Installing Orbeon Forms

Software requirements

Orbeon Forms 4 runs on any platform that supports:
  • Java 6 or 7
  • a Servlet 2.5 container or greater (such as Apache Tomcat 6 or greater)

Hardware requirements

Orbeon Forms is best installed on hardware with:
  • a reasonably fast CPU, e.g. as of early 2011:
    • Intel Core i7 or better (desktop-grade)
    • Intel Xeon, e.g. series 5500, 5600, etc. (server-grade)
    • NOTE: The CPU doesn't have to be Intel, these are just examples.
  • at least 1.5 GB of available RAM

Java virtual machine configuration

Configure the Java VM with:
  • -Xmx option for dedicated Java heap memory:
    • on a development machine: at least 512 MB of Java heap: -Xmx512m
    • on a production machine: at least 1 GB of Java heap: -Xmx1024m
  •  -XX:MaxPermSize for "permgen" space:
    • use at least: -XX:MaxPermSize=256m

License installation (Orbeon Forms PE only)

  • If you are running Orbeon Forms CE, you don't need to install a license file.
  • If you are running Orbeon Forms PE:
    • complete the steps for your application server below
    • you can obtain a full licence from Orbeon, or get a trial license from:
    • before starting your servlet container, copy your license file under the Orbeon Forms WAR file as:
With Orbeon Forms 4.1 and newer, you can also place license.xml file under the user's home directory. For example, on Unix systems:

Orbeon Forms first searches for the license file within the WAR, and if not found attempts to find it under the home directory.

The benefit of this approach is that you don't have to find where the WAR file is deployed in your container, or to uncompress and recompress the WAR file with the license.

NOTE:  Orbeon Forms uses Java's System.getProperty("user.home") to identify the user's home directory.  This corresponds to the user running the servlet container and not necessarily to the user of the developer or system administrator.

Logging configuration

This step is optional.

Orbeon Forms has a logging configuration file under WEB-INF/resources/config/log4j.xml. By default, logging information is output to a file path relative to the directory where you start your application server.

<appender name="SingleFileAppender" class="org.apache.log4j.FileAppender">
    <param name="File" value="../logs/orbeon.log"/>
    <param name="Append" value="false" />
    <param name="Encoding" value="UTF-8"/>
    <layout class="org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout">
        <param name="ConversionPattern" value="%d{ISO8601} %-5p %c{1} %x - %m%n"/>

You can change this by modifying the file parameter. Notes that on Windows, you must use forward slashes:

<appender name="SingleFileAppender" class="org.apache.log4j.FileAppender">
    <param name="File" value="C:/My Path/To/Logs/orbeon.log"/>
    <param name="Append" value="false" />
    <param name="Encoding" value="UTF-8"/>
    <layout class="org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout">
        <param name="ConversionPattern" value="%d{ISO8601} %-5p %c{1} %x - %m%n"/>

The benefit of changing this configuration is that you know exactly where the file is stored. This can be really handy when trying to troubleshoot issues.

Installing on your application server

Apache Tomcat

  1. Assuming that TOMCAT_HOME represents the location of your Tomcat installation: create a new TOMCAT_HOME/webapps/orbeon directory.
  2. Unzip orbeon.war in the orbeon directory you just created.
  3. If using Orbeon Forms PE, make sure the license.xml file is in place (see above).
  4. You can now start Tomcat, and access http://localhost:8080/orbeon/ to test your installation (replacing localhost and 8080 with the host name and port number of your Tomcat installation if different from the default).
  5. We strongly recommend you add the URIEncoding="UTF-8" attribute on the <Connector> element, in your server.xml, as recommended in the Tomcat FAQ. This will ensure that all characters get properly decoded on the URL, which is especially important if you're using non-ASCII characters in the app or form name in Form Builder.
On Unix systems, we recommend you don't use GIJ / GCG, as there are reports of issues with that runtime environment and Orbeon Forms. Instead, we recommend you use the Sun/Oracle runtime environment. 

