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From Robert Mouat <>
Subject Re: [Design] ContainerManager is under fire--let's find the best resolution
Date Fri, 07 Jun 2002 16:05:25 GMT

On Thu, 6 Jun 2002, Berin Loritsch wrote:


> interface ComponentManager
> {
>     Object lookup(String role);
>     Object lookup(String role, Object hint);
>     boolean exists(String role);
>     boolean exists(String role, Object hint);
> }
> If you notice, there are four distinct differences from the current
> ComponentManger:


> 4) We remove the release() method altogether.

With a combination of dynamic proxies and the Object.finalize() method
it should be possible to use the VM's garbage collector to release a
component.  This would allow the removal of the release() method, while
still guaranting that the component wasn't released until after the client
had finished using it.

how this would work:

- cm.lookup() returns a dynamic proxy implementing the interfaces of
the desired component.  This proxy will pass all interface calls onto
the real component.

- neither the container nor the component manager keep a reference to
the proxy (they are allowed a weak reference -- but we want the VM's
GC to tell us when the client nolonger holds a reference to it.

- the client uses the component (transparently via the proxy).

- when the client loses all references to the proxy the GC will call
the finalize() method on the proxy.  This method will do what the
cm.release() method currently does.

[note: it is the proxy that gets garbage collected, not the component]

how the code might look:

  class ReleasingProxy implements java.lang.reflect.InvocationHandler

    private Object component;

    public ReleasingProxy( Object o )
      component = o;

    public Object invoke( Object proxy, Method method, Object[] args ) 
      throws Throwable
        return method.invoke( component, args );
      catch ( InvocationTargetException e )
        throw e.getTargetException();

    protected void finalize()
      // code from cm.release() goes here.


in the lookup code 'return component;' can be replaced with:

  // may want to filter out the lifecycle interfaces...
  // they don't hurt, but it might be nice if they weren't
  // exposed to the client
  Class[] interfaces = component.getClass().getInterfaces();

  return java.lang.reflect.Proxy.newProxyInstance(
      new ReleasingProxy( component )

[note: the ReleasingProxy will probably also need a reference to the
Container for doing the release]


- everything happens transparently to the client and component.

- the release code is only called after the client has lost all
references to the proxy (this actually makes it safer than using


- the release code is only called after the client has lost all
references to the proxy.

- relies on the VM's GC to return the component to the pool, and it is
unclear how long this will take.  [I don't know much about GC
implementations, but theoretically if there are no circular references
the reference count could become 0 and the VM could remove the object

- requires JDK 1.3+


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