Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

ECF Remote Services for Accessing Existing REST Services

The ECF community has asked about the use of Remote Services for accessing existing web/REST-based services.   To address some of these questions, I've created a tutorial showing how ECF's open APIs can be used to easily expose an existing REST+JSON service as an OSGi Remote Service.

For this tutorial, the public Geonames Timezone service was used, but the techniques shown can be used for exposing any web-based service as an OSGi Remote Service.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Internet of Things and ECF Remote Services

Last week at EclipseCon Europe ECF committer Wim Jongman gave a talk where he cooked an egg using a hotplate, a Raspberry Pi, ECF Remote Services, and Eclipse Nebula.   Here's a screenshot of the RCP app he created to remotely control the Raspberry Pi and the connected hotplate:

Although I wasn't able to attend, I understand that after cooking, Wim consumed the egg onstage...and it went down pretty easy.  I'm looking forward to watching the video of the talk.  Congrats Wim.

Also, the Eclipse Newsletter has articles focused on Internet of Things, and we have an article about using ECF Remote Services with Raspberry Pi GPIO, which was also used to implement some of the behavior underneath Wim's egg cooker.

For other tutorials on using Remote Services with the Raspberry Pi as well as in other runtime contexts, see the ECF wiki documentation page.

Monday, August 18, 2014

ECF 3.9 Released

ECF 3.9.0 is released.   The release provides an update to our implementation of the OSGi Remote Services and Remote Service Admin specifications.   For RS/RSA the latest (R6) version of the specification included additions and changes, and this release supports them.

The implementation has been tested against and passed the OSGi RS RS/RSA compatibility test suite (CT).

To download and install go here.  

Note also that we now have a several tutorials focused on developing your own OSGi Remote Services.  A couple of these tutorials show how to use Remote Services with the Raspberry Pi.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Raspberry Pi GPIO using OSGi Services

I've created an API that abstracts individual GPIO Pins as OSGi services, and made it available via the ECF github repository.  This allows applications to easily use the Raspberry Pi's GPIO to send output to or receive input from peripherals.

I've also created a short tutorial on how to use these services to control a single LED.

This tutorial now has a short demonstration of how to use OSGi Remote Services to do remote control of a single GPIO Pin with Eclipse as the user interface.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

ECF 3.8.1 Released

ECF's 3.8.1/Luna has been released.   Some of the highlights

A more complete list is provided by the New and Noteworthy

Congratulations to the ECF community

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

CompletableFuture for OSGi Remote Services

As some of you may know, ECF's implementation of OSGi Remote Services has support for asynchronous proxies.   This allows consumers of remote services to easily use asynchronous/non-blocking invocation to access a remote service.  For's a simple service interface that's used in our remote service tutorial:

public interface ITimeService {
    public Long getCurrentTime();
As with any OSGi Remote Service, any consumer that discovers this service will potentially block when they call getCurrentTime(). This is just the nature of call/return semantics applied to remoting...and so will be true for any implementation of OSGi remote services.

ECF's impl of OSGi Remote Service offers asynchronous proxies, meaning that iff a related service interface is defined...e.g.

public interface ITimeServiceAsync {
    public Future getCurrentTimeAsync();

then consumers will be able to use ITimeServiceAsync to access the service...e.g:

ITimeServiceAsync tsa = ... get ITimeServiceAsync reference

Future timeFuture = tsa.getCurrentTimeAsync(); work...
Long time = timeFuture.get();

With ECF 3.8.0 we further added [3]...i.e. the ability to have ITimeServiceAsync be registered as a service automatically on the that (e.g.) the ITimeServiceAsync reference can be injected via declarative services...e.g.

...ds component impl...

void bindTimeServiceAsync(ITimeServiceAsync tsa) {
     ...use or store tsa...

This [3] is all available in ECF 3.8.0.   Note that the service interfaces have absolutely no reference to ECF classes, nor to OSGi classes.   None are needed now.

As many of you certainly know...java8 just came out, and a big part of java8 is improved support for concurrency, functional programming, and lambdas.    This support for concurrency in java8 is potentially very useful for users of OSGi Remote Services.

Consider CompletableFuture, which as the name implies is a type of java.util.concurrent.Future.    It has some very nice properties for API/service designers...the main one being that it's not at all necessary to call Future.get directly...but rather you can write nice, succinct and *guaranteed to be non-blocking but asynchronous* usage such as:

CompletableFuture cf = ...get CompletableFuture....

cf.thenAccept((time) -> System.out.println("time is: " + time));

This is's completely non-blocking...and very succinct.  Also you can do very interesting things with asynchronous/event-driven chaining/filtering, etc., etc. All guaranteed to be non-blocking...which is a key guarantee for remoting.

Yesterday I realized that with Java8, our asynchronous proxies could be easily generalized to allow this:

public interface ITimeServiceAsync {
    public CompletableFuture getCurrentTimeAsync();

I made some minor additions to the ECF remote service implementation of asynchronous proxies and now this is working. What I mean by this is that consumers of an arbitrary remote service can now do this

...service component impl...
void bindTimeServiceAsync(ITimeServiceAsync tsa) {
       // Get the blocking here
       CompletableFuture cf = tsa.getCurrentTimeAsync();
       // print out time when blocking anywhere!
       cf.thenAccept((time) -> System.out.println("Remote time is: " + time));

Note a few things:
  1. There is no blocking anywhere.  This is true even though the actual time value is retrieved via a remote OSGi service
  2. The remote service host doesn't have to provide any implementation of ITimeServiceAsync.  It's constructed by ECF's RS impl automatically
  3. It's very easy to handle failure (e.g. network/io failure) via CompletableFuture.handle.  This is obviously a big deal for remote services...which are much more inclined to fail because of the network.
  4. No reference to either OSGi classes or ECF classes anywhere in host or consumer code
This is nice for remote service consumers, because it gives them strong no blocking guarantees, and can be very efficiently implemented (no additional threads) by remote service providers using asynchronous messaging (e.g. JMS, etc).   It also allows them to use all of CompletableFuture's APIs (see CompletableFuture javadoc).

This will obviously be part of ECF Luna...and I've created some test code (like above) that I intend to use to create another tutorial over the next month. Watch the ECF wiki for that tutorial.

The only drawback is that this does, of course, depend upon Java8...and so requires that both the remote service host and consumer use Java8, and that the distribution provider be enhanced slightly to use CompletableFuture.   Fortunately it's not technically challenging to make these enhancements, and we will make support classes available for those that wish to Java8 enhance existing or their own RS provider.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

ECF 3.8.0 Released

ECF has just released 3.8.0.

New and Noteworthy