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    Event Handlers

    This section describes how to register event handlers on services. In CAP everything that happens at runtime is an event that is sent to a service. With event handlers the processing of these events can be extended or overridden. Event handlers can be used to handle CRUD events, implement actions and functions and to handle asynchronous events from a messaging service.

    Content

    Introduction to Event Handlers

    CAP allows you to register event handlers for events on services. An event handler is simply a Java method. Event handlers enable you to add custom business logic to your application by either extending the processing of an event, or by completely overriding its default implementation.

    Event handlers are a powerful means to extend CAP. Did you know, that most of the built-in features provided by CAP are implemented using event handlers?

    Common events are the CRUD events (CREATE, READ, UPDATE, DELETE), which are handled by the different kinds of CQN-based services. These events are most typically triggered, when an HTTP-based protocol adapter (for example OData V4) executes a CQN statement on an Application Service to fulfill the HTTP request. The CAP Java SDK provides a lot of built-in event handlers (also known as Generic Providers) that handle CRUD operations out-of-the-box and implement the handling of many CDS annotations. Applications most commonly use event handlers on CRUD events to extend the event processing by using the Before and After phase.

    Actions and Functions that are defined by an Application Service in its model definition are mapped to events as well. Therefore, to implement the business logic of an action or function, you need to register event handlers as well. Event handlers that implement the core processing of an event should be registered using the On phase.

    Events in CAP can have parameters and - in case they are synchronous - a return value. The CAP Java SDK uses Event Contexts to provide a type-safe way to access parameters and return values. In the case of CRUD events the corresponding Event Contexts provide for example access to the CQN statement. Event Contexts can be easily obtained in an event handler.

    Event Phases

    Events are processed in three phases that are executed consecutively: Before, On, and After. When registering an event handler the phase in which the event handler should be called, needs to be specified. The CAP Java SDK provides an annotation for each event phase (@Before, @On, and @After). These annotations can be used on event handler methods to indicate which phase of the event processing the method handles.

    It’s possible to register multiple event handlers for each event phase. Handlers within the same event phase are never executed concurrently. In case concurrency is desired, it needs to be explicitly implemented within an event handler. Note, that by default there is no guaranteed order in which the handlers of the same phase are called.

    The following subsections describe the semantics of the three phases in more detail.

    Before

    The Before phase is the first phase of the event processing. This phase is intended for filtering, validation, and other types of preprocessing of the incoming parameters of an event. There can be an arbitrary number of Before handlers per event.

    The processing of the Before phase is completed when one of the following conditions applies:

    • All registered Before handlers were successfully called. Execution continues with the On phase.
    • A handler completes the event processing by setting a return value or setting the state of an event to completed. In this case, any remaining registered Before and On handlers are skipped and execution continues with the After phase.
    • A handler throws an exception. In this case, event processing is terminated immediately.

    On

    The On phase is started after the Before phase, as long as no return value is yet provided and no exception occurred. It’s meant to implement the core processing of the event. There can be an arbitrary number of On handlers per event, although as soon as the first On handler successfully completes the event processing, all remaining On handlers are skipped.

    The On phase is completed when one of the following conditions applies:

    • A handler completes the event processing by setting a result value or setting the state of an event to completed. In this case, any remaining registered On handlers are skipped and execution continues with the After phase.
    • A handler throws an exception. In this case, event processing is terminated immediately.

    In case of synchronous events, if after the On phase, no handler completed the event processing, it’s considered an error and the event processing is aborted with an exception. However when registering an On handler for an asynchronous event it is not recommended to complete the event processing, as other handlers might not get notified of the event anymore. In that case CAP ensures to auto-complete the event, once all On handlers have been executed.

    After

    The After phase is only started after the On phase is completed successfully. Handlers are therefore guaranteed to have access to the result of the event processing. This phase is useful for post-processing of the return value of the event or triggering side-effects. A handler in this phase can also still abort the event processing by throwing an exception. No further handlers of the After phase are called in this case.

    Event Contexts

    The EventContext is the central interface, that provides information about the event to the event handler. The EventContext interface is a general interface that can be used with every event, it provides:

    • Name of the event
    • Entity targeted by the event
    • Service the event was sent to
    • Parameters and return value
    • Request Context: User information, tenant-specific CDS model, headers and query parameters
    • ChangeSet Context: Transactional boundaries of the event
    • Service Catalog
    • CDS Runtime

    Parameters and the return value can be obtained and stored as key-value pairs in the Event Context using its get and put methods.

