APAM/APAM Details/APAM Components

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Apam is based on the concept of component. Components can be of three types: Specification, Implementations and Instances, which share most of their characteristics.


Figure 1 : APAM State Metamodel


A specification is a first class object that defines a set of provided and required resources (in the Java sense). Complete compositions can be designed and developed only in term of specifications.

<specification name="S2" interfaces="apam.test.S2, apam.test.AB" 
                          messages="apam.test.M1, apam.Test.M2" >

The example shows how are declared specifications. Specification S2 provides two interfaces, apam.test.S2 and apam.test.AB and produces two messages of type apam.test.M1 and apam.Test.M2. Requires resources will be discussed later !!!!!!!.


An implementation is related by an “implements” relationship with one and only one specification. An implementation is an executable entity (in Java) that implements all the resources defined by its associated specification, and that requires at least the resources required by its associated specification.

In practice, an implementation must define a main class that implements (in the Javasense) the interfaces of its specification.

<implementation name="S2Impl" specification="S2" 
                              message-methods="produceM1, produceM2"
                              interfaces="apam.test.AC" >	

In this example, the implementation S2Impl implements specification S2 and therefore provides the same interfaces (apam.test.S2 and apam.test.AB) and messages (apam.test.M1 and apam.Test.M2 ) as S2, additionally it also provides interface apam.test.AC and message apam.test.M3. Message field will be discussed alter.


An instance is related by an instanceOf relationship with one and only one implementation. An instance is a run-time entity, represented in the run-time platform (OSGi) as a set of Java objects, one of which is an instance (in the Java sense) of its associated main class implementation.

In the underlying service platform, an instance can be seen as a set of services, one for each of the associated specification resource; in Apam it is an object. Instances are essentially created automatically at run-time, but they can also be declared, as follows:

<instance name="InstS2Impl" implementation="S2Impl" >
	<property name="XY" value="false" >

When the bundle containing this declaration will be loaded, an instance called InstS2Impl of implementation S2Impl will be created with the properties indicated (here XY=false).

The group concept

As shown in the metamodel, components are related by a “group-members” relationship. A specification is a group whose members are implementations, and an implementation is a group whose members are instances.

A group-member relationship establishes a de facto inheritance between the group and its members. More precisely, all the characteristics of the group (its properties, its provided and requires resources) are automatically inherited by all its members, like in a class-instance relationship.

Component life cycle

During execution, in Apam, a component has a single state: it is either existing (and therefore available and active), or non-existing.

Callback method

Callback methods are called when a component "appears" in the platform i.e. the component is explicitly created, it is installed in OSGi, or it is discovered using a discovery protocol. Call back methods are declared in the implementation as follow:

<implementation name="S1Impl" classname="XY.java" specification="S1" shared="false">
   <callback onInit="start" onRemoved="stop" />

The Java program must contain methods start and stop (names are fully arbitrary):

	    public void start () { }
/*or*/	    public void start (Instance inst) { }
	    public void stop () {}

The method declared as the "onInit" flag ("start" in the example) is called when the component appears; the method declared as the "onRemoved" flag ("stop" in the example) is called when the component disappears. The onInit method can have, as parameter, the actual Apam instance (this == inst.getServiceObject()).

Property Management

Properties are pairs (name, value), name is a string, and value is a typed singleton. Names and values are case sensitive.

Property definition

Properties are typed; the available types are: string, integer, boolean or enumeration. A definition is as follows:

<specification name=”S1” ….
   <definition name="hostName" type="string" />
   <definition name="speed" type="int" />
   <definition name="location" type="living, kitchen, bedroom" value="bedroom" />
   <definition name="OS" type="Linux, Windows, Android, IOS" />

A definition can include a default value, as for “location” above. An enumeration is a comma separated list of string. Values must not contain coma. White-spaces are ignored around the commas. A definition in a component is used to set that property to its members. For example the definitions above can be instantiated on any implementation of specification “S1” or on instances of “S1” if the implementation did not instantiate the property, as for example, “hostname”, or “location” if that property makes sense only on instances. A property name cannot be one of the Apam final properties .

A property i.e. a pair (name, value) can be instantiated on a component C, if the property is defined in the C group, or in any group above of C and not instantiated, and if the value matches the property type. Instantiation can be performed in the component definition as in the following example, by API when creating the component, or by API calling the method “C.setProperty (String name, String value)”.

