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Creating Space with Operation User Accessibility

This document describes the basics of the writing of a space that is able to have the identity of the caller of a space’s function.

The concept is inspired by the Agents & Artifacts metamodel implemented by the CArtAgO project. In this approach, artifacts have operations, properties an can trigger events. In addition, artifact implementations can identify their operation callers in order to prevent agents to manipulate the artifact using someone else’s identity.

The idea using a space is very similar: agents “register” in the space in order to receive its events, but cannot emit any, and can invoke space operations like an artifact. The question was regarding the identity parameter, since CArtAgO allows to determine the caller implicitly.

In this document, a space is defined with caller identity as parameter. An a capacity/skill is defined for invoking the operation on the space.

##1. Capacity Definition

The first step is the definition of a capacity that enables an agent to access to the operations of the space.

In the following example, the MyCapacity capacity is defined with the functionAccessibleToTheAgent function.

capacity MyCapacity {

	def functionAccessibleToTheAgent(parameter : Object)

}

##2. Space Definition

Currently, the definition of a space into SARL with specific keywords is not yet supported. You must define a space with the definition of a class that extends the Space type. In the following example, the MySpace space is declared:

class MySpace implements Space {

	val id : SpaceID
	new (id : SpaceID) {
		this.id = id
	}
    def getSpaceID : SpaceID {
    	this.id
    }
    def getParticipants : SynchronizedSet<UUID> {
    	null
    }
}

The functionAccessibleToTheAgent function, initially defined into the MyCapacity capacity must be defined into the MySpace space. But for enabling the space to have the identity of the function caller, the identity must be given as formal parameter, in addition to the already defined parameters. Back to the example, the code becomes:

class MySpace implements Space {

	def functionAccessibleToTheAgent(callerIdentity : UUID, parameter : Object) {
		// Do something
	}
	val id : SpaceID
	new (id : SpaceID) {
		this.id = id
	}
    def getSpaceID : SpaceID {
    	this.id
    }
    def getParticipants : SynchronizedSet<UUID> {
    	null
    }
}

In order to enable the creation of an instance of MySpace, a space specification must be defined:

class MySpaceSpecification implements SpaceSpecification<MySpace> {
	def create(id : SpaceID, params : Object*) : MySpace {
		new MySpace(id)
	}
}

##3. Skill Definition

In order to do a bridge between the defined capacity and the space, a skill must be defined. The main role of this skill is to determine the identity of the operation’s caller for giving it to the space. Back to the example, the code for the skill is:

skill MySkill implements MyCapacity {
	var ^space : MySpace
	def functionAccessibleToTheAgent(parameter : Object) {
		this.^space.functionAccessibleToTheAgent(this.owner.ID, parameter)
	}
}

In the previous code, the reference to the space is put into a skill’s field, named ^space. This field is not initialized in the previous example. You could initialize it into the installation function of the skill : def install() : void

The definition of the functionAccessibleToTheAgent name is based on the delegation design pattern : the skill calls the similar space’s function. The difference is that the skill’s call include the identifier of the function’s caller, i.e. the agent’s identifier.

##4. Accessing to the function caller instance

Sometimes, it is useful to obtain the instance of the object, which has called the skill’s function. The caller may be the agent itself or one of its behaviors. The definition of the abstract type Skill includes the getCaller function:

Into the skill’s functions, you could use this function for obtaining the skill function’s caller. This function replies the behavior instance, which has called the function, or ǹull if the caller is the agent.

Back to the previous example, let’s change the type of caller identity from UUID to Object in order to give the instance of the caller to the space. The code of the skill becomes:

skill MySkill implements MyCapacity {

	var ^space : MySpace

	def functionAccessibleToTheAgent(parameter : Object) {
		var theCaller = getCaller ?: this.owner
		this.^space.functionAccessibleToTheAgent(theCaller, parameter)
	}
}

##5. Legal Notice

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Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0; you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License.

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