The quickstart is a Maven archetype intended to be used as a template for new applications.

Like the Apache Isis framework’s own simpleapp archetype, the application provides a SimpleObject to adapt and copy, along with supporting unit tests, integration tests and BDD (cucumber) specs.

The application generated from the archetype is also preconfigured with the dependencies for all of the modules available in the Incode Platform, with auditing, command profiling, security, flywaydb and (feature) togglz enabled by default. The application also configures the Quartz scheduler for background scheduling, and the Jolokia servlet, allowing consoles such as hawt.io to monitor the internal state of the webapp.


The prerequisite software is:

  • Java JDK 8

  • maven 3 (3.5.0 or later is recommended).

We also strongly recommend an IDE; the Incode Platform developers use JetBrains IntelliJ Community Edition.

Running the archetype

Use Maven to generate your application from the quickstart-archetype. For example:

mvn archetype:generate  \
    -D archetypeGroupId=org.incode.platform.archetype \
    -D archetypeArtifactId=quickstart-archetype \
    -D archetypeVersion=1.16.2 \
    -D groupId=com.mycompany \
    -D artifactId=myapp \
    -D version=1.0-SNAPSHOT \

Change the groupId and artifactId as required.

The application will be generated in a directory named after the artifact (myapp in the example above):

cd myapp

Project Structure

The quickstart app consists of five Maven modules: a parent module and four submodules. The diagram below shows their dependencies:



  • quickstart-module-simple is where the business logic resides for an initial "simple" module.

    This consists of nothing more than a SimpleObject and supporting menu and repository (basically the same domain as generated by Apache Isis' simpleapp archetype).

    In your own application we recommend that you clone this module for each discrete module that makes up your business domain. Doing this from the very beginning will help ensure your app doesn’t become the proverbial "big ball of mud".

  • It’s quite common to factor out base/abstract classes to remove boilerplate, or to hold utility classes. The quickstart-module-base module is an ideal place for this, intended as a base module that all business modules will depend upon. It is also where the example togglz feature toggle enum class resides.

  • The quickstart-appdefn module holds the application’s implementation of the AppManifest interface, which defines the modules that make up the application. The quickstart’s implementation is domainapp.appdefn.DomainAppAppManifest.

    It’s also a useful place to define fixtures for demoing prototypes to the business, as well as supporting services that might be needed to help configure modules. The quickstart includes implementations of services for both the security spi module and the togglz (feature toggle) module.

  • Finally, the quickstart-webapp module is what packages up the application as a .war file (the WEB-INF/web.xml shown in the diagram actually lives in this module). There’s very little Java code in this module: the most significant class is DomainAppWicketApplication (extends IsisWicketApplication), required by the Wicket viewer.

You’ll want to load the generated app into an IDE; the figure below shows the app as loaded into IntelliJ:

quickstart app loaded into intellij

by default the example modules are excluded from the project:

See the Apache Isis documentation for further guidance.

Adding/removing modules

By default the DomainAppAppManifest app manifest has dependencies on all of the SPI services, all of the wicket components, the (feature) togglz extension module, the settings subdomain (used by the togglz extension), and the paraname8 metamodel facet.

To exclude the modules that you don’t require, delete or comment entries in the app manifest. To keep things tidy, you should probably also remove the corresponding <dependency>s from your application’s pom.xml files.

Conversely, the application does not include any of the example subdomains nor libraries. To include these, take a look at the quickstart with example usage, or just read the individual documentation for the required module(s). In many cases all that’s required is to update the pom.xml to reference the required module, and reference its XxxModule class in your app manifest.

Building (and tests)

To build the generated app:

mvn clean install

This will compile the code and automatically run all tests (discussed in more detail below), and it also package up the application as a WAR file (namely, webapp/target/myapp.war).


The generated application includes unit tests, integration tests and BDD cucumber specifications. All of these are executed using the surefire plugin, which is configured to follow a naming convention:

Table 1. Test configurations
Test type Naming convention Used in Module(s) Disabled using Generated Reports

Unit tests





Integration tests


module-simple; appdefn



BDD specs





It’s also possible to disable all tests using the usual -DskipTests flag.

