Jason Mowat

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since Aug 17, 2003
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Recent posts by Jason Mowat

Hi Sathya,

I think you're absolutely right. When somebody posts a scathing review about a product without first trying to contact the company to rectify the problem, it's passive-aggressive behavior.

I would like to point out that I did first try to contact Whizlabs about the problems I was experiencing with their product. However, due to a technical configuration on the Whizlabs side, I was unable to communicate with them via email. My next best alternative was JavaRanch.

I would like to point out that I wasn't intending on performing "Whizlab bashing" because of their product quality. I was communicating my experiences while trying to pursue my SCMAD certification. If you read my posts, I also say good things as well.

I've held off posting in this thread because it's turned into a bit of a flame war against Whizlabs. However, my reccomendation to those reading this post is this: if you have problems, first go to the source before launching a negative marketing campaign against them. As well, companies should pay special attention to the quality of released products so as to avoid these situations from occuring in the first place.

Hi Bert,

I was trying to provide constructive feedback, but you are right, I was griping a bit :-) Sometimes it's hard to keep the emotion out when a customer has suffered a particularly bad experience.

The criticism is not so much targeted at an individual as it is on an experience. Sathya provided excellent notes, and I understand his feedback was attempting to resolve the problem and help me. I am thankful for that.

In the future, I'll attempt to take more of the "edge" off of my negative posts, as "...anger leads to the Dark Side" ;-)

Hi Paul,

I haven't passed the exam yet, but assuming that I do well on it and am interested in evaluating and Q/A'ing your product, is there any incentive for me (or anyone for that matter) to want to do this?

Hi Sathya,

Thanks for the encouragement!

I think that your posting on your blog regarding SCMAD preparation tips was quite useful, and you obviously have a clear writing style, as illustrated in your study notes. I also think that the SCMAD certification by WhizLabs is doing what it needs to do: prepare me for the exam. However, I do feel the need to challenge you regarding a few of your statements. Please don't take them personally; criticism helps you grow!

"...While others have complained about issues here and there (in this forum as well as in the WhizLabs forum), they have been fairly minor and were fixed pretty quickly..."

I find that statement difficult to believe. The number of glaring errors in MY version of the SCMAD simulator (6.0.1 full) indicates that the "minor" issues have NOT been fixed. Like I said, there are GLARING errors, not little "semantically" incorrect errors.

"...I believe they recently upgraded their simulator engine. So, you might want to confirm with the tech guys over there..."

Perhaps. However, I just bought the simulator last week. If they upgraded in the last week I could certainly understand why, considering the low quality of this product. However, if they upgraded to THIS version, I shake my head at the Q/A guy who OK'd this release.

"...If you can give specific details on the wrong questions, it will definitely help us fix the errors and also help others who have purchased the software..."

You know what, I'd be happy to. However, as it's a Flash application, I can't copy and paste the errors to address them here, in this forum. I tried using the "submit feedback" feature, but was promptly informed by the WhizLabs mail server that my domain was black listed. This is becuase I run my own mail server on a dynamic IP, I'm imagining. However, that level of paranoia is going to cost you the valuable feedback you desire :-)

"...In the process of writing around 350 questions that are present in the simulator, it is certainly possible that there may be few errors that might've been overlooked and I do apologize for that..."

There's no need to apologize. As the creator, I think you did an excellent job with the content. I feel the simulator IS doing it's job, and for that you should be proud. However, there is some software issues that really should have been addressed before releasing it to the market.

I would suggest that you simply download the application off the site, do the review exam, the 3 practice exams and the final exam, and look at them as if you were writing your SCJP certification. With that mindset, I'm confident that you would be able to identify most of the problems yourself quite quickly. I'd do if for you, but then I'd have to bill WhizLabs for my time ;-)

"...Hope you get good grades in the exam!"

Again, thanks for the vote of confidence. I think that the simulator is doing a fine job of identifying areas when I am weak. It also has encouraged me to study specific parts of the various specifications, and for that I'm extremely thankful.

I'm sure with your input and obvious desire to the the WhizLabs SCMAD simulator become the best thing on the market bearing your name, that it will be amazing in its next version!


From experience, I got my SCWCD certification purely from studing the book SCWCD Exam Study Kit: Java Web Component Developer Certification by Hanumant Deshmukh and Jignesh Malavia.

Now that SCWCD is at 1.4, the programmers at my work successfully used HF JSPs and Servlets and the EnthuWare simulator to get fairly high marks on their certification. They said nice things about it.

I would recommend EnthuWare over WhizLabs personally from my experience with their EJBPlus product (which I used to get my SCBCD certification) and from my experience with WhizLab's SCMAD simulator.

Get the simulator a week before you plan on writing the test, and go through a bunch of tests. They will get your mind focused on the exam and I'm sure you'll get a great mark.

Good luck!


I would like to post a retraction about my endorsement for Whizlabs products. I made a mistake by stating I used Whizlabs as my study material for my previous certifications. That was not true. I used EnthuWare products.

