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Chapter 5. The Sequencer Example

5.1. Running the sequencing example
5.2. Reviewing the example application
5.3. What's next

The previous chapter walked through the process of downloading and building the examples. This chapter will focus on the sequencer example, showing how to run the example and then walking through the code to describe what it's doing.

The sequencing example consists of a client application that sets up an in-memory JCR repository and that allows a user to upload files into that repository. The client also sets up the ModeShape services with seven sequencers:

These sequencers automatically extract content from the files and store that content in the repository.

To run the client application, go to the examples/sequencers/target/modeshape-example-sequencers-basic.dir/ directory and type ./run.sh. You should see the command-line client and its menus in your terminal:

From this menu, you can upload a file into the repository, search for media in the repository, print sequencing statistics, or quit the application.

The first step is to upload one of the example images. If you type 'u' and press return, you'll be prompted to supply the path to the file you want to upload. Since the application is running from within the examples/sequencers/target/modeshape-example-sequencers-basic.dir/ directory, you can specify any of the files in that directory without specifying the path:

You can specify any fully-qualified or relative path. The application will notify you if it cannot find the file you specified. The example client configures ModeShape to sequence MP3 audio files, Java source files, Java class files, ZIP files, text files (.txt), CSV files (.csv), or image files with one of the following extensions (technically, nodes that have names ending in the following): jpg, jpeg, gif, bmp, pcx, png, iff, ras, pbm, pgm, ppm, and psd. Files with other extensions in the repository path will be ignored. For your convenience, the example provides several files that will be sequenced (caution.png, caution.jpg, caution.gif, and sample1.mp3) and one image that will not be sequenced (caution.pict). Feel free to try other files.

After you have specified the file you want to upload, the example application asks you where in the repository you'd like to place the file. (If you want to use the suggested location, just press return.) The client application uses the JCR API to upload the file to that location in the repository, creating any nodes (of type nt:folder) for any directories that don't exist, and creating a node (of type nt:file) for the file. And, per the JCR specification, the application creates a jcr:content node (of type nt:resource) under the file node. The file contents are placed on this jcr:content node in the jcr:data property. For example, if you specify /a/b/caution.png, the following structure will be created in the repository:

/a   (nt:folder)
  /b   (nt:folder)
    /caution.png   (nt:file)
                /jcr:content    (nt:resource)
                            @jcr:data = {contents of the file}
                            @jcr:mimeType = {mime type of the file}
                            @jcr:lastModified = {now}

Other kinds of files are treated in a similar way.

When the client uploads the file using the JCR API, ModeShape gets notified of the changes, consults the sequencers to see whether any of them are interested in the new or updated content, and if so runs those sequencers. The image sequencer processes image files for metadata, and any metadata found is stored under the /images branch of the repository. The MP3 sequencer processes MP3 audio files for metadata, and any metadata found is stored under the /mp3s branch of the repository. And metadata about Java classes are stored under the /java area of the repository. All of this happens asynchronously, so any ModeShape activity doesn't impede or slow down the client activities.

So, after the file is uploaded, you can search the repository for the image metadata using the "s" menu option:

Here are the search results after the sample1.mp3 audio file has been uploaded (to the /a/b/sample1.mp3 location):

You can also display the sequencing statistics using the "d" menu option:

These stats show how many nodes were sequenced, and how many nodes were skipped because they didn't apply to the sequencer's criteria.

You can repeat this process with other files. Any file that isn't an image or MP3 files (as recognized by the sequencing configurations that we'll describe later) will not be sequenced.

Recall that the example application consists of a client application that sets up an in-memory JCR repository and that allows a user to upload files into that repository. The client also sets up the ModeShape services with an image sequencer so that if any of the uploaded files are PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP or other images, ModeShape will automatically extract the image's metadata (e.g., image format, physical size, pixel density, etc.) and store that in the repository. Or, if the client uploads MP3 audio files, the title, author, album, year, and comment are extracted from the audio file and stored in the repository.

The example is comprised of 5 classes and 1 interface, located in the src/main/java directory:


SequencingClient is the class that contains the main application. ContentInfo is a simple class that encapsulate metadata generated by the sequencers and accessed by this example application, and there are two subclasses: MediaInfo encapsulates metadata about media (image and MP3) files, while JavaInfo is a subclass encapsulating information about a Java class. The client accesses the content from the repository and represents the information using instances of ContentInfo (and its subclasses) and then passes them to the UserInterface. UserInterface is an interface with methods that will be called at runtime to request data from the user. ConsoleInput is an implementation of this that creates a text user interface, allowing the user to operate the client from the command-line. We can easily create a graphical implementation of UserInterface at a later date. We can also create a mock implementation for testing purposes that simulates a user entering data. This allows us to check the behavior of the client automatically using conventional JUnit test cases, as demonstrated by the code in the src/test/java directory:


If we look at the SequencingClient code, there are a handful of methods that encapsulate the various activities.

The main(String[] argv) method is of course the method that is executed when the application is run. This code creates the ModeShape configuration using the programmatic style.

// Create the configuration. 

