Making the transition to DAP4

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This How-To describes modifying existing modules written for the Hyrax Back End Server (BES) so that they support both DAP4 as well as the older DAP2 protocol. The information here is mostly anecdotal, based on experience working with five existing handlers that read data and return DAP2 metadata and data responses. The libdap and bes software have been modified to provide support for all but a very few of the features described in the DAP4 draft specification document. The versions of those packages that include this support are accessible from our SVN repository on a special branch that exists for DAP4 development and testing.

In the following, I assume you're going to modify a module so that it will support DAP4, in addition to supporting DAP2. The basic steps are pretty simple:

  • Get the dap4 Shrew branch
  • Move your working copy of the module to a dap4 branch
  • Learn about how DAP4 has been added to libdap
  • Modify the module
  • Write tests
  • Check in the result

How long does this take? On average it take about a day to two days for any given module.

Note: I'm using $svn as if it were a shell variable defined as

1 Get the DAP4 branch

The short version of this is to svn co $svn/branch/shrew/dap4. See Hyrax - Build the Shrew Project for more information on shrew (caveat: that's a fairly old article and unlikely to be completely accurate). Build the code, run the tests, make sure the libdap and bes libraries are installed, etc., so that you are comfortable that the code you're working with is functioning.

2 Move your module working copy to a dap4 branch

In the shrew project there is a file named externals.txt that lists the external projects that are checked out to make up shrew. You will see that libdap, bes, and at least 5 of the 14 modules are on a branch. The externals.txt file will look something like this:

^/trunk/hyrax-dependencies/ src/dependencies
^/branch/libdap/dap4 src/libdap
^/branch/bes/dap4 src/bes
^/trunk/olfs/ src/olfs
^/branch/csv_handler/dap4 src/modules/csv_handler
^/branch/gdal_handler/dap4 src/modules/gdal_handler
^/trunk/hdf4_handler/ src/modules/hdf4_handler
^/trunk/hdf5_handler/ src/modules/hdf5_handler
^/branch/ncml_module/dap4 src/modules/ncml_module
^/trunk/gateway_module/ src/modules/gateway_module

I'm assuming you're working on a module that does not yet support DAP4 and so probably does not have a dap4 branch. Beware the old DAP4 branches in our repository; they are evil and should be avoided.

What you need to do to move your module to a dap4 branch in shrew/dap4:

  1. Go to the top-level shrew directory: cd ~/src/dap4 (for example)
  2. Make a branch called dap4 for your module: svn cp $svn/trunk/module $svn/branch/module/dap4 It'll ask for a comment, mumble about dap4...
  3. Edit externals.txt so that the reference to the external module is not ^/trunk/module but instead ^/branch/module/dap4
  4. Run the script: ./
  5. Check in the changes to the top-level shrew directory: svn ci -N Again, comment about dap4 and your module in the comment...
  6. Verify the new property value: svn pg svn:externals This should look very similar to the stuff int he externals.txt file and should show the branch is to be checked out into src/modules/module.
  7. Go to the directory that holds your module: cd src/modules/module
  8. Switch to the newly made branch: svn switch $svn/branch/module/dap4 . <-- Note the trailing dot; it means do the switch to the current directory
  9. Verify that the switch worked: svn info The repository URL should point toward the branch.

OK, now we are done with SVN and revision control monkey shines for a while...

3 How DAP4 support has been added to libdap

DAP4 is an extension of DAP2, to a large extent. While there are some ways in which it is fundamentally different, for the scope of this tutorial, many of those differences don't matter that much. Modifying a handler so that it supports DAP4 has mostly to do with the DAP4 data model and how it has been implemented in libdap.

The DAP4 data model includes all of the types used in DAP2 with the exception of the Grid and Sequence types. The Grid type has been removed and replaced by a more general notion of collections of Arrays that share a set of Dimensions. This corresponds to the notion of a coverage as defined by the OGC. The Sequence type remains in DAP4, but the semantics of the type have changed in some important ways, making them much more useful. For example, it's now possible to have an array of Sequences, which provides a compact representation for profile data. Sequence in DAP4 is implemented in a completely new class, even though the essential semantics of nested tables with an unspecified number of rows is still the core of its definition. The remainder of the types defined by DAP2 use the same implementations in DAP4. This means that existing code, e.g., the modules, can make use of the any specializations they have defined for those classes. For an example of this, take a look at the netcdf_handler software.

