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Part 5 - Script Pattern

See Source Code for how to find the module containing the source of these examples.

We have seen how mapping provides a number of powerful patterns to be brought to bear on software architecture. In this part we explore what happens to programming languages when we place them in the ROC domain. We'll use the mapper to invoke scripts.

In the module.xml file we now move to the rootspace declaration for urn:org:netkernel:tutorial:basics:part5a. It looks like this :

<rootspace uri="urn:org:netkernel:tutorial:basics:part5a" public="true">
          <argument name="operator">res:/tutorial/basics/part5/script.gy</argument>
          <argument name="path">arg:path</argument>

Play Time

The mapper in space 5a is configured to map requests in the path res:/tutorial/basics/part5a/ to a groovy script that replicates the simple Java accessor code we saw earlier...

Click this link to try it out: http://localhost:8080/tutorial/basics/part5a/hello.txt


The mapper and its grammar are as we have seen before. However, the declarative request that is constructed is a little richer...

  <argument name="operator">res:/tutorial/basics/part5/script.gy</argument>
  <argument name="path">arg:path</argument>

We see that it is constructing a request that matches the syntax for the active:groovy - so this mapping results in a request to the active:groovy language runtime. The statically defined operator argument is res:/tutorial/basics/part5/script.gy - this is the script we wish the groovy runtime to execute when requested. Looking at the mapper overlay space we see that it has a static fileset declaration for files in the directory /tutorial/basics/part5/ (it also imports urn:org:netkernel:lang:groovy which is the space that provides the groovy runtime service).

If you examine the file script.gy in the part5/ directory you will see...

url=context.source("httpRequest:/url", String.class);
method=context.source("httpRequest:/method", String.class);
result="Hello Script World"+
                            "\nRequest Identifier = "+context.getThisRequest().getIdentifier()+
                            "\npath argument = "+context.getThisRequest().getArgumentValue("path")+
                            "\nHTTP Method = "+method+
                            "\nHTTP URL = "+url;

This code is very similar to the code we used in the Java accessor discussed earlier. However in this case there is no need to override any base class methods to receive the request. The groovy script starts executing immediately. Notice that the groovy runtime provides each script with a global context object - this is an instance of INKFRequestContext - therefore a script has exactly the same ability to interact with the ROC world as an Accessor.

Notice that it receives an argument "path" - this was conveyed by the mapper with reference to the grammar part "path" using "arg:path" statement in the declarative request.

Try editing the script and see how it is live dynamic code.

This example shows that language runtimes are uniformly treated in the ROC model. The mapper can map to a program as easily as to the filesystem or any other resource.

Code State Transfer

Hopefully you are beginning to see the big picture that the ROC abstraction provides a normalized world in which everything (files, the web, protocols, even code, ...) is a resource. Lets explore the idea that code is a resource just like any other.

Take a look at the alternative implementation of the demo provided in urn:org:netkernel:tutorial:basics:part5b. Notice that the operator argument declaration is now an inline fragment of XML...

Apart from a different response string it is the same script. Try it out...

Click this link to try it out: http://localhost:8080/tutorial/basics/part5b/hello.txt

So the first new thing to understand is that the mapper supports literal XML fragments as inline argument declarations - this can be very convenient.

But the bigger picture is that the groovy runtime doesn't know or care that its operator argument is inlined XML - it is invoked with an operator reference that points to the XML just as previously it received a referenced to the script file. The code is a resource in the address space - if you wished the code could itself be dynamically generated by another dynamic service !

One thing you may be wondering is how come the first example was a file and the second is an XML fragment - how do I know what type to pass to the groovy runtime ? Well this is where the power of transreptors come in to play. The groovy runtime actually doesn't care about what you think the form of the script resource is - internally it always wants to have the operator as compiled Java byte-code. Therefore it SOURCEs the operator as a CompiledGroovyRep - the groovy compiler transreptor located in the lang:groovy space responds to this request.

The compiler SOURCEs the script as a IDeterminateStringRepresentation - you should think of this as like a generic String (unfortunately String is final in Java so we cannot subclass it!). In the layer1 space we provide several transreptors that take primitive types and transrept them to DeterminateStrings. Therefore, even though the Groovy runtime knows only about its internal type, transreptor pipeline discovery allows it to receive script resources in practically any form.

This section has talked about Groovy as the language runtime. NetKernel supports many languages. It even provides active:java which is a language runtime that dynamically invokes Java!

Look at urn:org:netkernel:tutorial:basics:part5c and notice that it uses the active:java language runtime to dynamically execute the Accessor we statically defined in the earlier example.

  <argument name="class">tutorial.basics.part2.ServletPatternAccessor</argument>

Click this link to try it out: http://localhost:8080/tutorial/basics/part5c/hello.txt

Finally, and to give you food for thought, there's yet another example in urn:org:netkernel:tutorial:basics:part5d. Notice that this time the operator script is an inline data: URI. i.e. the code is the identifier!

<argument name="operator">data:text/plain,context.createResponseFrom("Turing%20Machine")</argument>

Click this link http://localhost:8080/tutorial/basics/part5d/hello.txt


In this section we showed how the mapper and language runtimes combine to create a rich dynamic system. We saw that code is a resource just like any other. We discovered that we are liberated from the constraint of any one language since ROC exists outside of programming language - we can choose our implementation languages like tools, based upon features or economic considerations such as the existing skill set of the development team.

Most significantly we demonstrated that code is a resource like any other.

Q.E.D we showed how ROC implements the scripting pattern.


  1. The ROC world's your oyster - go for it...

Big Picture Thoughts

The last example actually gives the true Computer Science story of what is happening with languages in ROC. It is possible to show that all of these examples are ROC equivalent - ROC raises all code up to a resource identifier expression (actually the general contextual identifier of space(s) + identifier). The evaluation of the identifier (Turing tape) leads to the reification of the resource representation !

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