Java Evaluation of Docbasic Expressions

Huh? Exactly.

After an upgrade to SP5 from 5.3 SP3 we started getting regular crashes of Weblogic, which was hosting the WDK apps. After looking at various crashes we were still struggling to find something common among the crash instances. Finally, we discovered that every crash that left a dump file showed a stack trace of expression evaluation for conditional value assistance. It didn’t indicate the expression it was evaluating but it did show that it was going outside the JVM via JNI and crashing there.

Fast forwarding to the EMC response. They had encountered something similar in another case and the recommendation was to migrate docbasic expressions to Java implementation! Huh?

Well, Appendix B of DQL Reference describes this process in a reasonable detail. Apparently, for evaluating the conditions in value assistance (among other things) DFC uses a DLL which is a Docbasic runtime. However, it is possible to provide a Java implementation for expressions so that the need for JNI calls can be obviated. The methods available for this purpose are called dmc_MigrateDbExprsToJava and dmc_MigrateDbExprsToJavaForType.

If you follow this documentation in conjunction with the object reference it will all begin to make sense. The only additional worthwhile thing to know, and probably the biggest value addition offered by this post, is the following.

Once you have created the Java implementations for Docbasic expressions, you can disable and enable the use of these Java implementations. However, when we tried to disable the use of these expressions using dmc_SetJavaExprEnabled, the command failed. When we got to the logs, we found various errors but one caught our eye. It complained about missing a parameter named “enabled”. However, the reference names the parameter as “enable” (which turns out to be incorrect). Once we corrected the parameter name to be “enabled” in the command line, it started to work as expected.

In order to troubleshoot this issue, we wrote a small DFC client that iterated through docbase objects and exercised all the conditions present in value assistance. We embedded this client in a JSP so that we could reproduce it in the environment that was encountering the problem. Using this tool, we were able to reproduce the problem consistently. The tests following the change have been encouraging since we haven’t seen any more crashes.


2 thoughts on “Java Evaluation of Docbasic Expressions

    1. You can just run the SP5 DFC installer. However, if you are upgrading all the products, the DFC will be automatically upgraded on the servers.

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