The RSACBridgeProxy is an absolutely invaluable architectural device for bridging between request scope and application scope. At an early stage during the invention of RSAC, it became somewhat dismayingly apparent that the natural endpoint of a request scope design was to consist almost entirely of request-scope beans - since it is seemingly impossible to make a bean with a dependency which has a shorter scope than oneself. Much like "const"-ness in C++, "request-scopeness" would ripple outwards through a design, infecting probably the majority of a webapp's logic by placing it into the request scope.

In an "ideal" world this wouldn't be too much of a problem - unfortunately while RSAC is fast, it is not that fast - with a ThreadLocal get running at 60ns, while an RSAC bean construction at perhaps 20x that, the request-time cost mounts up quite quickly. While having some RSACed beans becomes indispensable in terms of the design benefits they bring, being forced to have the majority of request-scope logic defined in them would be a real liability.

AOP to the rescue. Spring since its very earliest days has defined a very generalised framework, under the banner AOPAlliance for bytecode manipulation, proxying, and "Aspect-Oriented Programming" of various kinds. While I'm still very much at odds with Aspects as a design principle, when used for proxying and stubbing of these kinds of AOP can be absolutely invaluable as an optimisation. RSF will also upgrade itself to use a similar scheme, FastClass for its internal reflection shortly.

The basic idea of RSACBridgeProxy is quite simple - it is an application-scope bean that "masquerades as" (i.e. is a proxy for) different request-scope beans when accessed from different requests. By provided RSAC architecture (and I think any feasible one) a request is bound to a particular thread, which guides the RSACBeanLocator to find the relevant container of request-scope beans.

RSF provides a useful parent bean definition, also called RSACBridgeProxy that makes defining a bridge proxy bean as simple as possible - all you do is provide the name of the target request-scope bean as a property as follows:

  <bean id="RSACSafeBeanLocatorProxy" parent="RSACBridgeProxy">
    <property name="targetBeanName" value="RSACSafeBeanLocator" />

Some caveats with bridged beans:

  • Naturally you must be careful only to access methods of bridged beans while actually executing in a proper request scope - otherwise you will simply trigger a creation exception.
  • The cost of each access (i.e. method call) to a bridged bean is magnified by a ThreadLocal get and several other method calls incurred inside the proxy. Be aware of this when costing up your architecture.
  • You may not proxy Peas in this way - be aware that you will simply find default values when looking at the fields of any proxied bean, either in code or in the debugger! This is precisely the defined behavior - the proxy is a CGLib-synthesised class derived from the expected class or interface which has been default-constructed, holding a reference to the context whereby the real bean may be located dynamically via Spring's TargetSource's getTarget method.
  • However, you may proxy peas using a special mode of the RSACBridgeProxy - this is explained on its own page on PeaProxies.

But the uses of this technique are quite fruity - for example, another RSF definition is as follows:

[ at request scope]
  <bean id="httpSession" factory-bean="httpServletRequest" factory-method="getSession"/>
[ at application scope]
 <bean id="httpSessionProxy" parent="RSACBridgeProxy">
    <property name="targetBeanName" value="httpSession">
[ in code ]
public class InSessionTSH implements TokenStateHolder {
private HttpSession session;

  public void setSession(HttpSession session) {
    this.session = session;

Yes, a properly IoC-delivered proxy for the HttpSession, delivered over massive code distances into a bean which isn't even request-scope! Use this ability sparingly since it can cause considerable confusion - but in general is an elegant and clean solution to a quite knotty problem.

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« This page (revision-) was last changed on 20-Mar-2008 18:56 by UnknownAuthor