<implementation name="S1Impl" classname="XY.java" specification="S1" shared="false">
   <property name="shared" value="false" />
   <property name="location" value="living" />
   <definition name="fieldAttr" field="myField" internal="true" type=”int” value=”2”/></implementation>

In this implementation, the attribute “fieldAttr” is associated with the field myField in the java source code of class “XY.java”. By default (internal=”false”) the value of the attribute and the value of the java field are synchronized, both ways (it can be set either by the XY class, assigning a value to the variable, of by the Apam API using the method “setProperty (“fieldAttr”, “aValue”)”. If internal=”true”, only the program can set the attribute value, but the attribute value is visible. If a value is indicated, it will be the initial value of the variable, even if internal.

As an exception, since specification do not have group, the property type is provided in the property itself:

<specification name="S1" interfaces="…"  >
   <property name="S1-Enum" value="v1" type="v1, v2, v3"/>
   <property name="S1-Attr" value="Hello" type="string"/></specification>

In this example, the only valid properties for S1 are S1-Enum and S1-Attr, and they are inherited by all S1 implementations and instances.

Property inheritance

As for any characteristics, a component inherits the attributes instantiates on its group (and recursively). An inherited property cannot be set or changed; it is updated if it changes in the group.

Technical Domain properties

The technical domain (i.e. Specification, Implementation, Instances) define a few properties which semantics has been defined by Apam core. These properties are defined at the specification level. If defined with the same syntax as domain specific properties they are the following: • <definition name=”shared” type =”boolean” value=”true” /> share=”true” means that the associated instances can have more than one incoming wire. share= “false” means that each instance can have at most one incoming wire. • <definition name=”singleton” type=”boolean” value=”false” /> Singleton=”false” means that each implementaiotn can have more than one instance. singleton=”true” mean that the implementation can have at most one instance. • <definition name=”instanciable” type=”boolean” value=”false” /> instanciable =”false” means that implementations can have more than one instance. instanciable =”true” mean that implementations can have at most one instance.

These properties are indicated in the component tag :

<specification name="S2" singleton="false" instantiable="false" shared="false" interfaces="apam.test…." 	>

For user convenience, these properties, as well as some final properties, are generated as domain specific attributes. It allows users to use these attributes in filters.

Compilation and repositories

Any component definition can make references to other components (provided resources, dependencies, property definitions and so on). In order to compile a component, the definition of these other Apam components must made available to be read. Apam does its best to synchronize the Maven and the Obr repositories when compiling. By default, these definitions will be searched in the default Maven repository which is supposed to contain the OBR repository (i.e. the “repository.xml” file). If using the maven plugins in the usual way, there is nothing to indicate to Apam.

OBR repositories

For advanced users, if you indicate in your component .pom different Maven repositories in which your bundle will be deployed, and different OBR repositories in directories different from the Maven directories, you must also provide the information to Apam. The Obr repository can be set for in the component .pom, in the “maven-bundle-plugin” using the <obrRepository> tag as follows:


Apam Maven Plugin

Apam will use the same repository, nothing more is needed if all the components are in this repository. However, if more than one repository are needed, you should use the <dependencyObrList> tag in the “ApamMavenPlugin “ as follows:

	 <param>http:/…. /repository.xml</param>
	 <param>https:… </param>

The <noLocalObr> tag indicates if the Maven local repository should be considered. By default the value is false.

At compilation, the Apam Maven plug-in adds in the OBR repository all the attributes initialized, the default values and the final attributes, exactly in the same way as found in Apam ASM. Therefore the filter indicated in a resolution can find the right component, in the same way, in the ASM or in the Obr repository. The Apam Maven plug-in also adds in the OBR repository the dependency toward the provided specification, along with the right version.

Execution and OBR repositories

At execution, Apam (more exactly managers like OBRMan), can deploy dynamically Apam components (more exactly the bundles containing these components) potentially from remote repositories. These managers receive their model each time a composite type is deployed, and should resolve the dependencies with respect to the current composite type model. In the special case of ObrMan, the model associated with composite type “Compo” is found in the directory “${basedir}/src/main/resources/Compo.ObrMan.cfg”.

That file has the following syntax:

LocalMavenRepository = [true | false]
DefaultOSGiRepositories = [true | false]
Repositories=http:/……../repository.xml \
 File:/F:/…… \
Composites=S1CompoMain CompoXY …

Attribute LocalMavenRepository is a Boolean meaning if yes or not, the local Maven repository, if existing, should be considered. Attribute DefaultOSGiRepositories is a Boolean meaning if yes or not, the Obr repository mentioned in the OSGi configuration should be considered. Attribute Repositories is a list, space separated, of OBR repository files to consider. The order of this list defines the priority of the repositories. Attribute Composites is a list, space separated, of Apam composite types. It means that the repositories defined for that composite type should be considered. The order of this list defines the priority of composites repositories. These composites must be present in Apam at the time the composite is installed, they are ignored otherwise.

