Atbash Jakarta EE Testing

Jakarta EE Integration Testing

Testing your application is very important but also difficult to do. Unit tests are relatively easy to create but it can be difficult to run them with realistic values. So developers sometimes use unrealistic values and constructs just to have the code coverage above the company-required threshold.

Integration testing is even more difficult as you need additional systems, like a database, with a predefined set of data to have repeatable tests. So some test frameworks solve this problem by creating specific artefacts for the test, containing parts of your application and fake and mocked other parts. But you are no longer testing your end product anymore and merely are testing that specific test artefact.

With the availability of the Testcontainers framework, developers can again test the real application by deploying it in a container using the runtime that will be used in production. External dependencies like databases can also be set up easily within a container and initialised with the required dataset for each test. At last, we can actually perform some true integration testing.

Now that we have used it for some time, we see that we always use certain code snippets over and over again in our tests.

– Starting the container with the runtime and your application

– Calling the endpoints of our web application and verifying the structure and response codes

– Setting up remote debugging of our application to find out what is going wrong in our tests.

And so on.

The idea of the Atbash Integration testing framework for Jakarta EE is to provide all those snippets in a reusable dependency so that we can quickly and in a uniform way create integration tests for our Jakarta EE applications. As the focus these days of applications are micro services or at least applications that provide REST endpoints, the focus of the testing framework is also for these applications.

Pieces of the Puzzle

The framework is built as a JUnit 5 extension that brings together all the pieces so that you as a developer can very easily start testing your application. Testing a ‘Hello World’ application is as simple as the Hello World application itself.

@ContainerIntegrationTest(runtime = SupportedRuntime.PAYARA_MICRO)
public class HelloPayaraIT extends AbstractContainerIntegrationTest {

  public HelloService helloService;

  void sayHello() {
    String value = helloService.sayHello("JUnit");
    Assertions.assertThat(value).isEqualTo("Hello JUnit");

The test starts the container with Payara Micro, deploys your application, and calls the ‘Hello World’ endpoint to verify if the response is as expected. As already mentioned, the Testcontainers framework is used and with the help of Apache CXF, Jackson, and the MicroProfile Rest Client specification, endpoints can be called very easily by defining an interface with the contract of your endpoint(s).

Deploy the Application

You don’t need to do anything. The extension looks for the war file in the target directory and makes sure it ends up in the Docker image that is created on the fly.

In future versions, the search logic will be made more flexible so that it can be used when you don’t use the default structure or Gradle for example.

Define the Runtime

The framework supports Payara Micro, OpenLiberty, and WildFly as Jakarta EE runtime. You can also use Glassfish but there are several limitations with it. See more on that later on.

The runtime that the framework will use, is determined as the value of the ‘runtime’ member of the @ContainerIntegrationTest annotation. You can also live this value to its default and specify the runtime through the JVM System Properties be.atbash.test.runtime. This is especially handy if you are developing a Jakarta EE library or framework and want to test it out on multiple runtimes easily.

The JUnit5 extension creates a specific Docker image for each runtime based on the official Docker image. The tag number of that base image is taken from a default (look at the documentation to find out which number it is) or you can specify it also as a JVM System property.

When this property specifies not only the tag number, but the entire Docker Image identification like payara/micro:5.2022.2 it uses it as the base image. In the example, we use the JDK8 version of Payara Micro 5.2022.2 instead of the default JDK11 version that is chosen by the framework.

The System property can also be used to select a Jakarta EE 9.x or even Jakarta EE 10 based version of the runtime and not the default Jakarta EE 8 ones. This is possible because for the integration tests we only call the application endpoints and there is no direct dependency of the test framework on the Jakarta version that is used within your application.

Also, Glassfish is supported but with a few limitations since there is no official Docker image available. This means I had to use the Docklands image from Adam Bien but it only has an image that is based on JDK8. This image lacks the possibility to have a remote debugging session. See more on that later on in the text.

Call the Endpoints

The second major point of the framework is the simple way how endpoints of your application can be called. The JVM itself can be used for this with the URL class and the openConnection() method for example. But it is rather cumbersome, especially if you do need to create the JSON and read the response, and especially can be tricky since the host and port where the application is running are determined by Testcontainers and the Docker Client.

Although Testcontainers is used under the hood, the developer that writes the test is, as little as possible, confronted with it. For that reason, I choose to make use of the MicroProfile Rest Client to call the application endpoints. The only thing we need to do is to define the ‘contract’ of the endpoint as an interface.

public interface HelloService {

  String sayHello(@PathParam("name") String name);

Based on this definition, Apache CXF can create a proxy that actually calls the endpoint of your application. The JUnit5 extension knows or can find out from Testcontainers the URL on which your application is accessible. And with the help of Jackson, you as a developer are also not confronted with creating and reading JSON content. Automatic conversion to Java instances is performed.