Optional steps:
  1. To run the authentication example:

    1. Open TOMCAT_HOME/webapps/orbeon/WEB-INF/web.xml and uncomment the security-constraint, login-config and security-role declarations at the end of the file.
    2. Open TOMCAT_HOME/conf/server.xml and uncomment the following declaration: <Realm className="org.apache.catalina.realm.MemoryRealm" />
    3. Edit TOMCAT_HOME/conf/tomcat-users.xml and replace the content of the file with:

          <role rolename="orbeon-user"/>
          <role rolename="orbeon-admin"/>
          <user username="orbeonadmin" password="xforms" roles="orbeon-user,orbeon-admin"/>

  2. If you are using basic authentication on Tomcat 5 version 5.5.29 or newer, or on Tomcat 6 version 6.0.21 or newer, or on Tomcat 7, then you need to add the following valve inside the <Context> corresponding to the Orbeon Forms web app in Tomcat's configuration:

    <Valve className="org.apache.catalina.authenticator.BasicAuthenticator"

Apache Tomcat with a custom context

This is an alternate way of deploying with Tomcat, which gives you more control as to where the Orbeon Forms files are located.

First, unzip the Orbeon Forms WAR file into a directory of your choice, for example:


This means that under the orbeon directory, you should have a WEB-INF directory.

Then create a context in Tomcat's server.xml, for example:


Note that if you have a JDBC datasource, you can also place it inside:

    <Resource name="jdbc/orbeonmysql" auth="Container" type="javax.sql.DataSource"
      initialSize="3" maxActive="10" maxIdle="20" maxWait="30000"

JBoss 7 and JBoss EAP 6 with Orbeon Forms 4

[SINCE 2012-07-13]

Deploy Orbeon Forms

This was tested with JBoss AS 7.1.1.Final "Brontes".

To install Orbeon Forms:
  1. For Orbeon Forms PE
    • Unzip orbeon.war
    • place your license.xml file under WEB-INF/resources/config/license.xml
    • Re-zip orbeon.war
  2. Start a standalone server with bin/
  3. Drop orbeon.war into the JBoss standalone/deployments folder

Setup a JDBC datasource

To setup a datasource, if you'd like Orbeon Forms to connect to your relational database, here for MySQL:
  1. Setup Orbeon Forms to use a JBoss datasource (configured in the following steps):

    1. Unzip orbeon.war
    2. Edit WEB-INF/web.xml to uncomment the <resource-ref>.
    3. Edit WEB-INF/jboss-web.xml to uncomment the <resource-ref>. Change the <jndi-name> to java:/comp/env/jdbc/mysql.

  2. In JBoss, install the JDBC driver as a module:

    1. In modules/com, create a directory mysql/main.
    2. Download the MySQL JDBC driver, say mysql-connector-java-5.1.22-bin.jar, and place it in the main directory.
    3. In the main directory, create a file named module.xml with the following content. Update the value of the path attribute to match the name of the file you download in the previous step.

      <module xmlns="urn:jboss:module:1.0" name="com.mysql">
              <resource-root path="mysql-connector-java-5.1.22-bin.jar"/>
              <module name="javax.api"/>

  3. In JBoss, define the datasource:

    1. Editing standalone/configuration/standalone.xml, and replace the <datasources> with the following. 

          <datasource jndi-name="java:/comp/env/jdbc/mysql" pool-name="mysql" enabled="true">
              <driver name="com.mysql" module="com.mysql">

    2. In <connection-url>, change the host and database name, and under <security> the user name and password as appropriate.

  4. (Optional) Check that the module and datasource are configured properly:

    1. Starting JBoss (bin/ and verifying you see the following two lines in the console:

      [] (ServerService Thread Pool -- 27) JBAS010404: Deploying non-JDBC-compliant driver class com.mysql.jdbc.Driver (version 5.1)
      [] (MSC service thread 1-4) JBAS010400: Bound data source [java:/comp/env/jdbc/mysql]

    2. Check the datasource properly shows in the JBoss Management console:
      1. If you haven't done so already, create a user in the ManagementRealm by running bin/, and creating a new user, say admin/password.
      2. Go to Choose Profile on to top right of the page. Click on Connector / Datasources in the left sidebar. Check that you have an enabled datasource with JNDI name java:/comp/env/jdbc/mysql. In the Connection tab, click on Test Connection, and a dialog the message "Successfully created JDBC connection" should show.