I have had no prior experience with WhizLabs, aside from my experience with their SCMAD simulator.

If EnthuWare were to come out with a SCMAD simulator, I would have surely bought it from them instead. For more information, see their web page.

Again, I found the WhizLabs SCMAD simulator helpful, but it is my first time using their products.

Sorry for the confusion!

Hey Harish,

I think that their Web Component, Business Component and Programmer exams are top notch, and I recommend them.

If you are comfortable with the material, the WhizLabs programmer and web component exams might not be necessary, although they do get you thinking. I would rely on those exams if you want to take the exam sooner, as it will truly get you focused on areas you need to pass the real thing.

As for the business component exam, I don't think I would have passed it with the mark I got purely from HFEJB (92%). I attribute the WhizLabs exam to increasing my success in that area.

Good luck!


I have been preparing for my SCMAD for a few months now, reading Jonathon's book and writing little emulator programs for practice. As with any Sun Certification, I always top off my studying with an exam simulator, with Whizlab being the most prominent.

I purchased the Whizlab simulator without much of an issue. However, it didn't let me print out an invoice for the purchase, which was annoying.

The software installed fine on my system, and I eagerly started it up.

The aesthetics of the software are quite nice. The colors are vibrant, and it looks well organized on the surface. The fact that it's a Macromedia Flash application was a little surprising, but I thought "what the heck, if it works, good for them". Sadly, this is NOT the case.

The drag and drop questions are HORRIBLE, at least on my system. They don't line up, and a few times, they don't even drag and drop! Furthermore, the d&d screens are the silliest things I've ever seen; there are no horizontal scroll bars and the screens can't be expanded. You have to use their little "frame adjuster" to see the question or the answers, XOR style; you can look at the whole question, or the whole answers, just not both at the same time.

I also found many compilation errors and spelling mistakes. I'd estimate the purely wrong questions (i.e. one's that will not compile or are just plain wrong) at 10% of the overall questions. It certainly "feels" that way. That's a low level of quality for an exam simulator, IMO. One percent error is barely tolerable for a simulator that is supposed to be preparing you for the real thing.

In fact, the d&d questions are so bad, I eventually stopped doing them entirely because I felt it was a waste of time to fight with that poor interface. I just reviewed the correct answer at the end of the exam to make sure I understood the concepts.

Another beef is when you mark a question, it doesn't show you which ones you marked at the end of the exam in a table so that you can go back and review them individually. You have to troll, and the one's that were previously marked are not even indicated! Maybe I'm missing something, but it wouldn't work on my system :-)

So, the general experience with the interface and the question quality is extremely low. I feel that I should be getting paid to do Q/A on this product, or just for the suffering I had to go through with it.

I'm surprised. Their SCBCD and SCWCD simulators were great! I think they need to go back to the non-Flash software and make sure that they post a revision for their software quickly. They've had months to do this; it's intolerable.

However, I want to give credit where credit is due. The exam simulator, aside from it's numerous problems, focuses the student on areas of weakness. After taking the different tests, it made me appreciate the specs a lot more, and clarified a bunch of stuff for me. I now understand JTWI, CLDC and PushRegistry far better than I would have with Jonathon's book alone. The exam simulator is a good tool for preparing for this exam because it keeps you focused on the objectives and reminds you of the kinds of curveballs that could be thrown at you during the real thing.

Now, my initial scores in this simulator are not very high. I can pass most of the canned tests the first time, but just barely; I have certainly failed a few of them on my first shot, but typically by 2 or 3 questions. After I review a test, I can then usually increase my score to about 85% or higher, which is confidence building. I doubt I could get 100% on any test because of the poor quality of the software; I don't think it's possible.

I have the final test on the simulator to take. Once I have completed that and reviewed the areas where I feel that I'm weak, I'll book my SCMAD. If I pass, I will give credit to:

Jonathon Knudsen's "Wireless Java: Developing with J2ME" (for GUI design, GCF, game programming and MMAPI)
WhizLab's SCMAD exam simulator
JWTI JSR Spec (complete)
CLDC 1.1 JSR Spec (complete)
WMA 1.1 JSR Spec (complete)
MIDP 2.0 JSR Spec (key pieces, like RMS, PushRegistry, etc)

I looked at the MMAPI docs, but I found that Jonathon did a good job covering it in his book, so I didn't focus too much on the JSR specs (which should be in a PDF format, IMO, but aren't).

If I DO fail the SCMAD on my first try (which I honestly don't think will happen, but you never know), I will definately take up Whizlabs on their money back guarantee.

I'll be sure to let the forum know how I do!

I am having a similar problem.

It appears that the beans are being deployed to java:comp/env/your_custom_jndi_context, but the initial context lookup doesn't seem to recognize the custom context you specify. Furthermore, if you "alias" your deployed beans, the alias cannot be found during the lookup.

What I found that works is that you can always refer to the remote bean's component interface. For example, I have an EmployeeFacadeBean with an ejb-name of EmployeeFacade. In jboss.xml, I give it the jndi-name of ejb/EmployeeConsole (my alias). I expect the following to work from a remote client:

JBoss spits back a exception.

