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.NET Interactions with j2EE based Web Applications

By , 12 Aug 2004
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Introduction

Enterprise Application Integration is a major order of the day, and making varied technology applications to talk between them is an uphill task. This article describes on how a .NET based application could talk to a j2EE based application run on WebLogic behind a security wall posed by “Webseal”. The major tasks identified to have a seamless working application developed with a j2EE based application run on Weblogic and a .NET application are:

  • Maintenance of session between j2EE based application and .NET application.
  • Maintenance of security framework as existing in j2EE based application.
  • Exchange of data without any binding on data types.
  • Exchange of data without much restriction on protocol layers and ports.

Background

Framework at Web Server application:

VB.NET Windows client application exchanges data and user interface with j2EE based web application developed in STRUTS framework, with the application server as Weblogic 7.0. All the resources (Java class files) deployed in app server have to be accessed via Sun One Portal with “Webseal” as its security feature.

Sample Image

Approach to Solution:

  1. Session Maintenance:

    Weblogic servers maintain their session with a unique identifier jsessionid. Every HTTP request from the client is identified with this jsessionid for tracking the session with client. This session tracking is done in two aspects, either:

    • As a cookie sent from the browser

      or

    • As URL rewriting by appending the jsessionid as a query string in each request
  2. Security Maintenance:

    The security feature implemented in this case along with Weblogic and Sun One portal is “Webseal”. Webseal authorizes each of the resources it allows to access by generating a webseal identifier after successful login, and sending it as a cookie (PD-H-SESSION-ID) for tracking the subsequent requests. If the cookie is not identified properly in the subsequent request for the session, access to resources is denied by “Web Seal”.

    Cookies Values:
    Cookie Name Value Remarks
    PD-H-SESSION-ID Randomly generated for each session Generated by WebSeal
    Cookie Name Randomly generated for each session Generated by WebLogic

  3. Exchange of data:

    Since the .NET application accessing web resources may come behind a firewall, it was decided to make all the requests as HTTP requests. The output response from web server will be either a HTML page for user interface, or an XML document over HTTP which will be parsed at the VB.NET application end to process the data.

Solution:

The .NET application is a Windows based application developed in VB.NET. IE control and System.web.HTTPUtility namespace are used for accessing the j2EE based web application.

IE control is used for making a HTTP request to j2EE based web application and displaying it in browser window if needed.

System.web.HTTPUtility is used for making HTTP request and getting the required data in an XML format as a response stream from j2EE based web application.

Using the code

A new IE process is initiated to have the control of browser window targeted at Login screen of the application.

'//Code snippet
'//
'DLL References
'    1) Microsoft.mshtml
'    2) SHDocVw.dll

'Declarations
'Declare libraries...

    Friend libSWs As SHDocVw.ShellWindows
    Friend libDoc As mshtml.HTMLDocument
    Friend WithEvents libIE As SHDocVw.InternetExplorer
    Friend objIE As New Object

Private Function InitiateIE ()
    Try

        Dim strIEExecutablePath As String = ""
        StrIEExecutablePath = GetBrowserName ()

        If Trim (strIEExecutablePath) <> "" Then

            'Initializing shellwindows ...
            libSWs = New SHDocVw.ShellWindows

A new process is created for control of removing all resources when the browser window is closed. This is needed because, IE control otherwise holds the resource since it associates with existing IExplore.exe process if any browser window is already open.

'Start the process Info
prcStartInfo = New ProcessStartInfo (strIEExecutablePath,<LOGIN URL>)
prcStartInfo.WindowStyle = ProcessWindowStyle.Minimized
prcStartInfo.UseShellExecute = True
'Create  a new process...
SetStatusText(DOWNLOADING_IN_PROGRESS)
prcInitprocess = New Process
prcInitprocess.StartInfo = prcStartInfo
prcInitprocess.Start()
prcInitprocess.WaitForInputIdle ()
                
'Get the handle of the window
pWHnd = prcInitprocess.MainWindowHandle
hWndIe = pWHnd.ToInt64

For Each objIE In libSWs
    If TypeName(objIE) = "IWebBrowser2" Then
        'Condition checking for getting a specific IE
        'Checking based on window handle information
        libIE = objIE

        If hWndIe = libIE.HWND Then
        'Hide the addressbar, MenuBar and toolbar. 
        'The Browser application is without address bar, 
        'menu bar and toolbar...

            libIE.AddressBar = False
            libIE.MenuBar = False
            libIE.ToolBar = False
            libIE.Visible = True

            'Set the Browser Window in the front in normal state...
            SetWindowFront (hWndIe)