String repositoryId = "content";
String workspaceName = "default";
JcrConfiguration config = new JcrConfiguration();
// Set up the in-memory source where we'll upload the content and where the sequenced output will 
// be stored ...
      .setDescription("The repository for our content")
      .setProperty("defaultWorkspaceName", workspaceName);
// Set up the JCR repository to use the source ...
// Set up the image sequencer ...
config.sequencer("Image Sequencer")
      .setDescription("Sequences image files to extract the characteristics of the image")
// Set up the MP3 sequencer ...
config.sequencer("MP3 Sequencer")
      .setDescription("Sequences mp3 files to extract the id3 tags of the audio file")
// Set up the Java class file sequencer ...
config.sequencer("Java Class Sequencer")
      .setDescription("Sequences Java class files to extract the structure of the classes")
// Set up the Java source file sequencer ...
config.sequencer("Java Sequencer")
      .setDescription("Sequences Java files to extract the AST structure of the Java source code")
// Set up the CSV file sequencer ...
config.sequencer("CSV Sequencer")
      .setDescription("Sequences CSV files to extract the contents")
// Set up the fixed width file sequencer ...
config.sequencer("Fixed Width Sequencer")
      .setDescription("Sequences fixed width files to extract the contents")
      .setProperty("commentMarker", "#")
      .setProperty("columnStartPositions", new int[] { 10, 20, 30, 40})
// Now start the client and tell it which repository and workspace to use ...
SequencingClient client = new SequencingClient(config, repositoryId, workspaceName);
client.setUserInterface(new ConsoleInput(client));

The first block of code configures the JcrConfiguration and sets up the "store" source, the "content" repository, and three sequencers. Again, this is done via the programmatic style. An alternative would be to load the entire configuration from a configuration file or from an existing configuration repository. (The repository example shown in the next chapter shows how to load the configuration from a file.)

The second block simply instantiates the SequencingClient class, passing the configuration and the name of the repository and workspace, and finally sets the user interface (which then executes its behavior, which we'll see below).

The startRepository() method builds the JcrEngine component from the configuration, starts the engine, and obtains the JCR javax.jcr.Repository instance that the client will use. Note that the client has not yet obtained a javax.jcr.Session instance, since this will be done each time the client needs to access content from the repository. (This is actually a common practice according to the JCR specification, since Sessions are intended to be very lightweight.)

public void startRepository() throws Exception {
        if (this.repository == null) {
            try {
                // Start the ModeShape engine ...
                this.engine = this.configuration.build();
                // Now get the JCR repository instance ...
                this.repository = this.engine.getRepository(repositoryName);
            } catch (Exception e) {
                this.repository = null;
                throw e;

The shutdownRepository() method requests the JcrEngine instance shuts down and, since that may take a few moments (if there are any ongoing operations or enqueued activities) awaits for it to complete the shutdown.

public void shutdownRepository() throws Exception {
        if (this.repository != null) {
            try {
                this.engine.awaitTermination(4, TimeUnit.SECONDS);
            } finally {
                this.repository = null;

None of the other methods really do anything with ModeShape per se. Instead, they merely work with the repository using the JCR API.

If we look at the ConsoleInput constructor, it starts the repository and a thread for the user interface. At this point, the constructor returns, but the main application continues under the user interface thread. When the user requests to quit, the user interface thread also shuts down the JCR repository.

public ConsoleInput( SequencerClient client ) {
  try {
      Thread eventThread = new Thread(new Runnable() {
          private boolean quit = false;
          public void run() {
              try {
                  while (!quit) {
                      // Display the prompt and process the requested operation ...
              } finally {
                  try {
                      // Terminate ...
                  } catch (Exception err) {
                      System.out.println("Error shutting down sequencing service and repository: " 
                                         + err.getLocalizedMessage());
  } catch (Exception err) {
      System.out.println("Error: " + err.getLocalizedMessage());

There is one more aspect of this example that is worth discussing. While the repository example in the next chapter does show how to use JAAS, this example intentionally shows how you might integrate a different security system into ModeShape. In the createSession() method, the RepositoryClient creates a SecurityContextCredentials wrapper around a custom SecurityContext implementation, then passes that credentials into the login(Credentials,String) method:

protected Session createSession() throws RepositoryException {
    SecurityContext securityContext = new MyCustomSecurityContext();
    SecurityContextCredentials credentials = new SecurityContextCredentials(securityContext);
    return this.repository.login(credentials, workspaceName);

where the custom SecurityContext implementation is as follows:

protected class MyCustomSecurityContext implements SecurityContext {
     * @see org.modeshape.graph.SecurityContext#getUserName()
    public String getUserName() {
        return "Fred";
     * @see org.modeshape.graph.SecurityContext#hasRole(java.lang.String)
    public boolean hasRole( String roleName ) {
        return true;
     * @see org.modeshape.graph.SecurityContext#logout()
    public void logout() {
        // do something

Obviously you would want to implement this correctly. If you're using ModeShape in a web application, your SecurityContext implementation would likely delegate to the HttpServletRequest.

But if you're using JAAS, then you could just pass in a javax.jcr.SimpleCredentials with the username and password, as long as your JcrConfiguration's repository definitions are set up to use the correct JAAS login context name (see the repository example in the next chapter). Or, you could use the approach listed above and supply an instance of the JaasSecurityContext to the SecurityContextCredentials.

At this point, we've reviewed all of the interesting code in the example application related to ModeShape. However, feel free to play with the application, trying different things.

This chapter walked through running the sequencer example and looked at the example code. With the sequencer client, you could upload files into a JCR repository, while ModeShape automatically sequenced the source files you uploaded, extracted the metadata from the files, and stored that metadata inside the repository.

In the next chapter we'll do the same for the repository example.