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Liberty Runtime: The Fast, Lightweight, and Flexible Java Application Server



Introduction




Liberty runtime is a lightweight Java application server that is ideal for building microservices, modern monolithic applications, and anything in between. It is built on the open source Open Liberty runtime and is compatible with MicroProfile and Jakarta EE standards. It was created by IBM in 2012 as a next-generation application server that accelerates the delivery of cloud-native applications. It offers a fast, dynamic, and easy-to-use Java runtime environment that requires less infrastructure, saves costs, and provides the flexibility to deploy on any cloud.




download liberty runtime



How to download and install Liberty runtime




There are multiple ways to download and install the Liberty runtime packages. You can choose the method that suits your needs and preferences.


ZIP file




If you want to install Liberty runtime from a ZIP file, you can follow these steps:


  • Download one of the Liberty v23.0.0.4 packages from the IBM website.



  • Unzip the file to a location of your choice.



  • Add the wlp/bin folder to your system path.



  • You can now use the server command to create, start, stop, or manage your Liberty servers.



Maven, Gradle, or Docker




If you are using Maven, Gradle, or Docker as your build tool or container platform, you can also download and install Liberty runtime using them. Here are some examples:


Maven




If you are using Maven, you can add the following dependency to your pom.xml file:


<dependency> <groupId>com.ibm.websphere.appserver.runtime</groupId> <artifactId>wlp-kernel</artifactId> <version>23.0.0.4</version> <type>zip</type> </dependency>


To install additional features with Maven, you can use the Liberty Maven plugin.


Gradle




If you are using Gradle, you can add the following dependency to your build.gradle file:


dependencies libertyRuntime group: 'com.ibm.websphere.appserver.runtime', name: 'wlp-kernel', version: '23.0.0.4'


To install additional features with Gradle, you can use the <a href="(^12 Docker




If you are using Docker, you can pull the Liberty runtime image from the Docker Hub or build your own image using a Dockerfile. Here is an example of a Dockerfile that uses the Liberty runtime image:


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FROM open-liberty:23.0.0.4-kernel COPY --chown=1001:0 server.xml /config/ RUN features.sh COPY --chown=1001:0 target/my-app.war /config/dropins/


To build and run the image, you can use the following commands:


docker build -t my-liberty-app . docker run -d -p 9080:9080 -p 9443:9443 my-liberty-app


Eclipse




If you are using Eclipse as your IDE, you can download and install Liberty runtime from within Eclipse using the WebSphere Developer Tools (WDT). You can follow these steps:


  • Install WDT from the Eclipse Marketplace or from the IBM Installation Manager.



  • Create a new Liberty server by right-clicking on the Servers view and selecting New > Server.



  • Select WebSphere Application Server Liberty and click Next.



  • Select Install from an archive or a repository and click Next.



  • Select a Liberty runtime package from the list or browse to a ZIP file and click Next.



  • Specify a name and location for the Liberty server and click Finish.



Benefits of Liberty runtime




Liberty runtime offers many benefits for Java developers and enterprises. Here are some of them:


Performance and efficiency




Liberty runtime is designed to be fast, lightweight, and scalable. It has a low memory footprint, high throughput, and quick startup time. It can run on any hardware, from laptops to mainframes, and on any operating system, from Windows to Linux. It can also run on any cloud platform, such as IBM Cloud, AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. Liberty runtime helps you reduce infrastructure costs, optimize resource utilization, and deliver high-performance applications.


Cloud-native and open standards




Liberty runtime is built for cloud-native development. It supports microservices architecture, containerization, DevOps practices, and continuous delivery. It also supports open standards such as MicroProfile and Jakarta EE, which provide common APIs and specifications for developing portable and interoperable Java applications. With Liberty runtime, you can avoid vendor lock-in, leverage existing skills and code, and benefit from the innovation of the open source community.


Developer experience




Liberty runtime provides a great developer experience. It offers tools and features that enhance developer productivity and satisfaction. For example, it has a dynamic configuration that allows you to add or remove features without restarting the server. It also has a zero migration policy that ensures backward compatibility and minimizes migration efforts. It also has a developer mode that enables hot reload, testing, debugging, and live coding. With Liberty runtime, you can focus on writing code rather than managing servers.


Features of Liberty runtime




Liberty runtime has many features that make it a powerful and flexible Java application server. Here are some of them:


Modular structure




Liberty runtime is based on features that enable the required capabilities for applications. Features are modular components that provide specific functionality such as web container, security, database access, messaging, etc. You can choose the features that you need for your application and add or remove them as needed. This way, you can create a customized runtime that suits your application requirements and avoids unnecessary overhead.


