Aperture Architecture Overview

The central parts in the architecture are currently DataSource?, DataCrawler?, DataAccessor? and DataObject?. Together they are used to access the contents of an information system, such as a file system or web site.

A DataSource? contains all information necessary to locate the information items in a source. For example, a FileSystemDataSource? has a set of one or more directories on a file system, a set of patterns that describe what files to include or exclude, etc.

A DataCrawler? is responsible for actually accessing the physical source and reporting the individual information items as DataObjects?. Each DataObject? contains all metadata provided by the data source, such as file names, modification dates, etc., as well as the InputStream? providing access to physical resource.

We have chosen to distinguish between a DataSource? and a DataCrawler? as there may be several alternative crawling strategies for a single DataSource? type. Consider for example a generic FileSystemCrawler? that handles any kind of file system accessible through versus a WindowsFileSystemCrawler? using OS-native functionality to get notified about file additions, deletions and changes. Another possibility is various DataCrawler? implementations that have different trade-offs in speed and accuracy.

Currently, A DataSource? also contains support for writing its configuration to or initializing it from an XML file. We might consider putting this in a separate utility class, because the best way to store such information is often application dependent.

A DataCrawler? creates DataObjects? for the individual information items it encounters in the data source. These DataObjects? are reported to DataCrawlerListeners? registered at the DataCrawler?. An abstract base class (DataCrawlerBase?) is provided that provides base functionality for maintaining information about which files have been reported in the past, allowing for incremental scanning.

In order to create a DataObject? for a single resource encountered by the DataCrawler?, a DataAccessor? is used. This functionality is kept out of the DataCrawler? implementations on purpose because there may be several crawlers who can make good use of the same data accessing functionality. A good example is the FileSystemCrawler? and HypertextCrawler?, which both make use of the FileDataAccessor?. Although they arrive at the physical resource in different ways (by traversing folder trees vs. following links from other documents), they can use the same functionality to turn a into a FileDataObject?.

It should be clear now that a DataCrawler? is specific for the kind of DataSource? it supports, whereas a DataAccessor? is specific for the url scheme(s) it supports.

The AccessData? instance used in DataCrawlerBase? maintains the information about which objects have been scanned before. This instance is passed to the DataAccessor? as this is the best class to do this detection. For example, this allows the HttpDataAccessor? to use HTTP-specific functionality to let the webserver decide on whether the resource has changed since the last scan, preventing an unchanged file from being transported to the crawling side in the first place.

Last modified 16 years ago Last modified on 10/12/05 12:47:36