The reports are generated relative to the module that contains the tests. Such reports can be picked up by your continuous integration server.

In addition, the BDD specs also generate a (very simple) website at target/cucumber-html-report/index.html, and a (much richer) website at target/cucumber-reports/cucumber-html-reports/overview-features.html.

cucumber report

One thing to be aware of: if a unit test or integration test fails, then the build will break. However, note that if a BDD spec "fails" (eg due to a missing binding), then the build continues; the failure is shown in the generated cucumber report instead.

The configuration of tests in the Maven pom.xml project files is done using the surefire and cucumberreporting maven mixins, discussed below.

Metamodel validation

The generated application also configures the Apache Isis maven plugin to validate the domain application. For example, if a supporting method for an action findByName is misspelt, then this will be reported and the build will fail. In the quickstart app the metamodel validation plugin is configured in the module-simple module.

Running metamodel validation does require bootstrapping the application, so will lengthen the overall build time. If required, the metamodel validation can be skipped using -Dskip.isis-validate.

The configuration in the Maven pom.xml project files is done using the isis-validate mavenmixin, discussed below.

Swagger spec

The generated application also configures the Apache Isis maven plugin to generate a Swagger spec file. This can, for example, be used to generate stubs in various programming languages.

In the quickstart app, the plugin is configured to run in the appdefn module (so providing a single spec for the entire app). The configuration is done using the isis-swagger mavenmixin, discussed below.

Generating the swagger spec does require bootstrapping the application, so will lengthen the overall build time. If required, the swagger generation can be skipped using -Dskip.isis-swagger.

When run, it generates swagger files in target/generated-resources/isis-swagger, relative to module that configures the plugin.


There are a number of ways that you can run your application.


When developing an Apache Isis application, you’ll typically want to run the app from within the IDE. Not only does this reduce the feedback loop (no need to package and deploy, for example), you can also very easily set up debugging breakpoints and the like.

To run the app from the IDE, we use Apache Isis' org.apache.isis.WebServer, which runs the app as a command line application. This starts up an embedded Jetty instance configured to run the webapp.

For example, here’s the launch configuration to run the generated application from IntelliJ:

intellij run configuration

That is to say:

  • main-class: org.apache.isis.WebServer

  • program args: -m domainapp.appdefn.DomainAppAppManifest


mvn -Denhance -Dskip.default datanucleus:enhance -T1C -o

run against the parent pom to enhance the JDO domain entities. See the Apache Isis documentation for further guidance.

When the application is started this way, it runs without any fixtures, that is, using domainapp.appdefn.DomainAppAppManifest configured in webapp/WEB-INF/isis.properties. The only user account that is available therefore is the default superuser provided by the security module, namely isis-module-security-admin/pass.

run app login isis module security admin

The home page shows only the security module’s menu, not the domain app’s entities (`SimpleObject’s menu etc):

run app home page isis module security admin

Manually setting up a user and permissions to be able to access the business domain would be tedious to say the least. So instead we can use an extended version of the app manifest which will also run some fixtures. These set up a user account and also some dummy data.

For example, here’s the updated launch configuration using the app manifest:

intellij run configuration with fixtures

That is to say:

  • program args: -m domainapp.appdefn.DomainAppAppManifestWithFixtures

which supplies additional fixtures using:

protected void overrideFixtures(final List<Class<? extends FixtureScript>> fixtureScripts) {

When we run the app again, we can now log in using a new sven/pass user account:

run app login

The home page now shows a Simple Objects menu:

run app home page

from whence we can access the SimpleObjects also created by the fixture:

run app SimpleObject

Note also the additional menus on the right-hand side to access other modules set up and accessible to the sven superuser. These are discussed in more detail below.

mvn (jetty:run)

If you want to run the application without even loading it into the IDE, then you can do this using the maven Jetty plugin:

mvn -pl webapp jetty:run

The "-pl webapp" argument indicates that the command is run in the "webapp" subdirectory/submodule.

However, note that this will run with the standard DomainAppAppManifest, as configured in WEB-INF/isis.properties; the only user account is isis-module-security-admin.

More than likely you’ll want to override the manifest; you can do this using a system property. For example:

 mvn -pl webapp jetty:run \

The configuration in the Maven pom.xml project files for the jetty plugin that provides this feature is done using the jettywar mavenmixin, discussed below.