    EventContext context = EventContext.create("myEvent", null);
    
    // set parameters
    context.put("parameter1", "MyParameter1");
    context.put("parameter2", 2);
    
    srv.emit(context); // process event
    
    // access return value
    Object result = context.get("result");
    

    Using the get and put methods has several drawbacks: The API is neither type-safe nor is it clear what the correct keys for different event parameters are. To solve these issues it is possible to overlay the general Event Context with an event-specific Event Context, which provides typed getters and setters for the parameters of a specific event. For each event that the CAP Java SDK provides out-of-the-box (for example the CRUD events) a corresponding Event Context is provided.

    Let’s have a look at an example. The CdsReadEventContext interface is the READ event-specific Event Context. As one of the parameters of the READ event is a CqnSelect it provides a CqnSelect getCqn() method. The return value of a READ event is a Result. The context therefore also provides a Result getResult() and a setResult(Result r) method. You can use the as method provided by the general Event Context to overlay it:

    CdsReadEventContext context = genericContext.as(CdsReadEventContext.class);
    CqnSelect select = context.getCqn();
    context.setResult(Collections.emptyList());
    Result result = context.getResult();
    

    The getter and setter methods, still operate on the simple get/put API shown in the previous example. They just provide a type-safe layer on top of it. The as method makes use of Java Proxies behind the scenes. Therefore an interface definition is all that is required to enable this functionality.

    Use these event-specific type-safe Event Context interfaces whenever possible.

    For actions or functions defined in the CDS model the CAP Java SDK Maven Plugin can automatically generate Event Context objects, which provide type-safe access to the action or function parameters and allow to set the return values.

    Completing the Event Processing

    The Event Context also provides means to indicate the completion of the core processing of the event. This is important to finish the On phase of a synchronous event. In case the synchronous event does not have a return value the setCompleted() method should be used to indicate the completion of the core processing of the event.

    context.setCompleted();
    

    In case the synchronous event has a return value the setResult(...) method of the event-specific Event Context automatically triggers the setCompleted() method as well.

    context.setResult(myResult);
    

    Defining Custom EventContext Interfaces

    In certain cases you might want to define your own custom event-specific Event Context interfaces. Simply define an interface, which extends the general EventContext interface. Use the @EventName annotation to indicate for which event this context should be used. Getters and setters defined in the interface automatically operate on the get and put methods of the general Event Context. In case you want to define the key they use for this, you can use the @CdsName annotation on the getter and setter method.

    @EventName("myEvent")
    public interface MyEventContext extends EventContext {
    
        static MyEventContext create() {
            return EventContext.create(MyEventContext.class, null);
        }
    
        String getParam();
        void setParam(String param);
    
        void setResult(Integer result);
        Integer getResult();
    
    }
    

    For actions or functions defined in the CDS model the CAP Java SDK Maven Plugin can automatically generate Event Context objects, which provide type-safe access to the action or function parameters and allow to set the return values.

    Event Handler Classes

    Event handler classes contain one or multiple event handler methods. You can use them to group event handlers, for example for a specific service. The class can also define arbitrary methods, which aren’t event handler methods, to provide functionality reused by multiple event handlers.

    In Spring Boot, event handler classes are Spring beans. This enables you to use the full range of Spring Boot features in your event handlers, such as Dependency Injection or Scopes.

    The following example defines an event handler class:

    import org.springframework.stereotype.Component;
    import com.sap.cds.services.handler.EventHandler;
    import com.sap.cds.services.handler.annotations.ServiceName;
    
    @Component
    @ServiceName("AdminService")
    public class AdminServiceHandler implements EventHandler {
    
    }
    
    • The annotation @Component instructs Spring Boot to create a bean instance from this class.
    • The EventHandler marker interface is required for CAP to identify the class as an event hander class among all beans and scan it for event handler methods.
    • The optional @ServiceName annotation can be used to specify the default service, which event handlers are registered on. It is possible to override this value for specific event handler methods.

    The CAP Java SDK Maven Plugin generates interfaces for services in the CDS model. These interfaces provide String constants with the fully qualified name of the service. In case the service name is based on the CDS model it is recommended to use these constants with the @ServiceName annotation.

    It is possible to specify multiple service names. Event handlers are registered on all of these services.