DAP4 adds to the collection of datatypes defined by DAP2. The added types are Group, Enum, Opaque and Int64 (both signed and unsigned). When porting existing code, you can ignore these initially. A more sophisticated module might use Groups or Enums, but if you've written a module without them, its clear there's a way to represent the data and ignore them.

Note also that DAP4 changed the syntax for Constraint Expressions and that libdapuses a different implementation for the DAP4 CE parser/evaluator. The implementation of this part of the specification is still in development, but for now all of the projection features outlined in the DAP4 specification have been implemented. Instead of getting a ConstraintEvaluator object from the BES and passing that into the serialize() method, Transmitter-type modules should instantiate a D4CEParser. The section on Transmitter modules has more information on this and other related topics.

Because DAP4 uses a different metadata and data response, in libdap we chose to replace the DDS object with a new container for DAP4. This way there's never any confusion about which version of the protocol is being used - if a DDS has been created, then it holds variables that are DAP2 and if it is a DMR object, the variables are DAP4. In the discussion below, you'll see that there is a way to take a DAP2 DDS and build a DAP4 DMR, transforming the variables in the process. The primary method used to enable copying variables from a DDS to a DMR is BaseType::transform_to_dap4() which is specialized by Array, Constructor, Grid, Structure and Sequence. I'll discuss each method, looking at how the Array, ..., classes specialized the BaseType version and why. This will provide information about why your module might need to specialize it too as well as how to write the specialization.

3.1 How the variable transform code works

  1. BaseType *
  2. BaseType::transform_to_dap4(D4Group */*root*/, Constructor */*container*/)
  3. {
  4.     BaseType *dest = ptr_duplicate();
  6.     dest->attributes()->transform_to_dap4(get_attr_table());
  8.     dest->set_is_dap4(true);
  10.     return dest;
  11. }

The BaseType::transform_to_dap4() method. This is used by all of the classes that do not specialize it. I'll cover what's special about those in a moment, but first, lets look at the BaseType version:

  • Line 4 calls the ptr_duplicate() method to copy this, meaning that if your module specializes the type (e.g., MyModuleFloat64 <-- Float64) then dest will hold an instance of MyModuleFloat64 and your module can get/do all the great things you've packed into that specialization.
  • The other lines are less thrilling, although note that the 'is_dap() property is set for the variable.

Next is the Array class specialization for the method:

  1. BaseType *
  2. Array::transform_to_dap4(D4Group *root, Constructor */*container*/)
  3. {
  4.     Array *dest = static_cast<Array*>(ptr_duplicate());
  6.     D4Dimensions *dims = root->dims();
  7.     for (Array::Dim_iter d = dest->dim_begin(), e = dest->dim_end(); d != e; ++d) {
  8.         if (!(*d).name.empty()) {
  9.             // If a D4Dimension with the name already exists, use it.
  10. 	    D4Dimension *d4_dim = dims->find_dim((*d).name);
  11. 	    if (!d4_dim) {
  12. 		d4_dim = new D4Dimension((*d).name, (*d).size);
  13. 		dims->add_dim_nocopy(d4_dim);
  14. 	    }
  15. 	    else if (d4_dim->size() != (unsigned long) (*d).size) {
  16. 		d4_dim = new D4Dimension((*d).name + "_" + name(), (*d).size);
  17. 		dims->add_dim_nocopy(d4_dim);
  18. 	    }
  20. 	    (*d).dim = d4_dim;
  21. 	}
  22.     }
  24.     dest->attributes()->transform_to_dap4(get_attr_table());
  26.     dest->set_is_dap4(true);
  28.     return dest;
  29. }

The Array::transform_to_dap4() method also copies the variable using ptr_duplicate() with the same effect as with BaseType WRT any specializations defined by your module. Once that's done, the method scans the Array for dimensions that are shared. The criteria it uses is definitely heuristic; if a Shared Dimension with the same name and size is already in the root group's collection of shared dimensions, assume this dimension is that Shared Dimension; if the names match but not the sizes, make a new Shared Dimension with with a name composed of the dimension and variable name; and lastly, if there's no shared dimension with a matching name, make one. In all cases, any named dimension is treated as a DAP4 Shared Dimension. If this is not true for your module, you will need to specialize this method.

