I have written that the newly redesigned Code Weaver now support type-level advices (well, to be precise, type-level join points). The first implementation is the new
in PostSharp Laos.
So what's aggregation?
Say you want to implement a collection (ICollection
) based on an ArrayList
, but you want to hide ArrayList and don't want to implement each method manually. PostSharp can do it for you.
Look at the following code sample:
internal class AggregatedCollection
After processing by PostSharp, the AggregatedCollection
class will implement the ICollection
collection using the ArrayList
Looks magic? If you inspect the generated code (the Roeder's Reflector is always useful for this), you will see a new field ~aggregated~0
of type ICollection
and all methods of this interface, for instance:
The aggregated object is constructed inside the constructor of AggregatedCollection:
this.~aggregated~0 = (ICollection)
Still looks magic?
The ones who already use the Code Weaver will maybe get angry but that's something I needed to do before going beta: I have redesigned quite deeply the low-level code weaver. Most changes are documented in the CHANGELOG.txt file.
So what has changed?
First, the notions of local and global advices has been deprecated. There is instead a unified notion of method-level advices and unified semantics to express what is called elsewhere
, i.e. to apply advices to join points. When you add an advice to the weaver, you can now specify on which methods
it applies and on which operands
. We use the IEnumerable interface to pass sets of methods and operands, so it should be forward compatible with C# 3.0 / LINQ.
If I said method-level advices, that's because PostSharp now supports also type-level advices: the only join point currently supported is after instance construction
, i.e. in the constructor, just after the base constructor has been called.
Secondly, you cannot call the weaver for individual methods. The Weave
method now weaves the complete module according to the advices that were previously added to it.
And finally, the IAdviceProvider
has changed. There is now a single ProvideAdvices
method in which you should add advices to the given weaver. That's all.
The internal workings have been considerably optimized to work with operand-sensitive join points. Say you want to intercept all calls to the Thread.Sleep()
method. You create an advice and apply it to the join points of kind InsteadOfCall
with operand Thread.Sleep
. Before redesign, the weaver would have woven every method of the module. But now, it will only weave methods that effectively use the Thread.Sleep
In order to make it possible, I have implemented the new task IndexUsagesTask
, which reads all method bodies an indexes 'uses' and 'used-by' relationships. Why is it better than the previous design? First, because inspection algorithm of this task is much simpler than the one of the weaver. Secondly, because the same information can be used by other tasks.
So at the end of the day, will you be still angry of this design change? Hopefully not, because these changes don't affect your code too much. All you have to do is to change your implementation of IAdviceProvider
. And this new design is much better and is prepared for the future.
So let's go!
I wrote in the previous post that PostSharp now offers more possibilities for the host to customize the execution process, for instance phased execution and events. In order to enable it, we missed a functionality: to be able to run host code in the PostSharp application domain, not only in the host AppDomain.
This is the role of the new concept of
. The local host is an object that resides in the PostSharp application domain between
and the host object residing in the host application domain (IPostSharpHost
). The whole communication between the PostSharpObject
and the remote host now goes through the local host. We provide a default implementation in the PostSharpLocalHost
class, but you can override it and pass your own implementation using the LocalHostImplementation
property of the PostSharpObjectSettings
There is a lot of new things to tell today. To make it simpler I will make a post for each of them. Let me start with the first: phased execution.
You probably know that PostSharp projects are composed of tasks. Indexing types is a task, weaving is a task, and even compiling back the code is a task. What you maybe don't know if that tasks are grouped in phase. PostSharp defines four standard phases: load, analyze, transform and generate.
When you execute a
project, i.e. when you transform a single
module, the situation is trivial: we execute one phase after the other.
However, when you transform multiple
modules in a single invocation of PostSharp, then you have the question: should I analyse all module, then transform them all, then compile them all, or should I process one module completely, then go to the next one.
You have now the choice. PostSharp can do both
: the phases
and the sequential
I have defined a new property ProjectExecutionOrder
on the PostSharpObjectSettings
object so you can choose. If you host PostSharp yourself, of course! If you don't, anyway, each invocation of PostSharp processes only one module and this discussion is useless.
But if you do host PostSharp, you have the possibility to execute custom code between
phases. If you really need this (and think twice if it cannot be implemented as a normal task), look at the events PhaseExecuting
of the PostSharpObject
event. How would you get a chance to register your own event handlers? Good question, you have to implement a local host
. I explain it in my next post.
Like week-end I have been working on a breaking feature of PostSharp: the possibility to use it
. So PostSharp is not only
a post-compiler any more.
Of course, the core technology is still and will stay MSIL manipulation. When I say that PostSharp can be used at runtime, I mean that .NET modules can be woven just before they are loaded by the Virtual Runtime Engine (VRE). After they have been loaded, they cannot be modified. Obviously.
Why at runtime?
Weaving an assembly at runtime makes sense principally within application servers
. These servers typically offer services like transactions or persistence. These aspects may be defined, for instance, at deployment time in a management console. So they have to be woven outside
the development environment.
How does it work?
If you liked the Platform Infrastructure (what makes PostSharp really different from an ordinary IL reader/writer), you will have another reason to be satisfied: the same infrastructure is now available at runtime. It has been redesigned to make no difference between runtime and compile-time use. The MSBuild task and the command-line utility have been corrected to use the new design.
Concretely, I defined a new object PostSharpObject
that is the entry point for the Platform Infrastructure. You can create an instance (either in the current AppDomain either in a private one) using the PostSharpObjectFactory
-- in any case you will only get the interface IPostSharpObjectFactory
. This interface has a single method InvokeProjects
, that allows to execute a set of project. Each project has its own source module and its own properties. This satisfies most compile-time scenarios and even some runtime ones!
Things become more interesting when you need to weave assembly in deep-first order
. That means that you need to weave referred
assemblies first, then referring
. This is typically the case when you need to change the public interface of assemblies (for instance change fields into properties). In this case, you have to implement the new IPostSharpHost
interface. This interface is called every time an assembly reference should be resolved. You get the opportunity to tell how assemblies should be processed, i.e. you can ask there to transform it using a project and given parameters.
On the other extreme, lazy weaving
of assemblies (weave just before the assembly is required by the VRE) needs a more complex interaction between the host and PostSharp. The host has to implement the AppDomain.AssemblyResolve event.
Do you want to try?
The changes have been merged in the trunk of the SVN repository. I have built a prerelease of the 1.0 Beta 1
version. It is largely documented and I wrote a sample.