The list of repositories defined by this file is the list of repositories to associate with that composite type.

The order of the attributes in the file defines the priority in which the resolution will be done by the OBR, for example:

In this model:


First, we will check the LocalMavenRepository, then DefaultOSGiRepositories then Repositories and finally Composites.

The default models associated with the Apam root composite type are found in the OSGi platform under directory “./conf/root.OBRMAN.cfg”. If this file is missing, its content is assumed to be LocalMavenRepository=true DefaultOSGiRepositories=true. For composites types that do not indicate an OBRMAN.cfg model, ObrMan uses the root model.

Apam relies on the OBR mechanism for dynamically deploying the bundles containing the required packages. For that reason the Apam Maven plug-in adds in the OBR repository the dependency toward the Apam specifications, along with the right version.

Dependency Management and Resolution strategies

The traditional resource management strategy is to first gather all the resources needed by an application before starting it. Unfortunately, in our context, between time t0 at which a service s is started and time t1 at which it needs a service provider P, many things may occur. P may be non-existing at t0, but created before t1; P may be unavailable or used at t0 but released before t1; a provider of P (say p1) may be available at t0 but at t1 it is another provider (say p2) that is available. Therefore, each service (and applications) should get the resources it needs only when they are really needed. Conversely, resources must be released as soon as possible because they may be needed by other services. It is the lazy strategy. Therefore Apam is fully lazy by default. However, an eager strategy can be imposed by the composite (see XXX).

We call resolution the process by which a client finds the service provider (an instance) it requires.

In Apam, a dependency is defined towards a component (specification, implementation or instance) or a resource (an interface or a message) defined by their name, constraints and preferences (see the metamodel above). If the dependency is defined toward a component, the resolution consists first in finding that component and then to select one of its member satisfying the constraints and preferences, and recursively until to find the instance(s). If the dependency is defined toward a resource, the resolution consists in finding a component providing that resource and satisfying the constraints and preferences, and recursively until to find the instance(s). If no instance satisfies the constraint but an implementation is available, an instance is created; otherwise the resolution fails. The components are found either in the platform (the currently running services), or in a repository, local or distant (OBR, Maven, …). Since the component description is the same in all repositories, including the platform, the same constraints and preferences apply indifferently in all repositories. The available repositories are per composite, (see “Execution and OBR repositories” above). If found in a repository, the selected component is transparently deployed and instantiated; therefore, for the client developer, it makes no difference if the component is found in the machine or in any repository. Conceptually, all the components are in the machine (like between the virtual memories and the physical memory).

Nevertheless it is always possible for a resolution to fail i.e. no convenient implementation or instance can be found, in that case, by default, null is returned to the client i.e. the client code must check its variable before any use, which is relevant only if the dependency is optional. On all the other cases, the client would like to assume that its variable is always conveniently initialized. The strategy in this case is controlled by the “fail” property associated with dependencies. For example:

<dependency specification=”S2” field=”s2” id=”fastS2” fail= “wait” | “exception” exception=”fr.imag. ….failedException” />

Fail= “wait” means that if the resolution fails, the client current thread is halted. When a convenient provider appears, the client thread is resumed with its dependency resolved against that provider. Therefore, the client code can always rely on a satisfactory resolution, but may have to wait. Fail =”exception” mean that, if the dependency fails, an exception is thrown, as defined in the exception tag. If no user exception is defined the Apam default ”ResolutionException” is thrown. The source code is supposed to catch that exception. Exception=”Exception class” mean that, if the dependency fails, the associated exception is thrown. The Exception class must be exported in order for Apam to see the class (using the Admin), and to throw the exception.

If, for any reason (failure, disconnection, …) the instance used by a dependency disappears, Apam simple removed the wire, and a new resolution of that dependency will be intended at the next use of the associated variable. It means that dynamic substitution is the default behavior.

Dependency cardinality

A “simple” dependency is associated with a simple variable in the Java code. At any point in time, the variable points to zero or one provider. A multiple dependency is associated with a variable that is a collection i.e. an “array”, a “Set”, a “Vector” or a “List”. Such a dependency therefore leads to a set of service providers. When the dependency is resolved for the first Apam, the dependency is associated with all the instances implementing the required resources, available at the time of resolution. If none are available, one is instantiated if possible, the resolution fails otherwise.

