Apache Isis plugin for JRebel.
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This is a plugin for Apache Isis plugin for JRebel. By configuring it you can develop your Isis application without having to restart the app. You do need to run Isis in prototype mode.

The plugin is designed for Isis configured with the JDO (DataNucleus) objectstore, and either the Wicket viewer or the Restful Objects viewer.


You can a demo of the Isis and JRebel working together in this screencast.

Usage notes

In general you can change any domain class (entity or service) and those changes will be reflected when you next interact with the app. That means you can change Isis annotations, add or remove methods, refactor methods, even add or remove properties and relationships, and those changes will be picked up without having to stop and start the app.

However, do be aware that:

  • the enhancement of the domain class must be done by the IDE plugin.

  • the changed class is only reloaded when you next interact with the app (the plugin writes the stderr, so you won't necessarily see a change immediately on compile).

  • on occasion when using your app you may get an exception on the interaction that causes the domain class(es) to reload. This is caused by a temporary mismatch between the loaded class and the JDO metadata. However, things should correct themselves for the subsequent requests, so you can simply ignore the exception and carry on.

  • new properties of persistent domain objects must be marked as optional (@Column(allowNulls="true")


  • install JRebel into Eclipse.

    • this plugin has not been tested against other IDEs, but might well work...
  • at the time of writing, Isis 1.4.0 hasn't been released, so grab the Isis source code (1.4.0-SNAPSHOT), and compile

    • as described on the Isis website
    • you won't need to do this once Isis 1.4.0 is out there
  • check out the source code for this project, and compile

Locate the danhaywood-isis-jrebel-plugin-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT.jar JAR file (in target folder).

Configure projects in Eclipse

The appropriate changes have been made to the "simple app" (with a hard-coded location for the JAR file. This will be part of the next archetype when 1.4.0 of Isis is released).

To configure, use Help>JRebel Config Center, then select the dom project (and probably the webapp project too):

Update launch config

Then, the app needs to be updated to launch with the JRebel agent and the Isis-JRebel-plugin.

Main tab

No changes required to the main tab:

Arguments tab

The only change required is to the JVM arguments section on the arguments tab:

For further JRebel settings, see the JRebel manual

To dissect this:

  • ${jrebel_args} is a placeholder for the JRebel agent

  • -Drebel.log tells JRebel whether to write to its log or not

  • -Drebel.packages_exclude=org.apache.isis.core tells JRebel to ignore any Isis framework classes

  • -Drebel.check_class_hash=true is a performance optimization telling JRebel to not reload classes if the timestamp has changed but its content has not

  • -Drebel.plugins points to this plugin

    Obviously, you should adjust the location of the JAR file, and the package prefix as necessary.

  • -Disis-jrebel-plugin.packagePrefix argument tells this plugin to ignore all packages except that specified; set it to the parent package for all your domain object classes. If your code is in more than one package, specify the argument as a comma-separated list of packages.

  • -Disis-jrebel-plugin.loggingLevel argument tells this plugin how much logging to emit; valid values are DEBUG, INFO and WARN.

You might also want to increase the (infamous) MaxPermSize; add:

  • -XX:MaxPermSize=128m

or some other, higher, figure.

JRebel tab

The JRebel tab simply reflects the -D settings on the JVM arguments section (above)

Editing the .launch config file directly

Alternatively, copy one of the example Xxx-PROTOTYPE-no-fixtures.launch files (under ide/eclipse/launch in the archetypes), and add:

      value="${jrebel_args} -Drebel.log=false -Drebel.packages_exclude=org.apache.isis.core -Drebel.check_class_hash=true -Drebel.plugins=c:/github/isisaddons/isis-jrebel-plugin/target/danhaywood-isis-jrebel-plugin-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT.jar -Disis-jrebel-plugin.packagePrefix=dom.simple -Disis-jrebel-plugin.loggingLevel=warn -XX:MaxPermSize=128m"/>

(adjusting the location of the JAR file, the package prefix, and the MaxPermSize as necessary)

Disable IDE hot-code replace warnings

As per JRebel's documentation, it's also a good idea to disable any warnings that your IDE might generate about hot-code replacement failing. For example, in Eclipse this is done through Windows>Preferences: