Blog from January, 2012

CXF 2.6.0 will bring a lot of improvements for deployment in OSGi. Till now cxf was bundled in one OSGi bundle. Either with all features or with a minimal feature set. Thanks to Dan Kulp cxf is now delivered as individual bundles. So it can be installed with only the needed features. Besides the smaller size in many use cases this also means that we have less optional dependencies which make installation difficult. Each bundle defines the imports it really needs. This makes it much easier to get the dependencies right. Of course the Karaf feature file will still be provided to make it easy to install CXF in Apache Karaf.

Based on the work of Dan I recently started to optimize the imports of the typical bundles most people will use from cxf. At the start we had many dependencies like spring, velocity, neethi, .., that I felt should not be needed and make cxf quite big. By refactoring some of the modules I was able to slim these down to the bare minimum. The current code on trunk already reflects these changes.

If you want to try this yourself you can easily install the snapshot of cxf in karaf 2.2.5. As the feature file is not yet changed I uploaded a gist of the commands you need to execute. Remember to also use the for karaf to disable some default java apis so CXF can replace them with newer versions.

So after this install the karaf list -u command shows the following bundles:

 karaf@root> list -u
START LEVEL 100 , List Threshold: 50
   ID   State         Blueprint      Level  Update location
[  87] [Active     ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.servicemix.bundles/org.apache.servicemix.bundles.jaxb-impl/
[  88] [Active     ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.servicemix.bundles/org.apache.servicemix.bundles.jaxb-xjc/
[  89] [Active     ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.codehaus.woodstox/stax2-api/3.1.1
[  90] [Active     ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.codehaus.woodstox/woodstox-core-asl/4.1.1
[  91] [Active     ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.servicemix.bundles/org.apache.servicemix.bundles.wsdl4j/1.6.2_3
[  92] [Active     ] [            ] [   60]
[  93] [Active     ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-common-utilities/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
[  94] [Active     ] [Created     ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-rt-core/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
                                       Fragments: 95
[  95] [Resolved   ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-api/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
                                       Hosts: 94
[  96] [Active     ] [Created     ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-rt-bindings-soap/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
[  97] [Active     ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-rt-bindings-xml/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
[  98] [Active     ] [Created     ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-rt-frontend-simple/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
[  99] [Active     ] [            ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-rt-databinding-jaxb/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
[ 100] [Active     ] [Created     ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-rt-frontend-jaxws/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
[ 102] [Active     ] [Created     ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-rt-transports-http/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT
[ 103] [Active     ] [Created     ] [   60] mvn:org.apache.cxf/cxf-rt-frontend-jaxrs/2.6.0-SNAPSHOT

This installation of CXF is ready for SOAP/HTTP and REST with JAX-WS and JAXB on the java side which reflects what most people will need.

To test the features I recommend to install the example from my Karaf Tutorial about CXF.

Shows how to access databases from OSGi applications running in Karaf and how to abstract from the DB product by installing DataSources as OSGi services. Some new Karaf shell commands can be used to work with the database from the command line. Finally JDBC and JPA examples show how to use such a DataSource from user code.


You need an installation of apache karaf 4.0.8 for this tutorial.

Example sources

The example projects are on github Karaf-Tutorial/db.

Drivers and DataSources

In plain java it is quite popular to use the DriverManager to create a database connection (see this tutorial). In OSGi this does not work as the ClassLoader of your bundle will have no visibility of the database driver. So in OSGi the best practice is to create a DataSource at some place that knows about the driver and publish it as an OSGi service. The user bundle should then only use the DataSource without knowing the driver specifics. This is quite similar to the best practice in application servers where the DataSource is managed by the server and published to jndi.

So we need to learn how to create and use DataSources first.

The DataSourceFactory services

To make it easier to create DataSources in OSGi the specs define a DataSourceFactory interface. It allows to create a DataSource using a specific driver from properties. Each database driver is expected to implement this interface and publish it with properties for the driver class name and the driver name.

Introducing pax-jdbc

The pax-jdbc project aims at making it a lot easier to use databases in an OSGi environment. It does the following things:

  • Implement the DataSourceFactory service for Databases that do not create this service directly
  • Implement a pooling and XA wrapper for XADataSources (This is explained at the pax jdbc docs)
  • Provide a facility to create DataSource services from config admin configurations
  • Provide karaf features for many databases as well as for the above additional functionality

So it covers everything you need from driver installation to creation of production quality DataSources.

Installing the driver

The first step is to install the driver bundles for your database system into Karaf. Most drivers are already valid bundles and available in the maven repo.

For several databases pax-jdbc already provides karadf features to install a current version of the database driver.