Note: In DAP2 there are no Groups. Given this, the top-level of a DAP2 dataset is conceptually similar to the root Group of DAP4, hence the use of the 'root' group in this and other versions of the transform_to_dap4() method. In general, where this code make statements about the 'root' group and things like Shared Dimensions, the correct statement for DAP4 in general would be enclosing group. For the case this method addresses, the root group is always the enclosing group.

Next is the Grid class specialization for the method:

  1. BaseType *
  2. Grid::transform_to_dap4(D4Group *root, Constructor *container)
  3. {
  4.     BaseType *btp = array_var()->transform_to_dap4(root, container);
  5.     Array *coverage = static_cast<Array*>(btp);
  6.     if (!coverage)
  7.         throw InternalErr(__FILE__, __LINE__, "Expected an Array while transforming a Grid (coverage)");
  9.     coverage->set_parent(container);
  11.     // Next find the maps; add them to the coverage and to the container,
  12.     // the latter only on the condition that they are not already there.
  14.     for (Map_iter i = map_begin(), e = map_end(); i != e; ++i) {
  15.         btp = (*i)->transform_to_dap4(root, container);
  16.         Array *map = static_cast<Array*>(btp);
  17.         if (!map)
  18.             throw InternalErr(__FILE__, __LINE__, "Expected an Array while transforming a Grid (map)");
  20.         // map must be non-null (Grids cannot contain Grids in DAP2)
  21.         if (map) {
  22.             // Only add the map/array if it not already present; given the scoping rules
  23. 	    // for DAP2 and the assumption the DDS is valid, testing for the same name
  24. 	    // is good enough.
  25. 	    if (!root->var(map->name())) {
  26. 	        map->set_parent(container);
  27. 		container->add_var_nocopy(map);
  28. 	    }
  29. 	    D4Map *dap4_map = new D4Map(map->name(), map, coverage);	// bind the 'map' to the coverage
  30. 	    coverage->maps()->add_map(dap4_map);	// bind the coverage to the map
  31. 	}
  32. 	else {
  33. 	    throw InternalErr(__FILE__, __LINE__, "transform_to_dap4() returned a null value where there can be no Grid.");
  34. 	}
  35.     }
  37.     container->add_var_nocopy(coverage);
  39.     // Since a Grid (DAP2) to a Coverage (DAP4) removes a lexical scope
  40.     // in favor of a set of relations, Grid::transform_to_dap4() does not
  41.     // return a BaseType*. Callers should assume it has correctly added
  42.     // stuff to the container and group.
  43.     return 0;
  44. }

Since there's no Grid type in DAP4, this code does not copy the Grid but instead looks inside it and copies the Arrays that make up the Grid. Each Array is indirectly copied using ptr_duplicate() in all but two cases since the (discussed in the next section) transform_to_dap4() will call ptr_duplicate(). Note that unlike the BaseType and Array versions, this code uses the container parameter and returns a null for the BaseType. If C++ allowed for the return of multiple values, the container parameter wouldn't be needed because we could return the Grid's array and Maps as a set of values and then load them into the parent container in the DMR (which is not the Grid's parent container - that's a DAP2 variable). The caller knows that a return value of null means this is a Grid and variables have been added into the DMR as a side effect of the call and there's nothing more to do. Take a look at the DMR::build_using_dds() code.

Regarding the code on line 21 (if (map) {...): DAP4 represents Maps as arrays in an enclosing group (the root group for this code) and the if clause makes sure those are present. If two Grids have Maps with the same names, they are assumed by this code to be the same Maps and have the same values. If this is not the case for your module, you will need to specialize the method. Note that an Array in DAP4 that has Maps holds a special object for each Map so the binding is explicit.

3.2 The Constructor types are a bit more complicated

Here is Constructor::transform_to_dap4(). It exists to reduce code duplication in the Structure and Sequences classes and may play a part in a specialization you write or may serve as nothing more than a template for your code. The method calls transform_to_dap4() on all of the variables held by the Constructor, transfers attributes and sets the is_dap4() property.

