The Data Layer (Model)
The WTP is equipped with vendor-neutral tools that allow developers and administrators to manage their data through the use of JDBC drivers. The currently supported DBMSs include Apache Derby, IBM DB2 Universal Database, IBM Informix, MySQL, Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, and Sybase, but any vendor can contribute to WTP by plugging in its own DBMS adaptor. The WTP provides a connection wizard to create live connections to a DBMS. With a connection established, you can view database elements such as tables, stored procedures, and user-defined functions, and update table content using the Database Server Explorer, shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. The Database Server Explorer
In addition to viewing data, you can use the SQL Scrapbook to help you construct SQL commands to execute against a connection. Together these tools allow you to access and manage your data with ease.
The Business Layer (Controller) with J2EE
J2EE itself is complex and can be overwhelming to developers who are new to it. As mentioned above, one of WTP's goals is usability. With respect to J2EE, this means providing tools that enable you to work more efficiently within the J2EE environment, reducing development time and the amount of experience and knowledge needed to create complex applications. The WTP includes wizards that guide you through the creation of various J2EE modules. It also provides great flexibility in how to manage these modules.
One example of the WTP's flexibility is the flexible project layout feature of the J2EE tools. This feature allows you to bundle multiple J2EE modules into the same project rather than being tied to the traditional one-module-per-project mapping. Such a flexible layout enables you to choose a project structure that best fits your style and needs, which can greatly reduce the complexity of managing large applications. Supporting multiple modules per project is just the first achievement of the flexible project layout. Future extensions to this feature will address the folder level, allowing you to further customize your development workspace by specifying your own names and locations for source and class folders. To further simplify your development effort, the J2EE tools can also generate skeleton code for commonly used J2EE artifacts such as servlets and EJB components, and also support de facto industry standards such as XDoclet.
The WTP also contains tools for web services, now an integral part of J2EE. These tools allow you to easily create interoperable web services. Interoperability is the key to the success of web services as it allows you to make the powerful statement that your service can be utilized by any business application running on any platform (be it built on Java or .NET) on any operating system. The XML schema and WSDL editors (shown in Figure 3) allow you to visually design your web services, hiding the complex standards that define a web service description. These editors and the corresponding XML schema, WSDL, and WS-I validators verify that your XML schemas and WSDL documents comply with standards and conform to the WS-I profiles. This ensures that the web services you produce will have the best chance of interoperability.