FrontierSuite is a single tool that can help you design, develop, and
deploy your e-business Java applications from start to finish. You can start
your project with UML-based object modeling using Frontier Modeler and move
on to generate EJB entities and deploy using Frontier Deployer. ePersistJ
serves as CMP (container-managed persistence) and BMP (bean-managed persistence).
Providing a persistence framework for Java is extremely challenging.
FrontierSuite meets this challenge head-on with its set of integrated tools.
It offers a simple interface to provide the persistence framework, along
with a powerful business-modeling tool and an efficient runtime environment
for building enterprise Java applications. It’s independent of any database
– relational or object-oriented – but any implementation for a specific database
can be plugged into it.
The product is targeted at enterprise Java developers, including technical
architects, business analysts, and Java developers. FrontierSuite is composed
• Frontier Modeler: a powerful tool for creating enterprise
object models using UML standards
• Frontier Builder: a code generator that helps generate
enterprise classes, such as EJBs
• Frontier Fusion: a tool that maps objects, including
relational databases and/or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to your EIS
(Enterprise Information System)
• Frontier Deployer: a versatile tool that allows you to
generate portable deployment descriptors, such as WebLogic- or JBoss-specific
configuration descriptors, along with an application server
• EPersistJ: An EJB 2.0-compliant unified bean persistence
manager, it’s configurable to serve as a container-managed persistence manager
for EJB servers and a bean-managed persistence manager for EJB applications.
Built on JCA architecture and capable of persisting in a relational database,
EPersistJ provides distributed caching to enhance the application’s performance
and synchronize objects through the object notification mechanism.
• Frontier ReModeler: Provides a mechanism to read an existing
schema from a relational database and an environment to map and generate
entity beans and their relations.
• Frontier DeployDirect: Provides CMP for “deployable JAR”
files created using third-party tools (EJB 1.1 and 2.0).
You can download a 30-day evaluation version of FrontierSuite from ObjectFrontier’s
Web site. Since the product is based on Java, you can install it on Windows,
Unix, Linux, or Solaris platforms.
Although it isn’t difficult to install, ObjectFrontier assumes you’ve
installed Java 2 SDK, Enterprise Edition. It also requires you to have JDBC
libraries on your machine. The installation documentation doesn’t provide
any guidance regarding which version of SDK is required. I used Java 2 SDK,
Standard Edition, version 1.3.1_01; Java 2 SDK, Enterprise Edition, version
1.3; and Oracle JDBC libraries.
The installation wizard guides you through the installation process,
during which it asks you for the license key. This is stored within the KeyValue.txt
file under the LicenseKey directory. Note: This license is valid for
30 days. The remaining installation is pretty straightforward and takes less
than five minutes.
I began my project by developing the object model using Frontier Modeler
(Frontier-Suite.bat), as shown in Figure 1. Frontier Modeler offers a very intuitive
user interface. The left pane provides a tree view of the Java classes used
and their relationships to each other; the right provides a description of
the object highlighted in the left pane. You can use the right pane to add
to or to modify the object’s attributes. To delete any object, highlight
it in the left pane and right-click. A pop-up menu will appear, allowing
you to select the delete option.
The Frontier Modeler toolbar allows you to move between model entities
and edit their properties. The Enterprise toolbar provides you with the Standalone
Platform and J2EE Builder properties and displays Frontier Builder. The Fusion
toolbar allows you to set the relational properties and display Frontier
Fusion for different relational databases, such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL
Server, Sybase, DB2, Informix, Cloudscape, Microsoft Access, and PointBase.
If you’ve already developed a model using Rational Rose (www.rational.com) or Together ControlCenter (www.togethersoft.com), you can import
it into Frontier Modeler.
Next, I selected the Oracle Fusion submenu option from the Frontier
Fusion menu (you can also use the toolbar) to generate a default mapping
of objects and their relationships, and create database schema and table
entities for the Oracle database. You can also generate them for Microsoft
SQL Server, DB2, Cloudscape, and PointBase databases.
Similarly, using the Frontier Builder option (you can also use the toolbar),
I could identify the EJB, dependent objects, and dependent value objects
for my object model. Frontier Builder generates abstract schema code in addition
to defining the home and remote client interfaces for the EJBs. Further,
I could add business-rule methods to the entity beans and dependent objects.
You can use Forte or JBuilder to develop your business rules and import them
into Frontier Builder.
One of the nice things about FrontierSuite is that it includes Frontier
Deployer (DeployDirect.bat). Within Frontier Deployer, select the application
server platform (you can select WebLogic 6.1 or JBoss 2.4.x) and generate
the deployment JAR files. You’re now ready to deploy the deployment JAR file
within the application server.
ObjectFrontier impressed me with their niche product. The ability to
quickly design and develop e-business applications is simply great. Since
the tool generates EJB entities right from the model, development time is
significantly reduced. All in all, I feel that FrontierSuite is a great tool
for enterprise Java application development.
Editor’s Note: Since this review was written a new version
of FrontierSuite has been released, version 2.3.02.
2050 Marconi Drive
Alpharetta, GA 30005
Phone: 770 777-8180
E-mail: [email protected]
Processor: 966MHz Intel Pentium III processor
Hard Drive: 20GB Disk
Memory: 256MB RAM
Platform: Windows 2000 Server
and Oracle Enterprise Server 8.1.7i (optional)
Platforms: Based on the Java
platform and compliant with
Pricing: A 30-day evaluation copy is available for free. For product-specific
pricing, contact the company.
Target Audience: Technical architects, business analysts, Java programmers
Level: Intermediate to advanced
• Feature-rich product
• Provides complete development environment from the object model to deploying the classes
• Useful examples
• Applications built using FrontierSuite are portable across