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Better Faster Lighter Java [Electronic resources] - نسخه متنی

Justin Gehtland; Bruce A. Tate

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6.3 Plug-In Models

Many applications that need to be

extended use a model called a
plug-in. Both web browsers and web servers use
plug-ins to display specialized content. A plug-in is an application
component that can be installed into an existing application and
configured by nonprogrammers. These are the key elements of the


The plug-in must have

well-defined API. Within Java, you can expose the API through a Java
interface or abstract class. You need not expose the API through all
classes in your componentonly the classes that the base
application will call.


The implementation is a component or a group of Java classes that
work together.


Usually, plug-ins require specialized

by the base application.

Installation strategy

With Java, installation can be
surprisingly easy. Usually, an archive
(WAR, JAR, or EAR file) is placed in the appropriate path.

Most applications hard-wire services to objects or components that
use the service. You can't do that with a plug-in.
The calling application needs to know to look for the plug-in without
any compile-time knowledge about it. Let's put the
Inventor's Paradox into practice and generalize the
problem to include any service.

6.3.1 Plug-Ins at a Lower Level

You can generalize the plug-in model

to most configurable services. For
example, think about a typical J2EE application with a data access
object. For the DAO to work, you need to supply a data source. You
probably don't want to create and manage the data
source within the DAO because you've doubtless got
other DAOs and you'd like them to work together.
Within your application code, configure a data source and use it to
get a connection. Your application code will then somehow get the
connection to your DAO. Most developers choose a hard-wired approach:

J2EE developers love singletons (static classes
with one instance). You might store the data source in a singleton
and let your DAO get a fresh connection through the data source
stored in the common singleton. Like global variables, the singleton
approach can backfire by building dependencies between major
components and harming testability.

You might designate application code as a data manager to manage that
data source. Then clients of a DAO can access the data manager to get
a connection and pass it directly to the DAO as needed.

Either way, you have a hardwired connection. The application code
drives implementations of a DAO, data source, and connection (Figure 6-7). This approach is sound but limited.

Figure 6-7. Some traditional J2EE applications have application logic that controls implementations of a DAO, a data source, and a connection

Both solutions have fundamental drawbacks. You must couple ideas that
do not belong together. In this case, you couple the ideas of a data
source, a connection, and a DAO together. You leave it to the
application programmer to tediously manage and coordinate the
resources. For example, the application needs to open and close
connections appropriately. Further, the application is now hardcoded
to use specific implementations of each of these three ideas. You
need to change code to change the services that the application uses.

Good developers solve this problem with one or two mechanisms: the
service locator or dependency
injection (also called inversion of
control). Both approaches work, but one does a better job
of insulating configuration and extension from the developer. Service locators

The most common J2EE solution is to add a layer of abstraction called
a service locator. As you've probably seen, this
design pattern lets you register a data source in a hash table,
database, or other data store. Applications combine the managing code
to find and configure it into a single service called the service
locator. Service providers can implement similar services at the
interface level so that users can potentially replace like services
with less impact. This idea does save some of the administrative
burden and decouple your application from other concepts. But instead
of completely decoupling the concepts, the burden simply shifts to a
different componentbecause the application must still register
services with the locator.

This design pattern is the fundamental driver behind JNDI. As with
most design patterns, the service locator is a workaround for
limitations within J2EE. It's an often-cumbersome
way of solving the problem that relies on code rather than
configuration, which is potentially limiting. Inversion of control

Another possibility is an inversion of control container. Figure 6-8 shows the implementation. You can have the
application programmer code an individual Java bean for the DAO and
identify key services. The programmer identifies necessary services
and specifies individual fields for those services, such as a data
source. The programmer can then build a configuration file,
describing how to create and populate individual instances. The
configuration file resolves dependencies at that time through data
provided in the configuration file. For example, the DAO needs a data
source, which it can query for a connection. The assembler reads the
configuration file and creates a data source and a DAO, then wires
them together simply by using Java reflection to set a parameter. You
can see why many people prefer the term dependency
injection to inversion of control.

Figure 6-8. Lightweight inversion of control containers relieve applications of creation and assembly of objects.

Keep in mind that the inversion of control container does do some
work for you, but your objects can live without it. This capability
comes in handy as you build test cases. For example, to test the
application in Figure 6-8, create a data source and
provide it to your DAO manually. Your bean doesn't
depend on an individual data source or on Spring. The end result is a
decoupled object that's easy to code, test, extend,
and use.

6.3.2 The Role of Interfaces

Interfaces play a critical role in

design philosophy. You can treat each service (or resource) as an
interface. If a bean uses a resource, it relies on an interface
rather than a base class with inheritance. You can then configure it
to use any bean that implements that interface.

If this isn't clear to you, think of the metaphor
that gave the plug-in its nameelectrical appliances. A
description of the plug is an interface (it has a positive and
negative lead and a ground, for instance). You can build applications
(appliances), or sockets (services), based on the interface. The
applicationsuch as an electric drillimplements the
interface as a plug. You can now use the appliance with any socket
that supports that interface. In the same way, you can use a
different service with any application that supports the interface.

To take it one step further, a skilled person can take:

Appliances from around the world (like irons and hair driers)

An adapter kit that works only with certain plugs and sockets

The adapter kit's instruction manual

Sockets in a hotel

Given these building blocks, that person could use the instruction
manual to wire the appliances together for use in hotels around the
world. That's the role of dependency injection. It
takes a configuration file (the instruction manual) and inserts plugs
(Java beans implementing interfaces) into sockets (typed fields of
applications that code to that interface).

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