TorqueBox Source Guide

The TorqueBox team welcomes anyone brave enough or crazy enough to attempt to dive into the code.
If that's overwhelming, we also welcome anyone who wants to help out with documentation, articles, speaking or other contributions.

For those that want to dive into the code, we offer this rough guide to what's what.

Software Requirements

To begin building TorqueBox from source, you'll need to ensure you have the following installed on your system:

If you are on OSX, the JDK that Apple ships is appropriate.

Obtain the source

If you are contributing to the code, you'll likely want to pull the source from our GitHub repository:

Maven setup

Building of TorqueBox uses the Maven build system. Maven pulls dependencies from repositories through the course of the build. You must configure Maven to be aware of the JBoss repository by creating or adjusting your $HOME/.m2/settings.xml.

The TorqueBox distribution includes a settings.xml that you may use directly from the commandline, or integrate into your personal settings.xml.

In the checked-out source tree, it is located as support/settings.xml. In GitHub you may find it here. To use our settings.xml directly from the commandline, replace all mvn commands below with mvn -s support/settings.xml.

You'll also need to give Maven extra memory for the build by setting the MAVEN_OPTS environment variable.

export MAVEN_OPTS="-Xmx512m"



From the root of the source-tree, a complete build can be performed:

mvn install

This will build a complete "assembly" of TorqueBox, laid out on disk in a usable fashion.

Once the build completes successfully, the assembly will be located under:


This directory is appropriate to use as a $TORQUEBOX_HOME

Piece-meal rebuilding

Most pieces can be individually rebuilt and installed into an existing assembly by changing into the component's directory and invoking

mvn install

Very clean rebuilding

From the root of the source-tree, to perform a complete clean:

mvn clean -Pfull

Additionally, to begin from a nil state, you may desire to cleanse portions of your local Maven repository under $HOME/.m2/repository/.

rm -Rf ~/.m2/repository/org/torquebox/
rm -Rf ~/.m2/repository/rubygems/torquebox*

Running tests under ruby 1.9

By default, JRuby acts as compatible with ruby 1.8.7. If you want to run the rspec tests as ruby 1.9.2, use the 19 profile:

mvn install -P19,integ

Source layout

The source-tree is broken into a few large sub-trees:


Components used during the build, but not at runtime.


Contains JBoss Modules type of "modules". Each subsystem (web, messaging, jobs, security, etc) is represented by a module directory under modules/. Additionally, more invisible extensions, such as CDI-based injections in the cdi module is broken out.

If a module has a ruby component, it's counterpart should be located under gems/ with the same name.


Each subsystem may include a ruby portion that is conveniently handled as a traditional RubyGem. These are kept under the gems/ top-level directory.


Contains sub-projects for building the assembly (see above) and packaging it into a ZIP archive.

Source Patterns and Wayfinding

JBoss Modules module.xml

Each module requires module.xml. It lives under src/module/resources/module.xml.

Currently this file is manually-maintained for each module. It describes which other modules it depends upon, and what classes it might optionally export.

Dependency modules may be found under the $JBOSS_HOME/modules/ tree.

The module.xml is copied and filtered for POM properties during the build, which allows usage of ${project.version} and ${version.some.dependency} to avoid extra manual book-keeping.

Very few classes should ever be exported.

JBoss AS 7.x Subsystems/Extensions

Many of the modules under modules/ represent bonafide JBoss AS 7.x extensions, or subsystems. JBoss AS provides certain boilerplate contracts we must follow to jack into the core.


For a subsystem foo, the root package should be:


A subpackage of should include the AS extension boilerplate classes.



This is the primary entry-point to allow our extension to be added into a booting JBoss AS 7. This file should be copied from an existing working module, as it represents pretty much nothing but boilerplate.

The important operational aspect is the registration of an action-to-take when the extension gets loaded.

subsystem.registerOperationHandler( ADD,
    false );

You must specify this class name in a services file, located at src/main/resources/META-INF/services/, whose content should be a single line:

During the build, the module for the extension gets added to the JBoss AS standalone.xml file:

    <extension module=''/>
    <extension module='org.torquebox.messaging'/>
    <extension module=''/>
    <extension module=''/>

Additionally, the subsystem is enabled by adding more lines to the same file

<subsystem xmlns='urn:jboss:domain:torquebox-jobs:1.0'/>
<subsystem xmlns='urn:jboss:domain:torquebox-messaging:1.0'/>
<subsystem xmlns='urn:jboss:domain:torquebox-services:1.0'/>
<subsystem xmlns='urn:jboss:domain:torquebox-foo:1.0'/>

All of this XML editing is performed automatically by the build.

The <subsystem> element is handled by our FooSubsystemParser

Just copy, adjust, it makes very little sense.

When JBoss AS boots and reads the standalone.xml file, it reaches the <subsystem> tag in our module's namespace, and hands over parsing responsibility to our extension's parser.

