commons-issues mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From "Gavin Lei (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Created] (SCXML-159) Flex/ActionScript SCXML engine project proposal (need mentor)
Date Thu, 31 Mar 2011 03:42:09 GMT
Flex/ActionScript SCXML engine project proposal (need mentor)

                 Key: SCXML-159
             Project: Commons SCXML
          Issue Type: Task
         Environment: Flex/Actionscript support Flash Player, all OS
            Reporter: Gavin Lei

The Problem
Flex/ActionScript has been widely used to develop some cartoon applications, which executes
a character or something moving on the computer screen. Recently, I noticed that State Chart
XML seems to be a good solution for this kind of application, because it can control state
and transition very well. Unfortunately, I was not able to get any good ActionScript based
SCXML engine. I advise that it would make sense to develop such a kind of actionscript based
SCXML engine to help with executing a state machine defined using a SCXML document.

The Proposal
Our team began to make it happen, and named the project SCXML4Flex. It has launch to implement
many SCXML elements, such as scxml, state, transition, final, history, parallel, onentry,
onexit, data, invoke, log, assign, raise, script, cancel, param, send,if, elseif, else and
finish CustomAction support. Currently, it is a usable ActionScript SCXML engine, which can
handler basic SCXML service. You could check SCXML4Flex demos here.

SCXML4Flex is still in its infancy, and it will have a long way to go in order to be perfect.
There are four parts to work on in the future as follow: Basic element implementation, XInclude
support, XPath support and Event IO processor.

Future Plan
1. Basic elements implementation
SCXML4Flex has already implemented many elements for SCXML already, but we should go head
in this way, there are still some elements that were not implemented yet:

validate element
donedate element
content element
param element
finalize element
Note: Implementation of donedate,content,param,finalize elements are some kind of depended
on the implementation of Event IO processor.
2. System variables implementation
The Data Module maintains a protected portion of the data model containing information that
may be useful to applications. We refer the items in this special part of the data model as
'system variables'. Implementations must provide the following system variables:

The set of system variables may be expanded in future versions of this specification. Variable
names beginning with _ are reserved for system use. Developers must not use ids beginning
with _ in the < data > element. We can check here to get more information about system
3. XInclude support
We usually use XInclude to merge several XML document into one whole document.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<data xmlns:xi="">
                <item><xi:include href="books.xml" xpointer="/bookstore/book[1]/title"/></item>
                <item><xinclude href="books.xml" xpointer="/bookstore/book/price/text()"/></item>
                <item><xinclude href="books.xml" xpointer="/bookstore/book[price>35]/price"/></item>
                <item><xi:include href="books.xml" xpointer="/bookstore/book[price>35]/title"/></item>
        <item>data 1</item>
        <item>data 2</item>
        <xinclude href="Test2Doc.xml" xpointer="/path/to/evaluate"/>
        <xi:include href="Test2Doc.xml" xpointer="//*"/>
XInclude includes several attribute, XPointer is the most difficult part for us. I think we
can choose a open source XPath engine and finish XPointer and XInclude implementation base
on it.

4. XPath support
XPath plays a significant role in any XML document and also in SCMXL document.

4.1 The XPath Data Model in SCXML
In SCXML's XPath data model, XPath 2.0 expressions are used to select a node-set from the
data model by providing a binding expression. The following example illustrates this usage:

<state id="errorSwitch">
    <data id="cities">
      <list xmlns="">
        <city id="nyc" count="0">New York</city>
        <city id="bos" count="0">Boston</city>
    <assign location="$cities/list/city[@id='nyc']/@count" expr="1"/>
4.2 Conditional Expressions in SCXML
XPath 2.0 expressions used in conditional expressions, which are converted into their effective
boolean value as described XPath 2.0 specification. The following example illustrates this

<state id="errorSwitch" xmlns:fn="">
    <data id="time"/>
    <assign location="$time" expr="fn:current-dateTime()"/>
  <transition cond="fn:year-from-dateTime($time) > 2009" target="newBehavior"/>
  <transition target="currentBehavior"/>
In this section, we should finish all the XPath 2.0 functions implementation job and I have
started this part of job, working for functions implementation, we can check here to get XPath
2.0 functions implementation progress.

4.3 XPath in XInclude
As we mentioned above, XInclude use XPath to build XPointer element.

5. Event IO processor
SCXML's Event I/O Processors is individed into three components.

5.1 SCXML Event I/O Processor
The SCXML Event I/O Processor is intended to transport messages in a specific format to and
from SCXML sessions. Here is a message with an XML payload generated by <send> with
a 'namelist':

  <data id="email" expr="''"/>
  <data id="content" expr="''"/>
  <data id="xmlcontent">
    <headers xmlns="">
      <subject>Example email</subject>

<send id="send-123"
      type="scxml" event="email.send"
      namelist="email content xmlcontent"
      hints="Email headers"/>
Here is the actual XML message that will be sent over platform-specific transport and converted
into an event in the target SCXML session:

<scxml:message sendid="send-123" name="email.send">
    <scxml:property name="email"></scxml:property>
    <scxml:property name="content"></scxml:property>
    <scxml:property name="xmlcontent">
      <scxml:hint>Email headers</scxml:hint>
      <headers xmlns="">
        <subject>Example email</subject>
Here is sample SCXML code to process that event in the receiving SCXML session. In this example
<my:email> is platform-specific executable content that sends an email:

<scxml:transition event="email.send">
  <my:email to="data('_event')/scxml:property[@name='email']"
5.2 Basic HTTP Event I/O Processor
The Basic HTTP Event I/O Processor is intended as a minimal interoperable mechanism for sending
and receiving events between external components and SCXML 1.0 implementations. Support for
the Basic HTTP Event I/O Processor is optional, but implementations that implement this processor
must support sending and receiving messages in the SCXML message format using it().

5.3 DOM Event I/O Processor
The DOM Event I/O processor handles communication between SCXML markup and markup in other
namespaces in mixed-markup XML documents. An example of this would be a document containing
both SCXML and HTML markup. In such a case, each language retains its own context and its
own independent semantics. (For example, SCXML's event processing algorithm is not affected
by the fact that there is HTML markup elsewhere in the document.) It is however useful for
the two languages to be able to communicate by sending events back and forth, so that the
HTML markup can notify SCXML when the user clicks on a button, and the SCXML markup can notify
HTML when it is time to place a certain field in focus, etc. The DOM Event I/O processor handles
this communication by means of DOM Events DOMEvents, which are a 
general means for information propagation in XML documents.

Some useful links:


Mentorship needed:

I have started my job for months, and have confidence to finish it during this summer, but
i need an Apache committer to be my mentor, work with me together,if anyone of you guys are
interested, please email me, thank you, my email is

This message is automatically generated by JIRA.
For more information on JIRA, see:

View raw message