    3. (Requires Orbeon Forms PE) Check you can create a database service in Form Builder :
      1. Create a new form in Form Builder, give it any app/form name.
      2. In the sidebar, add a Database service. Assuming you have an employee table in your database, name the service employees, use db for the datasource, and select emp_no, first_name from employees limit 10 for the SQL query. (If you need sample data to populate your database, you can use data from these demo scripts.)
      3. Add a Dropdown Menu control to the form (not Dynamic Data Dropdown), click on the gear icon, and name it employees.
      4. In the sidebar, add an Action, name it populate-employees, have it react to from load, calling the employees service, under Set Response Selection Control Items (which is at the bottom of the dialog) click the plus icon, select the employees control, for Items use /response/row, for Label use first-name  and for Value use emp-no.
      5. Click the Test button, and check that the list name shows in the dropdown.

Using the Oracle persistence layer

[SINCE Orbeon Forms 4.0 beta 2]
  1. Follow the steps in the previous section, using the Oracle driver instead of the MySQL driver.
  2. Add to the orbeon.war, in the WEB-INF directory, a file named jboss-deployment-structure.xml with the content that follows. This assumes, that in the previous step, you named the module

                <module name=""/>
                <module name="org.jboss.ironjacamar.jdbcadapters"/>

    Orbeon Forms doesn't come by default with this file, so deployment on JBoss doesn't fail for those who are not using the Oracle persistence layer, and thus haven't create a module.

  3. Create the Orbeon tables in Oracle.
  4. Setup Orbeon Forms to use the Oracle persistence layer. At the minimun, you'll need to add the following two properties to your properties-local.xml:

    <property as="xs:string"  name="*.*.*"     value="oracle"/>
    <property as="xs:string"  name=""  value="db"/>

JBoss 7 with Orbeon Forms 3.9.1

[SINCE 2012-07-13]

This was tested with JBoss AS 7.1.1.Final "Brontes".

Follow the following steps:
  • unzip orbeon.war
  • under WEB-INF/lib
    • remove msv-xsdlib-20070407_orbeon_20100309.jar
    • add msv-xsdlib-20070407_orbeon_20120712.jar (download)
  • in WEB-INF/jboss-web.xml
    • comment out the <resource-ref> entry (see details below older versions of JBoss)
  • for Orbeon Forms PE
    • place your license.xml file under WEB-INF/resources/config/license.xml
  • re-zip orbeon.war
  • start a standalone server with bin/
  • drop the updated orbeon.war into the JBoss standalone/deployments folder

With JBoss 6

  1. Assuming that JBOSS_HOME represents the location of your JBoss installation: create a new JBOSS_HOME/server/default/deploy/orbeon.war directory.
  2. Unzip the orbeon.war file in the orbeon.war directory you just created.
  3. Depending on the version of JBoss you are using:

    • Create a file orbeon.war/WEB-INF/jboss-scanning.xml with the following content. This is get around a bug happening in the JBoss scanner when it goes through Scala classes. With Orbeon Forms 3.9:

      <scanning xmlns="urn:jboss:scanning:1.0">
          <path name="WEB-INF/lib/scala-library-2.9.2.jar">
              <exclude name="scala" recurse="true"/>

      Make sure you replace scala-library-2.9.2.jar with the actual version number in WEB-INF/lib.

      NOTE: Orbeon Forms 4.0 already includes this setting.

    • Edit orbeon.war/WEB-INF/jboss-web.xml and comment the 4 lines that start with <resource-ref> and end with </resource-ref>. This resource-ref is only useful if you want to setup Orbeon Forms to store data in a relational database. If this is the first time you are installing Orbeon Forms on JBoss, even if you ultimately want Orbeon Forms to store data in a relation database, we recommend you first get it up and running without this configuration. Once everything works, you can come back, uncomment this, and follow the steps in point #7 below to get Orbeon Forms to access your relational database.

  4. Start JBoss by running JBOSS_HOME/bin/run.bat (or on UNIX).
  5. Run and modify the example applications.

    1. Go to http://localhost:8080/orbeon/
    2. You can modify the example applications resources as the application sever is running and see the results of your modifications on the fly. The resources are stored under JBOSS_HOME/server/default/deploy/orbeon.war/WEB-INF/resources.

