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Clay Modules Support

Posted by david on 06 August 2012 at 5:06 pm

It seems like I always find something else that "needs" to be fixed when I'm supposed to be working on the privileges system. After moving code around most of the weekend and trying to figure out how to make Libraries a little more accessible by Applications, while retaining access restrictions, I have found an answer (I think). It's actually a feature I dropped from Clay a while back. 

Clay Modules are placed in the Module library and act as specialized controllers, providing a link between Libraries and Applications. I dropped the feature in the past, because I couldn't find a good way to make a module different from a Library, but without the functionality of an Application. While browsing through the different libraries that make up the current privilege system, I realized there are a lot of database queries going on in those libraries that depend solely on an Application to create the database backend. That is counterintuitive to the purpose I had set out for libraries. Libraries are meant to be generic or specific, but should be depended on by Applications, not the other way around. 

A couple of years makes a difference, I guess. The new Module System will be self-contained within a Library that stores all of the modules and their related classes. The modules will have setup classes that install them and resolve dependencies between them automatically, when initiated within an Application setup class. A Module Library will be used to load module objects and allow an Application to control when and how it is used. The idea is to augment Application functionality, while moving the data backend dependencies away from Applications. 

This Module approach seems to be more in-line with what I had originally wanted Libraries to do. A few years ago I realized the Library dependencies on Applications was the opposite of what I was wanting and created Modules. Back then, though, I hadn't created the Application Setup class I have now, and had no idea of how to streamline from Library to Module to Application, without blurring the lines somewhere in the middle. I thought it was pointless to have Libraries and Modules that depended on Applications, instead of the dependencies flowing downstream, so I dropped the Module idea. 

I'm still testing it out and trying to work out how to track dependencies. The bright side to that is I haven't worked out Application dependencies and now I can have a proving ground for that. I'll keep you updated and begin pushing some of the changes into the Clay repo soon. Unfortunately all of this has been done in the Clay privs branch, but maybe that'll entice me to finish the privilege system before merging it all back into the master branch. I expect to push quite a bit of the modules into the Clay Framework repo as well, but most of the work will be done from the Clay repo for easier testing.

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