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OSGi Remote Services From ECF

01.08.2010
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The ECF project has just finished our initial implementation of the OSGi 4.2 Remote Service specification (chapter 13 in compendium section).

I want to highlight a few distinctive features of ECF's implementation. I'll be doing other/more blog posts to go into details about some of these.

Transport Independence

ECF's implementation currently works with the following distribution transports: JMS (ActiveMQ), r-OSGi, JavaGroups, XMPP, Skype, ECF generic, and with the following discovery protocols: SLP, zeroconf, static xml file-based discovery. The ECF implementation is immediately usable with any...or all...of these providers...even within a single application if desired. Further, ECF's remote services and discovery APIs allow other distribution and/or discovery systems to be plugged in underneath our implementation...meaning that other distribution systems (e.g. open source distribution systems such as Riena, Apache CXF, and/or proprietary distribution systems) can reuse/leverage our implementation...and avoid the work otherwise necessary to implement the OSGi specification themselves. ECF's implementation can also run alongside other remote services implementations without conflict.

Asynchronous and Synchronous

Distributed applications and services frequently need to use asynchronous/non-blocking remote invocation patterns...in addition to synchronous, proxy-based remote method call. Right now, ECF has built-in support for both asynchronous invocation (e.g. asynchronous listeners, futures, one-ways), as well as proxy/synchronous invocation...giving the services and application programmer a transport-independent choice of which to use. Currently, the OSGi 4.2 spec does not yet specify asynchronous invocation patterns for remote services, but ECF's implementation does have it.

Lightweight

The entire ECF implementation of the spec...along with ECF's remote services API...is < 150k of code. Further, the OSGi execution environment requirements are minimal (CDC 1.1/Foundation 1.1). Combined with a small provider (like r-OSGi), and this allows even small devices to both expose/host and consume standardized remote services.

Standard, Open Source, Open Team, Open Process

The ECF implementation is fully compliant with the OSGi 4.2 remote services specification...for any and all current and future ECF remote services providers. Further, as mentioned above, other providers can now get this compliance for free. Of course, ECF's implementation is open source, but it is also produced by a vendor-neutral project team, and fully open community-driven process. In addition, we have support for a distributed version of the OSGi EventAdmin service, for doing publish-and-subscribe-based applications using a standard event bus API/service.

Extensible

ECF's implementation is deeply extensible, allowing control or customization of every aspect of the distribution of an OSGi service (e.g. custom discovery, custom marshalling/serialization, custom transport/wire protocol, etc) for those that need it. This is enabled by the open APIs that ECF exposes, and allows a wide variety of deployment requirements and application-level use cases to be easily supported.

Summary

It's All About Modules. ECF's modular structure is indeed enabled by OSGi's modularity, but we have also applied modular design to every level of APIs and implementations. For example, lightweightness, extensibility, and transport independence all are enabled by our modular designs...to separate API from implementation, and to separate distinct subsystems (e.g. discovery and remote services APIs).

We are preparing a release that includes this code...so to immediately download/use ECF's implementation, or engage the community...for requesting enhancements, reporting bugs, contributing (e.g. examples, providers, customizations), helping with testing, or getting support please consider joining the ecf dev mailing list or see the ecf dev resources page.

From http://eclipseecf.blogspot.com

Published at DZone with permission of Scott Lewis, author and DZone MVB.

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