Java EE 7 First Look

By NDJOBO Armel Fabrice
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About this book

For several years, the development of robust, scalable, and secured applications was a headache for software companies. They had to use proprietary solutions with non-standard methods. With Java EE, many of these solutions have been standardized, simplified, adapted to the needs of the developer, and made freely available to the community. Thus, it is now possible to develop truly robust, secure, and scalable applications at a lower cost using tools such as: Eclipse, NetBeans, and GlassFish.

Java EE 7 First Look is a practical guide which, through the creation of an online pre-registration website, will introduce you to the novelties of Java EE 7 and give you ideas for utilizing them.

Giving you an insight on new features introduced in Java EE 7, this book begins with the objectives of Java EE 7 and then covers the new specifications added in Java EE 7. Next, you will move on to the improvements made in APIs and EJBs and how to work with them. You will also learn how to ensure that the quality of data is maintained that has been manipulated by your application and gives you the opportunity to put a small part of AOP (Aspect Oriented Programming) in action.

Finally, the book will give you some ideas to realize n-tier applications using the Java EE platform and will also provide some guidance for the integration of your Java EE application to heterogeneous systems with which your application will interact.

After reading Java EE 7 First Look, you'll have a good idea about the changes brought in by Java EE 7, as well as how to make the best use of these to build a large-scale application.

Publication date:
November 2013


Chapter 1. What's New in Java EE 7

Because of their use, distributed applications require some non functional services such as remote access, security, transaction management, concurrency, and robustness, among others. Unless you have APIs that offer these types of services, you need to implement them all from scratch and therefore, increase the number of bugs, reduce software quality, and increase production costs and time. The Java EE platform was set up to save the developer from these concerns. It is made up of a set of APIs that facilitate the development and deployment of distributed, robust, scalable, and interoperable applications.

Since its first release in 1999, the Java EE platform has evolved over time by offering a newer, richer, and simpler version than the previous one. In order for you to have an overview of the improvements in Java EE 7, this chapter addresses the following topics:

  • A brief history of Java EE

  • The main goals of Java EE 7

  • Novelties of Java EE 7


A brief history of Java EE

Formerly called J2EE, the first version of Java EE platform was officially released in December 1999 with 10 specifications. Among these specifications, there were Servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSP) for data presentation, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) for the management of persistent data, remote access to business services through RMI-IIOP (Remote Method Invocation over Internet Inter-ORB Protocol), and the JMS (Java Message Service) specification, which was used to send messages.

Despite efforts and many contributions, early versions of Java EE were too complex and difficult to implement. This led to much criticism and caused the rise of competing frameworks such as Spring Framework.

Having drawn lessons from its previous failures, the platform has considerably evolved over time until the production of Java EE 5, which permitted the platform to regain its lost esteem. From this version, Java EE continues to provide easier, richer, and more powerful versions of the platform.

The preceding diagram gives an overview of the important changes made to Java EE platform since the release of the first version in December 1999. This diagram highlights the release dates, updates, and major improvements in each version. It also allows us to have an idea about the central theme behind each version.


The main goals of Java EE 7

Since May 2006, the Java EE platform has known remarkable evolution in terms of implementation. First, with Java EE 5, it greatly simplified the development of applications by allowing the transformation of a simple Java class (POJO class) into a business object through annotations or XML descriptions. Still in the line of simplification, Java EE 6 helps enrich annotations and introduces new concepts such as pruning, RESTful Web Services, CDI, EJB Lite, and configuration by exception and web profiles. This allows the platform to provide many easy-to-deploy and consume services. After the success of Java EE 6, the JCP (Java Community Process) envisaged turning the platform into a service by providing an infrastructure for cloud support. But, due to lack of significant progress in the concerned specifications, it revised its objectives. It is from the perspective of preparing the migration of the Java EE platform to the cloud that Java EE 7 focuses on productivity and HTML5 support. Having missed the big goal (that is, the migration to the cloud), it will reach its new goals through completion of Java EE 6 features and addition of some new specifications.


Productivity in Java EE 7 has been improved upon in many ways. By simplifying some APIs such as JMS and JAX-RS, Java EE 7 platform significantly reduces boilerplate code. As you will notice in the chapters that follow, sending a JMS message can fit on one line and no longer requires the creation of several objects as was the case with JMS 1.1, where it was first necessary to create a Connection, Session, MessageProducer, and TextMessage.

