Proposal: #NonHierarchicalLayers

mark.reinhold at mark.reinhold at
Mon Oct 31 20:22:38 UTC 2016

Issue summary

  #NonHierarchicalLayers --- Layers are presently constrained to be
  hierarchical, i.e., each layer has at most one parent.  Should this
  restriction be relaxed so that a layer can have more than one parent?
  Some have argued that this will be essential to the adoption of the
  module system by a future version of the Java EE Platform.  It would
  also enable bidirectional interoperation with existing module systems
  such as OSGi. [1]


Revise `java.lang.module.Configuration` and `java.lang.reflect.Layer` to
augment the existing instance methods that treat `this` as the parent of
the child being created with corresponding static methods that take a
list of parents.

The list of the parents of a configuration can be thought of as a search
path.  To construct a new configuration the resolver searches for modules
in the given parent configurations in the order in which they occur in
the list, and for any given parent it searches its parents recursively in
the same fashion, before moving on to the next parent in the list.  This
search order is, thus, not only depth-first but also determined by the
order of the parents in each list.  The latter property makes it easy to
tell when one candidate module will shadow another.

To instantiate a new layer from a given configuration, the list of the
configurations of its parent layers must be identical to the list of the
parents of that configuration.

The service providers for a module in a given layer are located in the
same way that the resolver searches for modules, i.e., depth-first and
in list order.


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