Sunday, October 31, 2010

JMX - Life Savior or Backdoor

The Java Management Extensions (JMX) API is a standard for managing and monitoring applications and services. Its usage in application build using Spring Framework is very simple and easy. I hope you'll agree with me after lecture of this post.

We will use one of the possible solutions for JMX and Spring usage, based on Java 5 annotations. On the Spring configuration level we need only one new line:

<beans xmlns:context="" xmlns:xsi="" xmlns="" 
    <context:mbean-export />

The rest of this magic is done at the Java source :). Let's build a handler interceptor, which will be also exported as the managed bean:

@ManagedResource(objectName = "Test:name=Cerberus")
public class Cerberus extends HandlerInterceptorAdapter {

    private boolean opened = true;

    public void close() {
        this.opened = false;

    public boolean isOpened() {
        return opened;

    public void open() {
        this.opened = true;

    public boolean preHandle(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response, Object handler) throws Exception {
        if (!opened) {
        return opened;


Suppose that we map this interceptor to some URL within our web application, check if the target URL will return some response ...

Wonderful! But wait, where can we see this managed bean? - you may say :) - sometimes you need the glasses to read the newspaper ;) - We will use the VisualVM as the glasses, which will help us to see the managed beans. When we run it, we will see something like this:
Now select the Tomcat on the left pane, and when the right one will display the tomcat information, choose MBeans (Managed Beans)
From the list of Managed Beans choose Test and then Cerberus - why? We named our bean this way :) - using: @ManagedResource(objectName = "Test:name=Cerberus"), now you should see:
We used the @ManagedAttribute only on isOpened method, therefore the opened attribute will be read only. Let's switch to the Operations tab, which contains:
As you see we can run from this tab 3 methods marked with @ManagedOperation or @ManagedAttribute annotations. Let's run the close method - click on the close button and following dialog will appear:
Let's check the opened attribute using isOpened method call:
Wonderful, but what does it mean to our handler interceptor? Let's try to reach the URL protected by our Cerberus again:
It looks like the Cerberus stopped the request, sending 404 error - as we asked him to do :)

Amazing and terrifying - you can control your application behavior from outside - use it with care ...

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