And now you guys say reading a file just aint't done
Why can't EJBs read and write files and directories in the filesystem? And why can't they access file descriptors?
Enterprise beans aren't allowed to access files primarily because files are not transactional resources. Allowing EJBs to access files or directories in the filesystem, or to use file descriptors, would compromise component distributability, and would be a security hazard.
Another reason is deployability. The EJB container can choose to place an enterprise bean in any JVM, on any machine in a cluster. Yet the contents of a filesystem are not part of a deployment, and are therefore outside of the EJB container's control. File systems, directories, files, and especially file descriptors tend to be machine-local resources. If an enterprise bean running in a JVM on a particular machine is using or holding an open file descriptor to a file in the filesystem, that enterprise bean cannot easily be moved from one JVM or machine to another, without losing its reference to the file.
Furthermore, giving EJBs access to the filesystem is a security hazard, since the enterprise bean could potentially read and broadcast the contents of sensitive files, or even upload and overwrite the JVM runtime binary for malicious purposes.
Files are not an appropriate mechanism for storing business data for use by components, because they tend to be unstructured, are not under the control of the server environment, and typically don't provide distributed transactional access or fine-grained locking. Business data is better managed using a persistence interface such as JDBC, whose implementations usually provide these benefits. Read-only data can, however, be stored in files in a deployment JAR, and accessed with the getResource() or getResourceAsStream() methods of java.lang.Class.
Why can't I use nonfinal static fields in my enterprise bean?
Nonfinal static class fields are disallowed in EJBs because such fields make an enterprise bean difficult or impossible to distribute. Static class fields are shared among all instances of a particular class, but only within a single Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Updating a static class field implies an intent to share the field's value among all instances of the class. But if a class is running in several JVMs simultaneously, only those instances running in the same JVM as the updating instance will have access to the new value. In other words, a nonfinal static class field will behave differently if running in a single JVM, than it will running in multiple JVMs. The EJB container reserves the option of distributing enterprise beans across multiple JVMs (running on the same server, or on any of a cluster of servers). Nonfinal static class fields are disallowed because enterprise bean instances will behave differently depending on whether or not they are distributed.
It is acceptable practice to use static class fields if those fields are marked as final. Since final fields cannot be updated, instances of the enterprise bean can be distributed by the container without concern for those fields' values becoming unsynchronized.
Read-only data can, however, be stored in files in a deployment JAR, and accessed with the getResource() or getResourceAsStream() methods of java.lang.Class.