The application can also be run in a servlet container, using the .war file generated from the usual build. For example:

mvn install \
     -DskipTests -Dskip.isis-validate -Dskip.isis-swagger

will result in a xxx.war (where xxx is the parent project’s artifactId), generated in webapp/target. This can then be deployed to the servlet container in the normal way. For example, if deploying to Apache Tomcat, just copy to the $TOMCAT_HOME/webapps/ directory.

If you want to change any of the configuration properties (eg the app manifest to run on start up), note that it is possible to override the configuration externally. See the Apache Isis docs for further guidance.

The configuration in the Maven pom.xml project files for maven’s war plugin is done using the jettywar mavenmixin, discussed below.


Yet another alternative is to build the webapp to run standalone as a single "uber-jar", once again using Jetty as an embedded instance. This could be useful for example to distribute standalone prototype of your application for review.

Building the standalone jar is done by setting the -Dmavenmixin-jettyconsole property. For example:

mvn install \
    -Dmavenmixin-jettyconsole \
    -DskipTests -Dskip.isis-validate -Dskip.isis-swagger

will result in a xxx-webapp-1.0-SNAPSHOT-jetty-console.war (where xxx is the project’s artifactId) generated in webapp/target. This can then be running using java, for example:

java -jar webapp/target/myapp-webapp-1.0-SNAPSHOT-jetty-console.war

This displays a Swing UI from which the webapp can be started.

jetty console ui

It’s also possible to run headless, or to change the port. And again, the manifest can be changed using a system property. For example:

java -Disis.appManifest=domainapp.appdefn.DomainAppAppManifestWithFixtures \
     -jar webapp/target/myapp-webapp-1.0-SNAPSHOT-jetty-console.war \
          --headless \
          --port 9090

The configuration in the Maven pom.xml project files for the jettyconsole plugin that provides this feature is done using the jettyconsole mavenmixin, discussed below.


Finally, it’s also possible to package up and run the webapp as a Docker container.

  • to package the webapp as a Docker image:

    mvn -pl webapp \
        -o \
        -Dmavenmixin-docker \
        -Ddocker-plugin.imageName=mycompany/myapp \

    where "imageName" is anything you want.

    The configuration for the docker plugin is done using the docker mavenmixin, discussed below.

  • and to run it:

    docker container run -p 8080:8080 -d mycompany/myapp

On Windows, you may need to enable the Docker daemon first, otherwise the "mvn install" command above will fail:

010 docker localhost 2375

You might also need to ensure that the "Unidentified networks" are configured to be private:

026 docker nat private

This can be done using the "Local Security Policy" application.

This will bootstrap the application; docker container ps will show all running containers. Alternatively, Kitematic provides a simple UI to view and interact with running containers:


When the application is started this way, it runs without any fixtures. There are a variety of ways to override this but these easiest is probably to use the $ISIS_OPT environment variable, a set of key:value pairs concatenated together.

The scripts/rundocker.sh script is a simple wrapper that reads all properties from an externally specified configuration file and starts the docker container correctly. For example:

pushd scripts
rundocker.sh mycompany/myapp isis-overrides.properties -p 8080:8080


  • mycompany/myapp is the name of the image to be run

  • -p 8080:8080 is passed through to the docker run command

See the Apache Isis docs for further guidance on deploying with Docker.

Using an external database

All of the examples listed above run the application against an in-memory HSQLDB database. Obviously though at some point you’ll want to persist your data against an external database.

To do so just requires that overriding four configuration properties that specify the JDBC driver, JDBC URL, user and password. It also (of course) requires that the JDBC driver is configured as a <dependency> in the webapp’s pom.xml.

For example, to run the quickstart application against SQL Server:

  • create a new and empty database, eg myappdb, with corresponding user and password, myappdbo/s3cr3t!, say.

