per-object-mixins.html

NX supports "open class definitions", object specific behavior and mixin classes (among other things) to achieve dynamic behavior extensions. The so-called per-object mixins are actually an implementation of the decorator pattern.

package req nx

Here is the original example: a method from a derived class extends the behavior of the baseclass; the primitive "next" calls other same-named methods. In the example below, the baseclass method "speak" is called at the beginning of the derived-class method. The primitive "next" can be placed at arbitrary places, or it can be omitted when the baseclass method should not be called.

nx::Class create BaseClass {
  :public method speak {} {
    puts "Hello from BC."
  }
}

nx::Class create DerivedClass -superclass BaseClass {
  :public method speak {} {
    next
    puts "Hello from DC."
  }
}

DerivedClass create o1
o1 speak

The output is:

   Hello from BC.
   Hello from DC.

There are many ways to extend the behavior NX classes at runtime. The easiest thing is to add methods dynamically to classes. E.g. we can extend the BaseClass with the method unknown, which is called whenever an unknown method is called.

BaseClass method unknown {m args} {
  puts "What? $m? I don't understand."
}
o1 sing

The output is:

    What? sing? I don't understand.

Often, you do not want to extend the class, but to modify the behavior of a single object. In NX, an object can have individual methods:

o1 public method sing {} {
  puts "Ok, here it goes: Lala Lala!"
}
o1 sing

The output is:

    Ok, here it goes: Lala Lala!

In many situations, it is desired to add/remove a set of methods dynamically to objects or classes. The mechanisms above allow this, but they are rather cumbersome and do support a systematic behavior engineering. One can add so-called "mixin classes" to objects and/or classes. For example, we can define a class M for a more verbose methods:

nx::Class create M {
  :public method sing {} {
    puts -nonewline "[self] sings: "
    next
  }
  :method unknown args {
    puts -nonewline "[self] is confused: "
    next
  }
}

The behavior of M can be mixed into the behavior of o1 through per object mixins …

o1 mixin M
  1. and we call the methods again:

o1 sing
o1 read

The output is:

   ::o1 sings: Ok, here it goes: Lala Lala!
   ::o1 is confused: What? read? I don't understand.

We can remove the new behavior easily by unregistering the mixin class ….

o1 mixin ""
  1. and we call the methods again:

o1 sing
o1 read

The output is:

   Ok, here it goes: Lala Lala!
   What? read? I don't understand.

Mixin classes can be used to extend the behavior of classes as well.

BaseClass mixin M

o1 sing
o1 read

DerivedClass create o2
o2 read

The output is:

   ::o1 sings: Ok, here it goes: Lala Lala!
   ::o1 is confused: What? read? I don't understand.
   ::o2 is confused: What? read? I don't understand.