About This Book

Patterns have taken the software development community by storm. Software developers have been enthusiastic about patterns ever since the seminal work Design Patterns - Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software See [GoF95]. Its successors, such as the Pattern Languages of Programming Design (PLoPD) series See [PLoPD1] See [PLoPD2] See [PLoPD3] See [PLoPD4] and A System of Patterns See [POSA1]1 have further fanned the burning interest in patterns kindled originally by earlier work on software idioms See [Cope92], patterns for building architectures See [Ale79] See [AIS77], and patterns for cultural anthropology See [Bat97].

This book, Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects , is the second volume in the Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture (POSA) series. Like its predecessor, A System of Patterns See [POSA1], it documents patterns and best practices that represent concrete, well-proven and useful techniques for building industrial-strength software systems. These patterns and best practices can and have been applied to applications in a wide range of domains, including telecommunications and data communications, financial services, medical engineering, aerospace, manufacturing process control, and scientific computing. They also form the basis of popular distributed object computing middleware, such as CORBA See [OMG98c], COM+ See [Box97], Java RMI See [WRW96], and Jini See [Sun99a].

Moreover, all the patterns in this book build on the same solid conceptual foundation as those in the first POSA volume. For example, we use the same pattern categorization schema, the same pattern description format, and present examples and known uses in multiple programming languages, including C++, Java, and C. Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects thus follows the same philosophy and path as A System of Patterns and has the same `look and feel'.

In contrast to A System of Patterns , however, which covered a broad spectrum of general-purpose patterns, this book has a more specific focus: concurrency and networking. All the patterns in this book center on these two areas, allowing us to discuss many topics related to concurrency and networking in more depth than would be possible if the book contained patterns from many unrelated domains. The patterns in this book therefore complement the general-purpose patterns from A System of Patterns in these increasingly important areas of software development.

Yet we focus on general , domain-independent patterns for concurrent and networked applications and middleware. Our goal is to increase the likelihood that the patterns in this book will help projects in your daily work. Therefore, we do not cover patterns in this book that are specific to a particular application domain, such as those in See [DeBr95] See [Mes96] See [ACGH+96], which address networking aspects that pertain to the telecommunication domain.

By focusing on general domain-independent patterns for concurrency and networking, this book also complements existing literature in concurrent network programming and object-oriented design:

Another way in which Patterns for Concurrent and Distributed Objects differs from A System of Patterns is that its patterns constitute more than just a catalog or system of patterns. Instead, they augment each other synergistically, providing the foundation of a pattern language for concurrent and networked software. When combined with patterns from other patterns literature, we describe how this pattern language can and has been used to build sophisticated concurrent and networked software systems and applications, web services, and distributed object computing middleware, as well as the underlying operating system networking protocols and mechanisms.

Yet we separate the description of the individual patterns from the discussion of how they form a pattern language. The patterns themselves are first described in a self-contained manner, so that they can be applied in the context that is most useful. A subsequent chapter then describes how the patterns interact and how they are complemented by other patterns.

It is important to note, however, that many patterns in this book can be applied outside the context of concurrency and networking. To illustrate the breadth of their applicability we present known uses from other domains, such as component-based or interactive software systems. In addition, we give examples of how these patterns apply to situations experienced in everyday life.

Some patterns may be familiar, because preliminary versions of them were published in the PLoP book series See [PLoPD1] See [PLoPD2] See [PLoPD3] See [PLoPD4], and the C++ Report magazine. In this book, however, we have improved upon the earlier versions considerably:

Intended Audience

Like our earlier book A System of Patterns , this volume is intended for professional software developers, particularly those who are building concurrent and networked systems. It helps these software professionals to think about software architecture in a new way and supports them in the design and programming of large-scale and complex middleware and applications.

This book is also suitable for advanced undergraduates or graduate students who have a solid grasp of networking and operating systems, and who want to learn the core principles, patterns, and techniques needed to design and implement such systems effectively.

Structure and Content

Patterns for Concurrent and Distributed Objects can be used as a text book and read from cover to cover, or used as a reference guide for exploring the nuances of specific patterns in detail.

The first chapter, See Concurrent and Networked Objects , presents an overview of the challenges facing developers of concurrent and networked object-oriented applications and middleware. We use a real example, a concurrent Web server, to illustrate key aspects of these domains, including service access and configuration, event handling, synchronization, and concurrency.

Chapters 2 through 5 form the main part of the book. They contain patterns, the `real things' See [U2], that codify well-established principles and techniques for developing high-quality concurrent and networked systems. We hope these patterns will be useful role models for developing your own concurrent and networked applications, and for documenting patterns that you discover.