Java EE 7 has integrated new APIs to better address the needs of enterprise applications relative to the processing of large amounts of data. We have, for example, the concurrency utilities, which allow the creation of managed threads within a container and give developers the ability to break down large processes into smaller units that can be computed concurrently. Similarly, there is a Java API for batch processing to manage bulk and long-running jobs.

Finally, Java EE 7 is enriched in annotations and has set a focus on configuration by exception. Whether it is for data source or batch processing, compatible Java EE 7 containers provide a number of default objects. It is even possible to produce complex applications with minor configuration.

In short, the new platform frees the developer from performing a number of tasks and the creation of several types of objects that are required for setting up an application.

HTML5 support

Some people might wonder why the support of HTML5 is so important. The answer is simple: HTML5 is the latest release of the HTML standard. More so, it offers new features that ease the building of more powerful and suitable web applications. For example, via the <audio> and <video> elements of HTML5, you can play, pause, and resume audio and video media content without the use of a third-party plugin such as Flash. Through the canvas element and WebGL library (a subset of OpenGL), you can easily integrate 2D and 3D graphics in your website. With regards to communication between the client and server, the perfect integration of WebSocket protocol in HTML5 allows us to build a web application with full-duplex P2P communication and get over some limitations of HTTP for real-time communication. Using this protocol, you will have no difficulty in realizing chat applications or other web applications that require real-time communication between the client and server, such as trading and e-commerce platforms. In terms of data exchange, the native support of JSON format in HTML5 simplifies processing of information and reduces the size of documents. Many other areas have been improved, but for now we will only mention these ones.

Given all these innovations, the support for HTML5 features was added in JSF (JavaServer Faces), a new API was added to Java EE 7 platform to build WebSocket-driven applications and another API to process JSON data format.


Novelties of Java EE 7

The Java EE 7 was developed as a Java Specification Request (JSR 342). It has a total of 31 specifications including 4 new specifications, 10 major releases, and 9 MRs (Maintenance Releases). All these specifications are taken into account by the GlassFish Server 4.0 (accessible via the address, which is the reference implementation of Java EE 7.

The new specifications introduced in Java EE are as follows:

APIs inherited from the Java EE 6 platform that have undergone major changes are the following:

  • Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 7 (Java EE 7) Specification (, when compared to Java EE 6, further simplifies development, adds support for HTML5, and prepares the platform to migrate to the cloud

  • Java Servlet 3.1 Specification ( introduces some features such as non blocking I/O API and protocol upgrade processing

  • Expression Language 3.0 ( was separated from JSP specification request, and it came with many changes including an API for standalone environments, lambda expressions, and collections objects support

  • JavaServer Faces 2.2 ( integrates the support for the HTML5 standard and brings features such as resource library contracts, Faces Flow, and stateless views

  • Java Persistence 2.1 ( brings us the opportunity to execute Stored Procedures, create named queries at runtime, construct bulk update/delete via the Criteria API, override or change the fetch setting at runtime, and make explicit joins as in SQL

  • Enterprise JavaBeans 3.2 ( introduces the ability to manually disable the passivation of stateful session beans and has also relaxed rules to define the default local or remote business interface

  • Java Message Service 2.0 ( simplifies the API

  • JAX-RS 2.0: The Java API for RESTful Web Services ( simplifies the implementation of RESTful Web Services and introduces new features including Client API, asynchronous processing, filters, and interceptors

  • Contexts and Dependency Injection for Java EE 1.1 ( introduces many changes, some of which are access to the current CDI container, access to the non contexual instances of a bean, and the ability to explicitly destroy bean instances

  • Bean Validation 1.1 ( introduces support for method and constructor validation, group conversion, and message interpolation using expression language

Only the following APIs are affected by maintenance releases:



After briefly introducing the evolution of Java EE and analyzing the objectives of the latest platform, we listed all the specifications that were improved upon or added in Java EE 7. In the next chapter, we will focus on new specifications to highlight their usefulness and show how they can be implemented.

About the Author

  • NDJOBO Armel Fabrice

    NDJOBO Armel Fabrice is a Design Computer Engineer and graduate from the National Advanced school of Engineering Cameroon, and Oracle Certified Expert, Java EE 6 Java Persistence API Developer. In the past, he has worked with Java EE to develop several systems among which are a helpline system and a commercial management application. He currently works on several systems based on EJB, Spring and ICEFaces solutions. In addition, he has made a technical review of the books Pro Spring Integration published by Apress and Beginning EJB 3, Java EE published by Apress. He is also a copywriter in (his home page is:

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