NetKernel News Volume 1 Issue 5

November 20th 2010

What's new this week?

As promised, this week sees the release of NetKernel Standard Edition v4.0.1. This point release incorporates recent updates into a single distribution.

It also features a new low-level boot infrastructure which allows the boot loader itself to be upgradeable (like Grub on Linux). There's not much to say about the bootloader since, just as before, it is there to boot the kernel and the module manager, after which the ROC domain is live. FYI, as before, the higher order boot process (loading modules etc) takes place in the ROC domain (try this on for size... the booted ROC address space is a resource that is reified during boot)

While we were decoupling the lowest level we also took the time to move out the JVM settings options into a separate jvmsettings.cnf file. This offers the potential to provide a control panel tool/service that can set the JVM memory size amongst other things (not done yet, watch this space).

One other refinement to the decoupling of the boot process was added. You may already know that the module manager supports extensible module factories (see embedded API tutorial for details). Fundamentally these turn a file or other resource into an ISpace instance that can be registered in the ROC domain with the kernel.

Currently there is a Java space factory (so you could if you wanted have spaces that were purely written in Java) and the Standard Module Factory (which boots regular NetKernel module jars and expanded directories).

Previously the boot loader was hard coded to add the module factory classes. After the update it is now able to search for factories in the boot classpath and dynamically add what it finds. This gives lots of future potential for new and exotic address space formats, and more practically provides the way to support encrypted modules for production deployments etc.

The following extras came up as part of this boot refactor work.

The Kernel logger interface and the logger impl in layer0 now support the ability to format log messages from a formatting String as well as from the file in the local module classpath.

We also enhanced the system module reporting to show a clearer view of broken/misconfigured modules in the space explorer.

Repository News

There's a new resource model...

PoiNK: This is a module that provides a spreadsheet (Excel and Open Office ods) resource model. It allows you to extract cells, rows, columns and whole workbooks. It supports simple POJO extraction and XML formatted resources for easy transformation/incorporation into pipeline processes etc.

PoiNK is great example of a domain specific resource model and is a nice template if you're interested in how to move from thinking in terms of APIs (Apache Poi) and moving up to resource oriented perspective - treating the spreadsheet as a resource address space. PoiNK is developed by Tom Hicks and was first demonstrated way back at the NetKernel Architects conference in fall 2008. The slides he presented are still available here...

and include details of the library and some handy tips on the process he used to migrate from NetKernel 3 to NetKernel 4.

To install PoiNK, go to apposite admin -> http://localhost:1060/apposite/admin/ and in the repository click "add set". Enter "multiverse" (without quotes). Now test the connection. Sync and look at packages for "uninstalled". There is "mod-poink" ready for install.

NK-2010 Conference Planning

Tom's PoiNK presentation last year has reminded me that we should start to think about NK 2010 (or whatever it gets called). We didn't have a conference this year since we wanted to ensure that NK4 was released and ready. We also know that this year has been a bummer and many organizations were being very careful with travel and external events. Well the OECD has declared that everywhere will have returned to growth next year so we think we should have a party (ok got to get this straight - tell the boss its a conference).

We're looking to get your ideas for topics, speakers etc etc. We also want to sound you out on venue - East Coast/West Coast/Europe/India? Not sure on dates either - we could potentially do something in late Spring early summer - or we could go with the usual late Summer/Early Autumn (Fall). Preferences on a postcard please to the usual address.

ROC News

Tony has the bit between his teeth. This week he answers the question "Where's the API/Where's the code?"

and raises the question "So what do you mean by code?".

Enjoy the weekend!


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