Book Image

Learning Karaf Cellar

By : Jean Baptiste Onofre, Jean-Baptiste Onofré
Book Image

Learning Karaf Cellar

By: Jean Baptiste Onofre, Jean-Baptiste Onofré

Overview of this book

Table of Contents (16 chapters)

What is OSGi?

Developers are always looking for very dynamic, flexible, and agile software components. The purposes to do so are as follows:

  • Reuse: This feature states that instead of duplicating the code, a component should be shared by other components, and multiple versions of the same component should be able to cohabit.

  • Visibility: This feature specifies that a component should not use the implementation from another component directly. The implementation should be hidden, and the client module should use the interface provided by another component.

  • Agility: This feature specifies that the deployment of a new version of a component should not require you to restart the platform. Moreover, a configuration change should not require a restart. For instance, it's not acceptable to restart a production platform just to change a log level. A minor change such as a log level should be dynamic, and the platform should be agile enough to reload the components that should be reloaded.

  • Discovery: This feature states that a component should be able to discover other components. It's a kind of Plug and Play system: as soon as a component needs another component, it just looks for it and uses it.

OSGi has been created to address the preceding points.

The core concept is to force developers to use a very modular architecture in order to reduce complexity. As this paradigm is applicable for most modern systems, OSGi is now used for small embedded devices as well as for very large systems.

Different applications and systems use OSGi, for example, desktop applications, application servers, frameworks, embedded devices, and so on.

The OSGi framework

OSGi is designed to run in Java. In order to provide these features and deploy OSGi applications, a core layer has to be deployed in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM): the OSGi framework.

This framework manages the life cycle and the relationship between the different OSGi components and artifacts.

The OSGi bundle

In OSGi, the components are packaged as OSGi bundles. An OSGi bundle is a simple Java JAR (Java ARchive) file that contains additional metadata used by the OSGi framework. These metadata are stored in the manifest file of the JAR file.

The following is the metadata:

Manifest-Version: 1.0
Bundle-ManifestVersion: 2
Bundle-Version: 2.1.6
Bundle-Name: My Logger
Bundle-SymbolicName: my_logger
Import-Package: org.apache.log4j;version="[1.2,2)"

We can see that OSGi is very descriptive and verbose. We explicitly describe all the OSGi metadata (headers), including the package that we export or import with a specified version or version range.

As the OSGi headers are defined in the META-INF/MANIFEST file contained in the JAR file, it means that an OSGi bundle is a regular JAR file that you can use outside of OSGi.

The life cycle layer of the OSGi framework is an API to install, start, stop, update, and uninstall OSGi bundles.

Dependency between bundles

An OSGi bundle can use other bundles from the OSGi framework in two ways.

The first way is static code sharing. When we say that this bundle exports packages, it means a bundle can expose some code for other bundles. On the other hand, when we say that this bundle imports packages, it means a bundle can use code from other bundles.

For instance, we have the bundle A (packaged as the bundleA.jar file) with the following META-INF/MANIFEST file:

Manifest-Version: 1.0
Bundle-ManifestVersion: 2
Bundle-Version: 1.0.0
Bundle-Name: Bundle A
Bundle-SymbolicName: bundle_a
Export-Package: com.bundle.a;version=1.0

We can see that the bundle A exposes (exports) the com.bundle.a package with Version 1.0. On the other hand, we have the bundle B (packaged as the bundleB.jar file) with the following META-INF/MANIIFEST file:

Manifest-Version: 1.0
Bundle-ManifestVersion: 2
Bundle-Version: 2.0.0
Bundle-Name: Bundle B
Bundle-SymbolicName: bundle_b
Import-Package: com.bundle.a;version="[1.0,2)"

We can see that the bundle B imports (so, it will use) the com.bundle.a package in any version between 1.0 and 2 (excluded). So, this means that the OSGi framework will wire the bundles, as the bundle A provides the package used by the bundle B (so, the constraint is resolved).

This mechanism is similar to regular Java applications, but instead of embedding the required JAR files in your application, you can just declare the expected code. The OSGi framework is responsible for the link between the different bundles; it's done by the modules layer of the OSGi framework. This approach is interesting when you want to use code which is not natively designed for OSGi. It's a step forward for the reuse of components. However, it provides a limited answer to the purposes seen earlier in the chapter, especially visibility and discovery.

The second way in which an OSGi bundle can use other bundles from the OSGi framework is more interesting. It uses Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) for low-level components. Here, more than exposing the code, an OSGi bundle exposes a OSGi service. On the other hand, another bundle can use an OSGi service. The services layer of the OSGi framework provides a service registry and all the plumbing mechanisms to wire the services.

The OSGi services provide a very dynamic system, offering a Publish-Find-Bind model for the bundles.


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