[kepler-dev] starting an Actor IO package

Tristan King tristan.king at jcu.edu.au
Mon Jul 7 23:52:31 PDT 2008

In theory this method could be used to build testing output devices.
specific devices that expect certain data to be sent to them and raise
errors if the data is wrong. I think there are a lot of architectural
hurdles to jump before it would be do-able, but definitely something to aim


On Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 10:28 PM, Edward A. Lee <eal at eecs.berkeley.edu>

> This sounds like a great idea!
> One possible application that would make my life easier is in building
> regression tests.  If the Test actor could display results when not running
> headless, and not display them when running headless, that would make
> developing
> tests much easier...
> Edward
> At 09:42 PM 7/2/2008, Tristan King wrote:
> >I've started doing a bit of work on building an actor IO package (<
> http://ptolemy.actor.io>ptolemy.actor.io)
> >
> >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://<http://git.hpc.jcu.edu.au/jc124742/ptII.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:
> ><
> http://www.hpc.jcu.edu.au/git/?p=jc124742/ptII.git;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/actorio
> >
> http://www.hpc.jcu.edu.au/git/?p=jc124742/ptII.git;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/actorio
> >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
> target/classes:$HOME/.m2/repository/org/springframework/spring-context/2.0.8/spring-context-2.0.8.jar:$HOME/.m2/repository/org/springframework/spring-beans/2.0.8/spring-beans-2.0.8.jar:$HOME/.m2/repository/org/springframework/spring-core/2.0.8/spring-core-2.0.8.jar:$HOME/.m2/repository/log4j/log4j/1.2.15/log4j-1.2.15.jar:$HOME/.m2/repository/commons-logging/commons-logging/1.1.1/commons-logging-1.1.1.jar
> 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
> mode.
> >
> >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?
> >Cheers
> >-Tristan
> >
> >--
> >Tristan King
> >Research Officer,
> >eResearch Centre
> >James Cook University, Townsville Qld 4811
> >Australia
> >
> >Phone: +61747816902
> >E-mail: <mailto:tristan.king at jcu.edu.au>tristan.king at jcu.edu.au www: <
> http://eresearch.jcu.edu.au>http://eresearch.jcu.edu.au
> ------------
> Edward A. Lee
> Robert S. Pepper Distinguished Professor
> EECS Dept., 545Q Cory Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1770
> phone: 510-642-0253, fax: 510-642-2845
> eal at eecs.Berkeley.EDU,
> http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Faculty/Homepages/lee.html

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
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