  1. BaseType *
  2. Constructor::transform_to_dap4(D4Group *root, Constructor *dest)
  3. {
  4.     for (Constructor::Vars_citer i = var_begin(), e = var_end(); i != e; ++i) {
  5.     	BaseType *new_var = (*i)->transform_to_dap4(root, dest);
  6.     	if (new_var) {	// Might be a Grid; see the comment in BaseType::transform_to_dap4()
  7.     	    new_var->set_parent(dest);
  8.     	    dest->add_var_nocopy(new_var);
  9.     	}
  10.     }
  12.     // Add attributes
  13.     dest->attributes()->transform_to_dap4(get_attr_table());
  15.     dest->set_is_dap4(true);
  17.     return dest;
  18. }

Structure::transform_to_dap4(). This code builds a new Structure instance, runs Constructor::transform_to_dap4() for it side effects, sets the parent container and returns the new Structure. The method does not use ptr_duplicate() because doing so calls Constructor's copy constructor which does not use ptr_duplicate(). This means that if you specialize Structure in your module you must modify the code to provide a new version of this method for that class.

  1. BaseType *
  2. Structure::transform_to_dap4(D4Group *root, Constructor *container)
  3. {
  4.     // Structure *dest = static_cast<Structure*>(ptr_duplicate());
  5.     Structure *dest = new Structure(name());
  6.     Constructor::transform_to_dap4(root, dest);
  8.     dest->set_parent(container);
  10.     return dest;
  11. }

Sequence::transform_to_dap4(). As with Structure::transform_to_dap4(), your handler must provide a definition for this method if you specialize Sequence. Note that in this case, DAP4 uses a new class for Sequences: D4Sequence.

  1. BaseType *
  2. Sequence::transform_to_dap4(D4Group *root, Constructor *container)
  3. {
  4.     D4Sequence *dest = new D4Sequence(name());
  6.     Constructor::transform_to_dap4(root, dest);
  8.     dest->set_length(-1);
  9.     dest->set_parent(container);
  11.     return dest;
  12. }

4 Modify the module

The most important thing to do when modifying a module so that it will support DAP4 is to make sure and run it's tests before you start hacking away at the code. Make sure all of the tests pass or that you know why the tests that don't pass are failing and that those failures are not that big a deal. I made all of the modules I worked on pass all their tests before I started modifying them - so far.

There are two kinds of modules we have in Hyrax that I'll cover here: Modules that read a specific kind of data and modules that build a new (non-DAP) kind of response. I'll call these format and transmitter modules, respectively.

4.1 Format module

There is one class every format module contains that will require modification: RequestHandler. You will need to add two new static (class) methods to RequestHandler so that it can return the 'dmr and dap (metadata and data, resp.) responses when the BES framework processes a request that contains <get type="dmr" .../> or <get type="dap" .../>. Here's what it looks like for the csv_handler software:

CSVRequestHandler::CSVRequestHandler(string name) : BESRequestHandler(name)
    add_handler(DAS_RESPONSE, CSVRequestHandler::csv_build_das);
    add_handler(DDS_RESPONSE, CSVRequestHandler::csv_build_dds);
    add_handler(DATA_RESPONSE, CSVRequestHandler::csv_build_data);
    // We can use the same DMR object for both the metadata and data
    // responses. jhrg 8/13/14
    add_handler(DMR_RESPONSE, CSVRequestHandler::csv_build_dmr);
    add_handler(DAP4DATA_RESPONSE, CSVRequestHandler::csv_build_dmr);
    add_handler(VERS_RESPONSE, CSVRequestHandler::csv_build_vers);
    add_handler(HELP_RESPONSE, CSVRequestHandler::csv_build_help);

And in the CSVRequestHandler.h header file:

    static bool csv_build_data(BESDataHandlerInterface &dhi);
    static bool csv_build_dmr(BESDataHandlerInterface &dhi);
    static bool csv_build_vers(BESDataHandlerInterface &dhi);

Before we describe how to write the new build_dmr() class method, note that while DAP2 used two different C++ objects for metadata and data, DAP4 has just one, the DMR, so for both the metadata ("dmr") and data ("dap") response, we can use the same class method. Of course, your handler might need to do something special when building a data response, so having a separate class method for that is an option. So far, csv, fits, freeform, netcdf, and gdal have not needed that so I don't have any examples of it yet.