However, if I change the code to:

...it works fine.

I'm a little baffled by this. I have no idea why my beans are not binding to java:comp/env/ejb/{my JNDI name}. I suspect jboss.xml, but it looks syntactically correct to me.

Hope that helps this thread out a bit! FWIW, I'm quite new to JBoss.

19 years ago

I was wondering if there was a way to configure an LDAP connection within an EJB much like you would configure a DataSource? I would like to be able to do LDAP searches, but I would expect that the connection would be defined in the deployment descriptor for the bean.

For example, some simple code in an arbitrary EJB method:

Since I can only declare resource manager types of DataSource, QueueConnection, TopicConnection, Session or URL in the deployment descriptor, yet I WANT a DirContext, I am unsure how to do this.

I am guessing that perhaps I can create a resource-ref of type java.net.URL and simply set the URL to "ldap://myldapserver.com". However, I'm not sure that a lookup to the URL would even return a DirContext object. Furthermore, typically an LDAP context needs to have its INITIAL_CONTEXT_FACTORY set to something, such as "com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtxFactory". Do I set this to my InitialContext from my container?

In the above example, I would like to be able to do something like:

I have heard of configuring LDAP realms for the server, but I am hoping to discover a more "portable" approach as discussed above.

Any help is appreciated!

Please visit this posting regarding my results and comments.


I wrote my exam today and passed with a 91%.

In short, I credit my success to the following:

1. Reading HFEJB twice; once as a gloss over and once to reinforce material I didn't understand during the first pass. It's important to apprach it this way considering that many of the concepts can't be fully grasped until transactions and environment are understood. I suspect some editing happened pre-publication, and shifted those chapters out of their original sequence.

2. Taking the EJBPlus simulator test, and failing on the first try. This was the biggest eye-opener on where I was weak, and it allowed me to focus on HFEJB to strengthen my understanding of those weak areas.

3. Taking all of the standard EJBPlus tests and passing them all with successively better marks each time. Note that I was taking each new test, so I was still getting a mix of new questions. The questions I had gotten wron in previous tests were now burned into my memory.

4. Writing the mock exam at the back of HFEJB. It was here that I really focused on the specs; for every answer I got wrong, I read the specification for that area.

5. Creating a cheat-sheet from Mikalai Zaikin's web site on areas that I felt could trip me up. I also printed out all the PDFs from some guy's web site that had the deployment descriptors, bean life cycles and exceptions well document. I can't remember where I found it, although I do recall I found it here, at JavaRanch.

The exam was a lot simpler and straight forward than the HFEJB questions. It was almost identical to the EJBPlus exams. I took my time and finished in about an hour. I only review the 10 or so questions I had marked, and I refrained from changing the answers I originally put. They were logical guesses or they "felt" correct.

19 years ago

I would suggest going through HFEJB completely, cover to cover. However, don't try to memorize everything you read. Get a "feeling" for the material. Then go through it again, but only focus on the areas you definitely do not understand; this makes the read much faster and allows you to reinforce the material you have previously read.

Once you have gone through the book a few times, I would suggest downloading an exam simulator. I found the EJBPlus simulator to be quite helpful. While there are errors in it, as well as spelling and grammar mistakes, it really gets you thinking about EJB. I found that it helped clarify the areas that I had trouble with originally from HFEJB. It also made me appreciate the spec. I found that the spec was useful when I didn't want a saccharine-coated explanation of something from HFEJB; I went to it when I wanted the low-down.

Take my comments FWTW. I have not yet written the SCBCD exam, but I am prepared to write it this week.

Good luck!

Hi Richard,

Take out the CLASSPATH from your environment. It can screw things up too much; instead, specify the classpath directly from the command line. Make sure you set up your Java environment variables, though:

JAVA_HOME = x:\java1.4 (whatever yours is)
J2EE_HOME = x:\j2ee1.3 (whatever yours is)
PATH=(lots of other stuff);%JAVA_HOME%\bin;%J2EE_HOME%\bin

Secondly, ensure that %J2EE_HOME%/lib/j2ee.jar is on your classpath, as your client has dependencies that are in it.

F:\Certification\SCBCD\projects\advice>java -cp %J2EE_HOME%/lib/j2ee.jar%;AdviceAppClient.jar

It should run just fine.


In HFEJB, p. 327, it states that you can use your entity context to get a reference to your home. Does this imply that a home object will exist for entity beans in general, or that a home object will be created for each different type of entity bean before they are actually instantiated?

For example, I have 2 entity beans: CustomerBean and ProductBean. My container decides to create a few bean instances in the pool to serve as "actors" for these 2 entity beans. So, the constructor is called and the entity context is set. In the entity context, will I be able to get the home for entity beans in general, or is it more specific; does it create a home object for CustomerBean and a home object for ProductBean? If that's the case, are the beans in the pool "type-casted", meaning that will a bean instance in the pool only be capable of playing CustomerBean roles because it's entity context has it slaved to a customer home?