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From Stephen McConnell <mcconn...@osm.net>
Subject Re: Merlin/Fortress update ?
Date Fri, 02 Aug 2002 07:48:42 GMT

Marcus Crafter wrote:

>What's the latest on the Merlin/Fortress merger ? Was there any
>progress there while I was away ?
The latest Merlin news is the completion of pluggable lifecycle 

The extension framework is fully incorporated in the component model - 
components can declare a dependency on a lifecycle extension provider 
via a <phase> declaration in the component type model.  For example:


          <reference type="org.apache.excalibur.playground.Exploitable" 
          <reference type="org.apache.excalibur.playground.Demonstratable"/>


Declaration of a <phase/> is similar to the declaration of a service 
dependency in that phase providers are managed by the Merlin container 
as dependencies of the target component.  In the above example, two 
lifecycle extension dependencies are being declare.  The type attribute 
declares the lifecycle interface implemented by the component - its up 
to the container to resolve an appropriate lifecycle extension to 
provide this to the target component when handling component instantiation.

Lifecycle handlers are declared as extension of the "classic" component 
type definition.  Here is an example of a lifecycle handler.  It 
publishes its ability to handle a phase via an <extension/> element.  
The container is responsible for locating extension providers based on 
the matching of the <phase> type attribute with an 
<extension><reference/> type attribute.  Selection of an extension 
handler is identical to the selection of a service dependency.  This 
means that multiple candidate extensions can exist within a singe 
classloader scope.



  Declaration of the lifecycle support phases that this manager provides.

    Each extension has a name, a versioned interface reference, and optional
    <extension stage="ALL">
      <reference type="org.apache.excalibur.playground.Demonstratable" 
        <attribute key="status" value="experimental"/>



Other important points are that a extension provider can declare its own 
phase dependencies and also classic service dependencies.  Merlin will 
take care of the ordering of component establishment based on the phase 
and service dependencies that the component publishes. 

Extension providers must implement the following interface:


The interface declares the operation "extend( int stage, Object object, 
Context context ) which will be invoked by the Merlin container during 
the appropriate stages.  Merlin defines a number of stages that can be 
associated with an extension provider.  Merlin will only invoke extend 
if the provider declares that it supports the particular stage.

Standard stages include the following:

   CREATE    invoked immediately before initialization
   ACCESS    invoked immediate before lookup
   RELEASE   invoked immediately before release
   DESTROY   invoked immediately before dispose
   INNER     equivalent to ACCESS + RELEASE
   OUTER     equivalinet to CREATE + DESTROY
   ALL       equivalent to INNER + OUTER

Demonstration of extension declaration and phase declaration is included 
in the org.apache.excalibur.playground package (see assembly/demo) - in 
particular, the DemoManager, ExpliotationManager (both examples of 
extension providers), and SimpleComponent - a multi-phase phase consumer.

Cheers, Steve.


Stephen J. McConnell

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