Open Liberty and WebSphere Liberty




Liberty runtime has two versions: Open Liberty and WebSphere Liberty. Open Liberty is the open source version of Liberty runtime that is available for free under the Eclipse Public License v1. You can download Open Liberty from openliberty.io. WebSphere Liberty is the commercial version of Liberty runtime that is available for purchase from IBM. It includes all the features of Open Liberty plus some additional features such as IBM support, monitoring tools, batch processing, etc. You can download WebSphere Liberty from IBM website.


Jakarta EE, MicroProfile, and Java EE




Liberty runtime supports various standards and specifications for developing Java applications. Jakarta EE is the successor of Java EE that provides a set of APIs for developing enterprise applications such as web services, security, persistence, etc. MicroProfile is a set of specifications that complement Jakarta EE and provide additional features for developing microservices such as fault tolerance, health check, metrics, etc. Java EE is the predecessor of Jakarta EE that provides similar APIs but is no longer maintained by Oracle. Liberty runtime supports all these standards and allows you to develop applications that are portable and interoperable across different platforms and vendors.


Liberty runtime vs Tomcat




Tomcat is another popular Java application server that is widely used by developers and enterprises. How does Liberty runtime compare to Tomcat? Here are some similarities and differences:


Similarities




Both Liberty runtime and Tomcat are lightweight, fast, and scalable Java application servers that can run on any hardware, operating system, or cloud platform. They both support web applications that use servlets, JSPs, JSF, etc. They both have a modular structure that allows you to add or remove features as needed. They both have an active and vibrant open source community that contributes to their development and innovation.


Differences




Liberty runtime has some advantages over Tomcat in terms of functionality, performance, and compatibility. For example:


  • Liberty runtime supports more standards and specifications than Tomcat, such as Jakarta EE, MicroProfile, and Java EE. This means that Liberty runtime can run more types of applications and provide more features and capabilities than Tomcat.



  • Liberty runtime has a dynamic configuration that allows you to change the features and settings of the server without restarting it. This saves time and improves productivity. Tomcat requires a restart for any configuration change.



  • Liberty runtime has a zero migration policy that ensures backward compatibility and minimizes migration efforts. This means that you can upgrade to the latest version of Liberty runtime without changing your code or configuration. Tomcat does not guarantee backward compatibility and may require code or configuration changes for upgrading.



  • Liberty runtime has a developer mode that enables hot reload, testing, debugging, and live coding. This enhances the developer experience and makes coding easier and faster. Tomcat does not have a developer mode.



Conclusion




In this article, we have learned about Liberty runtime, a lightweight and flexible Java application server that is ideal for building microservices, modern monolithic applications, and anything in between. We have seen what Liberty runtime is, how to download and install it, what are its benefits and features, and how it compares to Tomcat. We have also seen how Liberty runtime supports cloud-native development, open standards, and developer experience. We hope you have found this article helpful and informative. If you want to learn more about Liberty runtime, you can visit the official website or the documentation.


FAQs




Here are some common questions and answers about Liberty runtime:


What is the difference between Open Liberty and WebSphere Liberty?




Open Liberty is the open source version of Liberty runtime that is available for free under the Eclipse Public License v1. WebSphere Liberty is the commercial version of Liberty runtime that is available for purchase from IBM. It includes all the features of Open Liberty plus some additional features such as IBM support, monitoring tools, batch processing, etc.


How do I create a new Liberty server?




You can create a new Liberty server using the server command from the command line or from within Eclipse IDE using the WebSphere Developer Tools (WDT). For example, to create a new server named myServer, you can use the following command:


server create myServer


How do I add or remove features from a Liberty server?




You can add or remove features from a Liberty server by editing the server.xml file in the wlp/usr/servers/myServer folder. You can use the &lt;featureManager&gt; element to specify the features that you want to enable or disable for your server. For example, to enable the web container feature and disable the jaxrs feature, you can use the following code:


&lt;featureManager&gt; &lt;feature&gt;webProfile-9.0&lt;/feature&gt; &lt;feature&gt;jaxrs-2.1&lt;/feature&gt; &lt;/featureManager&gt;


How do I start or stop a Liberty server?




You can start or stop a Liberty server using the server command from the command line or from within Eclipse IDE using the WebSphere Developer Tools (WDT). For example, to start a server named myServer, you can use the following command:


server start myServer


To stop the server, you can use the following command:


server stop myServer


How do I deploy an application to a Liberty server?




You can deploy an application to a Liberty server by copying the application file (such as a WAR or EAR file) to the wlp/usr/servers/myServer/dropins folder. The server will automatically detect and install the application. You can also deploy an application using Maven, Gradle, Docker, or Eclipse IDE.


How do I monitor and troubleshoot a Liberty server?




You can monitor and troubleshoot a Liberty server using various tools and methods. For example, you can use the server status command to check the status of the server and its applications. You can also use the server dump command to generate diagnostic files such as logs, threads, heap dumps, etc. You can also use the Liberty Admin Center to access a web-based console that provides information and control over the server and its applications. You can also use the Liberty Collectives feature to manage multiple Liberty servers as a group.


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