[kepler-dev] starting an Actor IO package
tristan.king at jcu.edu.au
Mon Jul 7 23:46:10 PDT 2008
I've modified how my prototype works and built an example extension that
demos how easy it is to build new a new view for actor outputs.
I now use one generic IOFactory which uses spring to load the output
"devices". the spring config to use is passed in as a system property so it
can be easily changed.
I have built console output in as the default for which i've built a text
output device and a graph output device, and modified the Display, XYPlotter
and TimedPlotter actors to take advantage of these (note that this required
breaking a lot of other code that depends on the XYPlotter and TimedPlotter
Today I built a text output device which opens up a SWT window to display
text in. It is in it's own maven project and doesn't require that you have
the ptII source on your system as the ptII jar (my actorio version) and all
it's dependencies are stored in a maven repository. This small package works
on linux and windows, but i'm having trouble with the macosx swt libraries.
It's not bug free, but i think it's a good proof-of-concept.
to play with this:
* install maven http://maven.apache.org/download.html
* install git (http://code.google.com/p/msysgit/ works great on windows)
* clone ptII-swt (git clone git://git.hpc.jcu.edu.au/jc124742/ptII-swt.git)
(the above two steps can be skipped by downloading the latest snapshot from
* compile and run using maven "mvn compile exec:exec" (this will take a
while the first time as maven has to download all the dependencies)
* make/load a workflow that uses the display actor and run it.
If it has compile errors on the maven step, please run the command
and send me the results (if you feel technical, you can find the activation
section in the pom.xml file and fix up the os info to match the results from
And if you feel like playing, you can edit the properties in
modify the default width and height of the window (requires mvn compile
exec:exec again to apply the changes).
On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 2:42 PM, Tristan King <tristan.king at jcu.edu.au>
> I've started doing a bit of work on building an actor IO package (
> The purpose of this is to provide user input and output for actors so that
> the actors themselves don't have to be responsible for how they get user
> input, or how output is displayed. This will help to build actors that are
> useable in gui and headless environments without having to have modified
> actors for each situation.
> I've built a simple prototype which uses an IO factory which is embedded in
> the Manager (since all actors can get access to the manager which controls
> them). When an actor requires an IO "device" it makes a request to the IO
> factory which returns an instance of the desired "device". For example, the
> Display actor requests a Text-based output device. This device implements a
> standard text based output device interface which has a write(String)
> function, and all the Display actor has to do is "write" the text to the
> device which handles how to display it. I've used spring to instantiate the
> correct IOFactory so that in the case of vergil, each manager is loaded with
> a ptolemy.vergil.io.VergilIOFactory and if vergil is not used the manager
> defaults to a ptolemy.actor.io.HeadlessIOFactory.
> My work is currently stored in my ptII git mirror, in a branch which has
> been converted for maven compilation.
> If you want to clone the whole repository here are the git commands to
> clone the repository and to get to the branch (this will take a while):
> git clone git://git.hpc.jcu.edu.au/jc124742/ptII.git
> git checkout -b actorio origin/actorio
> or you can download the current snapshot of the branch (which is about
> 35mb) from:
> you can then run it by doing:
> mvn compile # compiles the code, may take a while the first time while
> maven sorts out it's dependencies
> mvn exec:exec # starts vergil
> then fire up any workflow while uses a Display actor. Note that i'm rubbish
> with swing and some of the window placing/sizing functionality has been
> removed to facilitate the separation of the actor from the visualisation, so
> the display window isn't nearly as good as the old one. If you start the
> workflow using MoMLSimpleApplication (i.e:
> mvn compile
> java -cp
> ptolemy.actor.gui.MoMLSimpleApplication ../test.xml
> ) it will print the output of any Display actors to the console.
> If other people want to work on this, I will create a new branch for it on
> the ptolemy II svn (it requires a few changes to the core of ptolemy so i'm
> not gonna commit it to the trunk) and put it there in makefile building
> So, is anyone else interested in this? I think it's a key component in
> making kepler available in multiple environments. But it's a big change,
> much too big to be left up to one person. I would feel a lot more
> comfortable with a bunch of people telling me my ideas and designs are
> rubbish and help me build a good system rather than to build something that
> no one but me wants to use.
> Things that need to be done:
> * My factory idea and prototype architecture needs to be criticised.
> * Types of "devices" need to be defined (i.e. text output, image output,
> file output, graph output, etc)
> * IO Factory and device interfaces need to be defined.
> * Existing actors need to be modified to use the factory.
> * standard factory implementations need to be written (i.e. I'm rubbish at
> swing and thus someone else should do the vergil factory).
> Comments? Ideas? Criticisms?
> Tristan King
> Research Officer,
> eResearch Centre
> James Cook University, Townsville Qld 4811
> Phone: +61747816902
> E-mail: tristan.king at jcu.edu.au www: http://eresearch.jcu.edu.au
James Cook University, Townsville Qld 4811
E-mail: tristan.king at jcu.edu.au www: http://eresearch.jcu.edu.au
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