For H2 the following commands will work

feature:repo-add mvn:org.ops4j.pax.jdbc/pax-jdbc-features/0.8.0/xml/features
feature:install transaction jndi pax-jdbc-h2 pax-jdbc-pool-dbcp2 pax-jdbc-config
service:list DataSourceFactory 

Strictly speaking we would only need the pax-jdbc-h2 feature but we will need the others for the next steps.

This will install the pax-jdbc feature repository and the h2 database driver. This driver already implements the DataSourceFactory so the last command will display this service.

 osgi.jdbc.driver.class = org.h2.Driver = H2
 osgi.jdbc.driver.version = 1.3.172 = 691
Provided by : 
 H2 Database Engine (68)

The pax-jdbc-pool-dbcp2 feature wraps this DataSourceFactory to provide pooling and XA support.

pooled and XA DataSourceFactory
 osgi.jdbc.driver.class = org.h2.Driver = H2-pool-xa
 osgi.jdbc.driver.version = 1.3.172
 pooled = true = 694
 xa = true
Provided by : 
 OPS4J Pax JDBC Pooling support using Commons-DBCP2 (73)

Technically this DataSourceFactory also creates DataSource objects but internally they manage XA support and pooling. So we want to use this one for our later code examples.

Creating the DataSource

Now we just need to create a configuration with the correct factory pid to create a DataSource as a service

So create the file etc/org.ops4j.datasource-person.cfg with the following content

config for DataSource

The config will automatically trigger the pax-jdbc-config module to create a DataSource.

  • The name osgi.jdbc.driver=H2-pool-xa will select the H2 DataSourceFactory with pooling and XA support we previously installed.
  • The url configures H2 to create a simple in memory database named test.
  • The dataSourceName will be reflected in a service property of the DataSource so we can find it later
  • You could also set pooling configurations in this config but we leave it at the defaults

karaf@root()> service:list DataSource
 dataSourceName = person = H2-pool-xa = person
 service.factoryPid = org.ops4j.datasource = 696 = org.ops4j.datasource.83139141-24c6-4eb3-a6f4-82325942d36a
 url = jdbc:h2:mem:person
Provided by : 
 OPS4J Pax JDBC Config (69)

So when we search for services implementing the DataSource interface we find the person datasource we just created.

When we installed the features above we also installed the aries jndi feature. This module maps OSGi services to jndi objects. So we can also use jndi to retrieve the DataSource which will be used in the persistence.xml for jpa later.

jndi url of DataSource

Karaf jdbc commands

Karaf contains some commands to manage DataSources and do queries on databases. The commands for managing DataSources in karaf 3.x still work with the older approach of using blueprint to create DataSources. So we will not use these commands but we can use the functionality to list datasources, list tables and execute queries.

jdbc commands
feature:install jdbc
jdbc:tables person

We first install the karaf jdbc feature which provides the jdbc commands. Then we list the DataSources and show the tables of the database accessed by the person DataSource. Be aware that older versions of karaf required the sql code to be enclosed in " ".

jdbc:execute person create table person (name varchar(100), twittername varchar(100))
jdbc:execute person insert into person (name, twittername) values ('Christian Schneider', '@schneider_chris')
jdbc:query person select * from person

This creates a table person, adds a row to it and shows the table.

The output should look like this

select * from person
NAME                | TWITTERNAME     
Christian Schneider | @schneider_chris

Accessing the database using JDBC

The project db/examplejdbc shows how to use the datasource we installed and execute jdbc commands on it. The example uses a blueprint.xml to refer to the OSGi service for the DataSource and injects it into the class
DbExample.The test method is then called as init method and shows some jdbc statements on the DataSource.The DbExample class is completely independent of OSGi and can be easily tested standalone using the DbExampleTest. This test shows how to manually set up the DataSource outside of OSGi.

Build and install

Build works like always using maven

> mvn clean install

In Karaf we just need our own bundle as we have no special dependencies

> install -s
Using datasource H2, URL jdbc:h2:~/test
Christian Schneider, @schneider_chris,

After installation the bundle should directly print the db info and the persisted person.

Accessing the database using JPA

For larger projects often JPA is used instead of hand crafted SQL. Using JPA has two big advantages over JDBC.

  1. You need to maintain less SQL code
  2. JPA provides dialects for the subtle differences in databases that else you would have to code yourself.

For this example we use Hibernate as the JPA Implementation. On top of it we add Apache Aries JPA which supplies an implementation of the OSGi JPA Service Specification and blueprint integration for JPA.

The project examplejpa shows a simple project that implements a PersonService managing Person objects.
Person is just a java bean annotated with JPA @Entitiy.

Additionally the project implements two Karaf shell commands person:add and person:list that allow to easily test the project.