            While libIE.ReadyState <> READYSTATE_COMPLETE
            'Lock the thread
            End While
            If libIE.ReadyState = READYSTATE_COMPLETE Then
            'setting the document object
                libDoc = libIE.Document
                SetStatusText(DOWNLOADING_COMPLETED)
                blnSessionflg = False
                blnIsLoginEnabled = True
                blnTimerEnabled = True
            End If
        End If
    End If
Next
        End If
    Catch exp As Exception
        MessageBox.Show(exp.ToString)
    End Try
End Function
'//

Login credentials are filled and submitted for authentication. Webseal authenticates valid users and sends a security cookie () along with the home page/initial page of the application. In the download event of home page/initial page of the application in the browser, the security cookie is read from document cookie and stored for further requests through System.Web.httputility. In the following code snippet, Weblogic session (jsessionid) is also tracked, since after login, home page from Weblogic is accessed, thus creating a new session.

'//Code snippet
'// 
'This function is called in the download event of the
'browser window. It retrieves the webseal and weblogic
'cookie values for appending it in subsequent requests
'for maintaining the session values...

Public Function TrackSession()
    Try
        For Each objIE in libSWs
            If TypeName(objIE) = "IWebBrowser2" Then
                'if this is an HTML page, navigate.
                libIE = objIE
                'Checking whether same window handle
                If hWndIe = libIE.HWND Then
                    libIE.AddressBar = False
                    libIE.MenuBar = False
                    libIE.ToolBar = False
                    libIE.Visible = True

'See if the weblogic session has been created and track the
'cookie information required for authentication...   
                    'setting the document object
                    libDoc = libIE.Document
                    Dim title As String
'Capture the browser instance that has this title 
'and use the same for future calls.
                    title = "MY title"
                    If libDoc.title = title Then

                        'Get the cookie val.
                        strCookieVal = libDoc.cookie
                        'SetNetCookieCollection(strCookieVal)
                        str_g_cookieval = strCookieVal

                        'Parse and assign the cookie val....
                        ParseCookie(strCookieVal)

                        'set the session value as on
                        blnSessionflg = True
                        Exit For
                    End If
                End If
            End If
        Next
    Catch exp as Exception
    End Try
End Function

Private Function ParseCookie (ByVal strCookie As String) As String
    'Assigns webseal and jession identifier values...
    Dim arrCookieVal() As String
    Dim strWebLogicCookie As String
    Dim arrWebLogicCookie() As String
    Dim strWebSealCookie As String
    Dim arrWebSealCookie() As String

    Dim intCounter As Integer
    arrCookieVal = strCookie.Split(";")
    For intCounter = 0 To arrCookieVal.Length - 1
        If InStr(arrCookieVal(intCounter), "SESSION_IDS_OF_ADAPTER") Then
            strWebLogicCookie = arrCookieVal(intCounter)
            arrWebLogicCookie = strWebLogicCookie.Split("#")
            JSESSION_ID = JSESSION_ID & arrWebLogicCookie(1)
            strMethodUrl = strMethodUrl & JSESSION_ID
        ElseIf InStr(arrCookieVal(intCounter), "PD-H-SESSION-ID") Then
            strWebSealCookie = arrCookieVal(intCounter)
            arrWebSealCookie = strWebSealCookie.Split("=")
            WEB_SEALCOOKIE_NM = arrWebSealCookie(0)
            WEB_SEALCOOKIE_VAL = arrWebSealCookie(1)
        End If
    Next
End Function

Once the security and session cookies are obtained in the VB.NET application, j2EE based application could be accessed as below:

  1. Through initiated browser window as normal web application, by appending jessionid in URL.

    A JSESSIONID cookie value is appended to the URL as a query string parameter.

    Example: http://www.yyyy.com/UI123?JSESSIONID=xxxxx.

  2. Through System.web.httputility for getting XML data over HTTP response.

    Webseal session cookie value (PD-H-SESSION-ID) is set initially on the requesting URL, and method call request is made appending JSESSIONID cookie value to the URL as a query string parameter.

    Example: http://www.yyyy.com/MC123?JSESSIONID=xxxxx.

'//Code snippet
'// 
'Accessing web application through initiated browser window:

NavigateToUrl(http://www.yyyy.com/UI123?JSESSIONID=xxxxx.)

