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2013, Sunday February 17

Interface-based service sample: remote SQL access

You will find in the SQLite3\Sample\16 - Execute SQL via services folder of mORMot source code a Client-Server sample able to access any external database via JSON and HTTP.
It is a good demonstration of how to use an interface-based service between a client and a server.
It will also show how our SynDB classes have a quite abstract design, and are easy to work with, whatever database provider you need to use.

The corresponding service contract has been defined:

  TRemoteSQLEngine = (rseOleDB, rseODBC, rseOracle, rseSQlite3, rseJet, rseMSSQL);

IRemoteSQL = interface(IInvokable) ['{9A60C8ED-CEB2-4E09-87D4-4A16F496E5FE}'] procedure Connect(aEngine: TRemoteSQLEngine; const aServerName, aDatabaseName, aUserID, aPassWord: RawUTF8); function GetTableNames: TRawUTF8DynArray; function Execute(const aSQL: RawUTF8; aExpectResults, aExpanded: Boolean): RawJSON; end;

Purpose of this service is:
- To Connect() to external databases, given the parameters of a standard TSQLDBConnectionProperties. Create() constructor;
- Retrieve all table names of this external database as a list;
- Execute any SQL statement, returning the content as JSON array, ready to be consumed by AJAX applications (if aExpanded is true), or a Delphi client (e.g. via a TSQLTableJSON and the mORMotUI unit).

Of course, this service will be define as sicClientDriven mode, that is, the framework will be able to manage a client-driven TSQLDBProperties instance life time.

Benefit of this service is that no database connection is required on the client side: a regular HTTP connection is enough.
No need to install nor configure any database provider, and full SQL access to the remote databases.

Due to our optimized JSON serialization, it will probably be faster to work with such plain HTTP / JSON services, instead of a database connection through a VPN. In fact, database connections are made to work on a local network, and do not like high-latency connections, which are typical on the Internet.

Continue reading...

2013, Sunday January 20

Adding JavaScript server-side support to mORMot

A long-time mORMot user and contributor just made a proposal on our forums.
He did use mORMot classes to integrate a SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine to our very fast and scaling HTTP server, including our optimized JSON serialization layer.

Today, he sent to me some of his source code, which sounds ready to be included in the main trunk!

This is a great contribution, and Pavel's goal is nothing less than offering
Delphi based, FAST multithreaded server with ORM and node.js modules compatible.

Continue reading...

2013, Friday January 18

Register any class for proper TObjectList serialization

Up to now, the only way of directly serializing a list of class instances as a JSON array was to use a TCollection.

In fact, objects are not alone, just like mORMots tend to have a nice family:

You have either to let your collection class inherit from the new TInterfaceCollection type, either call the TJSONSerializer.RegisterCollectionForJSON() method.
Could sounds a bit over-sized for just a list of objects.

We have just added a new feature, adding a new "ClassName":"TMyObject" field in the JSON object serialization, and allowing it to create the proper class instance on both transmission sides, therefore able to properly let TObjectList be serialized and un-serialized.

Continue reading...

Register any TCollection type for proper JSON serialization

Due to the current implementation pattern of the TCollection type in Delphi, it was not possible to implement directly this kind of parameter.

In fact, the TCollection constructor is defined as such:

 constructor Create(ItemClass: TCollectionItemClass);

And, on the server side, we do not know which kind of TCollectionItemClass is to be passed. Therefore, the TServiceFactoryServer is unable to properly instantiate the object instances, supplying the expected item class.

The framework propose two potential solutions:

  • You can let your collection class inherit from the new TInterfaceCollection type;
  • You can call the TJSONSerializer.RegisterCollectionForJSON() method to register the collection type and its associated item class.

First solution has already been detailed in this blog.
We will now describe the second (and new) way.

Continue reading...

2013, Saturday January 5

Domain-Driven-Design and mORMot

Implementing Domain-Driven-Design (DDD) is one goal of our mORMot framework.

We already presented this particular n-Tier architecture.

It is now time to enter deeper into the material, provide some definition and reference.
You can also search the web for reference, or look at the official web site.
A general presentation of the corresponding concepts, in the .NET world, was used as reference of this blog entry.

Stay tuned, and ride the mORMot!

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2012, Monday December 31

Enhance existing projects with mORMot

Even if mORMot will be more easily used in a project designed from scratch, it fits very well the purpose of evolving any existing Delphi project, or even creating the server side part of an AJAX application. 

One benefit of such a framework is to facilitate the transition from a Client-Server architecture to a N-Tier layered pattern.

Continue reading...

2012, Tuesday November 13

Go language and Delphi

Do you know the Go language?

It is a strong-typed, compiled, cross-platform, and concurrent.
It features some nice high-level structures, like maps and strings, and still have very low-level access to the generated code: pointers are there, in a safe strong-typed implementation just like in pascal, and there is even a "goto", which sounds like an heresy to dogmatic coders, but does make sense to me, at least when you want to optimize code speed, in some rare cases.