Like in a typical JPA project the peristence.xml defines the DataSource lookup, database settings and lists the persistent classes. The datasource is refered using the jndi name "osgi:service/person".

The OSGi JPA Service Specification defines that the Manifest should contain an attribute "Meta-Persistence" that points to the persistence.xml. So this needs to be defined in the config of the maven bundle plugin in the prom. The Aries JPA container will scan for these attributes
and register an initialized EntityMangerFactory as an OSGi service on behalf of the use bundle.


We use a blueprint.xml context to inject an EntityManager into our service implementation and to provide automatic transaction support.
The following snippet is the interesting part:

  <bean id="personService" class="">
      <jpa:context property="em" unitname="person" />
      <tx:transaction method="*" value="Required"/>

This makes a lookup for the EntityManagerFactory OSGi service that is suitable for the persistence unit person and injects a thread safe EnityManager (using a ThreadLocal under the hood) into the
PersonServiceImpl. Additionally it wraps each call to a method of PersonServiceImpl with code that opens a transaction before the method and commits on success or rollbacks on any exception thrown.

Build and Install

mvn clean install

A prerequisite is that the derby datasource is installed like described above. Then we have to install the bundles for hibernate, aries jpa, transaction, jndi and of course our db-examplejpa bundle.
See ReadMe.txt for the exact commands to use.


person:add 'Christian Schneider' @schneider_chris

Then we list the persisted persons

karaf@root> person:list
Christian Schneider, @schneider_chris


In this tutorial we learned how to work with databases in Apache Karaf. We installed drivers for our database and a DataSource. We were able to check and manipulate the DataSource using the jdbc:* commands. In the examplejdbc we learned how to acquire a datasource
and work with it using plain jdbc4.  Last but not least we also used jpa to access our database.

Back to Karaf Tutorials

Shows how to run your camel routes in the OSGi server Apache Karaf. Like for CXF blueprint is used to boot up camel. The tutorial shows three examples - a simple blueprint route, a jms2rest adapter and an order processing example.

Installing Karaf and making Camel features available

  • Download Karaf 4.0.4 and unpack to the file system
  • Start bin\karaf.bat or bin/karaf for unix

In Karaf type:

feature:repo-add camel 2.16.2

You should see the camel features that are now ready to be installed.

Getting and building the examples

You can find the examples for this tutorial on github Karaf Tutorial - camel.

So either clone the git repo or just download and unpack the zip of it.To build the code do:

cd camel
mvn clean install

Starting simple with a pure blueprint deployment

Our first example does not even require a java project. In Karaf it is possible to deploy pure blueprint xml files. As camel is well integrated with blueprint you can define a complete camel context with routes in a simple blueprint file.


The blueprint xml for a camel context is very similar to the same in spring. Mainly the namespaces are different. Blueprint discovers the dependency on camel so it will automatically require the at least the camel-blueprint feature is installed. The camel components in routes are discovered as OSGi services. So as soon as a camel component is installed using the respective feature it is automatically available for usage in routes.

So to install the above blueprint based camel integration you only have to do the following steps:

feature:install camel-blueprint camel-stream

Copy simple-camel-blueprint.xml to the deploy folder of karaf. You should now see "Hello Camel" written to the console every 5 seconds.

The blueprint file will be automatically monitored for changes so any changes we do are directly reflected in Karaf. To try this open the simple-camel-blueprint.xml file from the deploy folder in an editor, change "stream:out" to "log:test" and save. Now the messages on the console should stop and instead you should be able to see "Hello Camel" in the Karaf log file formatted as a normal log line.

JMS to REST Adapter (jms2rest)


This example is not completely standalone. As a prerequisite install the person service example like described in Karaf Tutorial 4.

The example shows how to create a bridge from the messaging world to a REST service. It is simple enough that it could be done in a pure blueprint file like the example above. As any bigger integration needs some java code I opted to use a java project for that case.

Like most times we mainly use the maven bundle plugin with defaults and the packaging type bundle to make the project OSGi ready. The camel context is booted up using a blueprint file blueprint.xml and the routes are defined in the java class Jms2RestRoute.


The first route watches the directory "in" and writes the content of any file placed there to the jms queue "person". It is not strictly necessary but makes it much simpler to test the example by hand.

The seconds route is the real jms2rest adapter. It listens on the jms queue person and expects to get xml content with persons like also used in the PersonService. In the route the id of the person is extracted from the xml and stored in a camel message header. This header is then used to build the rest uri. As a last step the content from the message is sent to the rest uri with a PUT request. So this tells the service to store the person with the given id and data.

Use of Properties

Besides the pure route the example shows some more tpyical things you need in camel. So it is a good practice to externalize the url of services we access. Camel uses the Properties component for this task.

