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From Pierre-Arnaud Marcelot <>
Subject Re: [API] Experimenting OSGI fragments to solve the extensibility issue
Date Wed, 19 Oct 2011 19:13:31 GMT
Hi Göktürk,

Le 19 oct. 2011 à 19:05, "Göktürk Gezer" <> a écrit :

Hi Pierre,

On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 6:36 PM, Pierre-Arnaud Marcelot <>wrote:

> Hi Dev,
> Following our efforts on the OSGI side, I took some time to think about
> (and experiment) how we could solve our extensibility issue on the LDAP API,
> where we want our users to be able to provide their own custom
> implementation of various schema objects like comparators, normalizers, etc.
> After a quick discussion with Emmanuel and Guillaume Nodet, it turned out
> using OSGI fragments bundles could probably be our best solution.
Hmm, may not be the best, see below.

> Here's a definition of what an OSGI fragment bundle is (more information
> available at [1]):
> "An OSGi fragment is a Java archive file with specific manifest headers
> that enable it to attach to a specified host bundle or specified host
> bundles in order to function.
> Fragments are treated as part of the host bundles. Relevant definitions of
> the fragment are merged with the host bundles definitions before the host is
> resolved, as long as the information does not conflict.
> Fragment dependencies are resolved if possible. If the fragment
> dependencies can not be resolved, the fragment does not attach to the host
> bundle.
> A fragment can not have its own class loader or bundle activator. It can
> not override the information present in the host bundles. Fragments extend
> bundles with resources, classes, and permitted headers enabling you to
> customize your bundles."
Yes, fragments are merged with their host and they left up in the framework
as just resolved, no active state at all. Everything it imports/exports
become host's imports/exports.

> The great thing about fragments is that they *share* the same class loader
> as their host bundle. Which was pretty much the kind of issue we were having
> with classloaders being differents from one bundle to the other.


> The other great thing I see with this approach, it that it would also work
> great outside of an OSGI container application (which is a strong
> requirement for the LDAP API). A fragment bundle is nothing else than a
> regular bundle with a specific OSGI directive (Fragment-Host) added to its
> MANIFEST.MF file, and a bundle behaves exactly like a plain jar file when
> it's not included in an OSGI container. Thus, it would allow us to support
> third parties extensions.
It would only allow 3th parties to support their own extensions. Why?.
Because being able to classload the 3th party classes is only half of the
story. We must also know that they've arrived and we must know what has been
arrived. Otherwise we have to hard code their name, ant it is not case in
3th party scenario. Once the fragment is merged with the host, we can class
load them inside host and some other bundle having access to that fragments
specific package? But how do we enforce that package names and class names
across 3th parties?

Actually, that's exactly how it works at the moment. The fully qualified
name of the class is available and read from the schema ldif files. That's
how we get the other half of the story.
If someone wants to extend the schema with a new comparator, for example, it
needs to provide the class and edit the schema to declare the new

I have done a small experiment in my Eclipse workspace with two bundles (one
> being the host and the other being the fragment ) and I was able to
> classload, without any classloader issue, a class defined in the fragment
> bundle from another class inside the host bundle.
Did you do it while knowing the class name on the fragment bundle, or not
knowing the class name at all?

Yep, indeed.

I'd like to go a step further and experiment this on the API itself.
> Ideally, I'd like to use the 'shared-ldap-model' module
> ('' bundle) as a host for all our
> schema objects implementations and move these implementations into a
> specific fragment bundle containing them all.
> Users would have to do the same to include their extensions. A simple
> fragment bundle with the '' bundle as
> host and it works.
Yes it works for us, but for some body writing his own classes, we must
dynamically know they've arrived.


> One other thing that should be done, is to let the 'shared-ldap-model'
> module do the instanciation of the schema elements. At the moment, two
> classes from the 'shared-ldap-schema-data' module are responsible for this,
> '' and
> ''. We
> would need to move these classes to the 'shared-ldap-model' module, for them
> to have access to the right class loader.
> All in all, I think that's the only things we need to do to get the
> extensibility we wanted inside and outside an OSGI container.
It may bring us to somewhere but not even close to real goals IMO. We can
use them to provide in-house extensions, but when it comes to 3th parties,
it won't be so easy to use that fragments comnig from them inside Shared or

Sure, this is some very basic extensibility but it matches perfectly our
needs for the API. On the ApacheDS side, it's another story and we might
probably need something better and more complex.


What do you think of this plan?
> Regards,
> Pierre-Arnaud
> [1] -


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