This class is 99% boilerplate. The important aspect is the invocation of the action-to-take that was registered in FooExtension above.

final ModelNode address = new ModelNode();
address.add(SUBSYSTEM, FooExtension.SUBSYSTEM_NAME);


This code is responsible, I think, for converting the XML DOM-like model from standalone.xml into operations that should be fired. When our module is handed the parsing responsibility, we know we've seen a <subsystem> tag matching our subsystem, so we should add our start-up action the the list-of-operations to be done.

The 4 lines above basically tell the AS we want our FooSubsystemAdd class to be fired.

If your subsystem provides injection-support through an InjectableHandler this is also the location to inform the injection-subsystem that your extension would like to participate:

list.add(InjectableHandlerAdd.createOperation(address, FooExtension.SUBSYSTEM_NAME, Module.getCallerModule().getIdentifier().getName() ) );

Just a fancy way to store a String constant representing the XML namespace for our subsystem. Used when registering our parser.

The FooSubsystemAdd class represents our first real hook to perform subsystem-specific setup and configuration. This is where we set up any services that our subsystem provides, along with registering our DeploymentUnitProcessors, aka "deployers".

Copy from an existing working module to get the basic shape.

To install deployers, the addDeploymentProcessors(...) method is called. Add any new deployers here.

protected void addDeploymentProcessors(final BootOperationContext context, final InjectableHandlerRegistry registry) {
    context.addDeploymentProcessor( Phase.STRUCTURE, 10, new KnobStructureProcessor() );
    context.addDeploymentProcessor( Phase.STRUCTURE, 20, new AppKnobYamlParsingProcessor() );
    context.addDeploymentProcessor( Phase.STRUCTURE, 100, new AppJarScanningProcessor() );

Deployment occurs in phases, deterministically, with every deployer in the list getting a chance to fire.

Available phases are defined in

  • STRUCTURE - Shape of the deployment, lib/**.jar handling
  • PARSE - Reading configuration files, .yml
  • DEPENDENCIES - Making modules/classes available to the deployment
  • CONFIGURE_MODULE - Additional configuration of the deployment's classes
  • POST_MODULE - After the deployment's full classloader has been configured
  • INSTALL - Installing services
  • CLEANUP - Un-making messes, I guess

Each core JBoss AS DeploymentUnitProcessor also has a constant in the same Phase file denoting its phase and order-within-phase. We should consider our deployers as running within that context. It is useful to follow uses of various constants to determine what other deployers might affect deployment, and what services they deploy.


In the AS6 codebase, anything we ended up describing as a BeanMetaData<T> ends up being a [Service]( in MSC's architecture. A service can have other values injected into it, and has a start/stop lifecycle.

One distinction from AS6, though, is a service may return a value, which is ultimately used if the service is injected into another service.

For instance, in psuedo-code

public class ConnectionFactoryService implements Service<ConnectionFactory> {

  public start(...) {
    this.factory = new ConnectionFactory();
    this.factory.setSomething( getSomeInjectedValue() )

  public getValue() {
    return this.factory;

  public stop(...) {
    this.factory = null;

If the ConnectionFactoryService is used as an injected-value, getValue() will be called, and the underlying ConnectionFactory is what will actually be injected.


Each service must implement start(StartContext context) and stop(StopContext context). In the start(..) method, the context is used to report completion, and may be used to signal an asynchronous start for slow-starting services. The StartContext also provides facilities for executing a Runnable task to perform the async start.


Unlike JBoss-MC, where injection used Java reflection, MSC uses the idea of an Injector.

An Injector is a bucket that is handed to MSC to fill with the injected value. A common pattern is to use the concrete class of InjectedValue<T>. Typically name the method as getFooInjector(). Here we inject a FactoryFinder into our service, storing it in an InjectedValue<FactoryFinder>.

public class ConnectionFactoryService implements Service<ConnectionFactory> {
  public Injector<FactoryFinder> getFactoryFinderInjector() {
    return this.factoryFinderInjector;

  public start(...) {
    this.factory = this.factoryFinderInjector.getValue().findMyConnectionFactoryPlease();
    this.factory.setSomething( getSomeInjectedValue() ) 

  public getValue() {
    return this.factory;

  public stop(...) {
    this.factory = null;

  private InjectedValue<FactoryFinder> factoryFinderInjector = new InjectedValue<FactoryFinder>();

Instead of using an InjectedValue<T> bucket to hold the value, you certainly may use an anonymous implementation class of the Injector<T> interface to directly insert the injected value into some location.

All injections will occur before start(...) will be called.

Setting up services

Most services are set up during deployment of an artifact, by implementations of DeploymentUnitProcessors. During deployment, you can get ahold of a ServiceTarget.

When installing a new service, you actually instantiate the service object, and add it to the registery with a unique ServiceName. You can describe its dependencies and injections, and then install it.

ServiceRegistry target = phaseContext.getServiceTarget()

Foo foo = new Foo();
FooService service = new FooService( foo );
ServiceName serviceName = FooServices.someService( "name" );

target.addService( serviceName, service )
  .addDependency( BarServices.WEB_SERVER )
  .addDependency( FooServices.anotherService( "name" ), AnotherService.class, service.getAnotherServiceInjector() )
  .setInitialMode( Mode.PASSIVE )

This code instantiates an actual Foo, wraps it in a FooService which implements Service<Foo> and adds it to the ServiceTarget.