It is created/pushed by Google, used internally by the company in their computer farms, and was designed by one of the original C creators.

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2012, Thursday October 18

Interfaces are not evil; or are Delphi-ers the new Vampires?

A very interesting comment by mpv in our forum highlighted some points about potential interface (ab)use:

IMHO: Idea is good, but "the devil is in the details". To use mocking I must use interfaces. When I use interfaces I lost control on code, because I don't see implementation. Debugging an optimization became very hard. Especially if a beginner developer read something like GOF (Gang Of Four) and wherever necessary and where not use design templates like Visitor, Decorator and so on, and in debugging I don't understand at all what class actually implement passed interface. As for me, this is a biggest problem for .NET framework - developers use interfaces, don't look on implementation (and often don't have it in sources at all), do not learn by reading someone else's code and therefore produce monkey-code. This is only IMHO...

Could sounds rude, and like a trolling subject, but I perfectly understand this point of view.
Introducing stubs and mocks in mORMot was not the open door to all problems.. but,on the contrary, to help write robust, efficient, and maintainable code.
It does not mean that using interfaces and C#/Java is the root of all evils and code inefficiency, but that it may lead into problems.

Continue reading...

2012, Sunday October 14

Advanced mocks and stubs

Let's see some advanced topics about mORMot's mocking and stubbing features:

  • How to handle complex values in parameters / arguments or results, like record;
  • Stubbing via a custom delegate or callback;
  • Calls tracing.

Continue reading...

Interfaces in practice: dependency injection, stubs and mocks

In order to fulfill the SOLID principles, two features are to be available when handling interfaces:

  • Dependency injection; 
  • Stubbing and mocking of interfaces for proper testing.

We will show now how mORMot provides all needed features for such patterns, testing a simple "forgot my password" scenario: a password shall be computed for a given user name, then transmitted via SMS, and its record shall be updated in the database.

Continue reading...

Stubs and Mocks for Delphi with mORMot

Our mORMot framework is now able to stub or mock any Delphi interface.

As usual, the best way to explain what a library does is to look at the code using it.
Here is an example (similar to the one shipped with RhinoMocks) of verifying that when we execute the "forgot my password" scenario, we remembered to call the Save() method properly:

procedure TMyTest.ForgotMyPassword;
var SmsSender: ISmsSender;
    UserRepository: IUserRepository;
begin
  TInterfaceStub.Create(TypeInfo(ISmsSender),SmsSender).
    Returns('Send',[true]);
  TInterfaceMock.Create(TypeInfo(IUserRepository),UserRepository,self).
    ExpectsCount('Save',qoEqualTo,1);
  with TLoginController.Create(UserRepository,SmsSender) do
  try
    ForgotMyPassword('toto');
  finally
    Free;
  end;
end;

And... that's all, since the verification will take place when IUserRepository instance will be release.

If you want to follow the "test spy" pattern (i.e. no expectation defined a priori, but manual check after the execution), you can use:

procedure TMyTest.ForgotMyPassword;
var SmsSender: ISmsSender;
    UserRepository: IUserRepository;
    Spy: TInterfaceMockSpy;
begin
  TInterfaceStub.Create(TypeInfo(ISmsSender),SmsSender).
    Returns('Send',[true]);
  Spy := TInterfaceMockSpy.Create(TypeInfo(IUserRepository),UserRepository,self);
  with TLoginController.Create(UserRepository,SmsSender) do
  try
    ForgotMyPassword('toto');
  finally
    Free;
  end;
  Spy.Verify('Save');
end;

This is something unique with our library: you can decide if you want to use the classic "expect-run-verify" pattern, or the somewhat more direct "run-verify" / "test spy" pattern.
With mORMot, you pick up your mocking class (either TInterfaceMock or TInterfaceMockSpy), then use it as intended. You can even mix the two aspects in the same instance! It is just a matter of taste and opportunity for you to use the right pattern.

Continue reading...

2012, Saturday October 6

Delphi XE3 is preparing (weak) reference counting for class instances

In Delphi, you have several ways of handling data life time, therefore several ways of handling memory:

  • For simple value objects (e.g.  byte integer double shortstring and fixed size arrays or record containing only such types), the value is copied in fixed-size buffers;
  • For more complex value objets (e.g. string and dynamic arrays or record containing such types), there is a reference counter handled by each instance, with copy-on-write feature and compiler-generated reference counting at code scope level (with hidden try..finally blocks);
  • For most class instances (e.g. deriving from TObject), you have to Create then Free each instance, and manage its life time by hand - with explicit try..finally blocks;
  • For class deriving from TInterfacedObject, you have a RefCount property, with _AddRef _Release methods (this is the reference-counted COM model), and you can use Delphi interface to work with such instances - see this blog article.
With Delphi XE3, we were told that some automatic memory handling at class level are about to be introduced at the compiler and RTL level.
Even if this feature is not finished, and disabled, there are a lot of changes in the Delphi XE3 Run Time Library which sounds like a preparation of such a new feature.