The proxy can be ‘injected’ into your test class by using the @RestClient annotation of MicroProfile.

Behind the scenes, some low-level handling and reflection are going on. To avoid the usage of setAccessible() method, the test class and the field where the rest Client is injected must be declared with the scope ‘public’. So that we can avoid warnings and problems by the JVM when performing this low-level stuff.

Some Other Features

Besides the main features described above to automatically deploy your application in a specially created Docker container using the runtime of your choice and making it easy to call endpoints of the application, there are a few other useful features.

Remote debugging

When your test fails, it is very handy that you can start a debugging session to follow the code execution to the point where it goes wrong. When performing integration tests, a remote debugging session will be the fastest and easiest way to find the problem. The integration testing framework has support for remote debugging with a simple option. Just set the debug member of the annotation to true.

@ContainerIntegrationTest(runtime = SupportedRuntime.PAYARA_MICRO, debug = true)

When the container starts, the JVM will wait due to the suspend=y option until the debugger is attached. So when you see the message that Testcontainers is waiting until the container is started, connect the debugger to localhost:5005 (or the host the container is accessible on, you see already some messages in the log where the container is). The start-up continues and comes to the point where you have placed a breakpoint in your application code.


First of all, make sure you configure a logging output framework like Logback as described in the Testcontainers documentation. The framework has two additional features to show the container log for a specific test.

When a test fails due to a java.lang.AssertionError error, an URL that could not be found (proxy received a status 404) or there was an internal server error detected, the entire container log is shown as part of the test output.

You also can specify the value liveLogging = true resulting in showing the container logs during the execution of the test. It appears as the runtime log is written out ‘immediately’ when generated by the runtime but there is a very small delay.

@ContainerIntegrationTest(runtime = SupportedRuntime.PAYARA_MICRO, liveLogging = true)

Planned Features

The current version of the framework (see Github and Maven Central) already allows to perform an integration test with the Jakarta runtimes but there are already some improvements in the pipeline to cover more use case scenarios.

– Support for database containers and defining the initial data set easily

– Support for integration with other (micro)service(s) that also start as a Docker container during the test.

Atbash Training and Support

Do you need a specific training session on integration testing with a Jakarta runtime or want some help in setting up integration tests? Have a look at the training support that I provide on the page and contact me for more information.


Jakarta EE Security

Where is the Security Specification in Jakarta EE Core profile?

The Jakarta EE Core profile targets the smaller runtimes, those that focus on delivering support for applications with REST endpoints only. For that reason, the main specifications included in the profile are the JAX-RS specifications and the specifications around JSON, JSON-P and JSON-B.

Another very important specification was targeted for Jakarta EE 10 and this new core profile, Jakarta config. The discussion about it is still going on. It is thus not included yet. That is the reason why the Atbash Runtime includes an implementation of the MicroProfile Config specification for the moment.

But there is another very important aspect that seems to be forgotten for this core profile, security.

Jakarta Security specification

For the moment, there are no plans to include a security-related specification in this core profile and this is a missed opportunity. Security is a very important aspect of each application but as usual, it doesn’t receive enough attention. Although there were several major security issue events in the last 6 months, we all remember the log4shell vulnerability.

Within the Jakarta family, we have the Jakarta Security API specification which combines the more low-level specifications Authentication and Authorisation. It also makes it easier for the developer to define the requirements without relying on the runtime to perform the setup. Within cloud environments, we should be able to start our application without extensive setup of the server or runtime.

But this Security API specification is not really a good candidate to be included in the Core profile. First of all, it depends on many other specifications and some of them are archaic and not really adapted to be used in these small runtimes targeted to the cloud.

But most of all, there is no support for the token-based security that is typically used in microservices and the applications that stands as a model for these Core profile runtimes.

The JSON Web Tokens (JWS token specification) are an ideal means to carry the information about the user on the requests. Within the header, a cryptographically signed JSON carries the information about the identity and the permissions of the user who made the (initial) call to the environment. With the signature, we can be sure the content is not tampered with and we can make use of the groups and role information available in the token to determine if the user is allowed to perform the action.

And we only need to use the public key of the key pair to verify the signature. This public key can be kept cached and only occasionally refreshed from the process that creates those JWT tokens. The verification and the usage of the JWT tokens do not require calls to external systems and are ideal to implement performant systems.

MicroProfile Security specification

This is a major gap in the support of technologies for Jakarta EE that calls itself ‘Cloud-native Enterprise Java’. But also within MicroProfile, there is no adequate support for JWT tokens. You have the MicroProfile JWT Auth specification that defines functionality for the MicroProfile runtimes that are using JWT tokens.

But there are several restrictions on top of the JOSE (Javascript Object Signing and Encryption) specification that make the MicroProfile specification less useful. The configuration is defined so that an application can only be used by one token emitter. You can define only one issuer, only one signature algorithm, you can indicate that a JWS or JWE token is used but not both at the same time, etc.

