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OSGi Services

An OSGi service is a Java class or service interface with service properties defined as name/value pairs. The service properties differentiate among service providers that provide services with the same service interface.

An OSGi service is defined semantically by its service interface, and it is implemented as a service object. A service's functionality is defined by the interfaces it implements. Thus, different applications can implement the same service.

Service interfaces allow bundles to interact by binding interfaces, not implementations. A service interface should be specified with as few implementation details as possible.

In the OSGi framework, the service layer provides communication between bundles and their contained components using the publish, find, and bind service model. The service layer contains a service registry where:

  • Service providers register services with the framework to be used by other bundles

  • Service requesters find services and bind to service providers

Services are owned by, and run within, a bundle. The bundle registers an implementation of a service with the framework service registry under one or more Java interfaces. Thus, the service’s functionality is available to other bundles under the control of the framework, and other bundles can look up and use the service. Lookup is performed using the Java interface and service properties.

Each bundle can register multiple services in the service registry using the fully qualified name of its interface and its properties. Bundles use names and properties with LDAP syntax to query the service registry for services.

A bundle is responsible for runtime service dependency management activities including publication, discovery, and binding. Bundles can also adapt to changes resulting from the dynamic availability (arrival or departure) of the services that are bound to the bundle.

Service interfaces are implemented by objects created by a bundle. Bundles can:

The OSGi framework provides an event notification mechanism so service requesters can receive notification events when changes in the service registry occur. These changes include the publication or retrieval of a particular service and when services are registered, modified, or unregistered.

When a bundle wants to use a service, it looks up the service and invokes the Java object as a normal Java call. Therefore, invocations on services are synchronous and occur in the same thread. You can use callbacks for more asynchronous processing. Parameters are passed as Java object references. No marshalling or intermediary canonical formats are required as with XML. OSGi provides solutions for the problem of services being unavailable.

In addition to your own services, the OSGi framework provides the following optional services to manage the operation of the framework:

  • Package Admin service—allows a management agent to define the policy for managing Java package sharing by examining the status of the shared packages. It also allows the management agent to refresh packages and to stop and restart bundles as required. This service enables the management agent to make decisions regarding any shared packages when an exporting bundle is uninstalled or updated.

    The service also provides methods to refresh exported packages that were removed or updated since the last refresh, and to explicitly resolve specific bundles. This service can also trace dependencies between bundles at runtime, allowing you to see what bundles might be affected by upgrading.

  • Start Level service—enables a management agent to control the starting and stopping order of bundles. The service assigns each bundle a start level. The management agent can modify the start level of bundles and set the active start level of the framework, which starts and stops the appropriate bundles. Only bundles that have a start level less than, or equal to, this active start level can be active.

  • URL Handlers service—dynamically extends the Java runtime with URL schemes and content handlers enabling any component to provide additional URL handlers.

  • Permission Admin service—enables the OSGi framework management agent to administer the permissions of a specific bundle and to provide defaults for all bundles. A bundle can have a single set of permissions that are used to verify that it is authorized to execute privileged code. You can dynamically manipulate permissions by changing policies on the fly and by adding new policies for newly installed components. Policy files are used to control what bundles can do.

  • Conditional Permission Admin service—extends the Permission Admin service with permissions that can apply when certain conditions are either true or false at the time the permission is checked. These conditions determine the selection of the bundles to which the permissions apply. Permissions are activated immediately after they are set.

The OSGi framework services are described in detail in separate chapters in the OSGi Service Platform Release 4 specification available from the release 4 download page on the OSGi Alliance web site.

In addition to the OSGi framework services, the OSGi Alliance defines a set of optional, standardized compendium services. The OSGi compendium services provide APIs for tasks such as logging and preferences. These services are described in the OSGi Service Platform, Service Compendium available from the release 4 download page on the OSGi Alliance Web site.

The Configuration Admin compendium service is like a central hub that persists configuration information and distributes it to interested parties. The Configuration Admin service specifies the configuration information for deployed bundles and ensures that the bundles receive that data when they are active. The configuration data for a bundle is a list of name-value pairs. See Fuse ESB kernel.