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<!-- $Id: package.html,v 2004/08/18 19:59:29 rdonkin Exp $
 Copyright 2001-2004 The Apache Software Foundation.
 Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
 you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
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<title>The digester.plugins.strategies package.</title>
This package contains "rule-finding" strategy classes, and their associated
"helper" loader classes.
Note that you do not need to understand or deal with any of the classes in
this package in order to use the plugins functionality. If you wish to use
plugins functionality in non-english languages and therefore want to
change the attribute names used on plugin declaration tags ("id", "file", etc)
then you will need some familiarity with this package. Otherwise, this package
is only relevant to people really wishing to tweak plugins in unexpected
ways. If this is the case, come and talk to us on the digester email lists
as we would be interested in knowing about your requirements.
When the plugins module is being used and the input xml indicates that
a specific plugin class is to be instantiated, that class may then wish
to configure itself from the xml attributes on that tag or xml attributes
and elements nested within that tag.
The question is: how is the digester going to figure out where the plugin
keeps its custom rules which are to be applied to the xml within that
plugin tag?
Well, the answer is that there is a list of "rule finding strategies",
generally containing an instance of each of the Finder classes in this 
package in a specific order. The strategies provided here should satisfy 
just about everyone, but if they don't you can add extra strategies if 
A RuleFinder is essentially a "strategy" or "algorithm" for finding the dynamic
rules associated with a plugin class. When a plugin declaration is encountered 
in the input xml, the PluginContext object is asked for the list of RuleFinder 
objects, then each RuleFinder instance in turn is passed the declaration 
parameters, and asked "are you able to locate custom parsing rules for this 
declaration?". When one can, it returns a RuleLoader instance which is 
remembered. When the input xml indicates that an instance of the declared 
plugin class is to be created, that RuleLoader is invoked to temporarily add 
the relevant custom rules to the Digester in order to map xml 
attributes/elements/etc into the instantiated plugin object. Once the end of 
the plugin tag is encountered, those temporary rules are removed. This repeats 
each time the input xml indicates that an instance of a plugin class is to be 
If the plugin is declared "inline", using the "plugin-class" attribute
instead of using "plugin-id" to reference a previous declaration then the
process is exactly the same, except that the RuleFinder objects don't
have any user-provided attribute "hints" to tell them where the custom
rules are.
The RuleFinder list is carefully ordered; classes which look at the 
user-provided data in the declaration come first, and classes which look in 
"well-known places" come later so that users can override default behaviour by 
providing the appropriate tags on the plugin declaration.
See the javadoc on the different Finder classes for information on what
each does, and what attribute (if any) it looks for in the declaration.
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