This makes that applications that make use of the MicroProfile JWT Auth specification are in fact part of a distributed monolith. You cannot use it in a real microservices situation as it will be called by many different applications, including external systems using different token providers.

Side note, since the majority of the companies that claim to do microservices are actually just building a distributed monolith, the problem with the MicroProfile JWT Auth specification is not impacting the majority I guess.

Security in Atbash Runtime

Since security is an important and vital aspect of any application, the upcoming version of the Atbash runtime will have support for JWT tokens. It is based on the JOSE specifications and for convenience, is using the MicroProfile JWT Auth API but not having the many restrictions of the MicroProfile Specification.

The configuration parameters are interpreted slightly differently, like the key defining the issues is interpreted as a list. This still allows the developer to only allow tokens from one source, but also allows the application to be used in real microservices situations and accept multiple issuers.

A first draft of the implementation is included in the main branch of the GitHub repository and will be refined in the coming weeks before the release is made.


Although security is a very important aspect of each application, specifications, and products should help the developers to implement the security requirements they have. There is no Security specification included, nor is there one planned in the new upcoming Core profile of Jakarta EE.

In fact, Jakarta EE does not have a specification that is useful in cloud-native environments since there is no support for JWT tokens.

But also the MicroProfile security specification is not a solution in all cases since it restricts the tokens to one issuer. Making it only useable in a distributed monolith situation and not in a real large-scale microservices environment.

The JWT token implementation within Atbash Runtime is based on the API of MicroProfile JWT Auth but overcomes the limitations of the MicroProfile specification by supporting the configuration of multiple sources, multiple algorithms, and using JWT and JWE tokens at the same time.
Sounds good? Give it a try when the next version will be available in a few weeks.

Jakarta EE

Using Locks in Jakarta EE CDI

Jakarta EE applications are multi-threaded. The code to generate the response for the users’ requests runs in his own thread. This seems natural as we like to support multiple users at the same time.

For each user, data is retrieved and processed to return to the user. There are situations where data is coming from a single source and some synchronisation is required. Reading the data is no problem, but when we want to update them, we should have the guarantee that all data is updated in one go. So that threads that are reading the data see consistent data.

The Jakarta EE EJB Specification has the @Lock annotation to handle the synchronisation aspects of the method within an EJB Singleton bean. This blog describes what you can do if your application makes only use of CDI beans or when you want to synchronise the access to a data structure from within different beans.

JVM ReentrantReadWriteLock

The JVM class ReentrantReadWriteLock is created for the use case that is described in the introduction.

An instance maintains a pair of associated locks, one for read-only operations and one for writing. The read lock may be held simultaneously by multiple reader threads, so long as there are no writers. The write lock is exclusive.

Every piece of code that access our shared data for retrieving some information, not updating, must be protected by the read lock that is provided by the instance. The method, can be multiple ones if needed, or statements that update the data structure need to have the write lock before they can proceed.

This way, reading is possible by one or more threads simultaneously unless another part of your code has the write lock at the moment. And changing the data can only be done when no one is reading or they have to wait until the update is completed.

In a central location, a JVM singleton for example, we instantiate the object.

ReentrantReadWriteLock readWriteLock = new ReentrantReadWriteLock();

The pattern for reading from the data structure is

Lock lock = readWriteLock.readLock()
try {

    // All the read statements go here

} finally {

A similar pattern for changing the data structure based on the write lock.

Lock lock = readWriteLock.writeLock()
try {

    // All the write statements go here

} finally {

There exists also a variant that you do not wait indefinitely to obtain the lock, but an InterruptedException is thrown if the lock can’t be acquired within the time limit that is specified.

More info can be found on the readme page of the repository.

A CDI annotation

The above-described solution can be turned into a CDI interceptor that performs the tasks, similar to the @Lock annotation of Jakarta EE EJB specification.

You can create this yourself, or you can make use of the Atbash Named Lock library that is now available.

For Jakarta EE 8, add the following dependency to your project.


The snapshot version is already available on Maven central. The final version will be Ade available in a couple of weeks. Together with the version based on the jakarta namespace so that you can use it with Jakarta EE 9.

You now have the be.atbash.cdi.lock.Locked annotation that you can use on any CDI method

public String getValues() {

To use the generic read lock. Or the method that updates the data structure and no other reading should be in progress

@Locked(operation = Locked.Operation.WRITE)
public void writeValue(String value) {

But as the name suggest, you can also specify the name of the lock that you want to use. And thus have more than one lock available within your application.

@Locked(name = "special")

This annotation will operate on another instance of the ReentrantReadWriteLock class and thus work with locks that are indecent of the generic named ones.

Side effect

The write lock, without using the read lock from the pair, can be used to synchronise a method.