4.1.1 Writing build_dmr()

There are two ways you can go about this task. The first, and likely more time consuming, is to modify your handler to build a DMR object and just return it. The second way is to use the existing capability in the module to build a DDS object that also contains DAP2 attributes - most handlers do this by building the DDS, then the DAS and then merging the two using the DDS::transfer_attributes(DDS *) method - and then transform that DDS into a DMR using one of the DMR object's methods. Your handler can either use DMR::DMR(D4BaseTypeFactory *factory, DDS &dds) or void DMR::build_using_dds(DDS &dds).

Here's code that implements build_dmr() suing the void DMR::build_using_dds(DDS &dds) method:

  1. bool CSVRequestHandler::csv_build_dmr(BESDataHandlerInterface &dhi)
  2. {
  3.     // First step, build the 'full DDS'
  4.     string data_path = dhi.container->access();
  6.     BaseTypeFactory factory;
  7.     DDS dds(&factory, name_path(data_path), "3.2");
  8.     dds.filename(data_path);
  10.     try {
  11. 	csv_read_descriptors(dds, data_path);
  13. 	DAS das;
  14. 	csv_read_attributes(das, data_path);
  15. 	Ancillary::read_ancillary_das(das, data_path);
  16. 	dds.transfer_attributes(&das);
  17.     }
  18.     catch (InternalErr &e) {
  19. 	throw BESDapError(e.get_error_message(), true, e.get_error_code(), __FILE__, __LINE__);
  20.     }
  21.     catch (Error &e) {
  22. 	throw BESDapError(e.get_error_message(), false, e.get_error_code(), __FILE__, __LINE__);
  23.     }
  24.     catch (...) {
  25. 	throw BESDapError("Caught unknown error build CSV DMR response", true, unknown_error, __FILE__, __LINE__);
  26.     }
  28.     // Second step, make a DMR using the DDS
  30.     // Extract the DMR Response object - this holds the DMR used by the
  31.     // other parts of the framework.
  32.     BESResponseObject *response = dhi.response_handler->get_response_object();
  33.     BESDMRResponse &bdmr = dynamic_cast<BESDMRResponse &>(*response);
  35.     // Extract the DMR Response object - this holds the DMR used by the
  36.     // other parts of the framework.
  37.     DMR *dmr = bdmr.get_dmr();
  38.     dmr->set_factory(new D4BaseTypeFactory);
  39.     dmr->build_using_dds(dds);
  41.     bdmr.set_dap4_constraint(dhi);
  42.     bdmr.set_dap4_function(dhi);
  44.     return true;
  45. }

Line 3-8 build a new, temporary DDS. Lines 11-16 load metadata into the DDS using whatever code your module has to do that. This code is building instances of values that know about DAP2. See the above section on libdap support for DAP4 and the common issues you might face as well as discussion below about specific issues found with the five modules ported so far. Line 32-38 extract the DMR from the BESDMRResponse object. Line 39 does the magic transformation, copying the variables and attributes from the DDS to the DMR. Line 41-42 sets the DAP4 constraints so that code in the BES (bes/dap/BESDapTransmitter, etc.) will work correctly.

That's it. That was all that was needed to add support for DAP4 to the csv_handler code. But...

4.1.2 What can go wrong...

The CSV module was ported very easily. I'll discuss the issues with the other four modules and how they were addressed. FITS: Multiple Grids with maps that have the same name

The FITS module reads each variable into a DAP2 Grid. But there are no Grids in DAP4 (the only type that was dropped; although Sequences are substantially different as well) so the transform code (in Grid::transform_to_dap4()) must move the data and map arrays from the DAP2 Grid to three Arrays in a D4Group. In doing so, the maps must be transformed to DAP4 Shared Dimensions. There's no particular issue with that, but when maps in different Grids have the same name, there is an issue. Are the two maps the same? What if they have different sizes but the same name?

If two maps from different grids have the same name, size and type, they are assumed to be the same. If your module make Grids where the maps are not the same (i.e., they have different values) but have the same name, size and type then you'll need to specialize the Grid::transform_to_dap4() method. FreeForm: DAP2 and DAP4 Sequences have subtle differences

The libdap class BaseType defines transform_to_dap4() and most classes use that version.