<dependency specification="S3Compile" id="S3Id" multiple=”true”>

<interface field="fieldS3" multiple=”true”/> <!— multiple is useless -->

The multiple attribute is very useful only for specification dependencies, since there is no other way, at that level, to know. For implementations, the field type (Collection or not) indicates if the dependency is multiple or not. If the field is a collection, the attribute multiple can be missing, it is assumed to be true, it can be set to true, but is cannot be false.

Once the dependency resolved, any new instance (of the right type) appearing in the system is automatically added to the set initially computed; similarly, each time an instance disappears, it is removed from the set of instances. This even can be captured in the program, if callbacks are indicated:

<dependency field="fieldT" added="newT" removed="removedT" />

In this example, if fieldT is a set of type T, the Java program must contain a method newT and removedT (names are fully arbitrary) :

	    Set<T> fieldT ;

	    public void newT (T t) { }
or	    public void newT (Instance inst) { }
	    public void removedT () {}
or	    public void removedT (Instance inst) {}

The method newT must have as parameter either an object of type T, or an object of type Instance (fr.imag.apam.Instance). This method is called each time an object (of type T) is added in the set of references, this object is the parameter. Similarly, the method removedT is called each time an object is removed from the set; it may have the Apam instance object as parameter (warning: it is an isolated object without a real instance inst.getServiceObject()==null) About messages, the newM1 method is called each time a new provider is added in the set of the M1 message providers, and removedM1 is called when an M1 provider is removed.

Complex dependencies

A complex dependency is such that different fields and messages are associated with the same provider instance. The provider must implement a specification, and the different fields must reference the different resources defined by that specification.

		<dependency specification="S3Compile" id="S3Id">
			<interface field="fieldS3" />
			<message method="mes1" />
			<interface field="field2S3" />

In the example, the dependency S3Id is a dependency toward one instance of the specification S3Compile. That instance is the target of fields fieldS3 and field2S3, and the provider of message mes1. For dependencies with cardinality multiple, all variables are bound to the same set of service providers (internally, it is the same array of providers). It means that that dependency is resolved once (when the first field is accessed), and if it changes, it changes simultaneously for all fields.


Following our metamodel, a component provides resources (interfaces or messages) and dependency can be defined against interfaces or messages. Therefore a component can be a message provider, or a message requester.

A message provider must indicate in its declaration header, as for interfaces, the type of the provided messages, and for implementations, the associated fields (see example above).

<specification name="S2" interfaces="apam.test.S2" 	messages="apam.test.M1, apam.Test.M2" >

<implementation name="S2Impl" specification="S2" push="producerM1, producerM2" interfaces=" apam.test.AC" 	……

The S2Impl implementation should contain the methods producerM1 and producerM2:

   public M1 producerM1 (...) { return m1; }

Each time the producer calls the produceM1 method, Apam considers that a new M1 message is produced. There is no constraint on the method producerM1 parameters, but it must return an M1 object. A dependency can be defined against messages in a similar way as interfaces, but methods instead must be indicated in the case of push interactions or a java.util.Queue field in the case of pull interactions, as in the following examples.

<dependency pull="queueM1" />
<dependency field="fieldS2" />

<dependency specification="S2Compile" >
	<interface field="anotherS2" />
	<message push="getAlsoM1" />
	<message pull="anotherQueueM1" />

<dependency push="gotM2" />
<dependency pull="queueM2" />

The first line is a simple declaration of a message dependency; analyzing the source code it is found that queue M1 is a field of the type java.util.Queue that has a message of type M1 as a paramterType and therefore is associated with the message M1 dependency. The associated Java program should contain:

Set<S2> fieldS2 ;
S2 anotherS2 ;
Queue<M1> queueM1;
Queue<M1> anotherQueueM1;
public void getAlsoM1 (M1 m1) { ....}

Queue<M2> queueM2;
public void gotM2 (M2 m2) { ..... }

The Queue are very special field: Queue are instantiated by ApAM at the first time call, then ApAM place all then new messages inside them. If there is no new M1 value available the queue is empty, and if there is no producer the Queue is null (see resolution policy)

At the first call to these queues, the corresponding M1producers are resolved and connected to the queue. If the dependency is multiple, all the valid M1 producer will be associated to the queue, otherwise a single producer is connected. In this case, as for usual dependencies, it is the client that has the initiative to get a new value. We call it the pull mode.

A producer my can also declare methods that return is a set of message:

public Set<M1> producerM1 (...) { ....}

When these methods are called, ApAM will consider that all the returned objects are provided messages.

For consumer, The declared method is void (push interactions), with a message type as parameter (M2 here), this method will be called by Apam each time a message of type M2 is available. In this case it is the message provider that has the initiative to call its client(s). The connection between client and provider is established at the first call by the provider to its produceM2 method. In the example, the method gotM2 will be call each time an M2 message is produced by one of the valid M2 producers.

