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The extender pattern handler

The objective of this handler is to simplify the development of extender-based architecture. This architecture-style is based on two different entities:

  • The extender (also called host)
  • The extensions

The Extender pattern

This architecture-style is based on two different roles:

  • The extender
  • The extension

The relation is basically a 1..n relation. The extender tracks extensions. The particularity of this architecture-style is that extensions are packaged in different bundles. An extension is detected by analyzing the bundle. Indeed these bundles can have a special mark in their manifest of a special file...
Implementing an extender pattern could be complex as the extender needs to track these marks dynamically. When a bundle starts, it needs to look at the mark. Then a bundle leave, the extender must release all object created from this bundle.
This handler tracks bundle for you based on the specified required mark. At each time a matching bundle appears or disappears, a callback is invoked. The mark is currently a header in the bundle manifest.
Nowadays, a lot of frameworks use this pattern such as iPOJO it-self (to find both bundles containing components and bundles adding a new implementation type), Spring-DM ...

Using the handler

First of all, you need to configure the component type to use the handler such as:

<ipojo xmlns:extender="org.apache.felix.ipojo.extender">

                <!-- Extender Pattern handler configuration -->

		<callback transition="invalidate" method="stopping" />
		<callback transition="validate" method="starting" />
		<provides />

Notice that, this handler is an external handler. So, it uses the "org.apache.felix.ipojo.extender" namespace.
You can also use annotations:

public class MyExtender {

	public void starting() {
	  // ...

	public void stopping {
	  // ...

	void onBundleArrival(Bundle bundle, String header) {
	         // Do something

	void onBundleDeparture(Bundle bundle) {
	        // Do something

The methods specified methods will be called when a matching bundle arrives or leaves.
In the previous example, these methods could be:

void onBundleArrival(Bundle bundle, String header) {
         // Do something

void onBundleDeparture(Bundle bundle) {
        // Do something

Notice the different signatures of the methods. The arrival method is called with the arriving bundle and the matching header value (i.e. the value of the My-Extension header of the bundle manifest). The departure method just receives the leaving bundle.


The handler has only three mandatory attributes:

  • Extension: declaring the looked manifest header.
  • onArrival: declaring the method to invoke when a matching bundle arrives
  • onDeparture: declaring the method to invoke when a matching bundle leaves
Called despite being invalid
The implementation will be notified of arrivals and departures despite the instance is invalid. Indeed, the implementation must release all objects created from another bundle as soon it leaves.


The handler is available on the download page.
Sources are available on the Felix trunk at the following location: http://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/felix/trunk/ipojo/handler/extender/

Configuring the handler with annotations

It is possible to configure the handler with a simple annotation available in the annotation pack ('annotation' project in the iPOJO trunk). Here is an example of usage:

import org.apache.felix.ipojo.annotations.Component;
import org.osgi.framework.Bundle;

@org.apache.felix.ipojo.extender.Extender(extension="foo", onArrival="onArrival", onDeparture="onDeparture")
public class Extender {

    public void onArrival(Bundle bundle, String foo) {
        // do something

    public void onDeparture(Bundle bundle) {
        // do something

The extension attribute allows setting the bundle filter.

A more realistic example

The Junit4OSGi framework, available here , uses this handler to track Junit Test Suite offered by the installed bundles. The Junit4Osgi bundle has a component using this handler to be notified when a bundle with the Test-Suite header appears or leaves.

Last modified by clement.escoffier on 2011-01-03 07:15:57.0
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