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The definition of AOP in wikipedia seems a little bit difficult for beginners to understand, so in this blog I use an example to introduce why we need it.

Suppose I have an order command class which performs its core business logic in method doBusiness:

package aop;
import java.util.logging.Level;
import com.sun.istack.internal.logging.Logger;
public class OrderCommand {
 public void execute(){
  Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(OrderCommand.class);
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "start processing");
  // authorization check
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "authorization check");
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "begin performance trace");
  // only this line implements real business logic
  this.doBusiness();
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "end performance trace");
 }
 private void doBusiness(){
  System.out.println("Do business here");
 }
 public static void main(String[] args) {
  new OrderCommand().execute();
 }
}

In method execute(), it is flooded with too many non-functional code like logging, authorization check and performance trace.

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard1_1005189.png

It is not a good design, we can try to improve it via template method pattern.

Template method pattern

With this pattern, I create a new parent class BaseCommand, and put all non-functional code inside the execute method.

import java.util.logging.Level;
import com.sun.istack.internal.logging.Logger;
public abstract class BaseCommand {
public void execute(){
  Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(this.getClass());
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "start processing");
  // authorization check
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "authorization check");
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "begin performance trace");
  // only this line implements real business logic
  this.doBusiness();
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "end performance trace");
}
protected abstract void doBusiness();
}

Now the real business logic is defined in child class OrderCommand, whose implementation is very clean:

public class OrderCommand extends BaseCommand {
public static void main(String[] args) {
  new OrderCommand().execute();
}
@Override
protected void doBusiness() {
    System.out.println("Do business here");
}
}

Drawback of this solution: as the parent class has defined the template method execution, it is NOT possible for a child class to adapt it, for example, a child class cannot change the order sequence of authorization check and performance trace method. And suppose a child class does not want to implement authorization check at all – this could not be achieved with this solution. We have to use decorator pattern instead.

Decorator pattern

First I need to create an interface:

public interface Command {
public void execute();
}

And create a decorator to cover the log and authorization check function:

import java.util.logging.Level;
import com.sun.istack.internal.logging.Logger;
public class LoggerDecorator implements Command{
private Command cmd;
public LoggerDecorator(Command cmd){
  this.cmd = cmd;
}
@Override
public void execute() {
  Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(this.getClass());
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "start processing");
  // authorization check
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "authorization check");
  this.cmd.execute();
}
}

And a second decorator for performance trace:

package aop;
import java.util.logging.Level;
import com.sun.istack.internal.logging.Logger;
public class PerformanceTraceDecorator implements Command{
private Command cmd;
public PerformanceTraceDecorator(Command cmd){
  this.cmd = cmd;
}
@Override
public void execute() {
  Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(this.getClass());
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "begin performance trace");
  this.cmd.execute();
  logger.log(Level.INFO, "end performance trace");
}
}

And the class to finish the real business logic. Now I have the full flexibility to constructor the instance according to real business case, with the help of different decorator. The following instance fullCmd owns the ability of both authorization check log and performance trace.

public class OrderCommand implements Command {
public static void main(String[] args) {
  Command fullCmd = new LoggerDecorator( new PerformanceTraceDecorator( new OrderCommand()));
  cmd.execute();
}
@Override
public void execute() {
  System.out.println("Do business here");
}
}

Suppose in a given scenario, only performance trace is needed, we can just use the performance trace decorator:

Command cmd = new PerformanceTraceDecorator( new OrderCommand());
cmd.execute();

Drawback of decorator pattern: The decorator class and the business class have to implement the same interface, command, which is more business related. Is there possibility that the utility classes for non-functional implementation can just work without implementing the same interface which is implemented by business class?

AOP solution

I use a Java project implemented by Spring framework to demonstrate the idea. The whole source code of this project could be found from git repository.

Suppose I hope to add performance trace on this business method: save.

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard2_1005190.png

1. You may have already observed the annotation @Log(nameI042416=”annotation for save method”) used in line10.

This annotation is declared in file Log.java:

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard1_1005189.png

2. Now I have to declare an Aspect class which contains a pointcut. A pointcut tells Spring framework which methods could be applied with AOP strategy, and the class annotated with @Aspect contains methods which should be called by Spring framework to “decorate” the methods identified by annotation. Here below I have declared a pointcut “logJerry” via annotation @Pointcut:

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard2_1005190.png

For example, since we have annotated the business method save() with “@Log(nameI042416=”annotation for save method”)”,

we can define what logics must be done on it, with the help of @Before and @After plus declared pointcut.

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard3_1005235.png

With this approach, I can add performance trace function to save method without modifying its source code.

Set breakpoint on these beforeExec and afterExec methods, launch the project with Tomcat under debug mode, paste the following url to your browser:

http://localhost:9498/springaop/aopRootJerry/aop2Jerry/i042416?string=sap

Through callstack you can understand how the AOP call is working in Spring.

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard4_1005239.png

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard5_1005240.png

Why we say AOP can increase modularity by allowing the separation of cross-cutting concerns?

Suppose we have lots of methods all of which need common utilities like log, performance trace and authorization check. Before we use AOP, these utilities are scattered in every method:

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard6_1005241.png

After AOP is used, those common stuff are extracted into Aspect class and reusability is fulfilled. From the picture below we can see the cross-cutting concerns are now separated.

/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/clipboard7_1005242.png

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1 Comment

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  1. Vicky Chen

    Hi Jerry´╝Ü

         I don’t understand why run with tomcat, and what is the program entry, since I do not know choosing which model to debug.

    regards,

    Vicky, Chen

    (0) 

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