  • edit the webapp/pom.xml to include the sqljdbc4 driver:

  • change (by simply editing in isis.properties) or override (eg by passing in as -D system properties) the following configuration properties:


For example, an IntelliJ launch configuration can specify system properties:

intellij run configuration with jdbc overrides

where the system properties dialog is:

intellij run configuration with jdbc overrides system properties

When the application has started the tables should have been automatically created (by virtue of the isis.persistor.datanucleus.impl.datanucleus.schema.autoCreateAll=true configuration property in isis.properties):

sqlserver tables automatically created

with 10 SimpleObject instances created through the fixture:

sqlserver table SimpleObject

If running against a persistent datastore, then remember that the fixture script should only be run the very first time you run up the application. Thereafter, switch to the regular app manifest (domainapp.appdefn.DomainAppAppManifest); otherwise you’ll likely get INSERT errors on start up (trying to re-insert the same dummy data).


Now we’ve seen how to run the application, let’s explore some of the features already configured in the quickstart.


The security module provides authentication and authorisation, implemented by an Apache Shiro Realm:

WEB-INF/shiro.ini file
incodePlatformSpiSecurityRealm = \
securityManager.realms = $incodePlatformSpiSecurityRealm

authenticationStrategy = \
securityManager.authenticator.authenticationStrategy = $authenticationStrategy

Each logged-in user has a corresponding ApplicationUser account, accessible from the "me" menu item:

me menu item

which shows the current user:

application user

Other functionality is available from the security menu:

security menu

Note that the security seed data (defined in the SeedSuperAdministratorRoleAndSvenSuperUser fixture) also sets up a role required by the togglz module, also see below.

Session Logger

The session logger module records each user session as the user logs in or logs out (or is timed out automatically).

The session logger menu items are on the Activity menu:

find sessions

Sessions can be searched by date/time and user:

find sessions prompt

returning matching sessions:

session list

which can be drilled into:

session object


The session logger module captures actions and property edits as persistent Command objects. These commands represent the intention to invoke the action/edit the property, rather than the action invocation/property edit itself.

The quickstart app (when using the fixtures) disables commands "globally" in the app manifest:

protected void disableAuditingAndCommandAndPublishGlobally(Map<String, String> configurationProperties) {

but the SimpleObject domain object re-enables command reification for both editing of the notes property;

            command = CommandReification.ENABLED,
    private String notes;

and for invoking the updateName action:

        command = CommandReification.ENABLED,
public SimpleObject updateName( ... ) {  ... }

Persisted Command objects can be accessed in several ways. One option is to use the Activity menu:

find commands

Alternatively, recent commands executed by an end-user can be found via their coresponding ApplicationUser object:

recent commands by user

For example, invoking the SimpleObject#updateName() action:

SimpleObject updateName

results in this Command:

Command object

Using commands it’s also possible to defer their invocation to be run in the background, either using @Action#commandExecuteIn() or using the BackgroundService. The quartz module is configured in the webapp to run such background commands, see below for details.


Where commands capture the intention of a user to invoke an action/edit a property, audit records (as provided by the audit module) capture the effect of performing such an interaction. With the quickstart app configuring both commands and audits, this provides excellent traceability of cause-and-effect.

The quickstart app (when using the fixtures) disables auditing "globally" in the app manifest:

protected void disableAuditingAndCommandAndPublishGlobally(final Map<String, String> configurationProperties) {

but the SimpleObject re-enables auditing using:

        auditing = Auditing.ENABLED
public class SimpleObject ...  { ... }

For example, invoking the SimpleObject#updateName() action (the example given above while discussing commands) persists a corresponding a Command, and which also shows the corresponding audit entries:

command and audit

In this case there is just one AuditEntry object:

audit entry


Publishing and commands share some similarities: both create an XML representation of an action invocation or property edit. However, whereas a Command represents only the intention to invoke the action, with publishing the serialized XML also captures the result of the invocation and some basic metrics.

The main use case of publishing is to be able facilitate message exchange between external systems. The quickstart app uses the publishmq module which bootstraps an in-memory ActiveMQ instance and publishes to it.