  1. BaseType *
  2. BaseType::transform_to_dap4(D4Group */*root*/, Constructor */*container*/)
  3. {
  4.     BaseType *dest = ptr_duplicate();
  6.     // Copy the D2 attributes from 'this' to dest's D4 Attributes
  7.     dest->attributes()->transform_to_dap4(get_attr_table());
  9.     dest->set_is_dap4(true);
  11.     return dest;
  12. }

Exceptions are Array, Grid, Structure and Sequence. I'll cover what's special about those in a moment, but first, lets look at the BaseType version:

  • Line 4 calls the ptr_duplicate() method to copy this, meaning that if your module specializes the type (e.g., MyModuleFloat64 <-- Float64) then dest will hold an instance of MyModuleFloat64 and your module can go all the great things you've packed into that specialization.
  • The other lines are less thrilling although note that the 'is_dap() property is set for the variable.

For the FreeForm module, the Sequence class is specialized and has a unique version of the read() method, defined in and this matters because in DAP4 the Sequence type is different enough that it warrants it's own class (D4Sequence) and has different behavior than the DAP2 Sequence class. Because of this, the Sequence::transform_to_dap4() method does not call ptr_duplicate, but instead looks like (NB: this is repeated from above):

  1. BaseType *
  2. Sequence::transform_to_dap4(D4Group *root, Constructor *container)
  3. {
  4.     D4Sequence *dest = new D4Sequence(name());
  6.     Constructor::transform_to_dap4(root, dest);
  8.     dest->set_length(-1);
  9.     dest->set_parent(container);
  11.     return dest;
  12. }
  • Line 4: instead of calling ptr_duplicate() the code calls new D4Sequence() because in DAP4, sequences are different enough to require a new class.

Since the FreeForm handler defines special behavior for Sequence, I made a new class for the module named FFD4Sequence and then specialized FFSequence::transform_to_dap4() so that it made a FFD4Sequence and not a plain D4Sequence. Here's the whole method:

  1. BaseType *
  2. FFSequence::transform_to_dap4(D4Group *root, Constructor *container)
  3. {
  4.     FFD4Sequence *dest = new FFD4Sequence(name(), dataset(), d_input_format_file);
  6.     Constructor::transform_to_dap4(root, dest);
  8.     dest->set_length(-1);
  9.     dest->set_parent(container);
  11.     return dest;
  12. }

This enables the handler to run the DMR::build_using_dds() method and get a DMR that holds instances of the FFD4Sequence class.

4.1.3 The GDAL module subclasses the DDS class

While the GDAL module does not need to specialize any of the DAP2 datatypes, it does need some modification to work with the DMR::build_using_dds() method. The GDAL module specialized the DDS so that a handle to the data source can remain open and be used for access to information. This is true partly for efficiency and partly because some of the data values it returns are synthesized (DAP2 Grid Map vectors, which become DAP4 Maps). I did this by defining a specialization of the DMR (GDALDMR) and modifying the template RequestHandler::build_dmr() method. Here's the salient parts of the modified template (see the about version for the CSV module for the unmodified version).

  1. bool GDALRequestHandler::gdal_build_dmr(BESDataHandlerInterface &dhi)
  2. {
  3.     string data_path = dhi.container->access();
  5.     BaseTypeFactory factory;
  6.     DDS dds(&factory, name_path(data_path), "3.2");
  7.     dds.filename(data_path);
  9.     GDALDatasetH hDS = 0;	// Set in the following block but needed later.
  11.     try {
  12. 	hDS = gdal_read_dataset_variables(&dds, data_path);
  14. ...
  15.     }
  17. ...
  19.     DMR *dmr = bes_dmr.get_dmr();
  20.     dmr->set_factory(new D4BaseTypeFactory);
  21.     dmr->build_using_dds(dds);
  23.     GDALDMR *gdal_dmr = new GDALDMR(dmr);
  24.     gdal_dmr->setGDALDataset(hDS);
  26.     delete dmr;	// The call below will make 'dmr' unreachable; delete it now to avoid a leak.
  27.     bes_dmr.set_dmr(gdal_dmr); // BESDMRResponse will delete gdal_dmr
  29. ...
  30. }

The important parts are on the highlighted lines: 9, 19 and 23. On line 9 the DDS is built and a handle to the open GDAL dataset is returned. On line 19 a new GDALDMR is built, and immediately following that the handle from line 9 is saved in the GDALDMR instance. The GDALDMR object's destructor will close this handle. The primary purpose for the specialization of the DDS (and DMR) is to manage the GDAL dataset handle lifetime. The BES framework will take care of deleting the DMR after the framework orchestrates the read and transmission of data values. Code on line 23 sets the DMR specialization as the object managed by the BESDMRResponse object.

