I don't know why they are defined here, they exist in web.xml also, where they should be.

Ok, start it again and see what happens now. Well, the application appear to do something more this time. Little better, got to see some errors in the logs now.

HibernateRoll F TRAS0014I: The following excep
tion was logged java.lang.VerifyError: (class: org/apache/roller/business/hibernate/HibernatePersistenceStrategy, method: signature:
(Ljava/lang/String;Ljava/lang/String;)V) Incompatible argument to method

Ok, this means that the method being called has different arguments than what's being passed to it. Appeared to me that there might be two different versions of a class file in two different jars, and one, the old one is getting loaded first. Checked some obvious jars, found nothing suspicious. Let's fix the logging first.


I really wanted the log4j for roller working, so that I get the clue on what it is doing. So far, it was not creating the log file. Based on past experience with log4j, Apache commons-logging and WebSphere, I did this:
Add to web.xml:

<context-param id="ContextParam_id1">

Got to see my roller.log now :-)

Classloader issue?

Well, having worked with WebSphere and dealt with its nasty classloaders since version 3.x, I thought, lets try to change the classloader policy.
So, the webapp's classloader policy is now set to PARENT_LAST. I did not want to do this, but nothing else was working.
Ok, start it again, somewhat better.

The VerifyError on Hibernate has gone now. Strange, I am not sure what it was conflicting with in parent.

And, now, it comes with new problems, of course, classloader mode has changed, so you will have new problems.

java.lang.LinkageError: Class org/xml/sax/EntityResolver violates loader constraints: definition mismatch between parent and child loaders
at org.jdom.input.SAXBuilder.configureParser(

The xmlrpc-1.2-b1.jar

There is org/xml/sax class files in this jar, which come with Java 1.4.2 also. easily tells you what the problem is. I removed all org/xml/sax class files from this jar keeping rest of them there.

Recycle... let's see what happens now!

New error:
Could not find datasource: jdbc/rollerdb

The jdbc2.0_ext.jar

This problem I have seen many times, Easy, just delete this jar from WEB-INF/lib/. This is because websphere already has javax.sql.*.

Ok, another recycle. See what it has got now:

Could not obtain connection metadata
java.sql.SQLException: null userid not supportedDSRA0010E: SQL State = null, Error Code = -99,999DSRA0010E: SQL State = null, Error Code = -

Ok, seen this before. That's my datasource. Need to use right authentication settings for container managed authentication. Fixed it, recycled it.

Cool...... it started successfully. Very good. Lots of initializing messages. no errors. Let's see if we can access it now?

JSTL 1.0

Nope, JSTL errors. Can't find the JSTL tags. I had dealt with this issue also in one of my other apps. Basically, the JSPs are using JSTL 1.1, but WebSphere 5.1 will support 1.0 version only.

Ok, locate the file giving error, /taglibs.jsp. Replace the taglib uris-


And, replace the two jar files, standard.jar and jstl.jar with their 1.0 versions.

Recycle, lets see if it is any better.......

Nope..... ugly null pointer.

RollerRuntimeConfig:getProperty - Trouble accessing property: site.shortName
at org.apache.roller.config.RollerRuntimeConfig.getProperty(
at org.apache.jsp._tiles_2D_simplepage._jspService(

Rest, we deal in part 2.

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