Annotated README.txt

2005-01-23 Paul Boddie Added version information.
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This file contains some information on the essential concepts and principles
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involved in the use of this software.
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Usually, I issue this command first:
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  python build
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The following should, in any case, be sufficient:
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  python install
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I don't think distutils supports uninstall, but the installation just adds the
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java and javaclass packages to your site-packages directory and the
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It should be possible to just run the program and see the results:
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Class Search Paths
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Java classes belonging to packages are located using sys.path or PYTHONPATH
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in the same way that they would be located using the Java classpath (or
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CLASSPATH environment variable). Thus, the rules for locating package
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classes are as follows:
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 * Classes residing within plain directories which represent a package
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   hierarchy can be accessed by putting the parent directory of the top of
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   the package hierarchy on the PYTHONPATH (or sys.path). For example, a
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   package called mypackage, represented by a directory of the same name at
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   /home/java/classes/mypackage, would be made accessible by adding the
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   /home/java/classes directory to the PYTHONPATH.
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 * Classes residing within .jar files can be accessed by putting the path to
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   each .jar file on the PYTHONPATH. For example, a package called
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   mypackage, represented by a file located at /home/java/lib/mypackage.jar,
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   would be made accessible by adding the /home/java/lib/mypackage.jar file
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   to the PYTHONPATH.
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Note that classes not belonging to a package cannot be accessed via such
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search paths and are made available using a special module (see "Non-package
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Classes" below).
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Importing Classes
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In Python, the following statement should be enough to enable Java class
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  import javaclass.classhook
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(Other modules reside in the javaclass package, so it is possible to access
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them without changing Python's import mechanisms, should such modification be
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undesirable or unnecessary.)
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Importing Non-package Classes
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Classes which do not belong to a package are only accessible when residing
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in the current working directory of any program attempting to use them. Such
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classes will not be made available automatically, but must be imported from
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a special module called __this__.
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 * Usage of the "import __this__" statement will cause all classes in the
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   current directory to be made available within the __this__ module.
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 * Usage of the "from __this__ import" construct will cause all classes in
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   the current directory to be processsed, but only named classes will be
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   made available in the global namespace unless "*" was specified (which
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   will, as usual, result in all such classes being made available).
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Running Java Classes
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Java classes with a public, static main method can be run directly using the
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  * Free-standing classes (ie. not belonging to packages) can be run from
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    the directory in which they reside. For example, suitable classes in the
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    tests directory would be run as follows:
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    cd tests
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  * Classes residing in packages can be run by ensuring that the packages
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    are registered on the PYTHONPATH (see "Class Search Paths" above). Then,
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    the testpackage.MainTest class (for example) would be run as follows:
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paul@122 96 testpackage.MainTest hello world
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Accessing Python Libraries from Java
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To wrap Python libraries for use with Java, skeleton classes need to be
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compiled corresponding to each of the wrapped classes. Each of the methods
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in the skeleton classes can be empty (or return any permissible value) since
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the only purpose they serve is to provide the Java compiler with information
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about the Python libraries.
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  1. Compile the skeleton classes:
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     javac examples/Tkinter/tkjava/*.java
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  2. Compile the Java classes which use the wrapped Python libraries:
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     javac -classpath examples/Tkinter examples/Tkinter/
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  3. Run the tool on the directory where the skeleton class files
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     reside, providing the name of the Python package or module being
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     wrapped. This converts the directory into a Python package:
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     python tools/ examples/Tkinter/tkjava Tkinter
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     Since the Java class files, if left in the processed directory, would be
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     detected and imported using the special import hook, and since this would
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     result in two conflicting implementations being imported (with possibly the
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     non-functional Java classes being made available instead of the generated
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     wrapper classes), the tool removes all processed class files,
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     leaving only Python source files in the processed directory.
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  4. The Java classes which use the wrapped Python libraries can now be
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     imported and used as described above. The wrapper package (tkjava in
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     the above example) needs to reside in sys.path or PYTHONPATH, as must
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     the wrapped library (Tkinter in the above example).
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     cd examples/Tkinter
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Investigate better exception raising. Currently, exceptions have to be
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derived from object so that object.__new__ can be used upon them. However,
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this seems to prevent them from being raised, and they need to be wrapped
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within Exception so that the information can be transmitted to the
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exception's handler.
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Consider nicer ways of writing the method names in Python, perhaps using a
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function which takes the individual parameter types as arguments.
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Release Procedures
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Update the javaclass/ __version__ attribute.
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Update the release notes (see above).
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Check the file and ensure that all package directories are mentioned.
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Tag, export.
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Rename ClassFile to javaclass (and add the release to the directory name).
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Archive, upload.