See Weaving the Patterns Together, discusses how the patterns in Chapters 2 through 5 are interconnected. We also show how they can be connected with other patterns in the literature to form a pattern language for concurrent networked systems and middleware. As mentioned earlier, some patterns are also applicable outside the context of concurrent and networked systems. For these patterns we summarize the scope of their applicability.

See The Past, Present, and Future of Patterns, revisits our 1996 forecast on `where patterns will go', published in the first volume of the Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture series. We discuss the directions that patterns actually took during the past four years and analyze where patterns and the patterns community are now. Based on this retrospection, we revise our vision about future research and the application of patterns and pattern languages.

The book ends with a general reflection on the patterns we present, a glossary of frequently used terms, an appendix of notations, an extensive list of references to work in the field, a pattern index, a general subject index, and an index of names that lists all persons who helped us shaping this book

Supplementary material related to this book is available on-line at http://www.posa.uci.edu/ . This URL also contains links to the ACE and TAO source code that contains C++ and some Java examples for all the patterns in this book.

There are undoubtedly aspects of concurrent and networked object systems that we have omitted, or which will emerge over time when applying and extending our pattern language in practice. If you have comments, constructive criticism, or suggestions for improving the style and content of this book, please send them to us via electronic mail to patterns@mchp.siemens.de . We also welcome public discussion of our entire work on patterns. Please use our mailing list, siemens-patterns@cs.uiuc.edu , to send us feedback, comments, and suggestions. Guidelines for subscription can be found on the patterns home page. Its URL is http://hillside.net/patterns/ . This link also provides an important source of information on many aspects of patterns, such as available and forthcoming books, conferences on patterns, papers on patterns, and so on.


It is a pleasure for us to thank the many people who supported us in creating this book, either by sharing their knowledge with us or by reviewing earlier drafts of its parts and providing useful feedback.

Champion review honors go to Regine Meunier, Christa Schwanninger, Martin Botzler, Lutz Dominick, Prashant Jain, Michael Kircher, Karl Pröse, and Dietmar Schütz, our esteemed colleagues. They spent much of their valuable time helping to review the manuscript in the countless writer's workshops we ran, thus helping us to polish and shape the final content of this book. Similarly, we are grateful to members of the Distributed Object Computing (DOC) group--Tim Harrison, Prashant Jain, Carlos O'Ryan, and Irfan Pyarali--who co-authored initial versions of six patterns in this book. Together with the four lead authors, these researchers form the POSA team at Siemens in Munich, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of California, Irvine.

We also owe most grateful thanks to Peter Sommerlad, Chris Cleeland, Kevlin Henney, and Paul McKenney. Peter, our shepherd, reviewed all our material in depth, focusing on its correctness, completeness, consistency, and quality. Chris, Kevlin, and Paul, our peer reviewers, provided us with additional detailed feedback. All four contributed significantly to improving Patterns for Concurrent and Networked Objects .

We are also grateful to the Software Architecture Group at University of Illinois at Urbana Champain, including Federico Balaguer, John Brant, Brian Foote, Alejandra Garrido, Peter Hatch, Ralph Johnson, Dragos Manolescu, Brian Marick, Hiroaki Nakamura, Reza Razavi, Don Roberts, Les Tyrrell, Joseph W. Yoder, Wanghong Yuan, Weerasak Witthawaskul, and Bosko Zivaljevic, who ran writer's workshops on many POSA2 patterns. They sent comments that helped us improve the correctness and comprehensibility of the book.

Many others from around the world provided feedback on earlier versions of the book, including Giorgio Angiolini, Brad Appleton, Paul Asman, David Barkken, John Basrai, Joe Bergin, Rainer Blome, Don Box, Martina Buschmann, Tom Cargill, Chuck and Lorrie Cranor, James O. Coplien, Ward Cunningham, Gisela Ebner, Ed Fernandez, Erich Gamma, Sonja Gary, Luciano Gerber, Bob Hanmer, Neil Harrison, Michi Henning, David Holmes, Tom Jordan, Fabio Kon, Bob Laferriere, Greg Lavender, Doug Lea, John MacMillan, Mittal Monani, Duane Murphy, Jaco van der Merwe, Michael Ogg, Bill Pugh, Dirk Riehle, Linda Rising, Wolfgang Schroeder, Richard Toren, Siva Vaddepuri, John Vlissides, Roger Whitney, and Uwe Zdun. The Credits section of our patterns outline how their valuable contributions helped us polish this book.