NB: The GDALDMR code is in the source file GDAL_DMR.h in the gdal_handler package.

4.1.4 Writing code to build the DMR directly

For direct support of DAP4, replace the functions included in a handler that build the DDS and DAS with new ones that build the DMR directly. As is implied by the existance of a DMR constructor that takes a DDS as an argument, the two (DMR and DDS) are similar in many key ways, so the existing code should be very useful in writing the new functions. The main things to consider are the differences in Grids (DAP2) versus coverages (DAP4) and how they are encoded in the D4Group/DMR and the new data types present in DAP4 (Group, Enum, Opaque, Int64).

4.2 Transmitter module

We want to make all of the modules that include their own Transmitter class are run when using the retrunAs attribute of the get element in the bes request. Here's an example request document:

  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <bes:request xmlns:bes="" reqID="[http-8080-1:27:bes_request]">
  3.   <bes:setContext name="xdap_accept">4.0</bes:setContext>
  4.   <bes:setContext name="dap_explicit_containers">no</bes:setContext>
  5.   <bes:setContext name="errors">xml</bes:setContext>
  6.   <bes:setContext name="max_response_size">0</bes:setContext>
  8.   <bes:setContainer name="c" space="catalog">tests/data/</bes:setContainer>
  10.   <bes:define name="d1" space="default">
  11.     <bes:container name="c">
  12.         <dap4constraint>lat</dap4constraint>
  13.     </bes:container>
  14.   </bes:define>
  16.   <bes:get type="dap" definition="d1" returnAs="ascii"/> 
  18. </bes:request>

Using the returnAs attribute provides a way for the front end (the OLFS in Hyrax) to say that the BES should build either the DAP2 (dods) or DAP4 (dap) data response object and then use the appropriate module to build the alternate response.

To implement this, we need do only a few things besides writing the software that takes the DataDDS (DAP2) or DMR (DAP4). Two classes that implement the mechanics of the BES module and the 'Transmitter' functionality: Module; and Transmitter. The Module class is pretty much the same as for a format module with the exception that if you want to make the BES run your transmitter code using a new name for the returnAs parameter, you need to add that to the Module. If you're happy using the existing name, there's no need to modify the Module class at all. At the end of this section on Transmitters I show how to add a new name for returnAs.

4.2.1 The Transmitter class

The magic happens in the Transmitter class. The constructor for this class registers two methods, one for each of the DAP2 and DAP4 data responses.

BESAsciiTransmit::BESAsciiTransmit() : BESBasicTransmitter()
    add_method(DATA_SERVICE, BESAsciiTransmit::send_basic_ascii);
    add_method(DAP4DATA_SERVICE, BESAsciiTransmit::send_dap4_csv);

Note that DATA_SERVICE is the string dods and is the DAP2 data blob; DAP4DATA_SERVICE is the string dap and is the DAP4 data blob.

Since it's likely that your code already implements the transmitter method for DAP2 data, I'll show only the DAP4 one below. First, lines 8 to 15 are basic boiler plate for extracting values from the BESDataHandlerInterface for later use. Next, lines 25 and 31 take care of processing the DAP4 function and/or constraint expression. (NB: the function code has yet to be added to this example.) Note that if there is no constraint expression, then the module must mark all of the variables to be sent (line 30). Lastly, on line 33 the dmr object is passed to code that actually performs the transformation. The resulting output is written to the DHI output stream. As is the case with DAP2, the DMR object is ready to read values, so the code that is passed the DMR can use the BaseType::intern_data() method. Since this How-To is all about porting an existing module, I assume that there's already code to transform the values held by variables in a DDS; you'll use the same basic logic to transform values held by variables in the DMR (technically, held by Groups that are held by the DMR). One thing to watch out for is needlessly copying values or retaining values in memory longer than thay are needed. Once a value has been written out to a file or to the DHI's output sink, it can be removed from memory. Take a look at how the ASCIIVAL handler code for DAP4 treats values differently than the older DAP2 code. These differences have less to do with DAP2 versus DAP4 than the do with us having more experience using the BES framework. The bottom line is that a Transmitter is always going to be the last module in a chain of processing operations, so it can assume there are no other modules that will need these objects.