In fact, the publishmq module allows the location of the ActiveMQ queue to be overridden. The quickstart app configures these properties, but leaves them as their defaults (that is, connecting to an in-memory ActiveMQ instance):

isis.properties (in webapp module)

The quickstart app (when using the fixtures) disables publishing "globally" in the app manifest:

DomainAppAppManifestWithFixtures (in the appdefn module)
protected void disableAuditingAndCommandAndPublishGlobally(final Map<String, String> configurationProperties) {

but the SimpleObject domain object re-enables publishing for both editing of the notes property:

        publishing = Publishing.ENABLED
private String notes;

and for invoking the updateName action:

        publishing = Publishing.ENABLED
public SimpleObject updateName( ... ) {  ... }

Using the hawt.io console we can monitor the messages sent to the ActiveMQ message. Download the hawt.io JAR file and start using:

java -jar hawtio-app-1.5.3.jar --port 9090

Then connect to the jolokia servlet (configured in the quickstart’s web.xml):

hawtio jolokia connect

with the port set to 8080 and the path set to /api/jolokia.

Invoking the updateName action on SimpleObject will result in a message being sent to the ActiveMQ queue:

hawtio activemq interactions

and indeed the details of the message can be inspected:

hawtio activemq interaction

Note that these are only visible via hawt.io because there is nothing consuming the messages. For that, you need to configure a consumer, The embedded camel extended example does precisely this.

The publishmq module also persists all interactions to a database table; this is to allow messages to be resent if required. The message can be seen persisted as a PublishedEvent entity (searchable from the Activity menu):

publish object


Feature toggles are a technique with various use cases, one of which is to allow functionality to be rolled out partially, eg for feedback. The togglz module provides support for this (leveraging the settings module for feature persistence.

The quickstart integrates this module, and demonstrates its usage in the SimpleObjectMenu:

SimpleObjectMenu (in module-simple)
public class SimpleObjectMenu {

    public List<SimpleObject> listAll() { ... }

    public List<SimpleObject> findByName( ... ) { ... }
    public boolean hideFindByName() {
        return ! TogglzFeature.findByName.isActive();

    public SimpleObject create( ... ) { ... }
    public boolean hideCreate() {
        return ! TogglzFeature.SimpleObject_create.isActive();


where TogglzFeature is this enum:

TogglzFeature (in module-base)
public enum TogglzFeature implements org.togglz.core.Feature {

    @Label("Enable SimpleObject#create")

    @Label("Enable SimpleObject#findByName")

    public boolean isActive() {
        return FeatureContext.getFeatureManager().isActive(this);

Because the SimpleObject_findByName feature toggle is disabled, the corresponding action is hidden:

feature disabled

Users with the isis-module-togglz-admin role can change feature toggles dynamically:

feature toggles menu

which brings up the togglz console:

togglz console

With the feature enabled, the "findByName" action become visible:

feature enabled


The quartz extension module provides an in-memory scheduler for running jobs according to a schedule. The quickstart app uses this to schedule background commands every 10 seconds. Its configuration could of course be extended to perform other tasks.

The configuration is contained in quartz-config.xml:

quartz-config.xml (in the webapp module)
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<job-scheduling-data xmlns="http://www.quartz-scheduler.org/xml/JobSchedulingData" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.quartz-scheduler.org/xml/JobSchedulingData http://www.quartz-scheduler.org/xml/job_scheduling_data_1_8.xsd" version="1.8">


            <description>Runs all background jobs</description>

                <cron-expression>0/10 * * * * ?</cron-expression>


where RunBackgroundCommandsJob is provided by the quartz module.

To see this in use, add the follow mixin:

public class SimpleObject_updateNameInBackground {
    private final SimpleObject simpleObject;
    public SimpleObject_updateNameInBackground(final SimpleObject simpleObject) {
        this.simpleObject = simpleObject;

    @MemberOrder(name = "name", sequence = "3")
    public SimpleObject act(final String name) {
        messageService.informUser("name will be updated in the next 10 seconds...");
        return simpleObject;

    public String default0Act() {
        return simpleObject.default0UpdateName();

    MessageService messageService;

    BackgroundService2 backgroundService2;

which provides a new "updateNameInBackground" action:


which when invoked does not immediately change the object’s name but instead displays a message:

updateNameInBackground result

Keep clicking on the object’s title to reload; within 10 seconds the name should change.

Listing all commands shows how the "updateNameInBackground" action is executed immediately (in the foreground), and as a side-effect creates a command for "updateName", executed in the background by the Quartz scheduler:

command list


The flywaydb extension integrates FlywayDB to automatically handle database migrations. These ensure that the schema of the (production) database is in sync with that required by the domain entities.

