EJB3 makes developing EJB applications very simple. Look at the 2.1 examples and you'll see all the configuration files you have to write. (Yes, I know using XDoclet removes that tedious stuff.)

To be consistent with many of the other examples, the front end is built using the Employee Struts application that is used elsewhere on this site. (The Struts app is 1.x not 2.x). The front end of choice doesn't matter at all so if you haven't even seen a Struts application it won't matter. Where you see the "EmployeeAction" class in the source code that calls our EJB layer, just think of a Servlet (which is all a Struts Action actually is).

This example is using Local EJB calls. Everything, including the war is placed in an ear and deployed on one instance of JBoss. (Changing to a remote lookup is easy, though, and I describe that as well in this lesson.)

Without further ado, lets get started...
The Setup
Download the source There is too much in this application to do a complete walk through of every single component. Best thing to do is download the source above and unzip it into your project directory of choice. For eclipse users it comes with an eclipse project so you can just import that project file and be good to go (*NOTE: you will need to set a JBOSS_HOME variable in eclipse build properties). To build using ant, type 'ant' or if you want to deploy it also, type 'ant deploy' to build and deploy the ear to JBoss.

Java5 The Java5 JDK needs to be set as your environment. JAVA_HOME env variable needs to be defined pointing to yth the JDK home directory.

JBoss 4.x - Download JBoss 4.x here Use the jems installer as described on the download page. Select "EJB3" when the installer prompt comes up. After JBoss is installed declare a JBOSS_HOME environment variable pointing to the JBoss root directory.

Using the build.xml files To run the builds you will need ant installed. Running "ant all" from the root of the project directory will build the entire project. Use can just run "ant deploy" which will do all plus deploy the ear to jboss (in default). Each of the three modules (common, ejb, and webapp, have their own build files even though some of them are dependent on each other.)

Running the example You can drop the above ear file into your jboss/default/deploy directory or build from the source code with ant and use 'ant deploy.' Once the ear is deployed, start jboss from the jboss/bin directory with 'run.bat' or '' depending on your OS. Once jboss has started, go the following url: http://localhost:8080/rr-employee-allinone/

The Persistence Layer
This sample "Employee" application simply calls a stateless session bean which in turn calls a service class method that hands our request off to the dao layer. Our dao layer is the simple one used in some of the other samples on this site. If you are using EJB3 you might want to consider uisng entity EJBs. In this demo app, I could have just left the service class out and had the EJBs call the daos directly, but my personal preference is to have one extra layer of abstraction there just in case I need to do any non-dao related stuff that still belongs in a common area. The CRUD Employee dao in this example does nothing more than work with an in-memory list of items.

Our EmployeeService class looks like:

public class EmployeeService {
    private static EmployeeDao dao = new EmployeeSimpleDao();

    public static List<Employee> getAllEmployees() {
        return dao.getAllEmployees();

    public static void updateEmployee(Employee emp) {

    public static void deleteEmployee(Integer id) {

    public static Employee getEmployee(Integer id) {
        return dao.getEmployee(id);

    public static void insertEmployee(Employee emp) {
This is our EJB that has the actual business method implementations. The interesting thing is that you'll see this object is just a POJO with a @Stateless annotation. That's all that's needed to created to our EJB!

import javax.ejb.Stateless;

import net.reumann.common.vo.Employee;
import net.reumann.persistence.service.EmployeeService;

public class EmployeeMaintenanceBean implements IEmployeeMaintenance{

    public ListE<mployee> getAllEmployees() {
        return EmployeeService.getAllEmployees();

    public void updateEmployee(Employee emp) {

    public void deleteEmployee(Integer id)  {

    public  Employee getEmployee(Integer id)  {
        return EmployeeService.getEmployee(id);

    public void insertEmployee(Employee emp)  {
This is our Local interface that is the object our client (the Action Servlet) will use. What makes this an EJB inerface is the @Local annotation. If we need this to be a @Remote interface we would just change the @Local to @Remote and rebuild. (The EJB3 spec says you can't have an interface declared as both @Local and @Remote, but using the jboss-ejb3x.jar you CAN do this. If you want to be more compliant and you want both interfaces avaialable simply make an empty local interface and empty remote interface (both declared with approppriate annotations) and have them extend a base interface tha has the stub methods.) This @Local interface can also be declared from the main EJB class - EmployeeMainteanceBean - if you so desired, but I'm not showing that in this example. (If you create this as a Remote interface, after you complete the build, this interface class would be the client stub that your remote client would need to use.)

import java.util.List;
import javax.ejb.Local;
import net.reumann.common.vo.Employee;

public interface IEmployeeMaintenance {
    public List getAllEmployees();
    public void updateEmployee(Employee emp);
    public void deleteEmployee(Integer id);
    public Employee getEmployee(Integer id);
    public void insertEmployee(Employee emp);
common package ServiceLocator
This simple class and method just looks up our EJB from a passed in JNDI name. You could skip using this class if you want and simply look up the Object from the InitialContext wherever you need your EJB. (Personally, I like using this kind of helper class.) The IntialContext will pick up any JNDI environment variables you want to pass in from a file. Since we're using this locally, we don't really need one, but it couldn't hurt to have one. The file in this application is found in the jndi directory, and gets complied into a conf.jar.

public class ServiceLocator {

    private ServiceLocator() {

    public static Object getEJB(String jndiName) {
        Object object = null;
        try {
            InitialContext ctx = new InitialContext();
            object = ctx.lookup(jndiName);
        } catch (Exception e) {
        return object;
webapp pacakge - example call to an EJB in a Servlet
Calling our EmployeeMainteance EJB is easy from our servlet. I'm using the JNDI approach here, since for a while JBoss supposedly didn't support the injection approach with the @EJB annotation. Apparently JBoss now does support the @EJB direct injection approach, but I haven't tested its use within a war file. (Someone can let me know if they've had luck using EJB injection inside a war.) Using the jndi approach is easy enough though. The only tricky part you have to remember is if you are calling an EJB that is resides in ear file (like this exmaple does) you need to prepend your jndi lookup with the ear file name. If the ejb is in a jar file, you do not prpend the name lookup with the jar file name. So the jndi name lookup becomes either:

If ejb is in an ear: earName/ejbInterfaceName/local (or /remote) or
If ejb is in an jar: ejbInterfaceName/local (or /remote)

JBoss also has their own annotations that let you declare whatever jndi name you want, if you feel that's a better approach for you. (See the @LocalBinding and @RemoteBinding annotations.)

public static final String EMPLOYEE_JNDI_NAME = "rr-employee-allinone-ejb3/EmployeeMaintenanceBean/local";
IEmployeeMaintenance employeeEJB = (IEmployeeMaintenance) ServiceLocator.getEJB(EMPLOYEE_JNDI_NAME);
List<Employee> employees = employeeEJB.getAllEmployees();
ear application.xml file
Using the EJB3 approach with annotations we don't need an ejb.jar file! I don't need the ejb descriptors in my web.xml or a jboss-web.xml either. You still need to package things up correctly in an application.xml file, however.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<application xmlns=""
    <display-name>rr-employee-allinone-EJB3 EAR</display-name>
EJB3 makes using EJBs much easier than in the past. Obviously this sample app is just a quick demo. Using statefull session beans isn't any more difficult than the above (just change the @stateless annotation to @Stateful and you have a Stateful Session Bean (Of course there will probably be a few other things you'd handle inside the Stateful session bean.)
Code and Lesson - Rick Reumann