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Web-Based Object Inspection

Cowan, Dick; Griss, Martin


Keyword(s): inspection; java bean; browser; http server; JSP; object web presence

Abstract: To facilitate a natural web presence for selected objects we have combined a lightweight HTTP server, a generic reflection-based object inspector, and a suite of extensible presentation adapters. For many Java objects, under application control, there exists the need to view and possibly change their attributes at run time. An object's attributes are traditionally made available via a collection of public get and set methods. Using Java's reflection technology it is a simple process to discover these getters and setters. Combining this with a very lightweight HTTP server, we have demonstrated the ability to view and control virtually any run-time object using a standard browser, without the need to add any specialized code to the object. Given the results of an object's inspection, a customized HTML document is prepared for presentation by a presentation object, thereby affording extreme flexibility and customization in what is shown in the browser window. There exists a presentation adapter class designed to both provide the default presentation as well as enable simple variants to extend it. This facilitates powerful presentation control and information filtering with very small amounts of code. This technology lays the foundation for better monitoring, configuration, or control tools. It also provides an easy way to experiment with web-based user interfaces to objects, applications, agents, personal assistants and databases of all kinds early in development. Notes:

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