In the previous examples, the raw data of type M1 and M2 is received by the clients. If more context is required, the injected methods or Queue can declare Message<M1> instead of M1; Message being a generic type defined in ApAM that contains an M1 values and information about the message: producer id, time stamp, and so on.

For multiple message dependencies, as for interfaces, it is possible to be aware of the “arrival” and “departure” of a message provider:

<dependency push="getM1" added="newM1Producer" removed="removedM1Producer" />

With the associated methods, as shown above for interfaces.

Constraints and preferences

<dependency specification="S3Compile" id="S3Id">
	<interface field="fieldS3" />
		<implementation filter="(apam-composite=true)" />
		<instance filter="(&amp;(testEnum*&gt;v1,v2,v3)(x=6))" /> 
		<instance filter="(&amp;(A2=8)(MyBool=false))" />
		<implementation filter="(x=10)" />
		<instance filter="(MyBool=false)" />

<definition name="testEnum" type="v1, v2, v3, v4, v5" value="v3" />

In the general case, many provider implementations and even more provider instances can be the target of a dependency; however it is likely that not all these providers fit the client requirements. Therefore, clients can set filters expressing their requirements on the dependency target to select. Two classes of filters are defined: constraints and preferences. Filters can be defined on implementations or instances. Constraints on implementation are a set of LDAP expression that the selected implementations MUST ALL satisfy. An arbitrary number of implementation constraints can be defined; they are ANDed. Similarly, constraints on instance are a set of LDAP expression that the selected instances MUST ALL satisfy. An arbitrary number of instance constraints can be defined; they are ANDed.

Despite the constraints, the resolution process can return more than one implementation, and more than one instance. If the dependency is multiple, all these instances are solutions. However, for a simple dependency, only one instance must be selected: which one ? The preference clause gives a number of hints to find the “best” implementation and instance to select. The algorithm used for interpreting the preference clauses is as follows: Suppose that the preference has n clauses, and the set of candidates contains m candidates. Suppose that the first preference selects m’ candidates (among the m). If m’ = 1, it is the selected candidate; if m’=0 the preference is ignored, otherwise repeat with the following preference and the m’ candidates. At the end, if more than one candidate remains, one of them is selected arbitrarily.

Contextual dependencies

A component (instance) is always located inside a composite (instance). The composite may have a global view of its components, on the context in which it executes, and on the real purpose of its components. Therefore, a composite can modify and refine the strategy defined by its components; and most notably the dynamic behavior.

For example, if composite S1Compo wants to adapt the dynamic behavior of all the dependency from its components and towards components which name matches the pattern "A*-lib”, it can define a generic dependency like :

<composite name="S1Compo" 
      <dependency specification="A*-lib" eager=“true” id=”genDep”
   hide=“true” | “false” exception=”….CompositeDependencyException”/>

Suppose a component “S1X” pertaining to S1Compo has defined the following dependency:

<dependency specification="Acomponent-lib" id=”S1XDep” fail=“exception” exception=”….S1XDependencyException”/>

When an instance inst of S1X will try to resolve dependency S1XDep, since Acomponent-lib matches the pattern A*-lib, the generic dependency overrides the S1X dependency flags (fail and exception) and extends S1XDep with the eager and hide flags.

Eager=“true” means that the S1XDep dependencies must be resolved as soon as an instance of S1X is created. By default, eager=false, and the dependencies is resolved at the first use of the associated variable in the code. If an eager dependency can not be resolved, the failure is simply ignored and the resolution will be retried lazily at the first use of the dependency.

Exception=”Exception class” means that, if the S1XDep dependency fails, Apam will throw the exception mentioned in genDep (the full name of its class) on the thread that was trying the resolution. This value overrides the exception value set on S1XDep.

Hide=”true” means that, if the S1XDep dependency fails, all the S1X instances are deleted, and the S1X implementation is marked invisible as long as the dependency S1XDep cannot be resolved. Invisible means that S1X will not be the solution of a resolution, and no new instance of S1X can be created. All S1X existing instances being deleted, the actual clients of S1X instances, at the next use of the dependency, will be resolved against another implementation and another instance. But if a thread was inside an instance inst of S1X at the time its dependency is removed, the thread continues its execution, until it leaves inst normally, or it makes an exception. No other thread can enter inst since it has been removed.

