Free Electron
Handler Primer and Guide

Any Component implementing the HandlerI interface is considered a handler for the purposes of this style guide.

A handler is therefore a component that handles arbitrary signals in the form of Records, or at least that is all the HandlerI::handle() interface says it does. In practice a handler needs more information than some arbitrary incoming record alone in order to perform its function.

Cacheing Signal and Signaler Information

Deriving from the BindI interface provides a callback from the Signaler when the handler is registered with the signaler. This calls provides an opportunty to cache information obtainable via the signaler or the signal type (Layout).

Note that it is possible to have record attributes pointing to records in a different scope than the parent record. In this case care must be taken when cacheing scope.

Dynamic State

Using Fixed or Well-Known Attributes on the input signal fe::Record is the preferred method of handing per-signal input state to a handler as well as output state.

If a handler is changing state while handling a signal, that state should be handed to the Handler in the signal itself (via its attributes).

fe::Accessor and fe::AccessorSet provide for accessing attributes with known names. This is useful for standardized notions of data (see the classes derived from fe::AccessorSet).

Note that the FE_USE macro is available to facilatate automatic documentation of used attribute names.

(Mostly) Static State

State that corresponds to the configuration of the handler itself, which will not change often or at all, should be set using the fe::ConfigI interface.

The fe::Config mechanism is preferred to using class functions when possible since Config based state is easily runtime inspectable via generic mechanisms.

An object's config can be parented to other objects, and even the system's Catalog system in fe::Master.

fe::Config based configuration is automatically exposed to scripting,

The fe::Config mechanism is really just a string dictionary with convienience functions for the aforementioned purpose. Therefore, Config can be used to communicate and key,value String pair to a Component.

Exposing Arbitrary Functionality

When none of the above fits and scripting exposure is necessary, the DispatchI interface may be used. ( See Exposing Components to Scripting )

If exposure to scripting is not necessary, typical C++ interfaces should be fine.