  6. Optionally, to run the authentication sample:

    1. Open JBOSS_HOME/server/default/deploy/orbeon.war/WEB-INF/web.xml and uncomment the security-constraint, login-config and security-role declarations at the end of the file.
    2. Open JBOSS_HOME/server/default/deploy/orbeon.war/WEB-INF/jboss-web.xml and uncomment the security-domain element near the end of bottom of the file.
    3. Open JBOSS_HOME/server/default/conf/login-config.xml and add the following aplication policy to the list of policies:

      <application-policy name="orbeon-demo">
              <login-module code="" flag="required">
                  <module-option name="usersProperties"></module-option>
                  <module-option name="rolesProperties"></module-option>

  7. Optionally, you might want to setup a JDBC data source if your application is using the SQL Processor. What follows assumes you are configuring the SQL Processor with <sql:datasource>my-datasource</sql:datasource>.

    1. Look at the files JBOSS_HOME/docs/examples/jca/*-ds.xml. You should find one that correspond to the database you are using. Copy it to JBOSS_HOME/server/default/deploy.
    2. Edit the file you copied and change the parameters to match your database configuration. Also assign a JNDI name to this data source with: <jndi-name>my-database</jndi-name> (instead of my-database you might want to use a name which is descriptive of your database).
    3. Edit WEB-INF/web.xml and uncomment the <resource-ref>. Also change there the content of <res-ref-name> to match the name you are using in the SQL Processor prefixed with jdbc/: <res-ref-name>jdbc/my-datasource</res-ref-name>.
    4. Edit WEB-INF/jboss-web.xml. In that file you should have <res-ref-name>jdbc/my-datasource</res-ref-name> (the same name you use to configure the SQL Processor and that you have in the web.xml) and <jndi-name>java:/my-database</jndi-name> (the same name you declared in the ...-ds.xml file).
    5. Copy the JAR files with the JDBC driver for your database in JBOSS_HOME/server/default/lib.


Oracle WebLogic 11g 

A version of the ANTLR library that ships with WebLogic 11g conflicts with the version required by Orbeon Forms. To run Orbeon Forms on WebLogic 10/11g, you need to instruct WebLogic to let Orbeon Forms use the version of ANTLR that ships with Orbeon Forms. You can do this in the WebLogic EAR descriptor, which means you need to encapsulate Orbeon Forms in an EAR before you deploy it: 
  1. Create the following directory structure in a temporary directory:


    Populate application.xml with:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>
    <j2ee:application xmlns:j2ee="">
        <j2ee:display-name>Orbeon Forms</j2ee:display-name>

    Populate weblogic-application.xml with:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE weblogic-application PUBLIC 
        "-//BEA Systems, Inc.//DTD WebLogic Application 8.1.0//EN" 

  2. Uncompress the orbeon.war into the orbeon-ear/orbeon directory you created in step 1. After this, you should have a directory orbeon-ear/orbeon/WEB-INF.
  3. Deploy the orbeon-ear directory. If you are running WebLogic in development mode, you can move it to user_projects/domains/base_domain/autodeploy.
  4. Optionally, you might want to change where the orbeon.log is stored. You define the location of the file in WEB-INF/resources/config/log4j.xml, in the SingleFileAppender. By default the location of the file is defined as ../logs/orbeon.log. If you start WebLogic with user_projects/domains/base_domain/, the log will be located in user_projects/domains/logs/orbeon.log.

IBM WebSphere

IBM WebSphere 8.5

  1. Installing WebSphere – Download WebSphere 8.5 Liberty ProfileRun the command line mentioned on that page, e.g. java -jar wlp-developers-runtime- In what follows, we'll refer to the directory where you installed WebSphere Liberty Profile as WLP.

  2. Running WebSphere – Run the server: cd WLP/bin ; ./server run. This will create the directory structure under WLP/usr/servers/defaultServer.

  3. Deploying Orbeon Forms – In WLP/usr/servers/defaultServer/apps create a war directory, and inside it an orbeon directory. Uncompress the Orbeon Forms war into that orbeon directory. Open WLP/usr/servers/defaultServer/server.xml in an editor, inside the <server> root element, add the following two lines. The first lines declared the Orbeon Form app. The second disables automatic application redeployment when files in Orbeon Forms war file change. You need this as by default Form Runner uses the embedded eXist database, which writes to WEB-INF/exist-data, inside the Orbeon Forms war, which would trigger the app to restart as data is written to disk.