If the hide flag is set, it overrides the component wait flag because the instance will be deleted. But hide and exception are independent which means that in case of a failed resolution, the client component can both receive an exception and be hidden (but cannot wait if hidden). If there is no composite information, only the component “fail” policy applies. If both exceptions are defined, only the composite one is thrown.

This ensures that the current thread which is inside the instance to hide has to leave that instance, and that no thread can be blocked inside an invisible instance.

Important notes: The hide strategy produces a failure backward propagation. For example, if S1XDep fails, Apam hides component S1X and deletes all the inst incoming wires. If an instance y of component Y had a dependency toward inst, this dependency is now deleted. At the next use of the y deleted dependency, since S1X cannot longer be a solution (it is hidden), Apam will look for another component satisfying the Y dependency constraints. If this resolution fails (no other solution exist at that time), and if the Y dependency is also “hide”, y is deleted and Y is hidden. The failure propagates backward until a component finds an alternative solution. This had two consequences: first, it ensures that the application is capable to find alternative solutions not only locally but for complete branches (for which all the dependencies are in the hidden mode). Second, the components are fully unaware of the hidden strategy; the strategy is per composite, which means this is only contextual; it is an architect decision, not an implementer one.

Contextual constraints

Generic dependencies can express generic constraints:

<composite name="S1Compo" 
 <dependency specification="A*-lib" …. >
		<instance filter="(OS=Linux)" />

FoIn the example, all the components trying to resolve a dependency toward instances of specifications matching A*-lib will have the associated properties and constraints. The constraints that are indicated are added to the set of constraint, and appended to the list of preferences, for all the resolutions involving the matching components as target. In the example, all instances of specifications matching "A*-lib" must match the constraint OS=Linux. Note that it is not possible to check statically the constraint, since the exact target specification is unknown, and therefore we do not know which properties are defined. If a property, in a filter, is undefined, the filter is ignored. For example, if an instance does not have the “OS” property, the filter containing the expression (OS=Linux) is ignored.

Visibility control

In Apam, with respect to the platform, a composite can be a lender and/or a borrower, or none. A composite is a lender if it allows other applications to use the components it owns. A composite is a borrower if it prefers using an existing component (pertaining to another composite) instead of creating its own one. In this section the <expression> is either a Boolean (“true” or “false”) or a filter to apply to the component candidates.

Borrowing implementations and instances

A composite designer must be able to decide whether or not to borrow the instances lent by other composites. For this purpose, he can specify the property borrow Instance=<expression>. If the requested resource (implementation or instance) matches the expression, the platform must try to borrow an instance if it exists. If the expression is not matched, an instance must be created. By default, the expression is “true”, i.e., by default everything is shared.

<borrow implementation="(b=true)" instance="false"/>

In this example, the current composite will try to borrow the implementations that match the expression (b=true), but never an instance (instance="false"). If we have <borrow implementation="false" instance="false"/>, the composite will have to deploy all its own implementations and instances, from its own repositories. It means that it is auto-contained and fully independent from the other composites and components. It can be safely (re)used in any application. Nevertheless, its resolution constraints can include contextual properties such that it can adapt itself to moving context, still being independent from its users. By default, both expressions are “true”, meaning that the composite is fully opportunistic, and will use as much as possible the available components.

Lending implementations and instances

Conversely, a composite designer can decide whether or not its own components can be lent to other composites. This is indicated by the local, friend and application tags.

<local  implementation= "Exp" instance="Exp" />
<friend implementation= "Exp" instance="Exp" />
<application  instance= "Exp" />

Local means the components matching the expressions are only visible inside the current composite: can are lent to nobody. Friend means that the components matching the expressions are lent only to the friend composites. A composite cp is a friend of the current composite if a friend relationship is established from the current composite to cp. An instance pertains to a single composite instance; therefore the instances in a platform are organized as a forest. An application is defined as a tree in that forest (i.e., a root composite instance). Therefore, two composite instances pertain to the same application if they pertain to the same instance tree. Application means that the instances contained in the current composite and matching the expression can be lent to any other composite pertaining to the same application. By default, if nothing is said, all the implementation and instance contained in the current composite are visible by anyone in the platform. It is the default and unique strategy of usual service platforms.


