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Liberty buildpack v1.19 – enhanced app management support

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We just pushed out a new version of the Liberty for Java buildpack in Bluemix, version v1.19!

The major enhancement in this release is the application management support. At the beginning of the year, we introduced development mode, which enabled users to do remote debugging and incremental update against their Liberty applications in Bluemix. Later on we delivered similar support for Node.js applications including nice web dev console for managing the application “in-place” (without restarting the application container) and direct shell access into the application container. We are adding equivalent support for Liberty applications in this new version.

Enabling app management

Previously users can set the ENABLE_BLUEMIX_DEV_MODE environment variable to true to turn on the development mode and get all the above fancy utilities together. To give users more control, we are deprecating that environment variable and introducing a new one called BLUEMIX_APP_MGMT_ENABLE to extend from development mode to general application management. It can have one or more of the values below:

  • proxy
  • devconsole
  • shell
  • debug
  • jmx

Refer to the App Management Utilities Overview in our previous blog on Node.js buildpack v2 to find more details on the common utilities like proxy, devcconsole and shell utilities.

The Liberty-specific debug utility (also turns on the proxy utility) turns the Liberty application into debug mode and allows a remote debug client like the IBM Eclipse Tools for Bluemix to do remote debugging with the application. The jmx utility (does not turn on the proxy utility) enables the JMX REST Connector to allow a remote JMX client to manage the application using Bluemix user credentials.

Accessing the dev console and shell

With this new environment variable, you can do cf set-env <your-app> BLUEMIX_APP_MGMT_ENABLE devconsole+shell and then cf restart <your_app> to enable the dev console and the shell access. You can use your browser to visit https://<your-app-url>/bluemix-debug/manage to get the dev console, and visit https://<your-app-url>/bluemix-debug/shell to get the shell. See the screenshots below:

console
shell

As an important reminder, these application management utilities only work for singe-instance applications and are meant for development-time usage. You should disable them for production applications by unsetting the BLUEMIX_APP_MGMT_ENABLE environment variable. They will still get installed (but not running) by default. If you want to completely remove them, you can set BLUEMIX_APP_MGMT_INSTALL to false and do a restage or repush.

Enjoy!

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