Apache Apex Development Environment Setup

This document discusses the steps needed for setting up a development environment for creating applications that run on the Apache Apex or the DataTorrent RTS streaming platform.

Microsoft Windows

There are a few tools that will be helpful when developing Apache Apex applications, some required and some optional:

  1. git -- A revision control system (version 1.7.1 or later). There are multiple git clients available for Windows (http://git-scm.com/download/win for example), so download and install a client of your choice.

  2. java JDK (not JRE). Includes the Java Runtime Environment as well as the Java compiler and a variety of tools (version 1.7.0_79 or later). Can be downloaded from the Oracle website.

  3. maven -- Apache Maven is a build system for Java projects (version 3.0.5 or later). It can be downloaded from https://maven.apache.org/download.cgi.

  4. VirtualBox -- Oracle VirtualBox is a virtual machine manager (version 4.3 or later) and can be downloaded from https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads. It is needed to run the DataTorrent Sandbox.

  5. DataTorrent Sandbox -- The sandbox can be downloaded from https://www.datatorrent.com/download. It is useful for testing simple applications since it contains Apache Hadoop and DataTorrent RTS pre-installed with a time-limited Enterprise License. If you already installed the RTS Enterprise Edition (evaluation or production license) on a cluster, you can use that setup for deployment and testing instead of the sandbox.

  6. (Optional) If you prefer to use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) such as NetBeans, Eclipse or IntelliJ, install that as well.

After installing these tools, make sure that the directories containing the executable files are in your PATH environment; for example, for the JDK executables like java and javac, the directory might be something like C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0\_80\bin; for git it might be C:\Program Files\Git\bin; and for maven it might be C:\Users\user\Software\apache-maven-3.3.3\bin. Open a console window and enter the command:

echo %PATH%

to see the value of the PATH variable and verify that the above directories are present. If not, you can change its value clicking on the button at Control PanelAdvanced System SettingsAdvanced tabEnvironment Variables.

Now run the following commands and ensure that the output is something similar to that shown in the table below:



javac -version

javac 1.7.0_80

java -version

java version "1.7.0_80"

Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.7.0_80-b15)

Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 24.80-b11, mixed mode)

git --version

git version 2.6.1.windows.1

mvn --version

Apache Maven 3.3.3 (7994120775791599e205a5524ec3e0dfe41d4a06; 2015-04-22T06:57:37-05:00)

Maven home: C:\Users\user\Software\apache-maven-3.3.3\bin\..

Java version: 1.7.0_80, vendor: Oracle Corporation

Java home: C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_80\jre

Default locale: en_US, platform encoding: Cp1252

OS name: "windows 8", version: "6.2", arch: "amd64", family: "windows"

Installing the Sandbox

The sandbox includes, as noted above, a complete, stand-alone, instance of the Datatorrent RTS Enterprise Edition configured as a single-node Hadoop cluster. Please see DataTorrent RTS Sandbox for details on setting up the sandbox.

You can choose to develop either directly on the sandbox or on your development machine. The advantage of the former is that most of the tools (e.g. jdk, git, maven) are pre-installed and also the package files created by your project are directly available to the DataTorrent tools such as dtManage and Apex CLI. The disadvantage is that the sandbox is a memory-limited environment so running a memory-hungry tool like a Java IDE on it may starve other applications of memory.

Creating a new Project

You can now use the maven archetype to create a basic Apache Apex project as follows: Put these lines in a Windows command file called, for example, newapp.cmd and run it (the value for archetypeVersion can be a more recent version if available):

@echo off
@rem Script for creating a new application
mvn -B archetype:generate ^
  -DarchetypeGroupId=org.apache.apex ^
  -DarchetypeArtifactId=apex-app-archetype ^
  -DarchetypeVersion=3.6.0-SNAPSHOT ^
  -DgroupId=com.example ^
  -Dpackage=com.example.myapexapp ^
  -DartifactId=myapexapp ^

The caret (^) at the end of some lines indicates that a continuation line follows.

This command will eventually become outdated, check the apex-app-archetype README for the latest version, which includes the most recent archetypeVersion.

You can also, if you prefer, use an IDE to generate the project as described in Creating a New Apache Apex Project with your IDE.