'Navigates to the specified url in IE browser window...
Public Function NavigateToUrl(ByVal strUrl As String, _
  ByVal blnAsync As Object, ByVal trgFrame As Object, _
  ByVal objPostData As Object, ByVal objHeader As Object)
    'Navigates to the specified url in IE browser window...
    Try
        For Each objIE In libSWs
        'Checking based on window handle information
            If TypeName(objIE) = "InternetExplorerClass" _
              Or TypeName(objIE) = "IWebBrowser2" Then
                libIE = objIE
                'Checking whether same window handle
                If hWndIe = libIE.HWND Then
                    libIE.AddressBar = False
                    libIE.MenuBar = False
                    libIE.ToolBar = False
                    libIE.Visible = True
                    'Navigate to the specified URL
                    libIE.Navigate(strUrl, blnAsync, _
                      trgFrame, objPostData, objHeader)
                    'Track the download status and 
                    'if download is complete
                    'display the page
                    While libIE.ReadyState <> READYSTATE_COMPLETE
                        Application.DoEvents()
                    End While
                    Exit For
                End If
            End If
        Next
    Catch exp As Exception
        Messagebox(exp.ToString)
    End Try
End Function

Accessing web application through System.web.httputility

Source code snippet for making method calls (XML over HTTP).

This class is representing the same functionality of xmlHTTP object in MSXML.XMLHTTP.

Imports System.Net
Imports System.Web.HttpUtility

''Sample Execution flow
Function main ()
    'Setting Method Call URL
    StrMethdoURL ="http://www.yyy.com/ IntegrationServlet;" & _
              " jsessionid=AhFj18NaW5AEe1o0EvNH1u1gw8P3Yjq" & _
              "1TMNUyWiSI1t2ce0TJL9Y!567889692! 1075906019681"

    'Setting Post Data
    PostData = "TargetName=GetPreOrders&FromDate=&ToDate=&ReferenceNo=1"

    'XML Response in string
     response = ProcessData(strMethdoURL,PostData)

End Function

Public Function ProcessData(ByVal strUrl As String, _
                   ByVal postdata As String) As String
    'Opens an url connection, posts the parameters, 
    'gets the response as XML string
    'Validated XML is displayed.
    Dim xmlHTTP As New XMLHTTP
    Dim strXML As String
    xmlHTTP.open("POST", strUrl)
    xmlHTTP.Send(postdata)
    strXML = xmlHTTP.ResponseText()
    DisplayXML(ParseXML(strXML))
    ProcessData = strXML
End Function

Public Class XMLHTTP
'Makes an internet connection to specified URL 
   Public Overridable Sub open(ByVal bstrMethod As String, _
     ByVal bstrUrl As String, Optional ByVal varAsync As _
     Object = False, Optional ByVal bstrUser _
     As Object = "", Optional ByVal bstrPassword As Object = "")
       Try
           strUrl = bstrUrl
           strMethod = bstrMethod

           'Checking if proxy configuration 
           'is required...(blnIsProxy value 
           'from config file)
           If blnIsProxy Then
           'Set the proxy object
               proxyObject = WebProxy.GetDefaultProxy()

               'Finding if proxy exists and if so set 
               'the proxy configuration parameters...
               If Not (IsNothing(proxyObject.Address)) Then
                   uriAddress = proxyObject.Address
                   If Not (IsNothing(uriAddress)) Then
                       _ProxyName = uriAddress.Host
                       _ProxyPort = uriAddress.Port
                   End If
                   UpdateProxy()
               End If
               urlWebRequest.Proxy = proxyObject
           End If

           'Make the webRequest...
           urlWebRequest = System.Net.HttpWebRequest.Create(strUrl)
           urlWebRequest.Method = strMethod

           If (strMethod = "POST") Then
               setRequestHeader("Content-Type", _
                   "application/x-www-form-urlencoded")
           End If

           'Add the cookie values of jessionid of weblogic 
           'and PH-Session value of webseal 
           'for retaining the same session
           urlWebRequest.Headers.Add("Cookie", str_g_cookieval)

       Catch exp As Exception
           SetErrStatusText("Error opening method level url connection")
       End Try
   End Sub
   'Sends the request with post parameters...
   Public Overridable Sub Send(Optional ByVal objBody As Object = "")
       Try
           Dim rspResult As System.Net.HttpWebResponse
           Dim strmRequestStream As System.IO.Stream
           Dim strmReceiveStream As System.IO.Stream
           Dim encode As System.Text.Encoding
           Dim sr As System.IO.StreamReader
           Dim bytBytes() As Byte
           Dim UrlEncoded As New System.Text.StringBuilder
           Dim reserved() As Char = {ChrW(63), ChrW(61), ChrW(38)}
           urlWebRequest.Expect = Nothing
           If (strMethod = "POST") Then
               If objBody <> Nothing Then
                   Dim intICounter As Integer = 0
                   Dim intJCounter As Integer = 0
                   While intICounter < objBody.Length
                     intJCounter = _
                       objBody.IndexOfAny(reserved, intICounter)
                     If intJCounter = -1 Then
UrlEncoded.Append(System.Web.HttpUtility.UrlEncode(objBody.Substring(intICounter, _
                                                    objBody.Length - intICounter)))
                       Exit While
                     End If
UrlEncoded.Append(System.Web.HttpUtility.UrlEncode(objBody.Substring(intICounter, _
                                                        intJCounter - intICounter)))
                     UrlEncoded.Append(objBody.Substring(intJCounter, 1))
                     intICounter = intJCounter + 1
                   End While