Continue reading...

2012, Sunday September 9

Synopse mORMot framework 1.17

Our Open Source mORMot framework is now available in revision 1.17.

The main new features are the following:

We have some very exciting features on the road-map for the next 1.18 release, like direct Event/CallBacks handling.
Stay tuned!

Continue reading...

2012, Thursday September 6

Roadmap: interface-based callbacks for Event Collaboration

On the mORMot roadmap, we added a new upcoming feature, to implement one-way callbacks from the server.
That is, add transparent "push" mode to our Service Oriented Architecture framework.

Aim is to implement notification events triggered from the server side, very easily from Delphi code, even over a single HTTP connection - for instance, WCF does not allow this: it will need a dual binding, so will need to open a firewall port and such.

It will be the ground of an Event Collaboration stack included within mORMot, in a KISS way.
Event Collaboration is really a very interesting pattern, and even if not all your application domain should be written using it, some part may definitively benefit from it.
The publish / subscribe pattern provides greater network scalability and a more dynamic SOA implementation: for instance, you can add listeners to your main system events (even third-party developed), without touching your main server.
Or it could be the root of the Event Sourcing part of your business domain: since callbacks can also be executed on the server side (without communication), they can be used to easily add nice features like: complete rebuild, data consolidation (and CQRS), temporal query, event replay, logging, audit, backup, replication.

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2012, Thursday July 12

One ORM to rule them all

If you discovered the mORMot framework, you may have found out that its implementation may sound restricted, in comparison to other ORMs, due to its design. It would be easy to answer that "it is not a bug, it is a feature", but I suspect it is worth a dedicated article.

Some common (and founded) criticisms are the following (quoting from our forum - see e.g. this question):
- "One of the things I don't like so much about your approach to the ORM is the mis-use of existing Delphi constructs like "index n" attribute for the maximum length of a string-property. Other ORMs solve this i.e. with official Class-attributes";
- "You have to inherit from TSQLRecord, and can't persist any plain class";
- "There is no way to easily map an existing complex database".

I understand very well those concerns.
Our mORMot framework is not meant to fit any purpose, but it is worth understanding why it has been implemented as such, and why it may be quite unique within the family of ORMs - which almost all are following the Hibernate way of doing.

Continue reading...

2012, Monday June 18

Circular reference and zeroing weak pointers

The memory allocation model of the Delphi interface type uses some kind of Automatic Reference Counting (ARC). In order to avoid memory and resource leaks and potential random errors in the applications (aka the terrible EAccessViolation exception on customer side) when using interface, a SOA framework like mORMot has to offer so-called Weak pointers and Zeroing Weak pointers features.

Note that garbage collector based languages (like Java or C#) do not suffer from this problem, since the circular references are handled by their memory model: objects lifetime are maintained globally by the memory manager. Of course, it will increase memory use, slowdown the process due to additional actions during allocation and assignments (all objects and their references have to be maintained in internal lists), and may slow down the application when garbage collector enters in action. In order to avoid such issues when performance matters, experts tend to pre-allocate and re-use objects: this is one common limitation of this memory model, and why Delphi is still a good candidate (like unmanaged C or C++ - and also Objective C) when it deals with performance and stability.

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2012, Thursday June 14

Introducing TInterfacedCollection dedicated class

A TInterfacedCollection dedicated class has been defined, properly handling collection item creation on the Server side, with interface-based services: all contract operations shall use a class inheriting from it, instead of the standard TCollection, which was not defined as needed for our high-level needs.

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2012, Wednesday June 13

Retrieve the object instance from an interface

It is pretty useful, in some cases, to retrieve a class instance from a given interface.
You should better use interfaces in your business logic, but having access to the underlying implementation is needed at lower level.

Beginning with Delphi 2010, you are able to use the as operator, e.g. via aObject := aInterface as TObject or aObject  := TObject(aInterface).
This operator use a special hidden interface GUID (ObjCastGUID) to retrieve the object instance, calling an enhanced version of TObject.GetInterface.

But if you want to maintain compatibility with older version of Delphi (as we want for mORMot to work with the beloved Delphi 6 or 7), you'll have to find a way.

Continue reading...

2012, Monday May 28

Synopse mORMot Framework 1.16

Our Open Source mORMot framework is now available in revision 1.16.

The main new features are the following:

Thanks to its features, mORMot is now able to provide a stand-alone Domain-Driven Design framework for Delphi.

Quite a long and nice road for a little mORMot, and more to come!

Continue reading...

2012, Friday May 25

Domain-Driven design

With a previous article, we introduced the concept of "Domain-Driven design" into our framework presentation.

It's now time to detail a bit more this very nice software architecture design, and how mORMot is able to achieve such an implementation pattern.

Continue reading...

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