To demonstrate its usage, the quickstart app includes the DomainAppAppManifestWithFlywayEnabledForSqlServer manifest. This adds a number of configuration properties, the most important of which is:

    "isis.persistor.datanucleus.impl.datanucleus.schema.autoCreateAll", "false");

This tells DataNucleus to not automatically create the required database schema, so that it is instead created "manually" by Flyway running the provided SQL scripts.

There are a number of other configuration properties also set in that manifest; these indicate which schemas FlywayDB should track, and where to locate the migration scripts on the classpath.

The migration scripts themselves are in the appdefn module, in a subpackage of db.migration:

migration scripts

Before running the app, it may be necessary to manually create the schema for FlywayDB’s own schema_version table:


With this done, the app can be run against an (otherwise) empty SQL Server database. This results in FlywayDB automatically creating the database tables:

mssql generated tables

The flyway.schema_version table keeps track of the scripts that have been applied:

schema version

There are a couple of other points worth making.

  • First, the manifest also uses the following configuration property:

        "isis.persistor.datanucleus.impl.datanucleus.Mapping", "sqlserver");

    to instruct DataNucleus to pick up any -sqlserver.orm files from the classpath. There are two such: DocumentAbstract-sqlserver.orm and CommandJdo-sqlserver.orm.

  • Second, the quickstart app also provides a beforeMigrate.sql script to drop all index/constraints, and uses the autoCreateConstraints property so that DataNucleus will automatically re-create any indices afterwards.

    For large databases this would not be practicable, in which case the beforeMigrate.sql script should be removed. Any changes to indices would therefore need to be provided in migration SQL scripts.

Dynamic Reloading

The module-simple module includes layout.gradle and liveReload.gradle scripts, and the Wicket viewer is configured for live reloading:

viewer_wicket.properties (in appdefn module)

The procedure described in the Apache Isis documentation explains that the two scripts should be run together:

gradle -t --offline -b layouts.gradle &
gradle -t --offline -b liveReload.gradle &

Maven Mixins

To minimize boilerplate, the Maven pom.xml files use the com.github.odavid.maven.plugins:mixin-maven-plugin. This allows the <build> definitions of other pom.xml files to be "mixed in to" (that is, included in) the consuming pom.xml.

The maven mixins themselves used by the generated application are listed in the table below:

github repo


Configures the net.masterthought:maven-cucumber-reporting plugin, to generate HTML reports based on outputs of BDD specification tests.


Configures the org.datanucleus:datanucleus-maven-plugin to post-process (enhance) persistent entities according to the JDO spec.


Configures the com.spotify:docker-maven-plugin plugin to create Docker images and to upload these to a specified registry.


Configures the maven-enforcer-plugin plugin with a number of pre-defined rules (though not dependency convergence checking).


Configures the org.simplericity.jettyconsole:jetty-console-maven-plugin to create a console app (with optional Swing UI) to bootstrap the application from the command line using an embedded Jetty instance.


Configures the maven-war-plugin to build a war (webapp archive), and the ` org.eclipse.jetty:jetty-maven-plugin to be able to run this from maven (using mvn jetty:war).

com.danhaywood.mavenmixin: sourceandjavadoc

Configures the maven-javadoc-plugin plugin to create Javadoc website and the maven-jxr-plugin to create a similar website of the source code (cross-referencing the Javadoc).

com.danhaywood.mavenmixin: standard

Configures the standard maven-clean-plugin, maven-resources-plugin maven-compiler-plugin, maven-jar-plugin`, maven-install-plugin, maven-deploy-plugin and maven-site-plugin` plugins (mostly just setting their version).

com.danhaywood.mavenmixin: staticanalysis

Configures the maven-checkstyle-plugin, maven-pmd-plugin`, javancss-maven-plugin and jdepend-maven-plugin plugins. The configuration files driving these plugins are specified as properties.

com.danhaywood.mavenmixin: surefire

Configures the maven-surefire-plugin with multiple executions to run unit tests, integration tests and BDD specifications. testing support is discussed further below.