                   bytBytes = _
                     System.Text.Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(UrlEncoded.ToString())
                   urlWebRequest.ContentLength = bytBytes.Length
                   strmRequestStream = urlWebRequest.GetRequestStream
                   strmRequestStream.Write(bytBytes, 0, bytBytes.Length)
                   strmRequestStream.Close()
                Else
                    urlWebRequest.ContentLength = 0
               End If
           End If
           rspResult = urlWebRequest.GetResponse()
           strmReceiveStream = rspResult.GetResponseStream()
           encode = System.Text.Encoding.GetEncoding("utf-8")
           sr = New System.IO.StreamReader(strmReceiveStream, encode)

           Dim read(256) As Char
           Dim count As Integer = sr.Read(read, 0, 256)
           Do While count > 0
               Dim str As String = New String(read, 0, count)
               strResponseText = strResponseText & str
               count = sr.Read(read, 0, 256)
           Loop
       Catch exp As Exception
           SetErrStatusText("Error while sending parameters")
           WritetoLog(exp.ToString)
       End Try
   End Sub
   'Setting header values...
   Public Overridable Sub setRequestHeader(ByVal bstrHeader _
                         As String, ByVal bstrValue As String)
       Select Case bstrHeader
            Case "Referer"
                urlWebRequest.Referer = bstrValue
            Case "User-Agent"
                urlWebRequest.UserAgent = bstrValue
            Case "Content-Type"
                urlWebRequest.ContentType = bstrValue
            Case Else
                urlWebRequest.Headers(bstrHeader) = bstrValue
       End Select
   End Sub

   Private Function UpdateProxy()
       Try
           If Not (IsNothing(uriAddress)) Then
               If ((Not IsNothing(_ProxyName)) And _
                 (_ProxyName.Length > 0) And (_ProxyPort > 0)) Then
                   proxyObject = New WebProxy(_ProxyName, _ProxyPort)
                   Dim strByPass() As String = Split(strByPassList, "|")
                   If strByPass.Length > 0 Then
                       proxyObject.BypassList = strByPass
                   End If
                   proxyObject.BypassProxyOnLocal = True
                   If blnNetworkCredentials Then
                       If strDomain <> "" Then
                           proxyObject.Credentials = New _
                             NetworkCredential(strUserName, _
                             strPwd, strDomain)
                       Else
                            proxyObject.Credentials = New _
                              NetworkCredential(strUserName, _
                              strPwd)
                       End If
                   End If
               End If
           End If
       Catch exp As Exception
           SetErrStatusText("Error while updating proxy configurations")
           WritetoLog(exp.ToString)
       End Try
   End Function
   'Property for setting the Responsetext
   Public Overridable ReadOnly Property ResponseText() As String
       Get
           ResponseText = strResponseText
       End Get
   End Property

   Private urlWebRequest As System.Net.HttpWebRequest
   Private urlWebResponse As System.Net.HttpWebResponse
   Private strResponseText As String
   Private strUrl As String
   Private strMethod As String
   Private proxyObject As WebProxy
   Private intCount As Integer
   Private uriAddress As Uri
   Private _ProxyName As String
   Private _ProxyPort As Integer
End Class

'//

Points of Interest

The data integrity between the two applications is maintained by defining an XML schema of the data exchanged through XML over HTTP which could be also a webservice. If the access to j2EE is through secured protocol layer, System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates namespace could be used and HTTPS request could be authorized through.

'//Authorizes SSL Trust Certification

System.Net.ServicePointManager.CertificatePolicy = New CertificatePolicy

The above could also be followed for ASP.NET applications to interact with j2EE based applications or any web services that could be accessed with port 8080 or 443.

History

This is the initial version. All comments are welcome.

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

About the Author

Chellam
Web Developer
India India
I am a software engineer from India working in
MS technologies

Comments and Discussions

 
Generalcheck this out !!! PinmemberBruno Capuano13-Sep-04 11:30 

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