A collection of learnings and opinions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Let's Talk About It...

"Let's talk about it..." that's the name of the latest version of Jade, that was released yesterday! That's right, a new version of everyone's favourite FIPA-compliant Java-based multi-agent framework has a new release. And this is just, what, a month or two since the first book about the framework was released (Developing Multi-Agent Systems with JADE).

Exciting times!

So, what's new in this release? Any breaking changes? Let's have a look at the press-release (I haven't had time to try it out yet. I'll do that at my first opportunity and post my impressions).

  • A whole new communication mechanism: Publish/Subscribe!
    • A whole new mechanism where agents can simply register a topic they are interested in, and every message that is broadcast with that topic will be sent to them. This sounds like a good idea to me, uncoupling the broadcaster and subscribers. It is only applicable to general broadcasts, though, and I wonder how they implement "closed" lists.

    • Sounds like they are implemented by making a proxy-AID representing the topic, to ensure compatibility. I wonder if this is a good thing, is breaking the agent-AID binding really something you want to do?

  • A "completely restructured version of the Web Service Integration Gateway"
    • Web app (can be deployed to app servers, like Apache Tomcat)!
    • Web-services are derived from the actions in the ontologies registered to the Directory Facilitator.
    • WSDL document generated for each agent service exposed (how did they do it before?)
    • I haven't used the WSID earlier, so I can't really add any thoughts to this, check out the guide here.

  • Improved detection of main container using UDP Multicast packets

    • Excellent, this makes it easier to set up multi-platform environments!
  • A reflector, finally allowing us to use the Java Collections Framework when working with ontologies
    • Excellent stuff, now just port the entire thing to Java 1.5 to give us generics!

All in all some exciting stuff! Let's hope this one doesn't break anything, eh? I've not touched it yet, and so far on the mailing-lists there's one user who's had problems with the multicasting on his machine, but it looks like a he found a workaround (detect-main option set to false).

Let the bugsearch ensue :-)

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