[kepler-dev] downloadable actors

Xiaowen Xin xin2 at llnl.gov
Fri Apr 2 08:31:27 PST 2004

Hi Matt,

I have never used JEdit, but I will check it out.  Thanks for the

I have not seen Chad's code; can you tell me which specific parts I
should look at?


On Wed, 2004-03-31 at 13:20, Matt Jones wrote:
> Xiaowen,
> This is a great idea, and one that I think will be critical in a variety 
> of contexts.  We plan in SEEK to have many actors that are located 
> elsewhere, and users will need to be able to move the code into their 
> system, or, possibly more importantly, move the actor code to a remote 
> system, for execution.  Chad has been working on the ClassLoader issues 
> associated with dynamically loading and reloading classes at runtime 
> from within Kepler, and we've had a number of proposed ways to handle 
> this.  I think one of the best examples is the way in which plugins for 
> JEdit are downloaded and installed.  It is seamless for the user -- you 
> should check it out.  But keep in mind that we will need to be able to 
> also export code to a remote system as well.  Also, as this is an 
> important area of intersection with the work Chad has already started, 
> it would be nice if we could work together on it.  Have you reviewed 
> Chad's code on this topic?
> Matt
> Xiaowen Xin wrote:
> > Hi Everyone,
> > 
> > Something that we'd like to implement as part of SPA/Kepler is an Actor
> > Repository with some actors that we don't include as part of the normal
> > distribution.  So people can go there, and download additional actors.
> > 
> > What do you all think is a good mechanism for doing this?
> > 
> > More specifically, we could simply distribute a tarball that includes
> > the actor source code, class file, and xml configuration file, ask the
> > user to unpackage it in a certain directory that's in her classpath. 
> > Then, ask the user to import that configuration file.  After doing this,
> > the actor will get inserted into "~/.ptolemyII/user library.xml", so the
> > next time the user runs SPA/Kepler, the system will automatically load
> > the actor.
> > 
> > However, this method seems to be quite complicated from a user
> > perspective.  It would be ideal to simply have the users download one
> > file, put it in a certain directory, and the system automatically loads
> > it at startup.
> > 
> > Dave and I have been thinking that we could potentially distribute these
> > actors as .jar files, that have the source, class file, and
> > configuration file all within.  The user could put this jar file in
> > ~/.ptolemyII/ and the system should automatically load it at startup.
> > 
> > On the downside, the implementation of this might be somewhat involved. 
> > We would need to execute something that finds all jar files in
> > ~/.ptolemyII/ and create our own classloader that has the jar files in
> > its classpath.  Then we would need to somehow add the newly found actors
> > to the treeview at the lefthand side.
> > 
> > Do you all know of any built-in mechanisms that can help do this?
> > 
> > Thanks,
> > Xiaowen
> > 
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> > kepler-dev at ecoinformatics.org
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