Rocco Caputo > Reflex > Reflex::Doc

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NAME ^

Reflex::Doc - What is Reflex, and how do I use it?

WHAT IS REFLEX? ^

Reflex is a reactive programming library for Perl. It provides the basic (and some advanced) building blocks for event driven modules and programs.

Reflex uses Moose, a widely accepted standard for OO Perl, rather than concocting its own roles and classes.

Reflex was designed to unify many forms of reactive programming. It currently supports all of these, in the same program if necessary:

WHY IS REFLEX? ^

In a nutshell, there is more than one reactive programming model, and the use of one often precludes the use of others. This is sad because one model doesn't fit all use cases. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and it should be possible to use any or all of them as needed.

WRITING REFLEX MODULES ^

Reflex's multi-model magic arises from a particular design convention. Moose roles are the basic building block of Reflex program. Classes (even the simple ones) are built from these roles. Classes may then be combined by inheritance (is-a composition) or containment (has-a with callbacks).

That's a mouthful, but the entire process is short and to the point. Most of the work is done in the roles, and the basic classes mainly wire roles together.

Writing A Reactive Role

We'll start with a simple role that provides a synchronous callback. This is a bit of a cheat. Callbacks are usually asynchronous. These synchronous ones let us cover callbacks first, by themselves.

Most Reflex roles are parameterized, which allows a single class to consume more than one instance of a particular role. One parameter acts as a primary key, or name for the role. Callbacks and methods are named after this key by default.

That's a bit of work, but roles are generally the biggest Reflex modules. The classes that use it are much smaller.

TODO - Changed. package AfterAwhileRole; use Reflex::Role;

        attribute_parameter name    => "name";
        attribute_parameter awhile  => "awhile";
        callback_parameter  cb      => qw( on name done );

        role {
                my $role_param = shift;

                my $cb_done   = $role_param->cb();
                my $awhile    = $role_param->awhile();

                method-emit $cb_done => "done";

                sub BUILD {}

                after BUILD => sub {
                        my $self = shift;
                        sleep($self->$awhile());
                        $self->$cb_done();
                };
        };

        1;

Creating Classes with Reflex Roles

Reflex roles aren't usable until they become part of a class. The simplest classes perform exactly what their roles do, but in a usable way. Here's AfterAwhileClass, which converts AfterAwileRole into a usable class.

All Reflex classes should be based on Reflex::Base. The class exposes "name" and "awhile" attributes so they may be set during object construction.

TODO - Changed. package AfterAwhileClass; use Moose; extends 'Reflex::Base';

        has name    => ( is => 'ro', isa => 'Str', default => 'awhile' );
        has awhile  => ( is => 'ro', isa => 'Int', default => 1 );

        with 'AfterAwhileRole' => { cb => 'on_done' };

        1;

If it's practical, Reflex roles may provide default attributes later.

Subclassing

Reflex classes are plain Moose classes, which are generally plain Perl classes. Here's a subclass of AfterAwhileClass that internally consumes its on_done() callback. Even though Moose would makethis a bit shorter, we deliberately avoid it because we can.

        package AfterAwhileSubclass;

        use warnings;
        use strict;
        use base 'AfterAwhileClass';

        sub on_done {
                print "subclass overrode on_done\n";
        }

        1;

USING REFLEX MODULES ^

Each reactive use case will be illustrated here.

Classes With Reactive Roles

Covered in "Creating Classes with Reflex Roles".

Subclassing Reactive Classes

Covered in "Subclassing".

Objects With Coderef Callbacks

Reflex objects work like any other objects with callbacks. Code can use Reflex objects to do asynchronous work.

The variable $aa is scoped so that the AfterAwhileClass object will be destroyed at the end of the "on_done" callback.

        #!/usr/bin/env perl

        use warnings;
        use strict;
        use AfterAwhileClass;

        my $aa;
        $aa = AfterAwhileClass->new(
                awhile  => 1,
                on_done => sub {
                        print "AfterAwhileClass done!\n";
                        $aa = undef;
                },
        );

        $aa->run_all();

Objects With Method Callbacks

Method callbacks are virtually identical to coderef callbacks. The anonymous subroutine is replaced with a cb_method() call. This example is substantially longer, however, because a dummy object needs to be created to handle the callback.

        #!/usr/bin/env perl

        use warnings;
        use strict;

        my $aa;

        {
                package Class;
                use Moose;
                extends 'Reflex::Base';
                sub method {
                        print "AfterAwhileClass called a method!\n";
                        $aa = undef;
                }
        }

        use AfterAwhileClass;
        use Reflex::Callbacks qw(cb_method);

        my $object = Class->new();

        $aa = AfterAwhileClass->new(
                awhile  => 1,
                on_done => cb_method($object, "method"),
        );

        $aa->run_all();

Promises

The best has been saved for last. All asynchronous Reflex classes may be used as promises. Their objects have a standard next() method that returns the next asynchrnous event they emit.

First, here's how it's done:

TODO - Changed. #!/usr/bin/env perl

        use warnings;
        use strict;

        use AsyncAwhileClass;

        my $aa = AsyncAwhileClass->new(awhile => 1);

        my $response = $aa->next();
        print "Response callback: $response->{name}\n";

We need to define AsyncAwhileClass before that will run. It's just a renamed AfterAwhileClass, with the new asynchronous role.

TODO - Changed. package AsyncAwhileClass; use Moose; extends 'Reflex::Base';

        has name    => ( is => 'ro', isa => 'Str', default => 'awhile' );
        has awhile  => ( is => 'ro', isa => 'Int', default => 1 );

        with 'AsyncAwhileRole' => { cb => 'on_done' };

        1;

As mentioned earlier, most of the work is done in the role itself. This AsyncAwhileRole replaces the blocking sleep() with a non-blocking Reflex::Interval object. Later we'll introduce magic to make it more concise.

TODO - Changed. package AsyncAwhileRole; use Reflex::Role; use Reflex::Interval; use Reflex::Callbacks qw(cb_method);

        attribute_parameter name    => "name";
        attribute_parameter awhile  => "awhile";
        callback_parameter  cb      => qw( on name done );

        role {
                my $role_param = shift;

                my $role_name = $role_param->name();
                my $cb_done   = $role_param->cb();
                my $awhile    = $role_param->awhile();

                my $timer_member = "_${role_name}_timer";

                has $timer_member => ( is => 'rw', isa => 'Reflex::Interval' );

                method-emit $cb_done => "done";

                sub BUILD {}

                after BUILD => sub {
                        my $self = shift;
                        $self->$timer_member(
                                Reflex::Interval->new(
                                        auto_repeat => 0,
                                        interval    => $self->$awhile(),
                                        on_tick     => cb_method($self, $cb_done),
                                )
                        );
                };
        };

        1;

TODO ^

Lots.

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