Introduction of the update_properties method

Old Behavior

Historically, Syskit offered a single hook in oroGen component models to allow the Syskit app to interact with the configuration logic. This was the def configure method.

Initially, the only Syskit-sanctioned way to write configurations was the configuration files. Back then, Syskit was looking at the names of the configuration sections to determine whether a component should be reconfigured through the expensive cleanup/configure cycle.

At some point, however, this method was given the ability to write properties through the properties accessor. The predicate that was checking whether the component needed to be reconfigured got modified too to check whether the properties accessor had been written to.

However, it was expected that the user-provided #configure hook would not necessarily be idempotent. It was to be called after the component was cleaned up. We therefore ended up with:

  1. create component instance
  2. initialize properties from default values
  3. check whether properties have been modified w.r.t. the current values
  4. if modified, clean component up, call #configure hook and configure the component

Therefore, the components started to be reconfigured every time their configuration deviated from the component's default configuration.

New Behavior

The update_properties hook was introduced. This hook is called between point 2 and 3 above, and must restrict itself to updating properties. Most importantly: it must be idempotent.

Migration and backward compatibility

The new behavior is used when:

  • a component model does not define a configure method
  • a component model explicitely defines update_properties, even if it is only to call the default implementation, i.e.

    def update_properties super # Applies configuration from file end

  • The syskit_task_context_uses_update_properties configuration is set to true, usually in either the Robot.init block of a robot configuration or directly in config/init.rb = true

The best way to migrate component models is by editing the models/orogen/ files and defining a correct update_properties method. Explicitly call this method in the configure method, before the call to super, if you want the model to remain compatible with a Syskit version that does not know about update_properties, for instance:

def configure
    # Compatibility with older Syskit versions
    update_properties unless model.respond_to?(:use_update_properties?)

A warning is issued at configuration time if: - is false - the component has a configure method explicitly defined - the component does not have a update_properties method explicitly defined