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JNet: JVM callbacks

One of the features of JCOBridge, used in JNet, is the callback management from JVM. Many applications use the callback mechanism to be informed about events which happens during execution. Apache Kakfa exposes many API which have callbacks in the parameters. The Java code of a callback can be written with lambda expressions, but JNet cannot, it needs an object.

JNet Callback internals

JNet is based on JCOBridge. JCOBridge as per its name is a bridge between the CLR (CoreCLR) and the JVM. Events, generally are expressed as interfaces in Java, and a lambda expression is translated into an object at compile time. Otherwise the developer can implement a Java class which implements the interface: with JCOBridge the developer needs to follow a seamless approach. In JNet some callbacks are ready made. In this tutorial the Predicate interface (java.util.function.Predicate) will be taken as an example. The concrete class implementing the interface is the following one:

public final class JNetPredicate extends JCListener implements Predicate {
    public JNetPredicate(String key) throws JCNativeException {

    public boolean test(Object e) {
        raiseEvent("test", e);
        Object retVal = getReturnData();
        return (boolean) retVal;

The structure follows the guidelines of JCOBridge:

  • It must extends the base class JCListener (or implements the interface IJCListener): this is a constraint of JCOBridge; JCListener has many ready made methods; if the callback is not based on an interface the developer can implements the IJCListener;
  • The concrete class must have at least a constructor accepting a String;
  • Within the implementation of the interface method (in this case the method test of the Predicate interface) the method raiseEvent informs the CLR that a method was raised using the specific key (test in this case) along with all associated objects:
    • If the interface has many methods each one must have its own raiseEvent call;
    • The key used from raiseEvent is not mandatory to be equal to the name of the calling method, it is only a convention for the mapping: this will be more clear looking at the C# code.

Now there is a concrete class within the JVM space. Going on to the CLR side a possible concrete class in C# is as the following one:

public class Predicate<TObject> : JVMBridgeListener
	public override string ClassName => "org.mases.jnet.util.function.JNetPredicate";

	Func<TObject, bool> executionFunction = null;
	public virtual Func<TObject, bool> OnTest { get { return executionFunction; } }
	public Predicate(Func<TObject, bool> func = null, bool attachEventHandler = true)
		if (func != null) executionFunction = func;
		else executionFunction = Test;

		if (attachEventHandler)
			AddEventHandler("test", new EventHandler<CLRListenerEventArgs<CLREventData<TObject>>>(EventHandler));

	void EventHandler(object sender, CLRListenerEventArgs<CLREventData<TObject>> data)
		var retVal = OnTest(data.EventData.TypedEventData);

	public virtual bool Test(TObject obj) { return false; }

The structure follows the guidelines of JCOBridge:

  • It must extends the base class JVMBridgeListener : this is a constraint of JCOBridge; JVMBridgeListener contains all the functionality to handle events from the JVM;
  • The ClassName property informs the base class about the concrete class in JVM associated to this event handler;
  • Within the constructor the method AddEventHandler registers a .NET EventHandler associated to the method in JVM; look at the key string: it is the same used from the JVM;
    • The costructor of the code above accept in input an Func which permits to write lambda expression in C#;
    • The code above associate a private handler with specific data type:
      • CLRListenerEventArgs is mandatory and it is used from JVMBridgeListener;
      • TObject represents the CLR version of the corresponding TObject within the JVM;
  • On callback invocation (test in this case) the CLR will invoke EventHandler:
    • The first parameter is directly reported using the TypedEventData property;
    • On completion the result is reported back to the JVM using the SetReturnValue function;
  • Other pieces of the class are useful in other condition:
    • Creating a new class extending Callback class, the method OnTest can be overridden;
    • Otherwise to the property OnTest can be associated to an handler;

JNet Callback lifecycle

The lifecycle of the callback managed from JCOBridge is slightly different from the standard one. To avoid the Garbage Collector collects an instance of JVMBridgeListener it shall be registered. JVMBridgeListener do this automatically within the initialization (this behavior can be avoided using the property AutoInit). So at the end of its use it must be disposed to avoid a resource leak. In the example below there is a using clause and the class is instantiated only one time. A correct approach is like the following:

using (var handler = new Predicate<int>((o1) =>
	if (o1 > 10) return true;
	return false;
	while (!resetEvent.WaitOne(0))
		if (o.CanSend(i, handler)) o.Send(i);

while with an approach like the following one:

var result = o.CanSend(i, new Predicate<int>((o1) =>
	if (o1 > 10) return true;
	return false;

there are two main drawbacks:

  • it creates a resource leak because the object instance related to Predicate<int> cannot be programmatically disposed;
  • on each cycle, the engine shall allocate the infrastructure to handle events from the JVM.