We are also heavily indebted to all members, past and present, of the DOC group at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of California, Irvine, Object Computing Inc., and Riverace, who reified, refined, and optimized all the patterns presented in this book into components and frameworks in the ACE and TAO middleware projects. This inspirational group includes Everett Anderson, Alex Arulanthu, Shawn Atkins, Darrell Brunsch, Luther Baker, Matt Braun, Chris Cleeland, Angelo Corsaro, Sergio Flores-Gaitan, Chris Gill, Pradeep Gore, Andy Gokhale, Priyanka Gontla, Myrna Harbison, Tim Harrison, Shawn Hannan, John Heitmann, Joe Hoffert, James Hu, Steve Huston, Prashant Jain, Vishal Kachroo, Ray Klefstad, Yamuna Krishnamurthy, Michael Kircher, Fred Kuhns, David Levine, Ebrahim Moshiri, Michael Moran, Sumedh Mungee, Bala Natarjan, Ossama Othman, Jeff Parsons, Kirthika Parameswaran, Krish Pathayapura, Irfan Pyarali, Carlos O'Ryan, Malcolm Spence, Marina Spivak, Naga Surendran, Selcuk Uelker, Nanbor Wang, Seth Widoff, and Torben Worm. We would also like to acknowledge the substantial contribution of the thousands of ACE and TAO users around the world who have applied and enhanced the patterns and framework components described in this book over the past decade. Without their support, constant feedback, and encouragement we would never have written this book.

Special thanks go to Johannes Nierwetberg, Lothar Borrmann, and Monika Gonauser for their managerial support and backing at the software engineering labs of Corporate Technology of Siemens AG, Munich, Germany. We also thank Calinel Pasteanu at the Communication Devices business unit of Siemens AG in Munich for understanding the conflict between the chores of writing this book and the pressures of delivering products in `Internet time'.

We are also grateful for the support from colleagues and sponsors of our research on patterns and the ACE and TAO middleware frameworks, notably the contributions of Ron Akers (Motorola), Al Aho (Lucent), Steve Bachinsky (SAIC), Detlef Becker (Siemens), Jim Blaine (Washington University), John Buttitto (Motorola), Becky Callison (Boeing), Wei Chiang (Nokia), Russ Claus (NASA), Joe Cross (Lockheed Martin), Bryan Doerr (Boeing), Karlheinz Dorn (Siemens), Sylvester Fernandez (Lockheed Martin), Andreas Geisler (Siemens), Helen Gill (DARPA), Trey Grubbs (Raytheon), Jody Hagins (ATD), Andy Harvey (Cisco), Thomas Heimke (Siemens), Kalai Kalaichelvan (Nortel), Arvind Kaushal (Motorola), Steve Kay (Tellabs), Chandra Kintala (Lucent), Gary Koob (DARPA), Sean Landis (Motorola), Rick Lett (Sprint), Joe Loyall (BBN), Mike Masters (NSWC), Ed Mays (US Marine Corps), John Mellby (Raytheon), Dave Meyer (Virtual Technology), Eileen Miller (Lucent), Stan Moyer (Telcordia), Russ Noseworthy (Object Sciences), Guru Parulkar (Cisco), Dan Paulish (Siemens), James Plamondon (Microsoft), Dieter Quehl (Siemens), Lucie Robillard (US Air Force), Allyn Romanow (Cisco), Rick Schantz (BBN), Steve Shaffer (Kodak), Dave Sharp (Boeing), Naval Sodha (Ericsson), Brian Stacey (Nortel), Paul Stephenson (Ericsson), Umar Syyid (Hughes), Dave Thomas (OTI), Lothar Werzinger (Krones), Shalini Yajnik (Lucent), and Tom Ziomek (Motorola).

Very special thanks go to Steve Rickaby, our copy editor, for enhancing our written material. In addition, we thank our editor, Gaynor Redvers-Mutton, and everyone else at John Wiley & Sons who made it possible to publish this book. This is the second book fostered by Gaynor and Steve. Their support has been superb and we look forward to working with them on forthcoming POSA volumes.

Finally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the late Richard Stevens, whose seminal books inspired us to explore the wonders of network programming so many years ago. His spirit pervades this book.

1. We reference A System of Patterns as See [POSA1] rather than by author. The same is true for this book, which we reference as [POSA2]. We use this convention to avoid a particular POSA volume being associated with a single author in reader's minds, in particular the first name on the book's cover.