Guides/Platform Development/Tour of the Code

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A Tour of the Sirikata Code

In order to extend or modify the Sirikata code, you'll need a basic understanding of the components involved and where to find them in the code base. Make sure you've already familiarized yourself with the system architecture before moving on.

Implementation Approach

The Sirikata implementation is broken down into libraries, binaries, and plugins.

Libraries
hold the bulk of the common functionality and all the exported interfaces in the system. They are organized logically based on high level tasks. By keeping most of the code in libraries it is reusable: they contain all the components or interfaces but don't full connect them.
Binaries
put the pieces together, making sure all the necessary components for a service are available, instantiate them, connect them, and manage the service. They are minimal because they only tie existing components together. Adding new binaries should be unusual -- new functionality is usually added to libraries or plugins.
Plugins
contain the specialized functionality of the system. They usually contain an implementation of an interface from one of the libraries and add it to a factory so a binary can instantiate it. This is probably the most common location for code modifications -- the basic functionality is already defined in libraries and plugins provide different implementations with different features (e.g. different scripting engines).

Code Layout Conventions

Navigating the code base is made simpler by following a few conventions.

  1. Each library or binary is organized into its own directory. Library directories are prefixed with lib, e.g. libmesh, and binaries aren't, e.g. space.
  2. Source within each code directory should be broken into a standard set of directories: include for public header files, src for internal headers and source files, and plugins for all code associated with plugins for interfaces in that library.
  3. Plugins are always associated with a library, not a binary. Plugins implement generic interfaces and these generic interfaces should always be in libraries (binaries should not export any additional symbols).

Of course there are some additional directories that don't follow these conventions, but they are easily identified. Examples include the scripts and build directories.

As an example, here are is the directory layout for a few items in the repository:

libcore/
   include/
      sirikata/core/*.hpp
   src/
   plugins/
      local/
   test/
space/
   src/

The library has longer include directories to make the directory structure work for both in-tree builds and when the libraries have been installed into system directories. Since only libraries should have headers installed, only libraries require this structure.

In this example, libcore has a plugin local in addition to its include and src directories. It also has some unit tests associated with it, stored in a separate test directory. The space binary only has a source directory.

A Tour of the Libraries and Binaries

At a high level, the system is broken down into two binaries which clearly map to the space and object host components:

  • space is the space server binary. It can be run in isolation or on many servers to simulate a larger world.
  • cppoh is the object host binary. It ties together the components for simulating objects -- storage, scripting, display, etc.

As mentioned earlier, these binaries should be minimal. They should instantiate implementations (in plugins) of interfaces (in libraries). Therefore, they depend on a number of libraries:

  • libcore provides a lot of core utilities across a range of functionality. As you're adding code, this library will be a powerful resource for common functionality -- options, network utilities, CDN access, geometric data types, threads and locking, platform abstractions for dealing with OS interaction like signals, factory and listener patterns, etc.
  • libmesh provides basic data structures for dealing with meshes and generic interfaces for mesh processing. Plugins for libmesh implement loading and saving for different file formats and "filters" for meshes, e.g. for simplification, computing statistics, or any type of content conditioning.
  • libproxyobject provides functionality organized around "proxies" or replicated objects. Proxies are objects which you have learned about and may have knowledge of their location, appearance, and messaging identifier, but they are not local. For most developers this library is most relevant when dealing with display since display is focused around these basic properties and a display plugin lives under this library.
  • libspace contains all the interfaces and generic services for space servers. This include the generic parts of session management, message forwarding, location management, and querying, as well as interfaces for OSeg (routing table), CSeg (region to space server mapping), and PIntO (object queries).
  • liboh contains all the interfaces and generic services for object hosts. This includes the code for managing connections to space servers and interacting with them, managing collections of objects, and the interface for object scripts.

This figure shows how the binaries depend on these libraries (and the libraries depend on each other).

Code libraries and binaries.png

Since plugins are stored within the directories of the library they are associated with, most code specific to a space is under libspace and most code specific to object hosts is under liboh. However, code useful to both appears in the other libraries, upon which libspace and liboh depend. The separation of these core libraries is simply to logically partition the code to make it more manageable. Note that there are direct dependencies that are only implicit transitively in the image. For instance, both liboh and libspace depend directly on libcore, but this is only implied by their dependence on libmesh and libproxyobject.

You may also notice that the content distribution network is missing from this description. Currently, the CDN uses stock web servers, so its implementation is separated and not referenced in the remainder of this guide. It can be found in the cdn directory. Access to the CDN is provided in the transfer directories in libcore since it is used throughout the system.

Additional Libraries and Binaries

You'll notice that there are some additional directories for libraries and binaries:

  • libsqlite provides access to SQLite databases. It is a library since SQLite is used by plugins associated with multiple libraries.
  • analysis performs analysis of trace data from measurement experiments of the system. This reports data which helps evaluate the performance and correctness of the system.
  • bench performs a few low-level benchmarks.
  • cseg is a service which the CoordinateSegmentation in the space server communicates with. It organizes and coordinates space servers.
  • pinto is a service which the Proximity service in the space server communicates with. It aids in the query handling process for large deployments with many servers.
  • simoh is a stripped down simulated object host used for automatic evaluation of the system. It lacks true scripting support, opting for simplicity and minimalism to accurately benchmark the system.

These won't be discussed further in this guide as they are more would require more detail than this guide aims to give.