A composite type is an implementation, and as such it can indicate its dependencies, as for example:

<composite name="S1Compo" mainImplem="S1Main" specification=”S1” >
	<dependency specification="S2" multiple=”true” id=”S2Many”>
			<implementation filter="(apam-composite=true)" />
			<instance filter="(Scope=global)" /> 
<dependency interface=”fr.imag.adele.apam.test.s2.S2” id=”S2Single”>
			<implementation filter="(x&gt;=10)" />

This definition says that composite S1Compo has a dependency called S2Many towards instances of specification S2; multiple=true means that each instance of S1Compo must be wired with all the instances implementing S2 and satisfying the constraints. When an instance of S1Compo will have to resolve that dependency, first Apam selects all the S2 implementations satisfying the constraint (apam-composite=true), and then Apam selects, all the instances of these implementations satisfying the constraint (Scope=global). The dependency called S2Single is toward an interface. When it has to be resolved, Apam looks for an implementation that implements that interface, and preferably one instance satisfying (x >= 10), any other one otherwise. A single instance of that implementation will be selected and wired.

Suppose that an instance A-0 of implementation A is inside an instance S1Compo-0 of composite S1Compo. Suppose that implementation A is defined as follows:

<implementation name="A" classname="…..A" specification="SX">
   <dependency interface="….I2" multiple=”true” field=”linux” id=”toLinux”>
		<implementation filter="(OS=Linux)" />
   <dependency specification=”S2” field=”s2” id=”fastS2”>
		<implementation filter="(speed &gt; 15)" />

Finally, suppose that specification S2 provides interfaces I1 and I2 :

<specification name="S2" interfaces="….I1, ….I2"  >
	<definition name=”OS” type=”Windows, Linux, Android, IOS” />
	<definition name=”speed” type=”int” />

When instance A_0 uses for the first time its variable linux, Apam checks if the A_0 dependency toLinux is a dependency of its embedding composite. Indeed, I2 is part of specification S2, and matches both dependencies S2Many and S2Single defined in S1Compo. However, toLinux being a multiple dependency, only S2Many can match the dependency, and therefore, Apam considers that toLinux has to be promoted as the S2Many dependency.

Because of this promotion, Apam has to resolve S2Many that will be associated with a set of S2 instances matching the s2Many constraints (if any); then the same set of instances will be considered for the resolution of toLinux, therefore a sub-set (possibly empty) of s2Many instances will be solution of the toLinux dependency. The fastS2 dependency, being a simple dependency will be resolved either as as the S2Single instance, or as one of the targets of S2Many.

If, for any reason, an internal dependency is a promotion that cannot be satisfied by the composite, the dependency fails i.e. Apam will not try to resolve the dependency inside the composite.

A composite can explicitly, and statically, associate an internal dependency with an external one. For example, composite S1Compo can indicate

<promote implementation="A" dependency="fastS2" to=”S2Single” />
<promote implementation="A" dependency="toLinux" to=”S2Multi” />

It means that the dependency fastS2 of A is promoted as the dependency S2Single of S1Compo; in which case the constraints of fastS2 are added to the list of the S2Single dependency. It is possible to build, that way, static architectures as found in component models; however this is discouraged since it requires a static knowledge of the implementations that will be part of a composite, prohibiting opportunism and dynamic substitution.

Conflict access management

By default, a service is used by the clients that have established a wire to it. There is no limit for this usage duration. Therefore, exclusive services (and devices) once bound cannot be used by any other client; there is a need to control service users depending on different conditions.

The wires are removed only when deleted (either setting the variable to null, or calling the release method in the API). When an exclusive wire is released, an arbitrarily selected waiting client is resumed.

An instance is said to be exclusive if it is in limited supply (usually a single instance), and cannot be shared. It means that the associated service can only be offered to a limited amount of clients, and therefore there is a risk of conflict to the access to that service. In most scenarios, exclusive services are associated with devices that have the property not to be shared, as are most actioners.

<specification name="Door" interface=…… 
   singleton="false" instantiable=”false” shared=”false”>
   <definition name="location" type="exit, entrance, garage, bedroom,…"/>

In this example, a device specified by “Door” is in exclusive access, but is in multiple instances (a house may have many doors). It defines a property “location” i.e. the location of a particular door. instantiable=”false” means that it is not possible to create instances of the Door specification, doors “appears”, i.e. they are detected by sensors; and shared=”false” means that a single client can use a given door (i.e. to lock or unlock it) at any given point in time.

Composite state management

The composite designer knows more about the context in which the components execute, than components developers, and can decide under which conditions a component can use a given exclusive service.

Apam distinguishes a property “state” associated to any composite. The state attribute is intended for managing exclusivity conflicts, its type must be an enumeration:

 <composite name="Security" 
	<state implementation="HouseState" property=" houseState "/>

And implementation HouseState must define the attribute houseState:

<implementation name="HouseState" .singleton=”true” >
   <definition name="houseState" field="state" internal="true" 
      type=”empty, night, vacation, emergency, threat  value=”night”/>

Each time an instance of composite Security is created, an instance of HouseState is also created and associated with the composite. That instance will be in charge of computing the composite state. While this is not required, it is strongly advised to define the state attribute as an internal field attribute, in order to be sure its value will not be changed by mistake or by malevolent programs.