    <application id="orbeon" name="orbeon" location="war/orbeon" type="war"/>
    <applicationMonitor updateTrigger="disabled"/>

  4. Testing your installation – Check the console: you should see the that Orbeon Forms was deployed successfully. Then access http://localhost:9080/orbeon/home/, and you should see the Orbeon Forms home page. If you start WebSphere from the WLP/bin directory, as mentioned on step 2, you will find the Orbeon Forms log file in WLP/usr/servers/logs/orbeon.log.
[SINCE Orbeon Forms 4.3] To setup a JDBC, for instance here for Oracle:
  1. Install the database driver – Create a directory WLS/usr/servers/defaultServer/lib, and inside it place the database driver jar file, for instance ojdbc6_g.jar. On WebSphere, Orbeon Forms requires a JDBC 4 driver (e.g. for Oracle , use ojdbc6_g.jar or ojdbc6.jar but not ojdbc5_g.jar or ojdbc5.jar).

  2. Setup a datasource in WebSphere – Open your WLP/usr/servers/defaultServer/server.xml in an editor. Your server.xml should look like the one below.  The jdbc-4.0 feature in included, a top level library is declared pointing to the driver jar (in this case ojdbc6_g.jar), a datasource is defined, and the JNDI name set to jdbc/oracle, and both the data source and the application point to the same top level library, which is particularly important so WebSphere loads the driver classes with a single shared class loader.

    <server description="new server">


        <httpEndpoint id="defaultHttpEndpoint"
                      httpsPort="9443" />

        <library id="oracle-lib">
            <fileset dir="lib" includes="ojdbc6_g.jar"/>

        <dataSource id="oracle-ds" jndiName="jdbc/oracle" type="javax.sql.DataSource">
            <jdbcDriver libraryRef="oracle-lib" id="oracle-driver"/>
            <connectionManager numConnectionsPerThreadLocal="10" id="ConnectionManager" minPoolSize="1"/>
            < user="orbeon" password="password"

        <applicationMonitor updateTrigger="disabled"/>

        <application id="orbeon" name="orbeon" location="war/orbeon" type="war">
            <classloader delegation="parentLast" commonLibraryRef="oracle-lib"/>


  3. Setup the datasource the Orbeon Forms web app – In WLP/usr/servers/defaultServer/apps/war/orbeon/WEB-INF create a file ibm-web-bnd.xml with the following content:

        <virtual-host name="default_host"/>
        <resource-ref name="jdbc/oracle" binding-name="jdbc/oracle"/>

    Then, edit the web.xml in the same directory, and uncomment the <resource-ref>, which should look as follows:


  4. Setup Form Runner – If you're doing this setup so Form Runner (i.e. the forms you create with Form Builder) stores data in a relational database, then you also need to add the following property to instruct Form Runner to use the appropriate persistence implementation. The value of the property will typically be oracle, mysql, or db2.

    <property as="xs:string"  name="*.*.*" value="oracle"/> 

GlassFish 3.1

On Glassfish, you need to do the following setup to avoid a with the message Password must not be null:
  1. Edit your domain's domain.xml (e.g. in domains/domain1/config/domain.xml).
  2. Search for the section of the file that contains <jvm-options> elements, and there, add: <jvm-options></jvm-options>. If you changed your Glassfish master password, set this property to your new password.

Installation and runtime issues

Session not found when running both Tomcat and WebLogic

This issue can also manifest itself with a dialog titled Session has expired. Unable to process incoming request. showing up as you try to interact with a form. This comes from the fact that Tomcat and WebLogic handle the JSESSIONID cookie used to track sessions differently:
  • Tomcat creates one JSESSIONID per web application, with the cookie path set to the context of the application. When an application invalidates the session, Tomcat sends a new JSESSIONID to the browser.
  • WebLogic stores one cookie JSESSIONID with cookie path / for all the applications. This cookie doesn't change when a session is invalidated, and hence there is no one-to-one mapping between a JSESSIONID cookie and a session in WebLogic.
The error can happen when:
  1. You first access your application deployed on /myapp with Tomcat. Tomcat sets a JSESSIONID cookie for /myapp.
  2. You then access your application on the same server deployed on /myapp with WebLogic. Tomcat sets a JSESSIONID cookie for /.
  3. In subsequent requests, the browser sends the Tomcat JSESSIONID as it is more specific (for /myapp instead of just /), but WebLogic doesn't recognize it, hence the error you're getting.
The solution is simply to clear in your browser all the JSESSIONID cookies for the host you are trying to access.