It then adds a dependency upon another service (BarServices.WEB_SERVER is a ServiceName), while injecting a second sevice through an Injector<AnotherService>.

ServiceName and FooServices

Every service is identified through a ServiceName, which is composable/hierarchic.

Each extension may provide a FooServices class that defines any ServiceName constants used to compose names, and helper static methods to create names.

For instance, to create unique ServiceNames to register ruby runtime pools, we build the name off the application's own ServiceName, plus the name of the pool.

ServiceName poolName = unit.getServiceName().append( 'torquebox', 'pools', poolName );

Or more easily wrap it in a helper on CoreServices

public static final ServiceName TORQUEBOX = ServiceName.of( "torquebox" );
public static final ServiceName POOLS = TORQUEBOX.append( "pools" );

public static ServiceName rubyRuntimePool(DeploymentUnit unit, String poolName) {
    return unit.getServiceName().append( POOLS ).append( poolName );

Now, to add a dependency/injection on the application's "messaging" pool, simply do something akin to

target.addService( serviceName, service )
  .addDependency( CoreService.rubyRuntimePool( unit, "messaging" ), RubyRuntimePool.class, service.getRubyRuntimePoolInjector() )


DeploymentUnitProcessors are the new deployers.

They implement two methods: deploy(..) and undeploy(..).

Note: All DeploymentUnitProcessors get called for every deployment. This means you need to check for the existence of the appropriate attachment (RubyApplicationMetaData, RackApplicationMetaData, etc) before writing code that uses those attachments.


public void deploy(DeploymentPhaseContext phaseContext) throws DeploymentUnitProcessingException {
    DeploymentUnit unit         = phaseContext.getDeploymentUnit();
    ResourceRoot   resourceRoot = unit.getAttachment( Attachments.DEPLOYMENT_ROOT );
    VirtualFile    root         = resourceRoot.getRoot();

    # do work


You still attach things to the DeploymentUnit to carry them between deployers. The key, though, is a plural-safe unique identifier, not a string or a class.

Attachable things should define an ATTACHMENT_KEY if only one can be attached under that key, or ATTACHMENTS_KEY if multiple may be attached.

Single attachment keys are created on the attachable class such as:

public static final AttachmentKey<RackApplicationMetaData> ATTACHMENT_KEY = AttachmentKey.create(RackApplicationMetaData.class);

Plural or list attachment keys are created like:

public static final AttachmentKey<AttachmentList<PoolMetaData>> ATTACHMENTS_KEY = AttachmentKey.createList(PoolMetaData.class);

Unit markers

FooMarker.mark, isMarked(…)


Running tests

When building each component, maven will run all tests (both JUnit- and RSpec-based) before installing the component.

Running individual tests

To run a subset of JUnit tests for a given module, you may use a matching string:

mvn test -Dtest=*SomeTest
mvn test -Dtest=*.rails3.*Test

To run single RSpec tests, you can specify -Dspec= and provide the path to the spec, optionally including a line number.

mvn test -Dspec=./specs/some_spec.rb:82

You may also use the generated target/rspec-runner.rb in the same way you would use the normal rspec command-line tool.

jruby ./target/rspec-runner.rb ./spec/some_spec.rb -l 82

Running integration tests

By default, integration tests do not run in a typical build. It you wish to include integration tests from a root-level build, add -Pinteg to the Maven command-line:

mvn install -Pinteg

Additionally, you may run the integration tests by themselves after creating a complete assembly, by changing into the integration-tests/ directory and invoking mvn test without any additional parameters.

cd integration-tests
mvn test

Skipping tests

Sometimes you may wish to skip tests

mvn install -Dmaven.test.skip=true

Windows notes

  • Download a JDK 1.6+ and Maven 3.0+ as mentioned above
  • Set the JAVA_HOME environment variable, ensuring it has no spaces - ex: C:\Progra~1\Java\jdk.1.6.0_24
  • Prepend %JAVA_HOME%\bin to the Path environment variable
  • Unzip to a directory
  • Add a M2_HOME environment variable pointing to that directory
  • Add a M2 environment variable with value %M2_HOME%\bin
  • Add a MAVEN_OPTS environment variable with the value -Xmx512m
  • Prepend %M2% to the Path environment variable
  • Download and install a recent Git for Windows (Git-1.7.4-preview20110204.exe at the time of this writing). It's safe to accept the default installation options or customize as needed.
  • Use Git Bash to checkout
  • Copy TorqueBox's Maven settings - cp torquebox/build-support/settings.xml ~/.m2
  • cd torquebox
  • mvn install

The mvn install can take quite a while the first time as it downloads all the necessary dependencies. Be patient and it should eventually succeed.

You can also build TorqueBox with or cmd instead of Git Bash. The same mvn install should work there.

To build piece-meal on Windows, Maven's -pl option is used.

mvn install -pl components\web\web-core\