 This enables us to write {{personServiceUri}} in endpoints or ${properties:personServiceUri} in the simple language.

In a blueprint context the Properties component is automatically aware of injected properties from the config admin service. We use a cm:property-placeholder definition to inject the attributes of the config admin pid "". As there might be no such pid we also define a default value for the personServiceUri so the integration can be deployed without further configuation.

JMS Component

We are using the camel jms component in our routes. This is one of the few components that need further configuration to work. We also do this in the blueprint context by defining a JmsComponent and injecting a connection factory into it. In OSGi it is good practice to not define connection factories or data sources directly in the bundle instead we are simply refering to it using a OSGi service reference.

Deploying and testing the jms2rest Adapter

Just type the following in Karaf:

feature:repo-add activemq 5.12.2
feature:repo-add camel 2.16.2
feature:install  camel-blueprint camel-jms camel-http camel-saxon activemq-broker jms
jms:create -t activemq localhost
install -s

This installs the activemq and camel feature files and features in karaf. The activemq:create command creates a broker defintions in the deploy folder. This broker is then automatically started. The broker defintion also publishes an OSGi service for a suitable connection factory. This is then referenced later by our bundle.

As a last step we install our own bundle with the camel route.

Now the route should be visible when typing:

> camel:route-list
Route Id             Context Name         Status
[file2jms          ] [jms2rest          ] [Started           ]
[personJms2Rest    ] [jms2rest          ] [Started           ]

Now copy the file src/test/resources/person1.xml to the folder "in" below the karaf directory. The file should be sent to the queue person by the first route and then sent to the rest service by the second route.

In case the personservice is instaleld you should now see a message like "Update request received for ...". In case it is not installed you should see a 404 in the karaf error when accessing the rest service.

Order processing example


The business case in this example is a shop that partly works with external vendors.

We receive an order as an xml file (See: order1.xml). The order contains a customer element and several item elements. Each item specifies a vendor. This can be either "direct" when we deliver the item ourself or a external vendor name. If the item vendor is "direct" then the item should be exported to a file in a directory with the customer name. All other items are sent out by mail. The mail content should be customizeable. The mail address has to be fetched from a service that maps vendor name to mail address.

How it works

This example again uses maven to build, a blueprint.xml context to boot up camel and a java class OrderRouteBuilder for the camel routes. So from an OSGi perspective it works almost the same as the jms2rest example.

The routes are defined in The "order" route listens on the directory "orderin" and expects xml order files to be placed there. The route uses xpath to extract several attributes of the order into message headers. A splitter is used to handle each (/order/item) spearately. Then a content based router is used to handle "direct" items different from others.

In the case of a direct item the recipientlist pattern is used to build the destination folder dynamically using a simple language expression.


If the vendor is not "direct" then the route "mailtovendor" is called to create and send a mail to the vendor. Some subject and to address are set using special header names that the mail component understands. The content of the mail is expected in the message body. As the body also should be comfigureable the velocity component is used to fill the mailtemplate.txt with values from the headers that were extracted before.

Deploy into karaf

The deployment is also very similar to the previous example but a little simpler as we do not need jms. Type the following in karaf

feature:repo-add camel 2.16.2
feature:install camel-blueprint camel-mail camel-velocity camel-stream
install -s

To be able to receive the mail you have to edit the configuration pid. You can either do this by placing a properties file
into etc/ or editing the config pid using the karaf webconsole. (See part 2 and part 3 of the Karaf Tutorial series).

Basically you have to set these two properties according to your own mail environment.

Test the order example

Copy the file order1.xml into the folder "ordersin" below the karaf dir.

The Karaf console will show:

Order from Christian Schneider

Count: 1, Article: Flatscreen TV

The same should be in a mail in your inbox. At the same time a file should be created in ordersout/Christian Schneider/order1.xml that contains the book item.

Wrapping it up and outlook

The examples show that fairly sophisticated integrations can be done using camel and be nicely deployed in an Apache Karaf container. The examples also show some best practices around configuration management, jms connection factories and templates for customization. The examples should also provide a good starting point for you own integration projects. Many people are a bit hesitant using OSGi in production. I hope these simple examples can show how easy this is in practice. Still problems can arise of course. For that case it is advisable to think about getting a support contract from a vendor like Talend. The whole Talend Integration portfolio is based on Apache Karaf so we are quite experienced in this area.

I have left out one big use case for Apache Camel in this tutorial - Database integrations. This is a big area and warrants a separate tutorial that will soon follow. There I will also explain how to handle DataSources and Connection Factories with drivers that are not already OSGi compliant.

Back to Karaf Tutorials