When the run completes successfully, you should see a new directory named myapexapp containing a maven project for building a basic Apache Apex application. It includes 3 source files:Application.java, RandomNumberGenerator.java and ApplicationTest.java. You can now build the application by stepping into the new directory and running the appropriate maven command:

cd myapexapp
mvn clean package -DskipTests

The build should create the application package file myapexapp\target\myapexapp-1.0-SNAPSHOT.apa. This file can then be uploaded to the DataTorrent GUI tool (dtManage) on your cluster if you have DataTorrent RTS installed there, or on the sandbox and launched from there. It generates a stream of random numbers and prints them out, each prefixed by the string hello world:.

If you built this package on the host, you can transfer it to the sandbox using either a shared folder or the pscp tool bundled with PuTTY mentioned earlier.

You can also run this application from the generated unit test file as described in the next section.

Running Unit Tests

To run unit tests on Linux or OSX, simply run the usual maven command, for example: mvn test to run all tests or mvn -Dcom.example.myapexapp.ApplicationTest#testApplication test to run a selected test. For the default application generated from the archetype, it should print output like this:


 Running com.example.mydtapp.ApplicationTest
 hello world: 0.8015370953286478
 hello world: 0.9785359225545481
 hello world: 0.6322611586644047
 hello world: 0.8460953663451775
 hello world: 0.5719372906929072

 Tests run: 1, Failures: 0, Errors: 0, Skipped: 0, Time elapsed: 11.863

 Results :

 Tests run: 1, Failures: 0, Errors: 0, Skipped: 0

On Windows, an additional file, winutils.exe, is required; download it from https://github.com/srccodes/hadoop-common-2.2.0-bin/archive/master.zip and unpack the archive to, say, C:\hadoop; this file should be present under hadoop-common-2.2.0-bin-master\bin within it.

Set the HADOOP_HOME environment variable system-wide to c:\hadoop\hadoop-common-2.2.0-bin-master as described at: https://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/sysdm_advancd_environmnt_addchange_variable.mspx?mfr=true. You should now be able to run unit tests normally.

If you prefer not to set the variable globally, you can set it on the command line or within your IDE. For example, on the command line, specify the maven property hadoop.home.dir:

mvn -Dhadoop.home.dir=c:\hadoop\hadoop-common-2.2.0-bin-master test

or set the environment variable separately:

set HADOOP_HOME=c:\hadoop\hadoop-common-2.2.0-bin-master
mvn test

Within your IDE, set the environment variable and then run the desired unit test in the usual way. For example, with NetBeans you can add:


at Properties ⇨ Actions ⇨ Run project ⇨ Set Properties.

Similarly, in Eclipse (Mars) add it to the project properties at PropertiesRun/Debug SettingsApplicationTestEnvironment tab.

Building the Sources

The Apache Apex source code is useful to have locally for a variety of reasons: - It has more substantial demo applications which can serve as models for new applications in the same or similar domain. - When extending a class, it is helpful to refer to the base class implementation of overrideable methods. - The maven build file pom.xml can be a useful model when you need to add or delete plugins, dependencies, profiles, etc. - Browsing the code is a good way to gain a deeper understanding of the platform.

You can download and build the source repositories by running the script build-apex.cmd located in the same place in the examples repository described above. Alternatively, if you do not want to use the script, you can follow these simple manual steps:

  1. Check out the source code repositories:

    git clone https://github.com/apache/incubator-apex-core
    git clone https://github.com/apache/incubator-apex-malhar
  2. Switch to the appropriate release branch and build each repository:

    pushd incubator-apex-core
    mvn clean install -DskipTests
    pushd incubator-apex-malhar
    mvn clean install -DskipTests

The install argument to the mvn command installs resources from each project to your local maven repository (typically .m2/repository under your home directory), and not to the system directories, so Administrator privileges are not required. The -DskipTests argument skips running unit tests since they take a long time. If this is a first-time installation, it might take several minutes to complete because maven will download a number of associated plugins.

After the build completes, you should see application package files in the target directories under each module; for example, the Pi Demo package file pi-demo-3.2.1-incubating-SNAPSHOT.apa should be under incubator-apex-malhar\demos\pi\target.


Most of the instructions for Linux (and other Unix-like systems) are similar to those for Windows described above, so we will just note the differences.

The pre-requisites (such as git, maven, etc.) are the same as for Windows described above; please run the commands in the table and ensure that appropriate versions are present in your PATH environment variable (the command to display that variable is: echo $PATH).

The maven archetype command is the same except that continuation lines use a backslash (\) instead of caret (^); the script for it is available in the same location and is named newapp (without the .cmd extension). The script to checkout and build the Apache Apex repositories is named build-apex.