  1. /**
  2.  * Transmits DAP4 Data as Comma Separated Values
  3.  */
  4. void BESAsciiTransmit::send_dap4_csv(BESResponseObject *obj, BESDataHandlerInterface &dhi)
  5. {
  6.     BESDEBUG("ascii", "BESAsciiTransmit::send_dap4_csv" << endl);
  8.     BESDMRResponse *bdmr = dynamic_cast<BESDMRResponse *>(obj);
  9.     DMR *dmr = bdmr->get_dmr();
  11.     string dap4Constraint = www2id([DAP4_CONSTRAINT], "%", "%20%26");
  12.     string dap4Function = www2id([DAP4_FUNCTION], "%", "%20%26");
  14.     // Not sure we need this...
  15.     dhi.first_container();
  17.     try {
  18. 	// Handle *functional* constraint expressions specially
  19. 	// Use the D4FunctionDriver class and evaluate the functions, building
  20. 	// an new DMR, then evaluate the D4CE in the context of that DMR.
  21. 	// This might be coded as "if (there's a function) do this else process the CE".
  22. 	// Or it might be coded as "if (there's a function) build the new DMR, then fall
  23. 	// through and process the CE but on the new DMR". jhrg 9/3/14
  25. 	if (!dap4Constraint.empty()) {
  26. 	    D4CEDriver d4ce(dmr);
  27. 	    d4ce.parse(dap4Constraint);
  28. 	}
  29. 	else {
  30. 	    dmr->root()->set_send_p(true);
  31. 	}
  33. 	print_values_as_ascii(dmr, dhi.get_output_stream());
  34.     	dhi.get_output_stream() << flush;
  35.     }
  36.     catch (InternalErr &e) {
  37.         throw BESDapError("Failed to return values as ascii: " + e.get_error_message(), true, e.get_error_code(), __FILE__, __LINE__);
  38.     }
  39.     catch (Error &e) {
  40.         throw BESDapError("Failed to return values as ascii: " + e.get_error_message(), false, e.get_error_code(), __FILE__, __LINE__);
  41.     }
  42.     catch (...) {
  43.         throw BESInternalFatalError("Failed to return values as ascii: Unknown exception caught", __FILE__, __LINE__);
  44.     }
  46.     BESDEBUG("ascii", "Done BESAsciiTransmit::send_dap4_csv" << endl);
  47. }

4.2.2 The Module class

The Module class' initialize method binds names to the module's Transmitter class and it is using these strings with the returnAs attribute that trigger the BES' invocation of the module. We can add a new string using a second call to add_transmitter as shown below. If you don't want to use a new string as the value of returnAs for the DAP4 version of this response, then there is no need to modify this code. Using the code below (from ASCIIVAL), both <get type="dap" returnAs="ascii"> and <get type="dap" returnAs="csv"> will trigger the ASCIIVAL handler feeding it the DAP4 data response.

  1. void BESAsciiModule::initialize(const string &modname)
  2. {
  3.     BESDEBUG("ascii", "Initializing module " << modname << endl);
  5.     BESRequestHandler *handler = new BESAsciiRequestHandler(modname);
  6.     BESRequestHandlerList::TheList()->add_handler(modname, handler);
  8.     BESReturnManager::TheManager()->add_transmitter(ASCII_TRANSMITTER, new BESAsciiTransmit());
  9.     BESReturnManager::TheManager()->add_transmitter(DAP4_CSV_TRANSMITTER, new BESAsciiTransmit());
  11.     BESDebug::Register("ascii");
  13.     BESDEBUG("ascii", "Done Initializing module " << modname << endl);
  14. }
  16. void BESAsciiModule::terminate(const string &modname)
  17. {
  18.     BESDEBUG("ascii", "Cleaning module " << modname << endl);
  20.     BESReturnManager::TheManager()->del_transmitter(ASCII_TRANSMITTER);
  21.     BESReturnManager::TheManager()->del_transmitter(DAP4_CSV_TRANSMITTER);
  23.     BESRequestHandler *rh = BESRequestHandlerList::TheList()->remove_handler(modname);
  24.     if (rh)
  25.         delete rh;
  27.     BESDEBUG("ascii", "Done Cleaning module " << modname << endl);
  28. }


#define ASCII_TRANSMITTER "ascii"
#define DAP4_CSV_TRANSMITTER "csv"