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The JMX API defines a mechanism to enable MBeans to generate notifications, for example, to signal a state change, a detected event, or a problem.

To generate notifications, an MBean must implement the interface NotificationEmitter or extend NotificationBroadcasterSupport. To send a notification, you need to construct an instance of the class or a subclass (such as AttributeChangedNotification), and pass the instance to NotificationBroadcasterSupport.sendNotification.

Every notification has a source. The source is the object name of the MBean that generated the notification.

Every notification has a sequence number. This number can be used to order notifications coming from the same source when order matters and there is a risk of the notifications being handled in the wrong order. The sequence number can be zero, but preferably the number increments for each notification from a given MBean.

The Hello MBean implementation in Standard MBeans actually implements the notification mechanism. However, this code was omitted in that lesson for the sake of simplicity. The complete code for Hello follows:

package com.example;


public class Hello
        extends NotificationBroadcasterSupport
        implements HelloMBean {

    public void sayHello() {
        System.out.println("hello, world");

    public int add(int x, int y) {
        return x + y;

    public String getName() {

    public int getCacheSize() {
        return this.cacheSize;

    public synchronized void setCacheSize(int size) {
        int oldSize = this.cacheSize;
        this.cacheSize = size;

        System.out.println("Cache size now " + this.cacheSize);

        Notification n = new AttributeChangeNotification(this,
                                sequenceNumber++, System.currentTimeMillis(),
                                "CacheSize changed", "CacheSize", "int",
                                oldSize, this.cacheSize);


    public MBeanNotificationInfo[] getNotificationInfo() {
        String[] types = new String[]{

        String name = AttributeChangeNotification.class.getName();
        String description = "An attribute of this MBean has changed";
        MBeanNotificationInfo info =
                new MBeanNotificationInfo(types, name, description);
        return new MBeanNotificationInfo[]{info};
    private final String name = "Reginald";
    private int cacheSize = DEFAULT_CACHE_SIZE;
    private static final int DEFAULT_CACHE_SIZE = 200;
    private long sequenceNumber = 1;

This Hello MBean implementation extends the NotificationBroadcasterSupport class. NotificationBroadcasterSupport implements the NotificationEmitter interface.

The operations and attributes are set in the same way as in the standard MBean example, with the exception that the CacheSize attribute's setter method now defines a value of oldSize. This value records the CacheSize attribute's value prior to the set operation.

The notification is constructed from an instance, n, of the JMX class AttributeChangeNotification, which extends The notification is constructed within the definition of the setCacheSize() method from the following information. This information is passed to AttributeChangeNotification as parameters.
  • The object name of the source of the notification, namely the Hello MBean, represented by this
  • A sequence number, namely sequenceNumber, that is set to 1 and that increases incrementally
  • A timestamp
  • The content of the notification message
  • The name of the attribute that has changed, in this case, CacheSize
  • The type of attribute that has changed
  • The old attribute value, in this case, oldSize
  • The new attribute value, in this case, this.cacheSize
  • The notification n is then passed to the NotificationBroadcasterSupport.sendNotification() method.
Finally, the MBeanNotificationInfo instance is defined to describe the characteristics of the different notification instances generated by the MBean for a given type of notification. In this case the type of notifications sent is AttributeChangeNotification notifications.

Running the MBean Notification Example

Once again, you will use JConsole to interact with the Hello MBean, this time to send and receive notifications. This example requires version 6 of the Java SE platform.

1. If you have not done so already, save into your work_dir directory.
2. Unzip the bundle of sample classes by using the following command in a terminal window.


3. Compile the example Java classes from within the work_dir directory.

javac com/example/*.java

4. Start the Main application.

java com.example.Main

A confirmation that Main is waiting for something to happen is generated.

5. Start JConsole in a different terminal window on the same machine.


The New Connection dialog box is displayed, presenting a list of running JMX agents that you can connect to.

6. In the New Connection dialog box, select com.example.Main from the list and click Connect.

A summary of your platform's current activity is displayed.

7. Click the MBeans tab.

This panel shows all the MBeans that are currently registered in the MBean server.

8. In the left frame, expand the com.example node in the MBean tree.

You see the example MBean Hello that was created and registered by Hello. If you click Hello, you see its Notifications node in the MBean tree.

9. Expand the Notifications node of the Hello MBean in the MBean tree.

Note that the panel is blank.

10. Click the Subscribe button.

The current number of notifications received (0) is displayed in the Notifications node label.

11. Expand the Attributes node of the Hello MBean in the MBean tree, and change the value of the CacheSize attribute to 150.

In the terminal window in which you started Main, a confirmation of this attribute change is displayed. Note that the number of received notifications displayed in the Notifications node has changed to 1.

12. Expand again the Notifications node of the Hello MBean in the MBean tree.

The details of the notification are displayed.

13. To close JConsole, select Connection -> Exit.

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