@Locked(operation = Locked.Operation.WRITE)
public void writeValue(String value) {

This declaration means that only one thread at a time can execute the method writeValue, which has the same effect as the synchronized keyword from the java language. When the annotation is used on multiple CDI methods, you have the same effect as using a synchronized block that make use of a singleton object so that at any given time, only one annotated method within the entire JVM can be executed at the same time.


The Named locks for CDI is a small library that brings the capabilities of the @Lock from the EJB specification and the ReentrantReadWriteLock JVM class as an annotation to any Jakarta runtime.
It allows you to use the same philosophy of Jakarta EE, concentrate on the user logic, and infrastructure-related aspects are handled automatically or by annotation, for the synchronisation requirements to protect the access to a shared data structure within your application.

Atbash Jakarta EE

Testing the Jakarta EE Core Profile with Atbash Runtime.

What is the Core Profile?

The Jakarta EE specifications have already two profiles, the Full profile, and the Web profile. The Web Profile contains a set of specifications that are geared toward the typical Web Applications. It groups the typical Web Application specifications like Servlet, REST, JSON, JPA, Faces, Security, etc …

The Full profile contains all the Java Enterprise specifications and adds to the above list specifications like WebServices, Messaging, the full EJB specification, connectors, etc …

But the trend in the last years is, mainly due to the move to the cloud, to have smaller runtimes that only need a limited set of specifications.

The MicroProfile specifications are built on top of a limited set of Jakarta specifications, JAX-RS, CDI, JSON-P, and JSON-B.
MicroProfile, although many specifications are useful in all architectural cases, has a focus on microservices and smaller runtime. This has led to the idea to have a specific profile within Jakarta EE that groups a, specific adapted set of specifications in a Core Profile.

The goal of the profile is defined as (see here

To provide a profile that contains a set of Jakarta EE Specifications targeting smaller runtimes suitable for microservices and ahead-of-time compilation.

Which specifications?

The idea, since the Core profile is not yet available, is to combine the following specifications

  • Jakarta Servlet
  • Jakarta REST (JAX-RS)
  • Jakarta CDI lite
  • Jakarta JSON-P
  • Jakarta JSON-B
  • Jakarta Configuration

The CDI lite specification focuses around using build-time Compatible Extensions so that the runtime can be used in Ahead-of-time compilation scenarios like GraalVM. When there are no runtime discovery features and everything is known at compile-time, it makes the native compilation much easier.

The Jakarta Configuration specification will be based on the current MicroProfile Configuration specification and is hopefully, after several attempts to standardise this within Java Enterprise, finally available.

What is Atbash Runtime?

The Core Profile is not yet available and will not be available in May 2022, the expected release date of Jakarta EE 10. Mainly because the Jakarta Configuration specification is not ready yet, and the work related to Jakarta EE 10 took more time so there was not enough time available to perform some work around this new Profile.

The idea of Jakarta specifications is also that it is based on some experience and not only on some theoretical assumptions. That was the basis of my idea to create a runtime that contains the specifications of the Core Profile.

The work started some 6 months ago in my spare time and the goal was to create a runtime that combines the mentioned specifications. At that time, only Jakarta EE 9.1 was available. So the current version of Atbash Runtime, version 0.3, is based on

  • Jakarta Servlet 5.0
  • Jakarta CDI 3.0
  • Jakarta REST 3.0
  • Jakarta JSON-P 2.0
  • Jakarta JSON-B 2.0
  • MicroProfile Config 3.0

And it combines the following frameworks

  • Jetty 11.0.8
  • Jersey 3.0.4
  • Weld 4.0.3
  • Jackson Databind 2.13.1
  • Custom implementation of MicroProfile Config based on SmallRye Config.

How can I try it out?

First of all, you can download the zip file to install the runtime from this download URL. It is only 13.3 Mb in size.

Unzip this into a directory of your choice. It will create several JAR files in a directory structure.

Start your application with

java -jar atbash-runtime.jar path-to/application.war

And the application is available on port 8080 (default, can be changed by command line parameter). The runtime is built with JDK 11 and tested on JDK 11, 17, and 18.

Besides this instance mode, there is also a domain mode so that you can remotely access the runtime to, for example, deploy applications on a running process.

It has a modular structure that will be explored more in future versions and has typical extras like an embedded mode, Arquillian adaptor, Docker image, and integration testing framework based on TestContainers.

You can read more about them in the user guide.

What is next?

The following ideas are on my table to experiment more with this runtime and the idea of a Core Profile Runtime

  • Upgrade to the Jakarta EE 10 versions of the specifications now that they become available.
  • Add security like the MicroProfile JWT specification.
  • Add some data access including the fast Java-native object graph persistence provided by MicroStream.

And of course, your ideas and feedback are valuable for the realisation of the Core profile with Jakarta EE.