The own primitive

The own primitive in intended to enforce the ownership of instances. This is a critical importance since, in Apam, only the owner can define visibility and conflict access rules.

The own primitive enforces the fact that all the instances matching the declaration will pertain to the current composite. The composite must be a singleton.

<composite name="security"  singleton="true"
    <own specification="Door" property=”location” value=”entrance, exit”>

In this example, all Doors instances (i.e. all the doors) appearing dynamically in the system, will be owned (and located inside) the unique security composite instance. No other composite can own Doors instances (and create them if Door would be instantiable). In a composite declaration, a single own clause is allowed for a given specification (and all its implementations), or for a given implementation. In the whole system, all the own clauses referring to the same component must indicate the same property and different values. This is checked when deploying a new composite; in case one of the own clause of the new composite is inconsistent with those of the already installed composites, (different property or same value) the new composite is rejected.

The Grant primitive.

The grant primitive is intended to enforce the resolution of a given dependency on some specific situations. In most cases, this dependency leads to an exclusive service (a device for example). A grant primitive can be set only on dependencies with the wait behavior. It means that if the client is waiting for the resource, it is resumed as soon as the composite changes its state to the one mentioned in the definition and that it will not lose its dependency as long as the composite is in that state. However, when the composite leaves the state, the client may lose its dependency and can be turned in the waiting state.

<composite name="security"  singleton="true"
  <own specification="Door" property=”location” value=”entrance, exit”>
    <grant when="emergency" implementation =”Fire” dependency=”door” />
    <grant when=”threat” implementation=”break” />
   <own specification="Door" property=”location” value=”garage”>

In this example, when the (unique) instance of composite security is changed to enter the emergency state, the dependency called door of component Fire has priority on the access to the door target. To have priority means that if • Component Fire tries to resolve the door dependency while security is in the emergency state, Apam gives to Fire the unique access to the door matching the constraint (|(location=entrance)(location=exit)). If not in the emergency mode, door is resolved only against the unused doors, including the entrance and exit doors if unused. If no doors are available, the door dependency is turned into the wait mode. • If the door dependency of component Fire is in the wait mode, when security enters the emergency state, Apam resolves dependency door towards its target (all the entrance and exit doors), even if currently used by another client, and resumes the waiting threads.

This primitive can be used only if both the composite and the source implementation are singleton, which enforces a deterministic behavior.

The system checks, at compile time, that all the grant clauses are defined against a different and valid composite state. Conversely, it is not always possible to verify, at compile time, that all the own clauses toward the same resource are defined on different values of the same property. This control is performed when a new composite is deployed; if the own clause is invalid, the new composite is rejected. Own clauses conflict if they are against the same resource, but on a different property, or on the right property but the same value.

When security state changes to become emergency, Apam checks which doors owned by security are matching the door dependency. If these instances are currently wired by other client instances, these instances are turned in the wait state , their wires are removed, and the Fire instance is wired toward the selected doors. When security composite leaves the emergency state, if instances are waiting for doors, one of them is selected, wired to the door and resumed. In our example, if the house has an entrance or an exit door (that can be dynamically discovered), we know that the security will own them, and the Fire application is sure that it will be able to manages these doors in case of emergency.

However, the resolution fails, as usually, if the dependency constraints are not satisfied i.e. security does not own any door instance, or the owned doors do not satisfy the dependency constraints. If that case the grant primitive fails, and the system does nothing.

The start primitive

It is possible to create an instance of a given implementation, inside the current composite, on the occurrence of an event: the apparition of an instance (either explicitly created of dynamically appearing in the system). This primitive has the same information as the instance primitive, but the event that triggers the instance creating in one case in the deployment of the bundle containing the instance declaration (for the instance primitive), while it is the apparition of an instance in the case of the start primitive.

<start implementation="S3Impl" name="s3Impl-int">				
   <property name="S3Impl-Attr" value="val"/> <!-- Init attr value-->	
   <dependency specification="S4"> <!—additional dependency constraints -->
   <trigger> <!—definition of the condition on which to start S3Impl -->
	<specification name="ASpec"> <!—an instance of ASpec appears -->
		<constraint filter="(constraint on the instance)"/>

In this example, a new instance of specification S3Impl will be created when an instance of ASpec appears in the system (either created explicitly or dynamically appearing) . This primitive will be executed at most once (the first time an instance of ASpec appears after the S1Compo deployment).