    @ServiceName(["AdminService", "CatalogService"])
    

    The type attribute of the @ServiceName annotation can be used to register event handlers on all services of a certain type:

    @ServiceName(value = "*", type = ApplicationService.class)
    

    Event Handler Annotations

    Event handler methods need to be annotated with one of the following annotations: @Before, @On, or @After. The annotation defines, during which phase of the event processing the event handler is called.

    Each of these annotations can define the following attributes:

    • service: The services the event handler is registered on. It’s optional, if a @ServiceName annotation is specified on class-level.

    • serviceType: The type of services the event handler is registered on, e.g. ApplicationService.class. Can be used together with service = "*" to register an event handler on all services of a certain type.

    • event: The events the event handler is registered on. The event handler is invoked in case any of the events specified matches the current event. Use * to match any event. It’s optional, if the event can be inferred through a Event Context argument in the handler signature.

    • entity: The target entities the event handler is registered on. The event handler is invoked in case any of the entities specified matches the current entity. Use * to match any entity. It’s optional, if the entity can be inferred through a POJO-based argument in the handler signature. If no value is specified or can be inferred it defaults to *.

    The interfaces of different service types provide String constants for the events they support (see for example the CqnService). The CAP Java SDK Maven Plugin generates interfaces for entities in the CDS model, which provide String constants with their fully qualified name. It is recommended to use these constants with the event or entity attributes of the annotations.

    // registers on multiple events
    @Before(event = { "CREATE", "UPDATE" }, entity = "AdminService.Books")
    
    // overrides the default service on class-level
    // registers on any entity
    @On(service = "CatalogService", event = "READ")
    
    // usage of String constants is recommended
    @After(event = CqnService.EVENT_READ, entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    

    Event Handler Method Signatures

    The most basic signature of an event handler method is public void process(EventContext context). However event-specific Event Context and entity data arguments and certain return values are supported as well and can be freely combined. It is even valid for event handler methods to have no arguments at all. Handler methods don’t necessarily have to be public methods. They can also be methods with protected, private, or package visibility.

    Event Context Arguments

    The Event Context is the central interface that provides information about the event to the event handler. An event handler can get access to the general EventContext by simply declaring an argument of that type in its method:

    @Before(event = CqnService.EVENT_READ, entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    public void readBooks(EventContext context) { }
    

    It is also possible to directly refer to event-specific Event Context interfaces in your arguments. In that case the general Event Context is automatically overlayed with the event-specific one:

    @Before(event = CqnService.EVENT_READ, entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    public void readBooks(CdsReadEventContext context) { }
    

    If an event-specific Event Context argument is used and the event handler annotation declares an event as well, the argument is automatically validated during startup of the application. Alternatively it is possible to let CAP infer the event for the event handler registration from the Event Context argument:

    @Before(entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    public void readBooks(CdsReadEventContext context) { }
    

    The mapping between an Event Context interface and an event, is based on the @EventName annotation of the Event Context interface.

    In case an event handler is registered on multiple events only the general Event Context argument can be used. At runtime, the corresponding event-specific Event Context can be overlayed explicitly, if access to event-specific parameters is required:

    @Before(event = { CqnService.EVENT_CREATE, CqnService.EVENT_UPDATE }, entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    public void changeBooks(EventContext context) {
        if(context.getEvent().equals(CqnService.EVENT_CREATE)) {
            CdsCreateEventContext ctx = context.as(CdsCreateEventContext.class);
            // ...
        } else {
            CdsUpdateEventContext ctx = context.as(CdsUpdateEventContext.class);
            // ...
        }
    }
    

    Entity Data Arguments

    When adding business logic to an Application Service event handlers most commonly need to access entity data. Entity data can be directly accessed in the event handler method, by using an argument of type CdsData:

    @Before(event = { CqnService.EVENT_CREATE, CqnService.EVENT_UPDATE }, entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    public void changeBooks(List<CdsData> data) { }
    

    The CdsData interface extends Map<String, Object> with some additional JSON serialization capabilities and therefore provides a generic data access capability.

    The CAP Java SDK Maven Plugin can generate data accessor interfaces for entities defined in the CDS model. These interfaces allow for a typed access to data and can be used in arguments as well:

    @Before(event = { CqnService.EVENT_CREATE, CqnService.EVENT_UPDATE }, entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    public void changeBooks(List<Books> books) { }
    

    To learn more about typed access to data and how entity data is handled in CAP Java SDK, have a look at Working with Data.

    If an entity data argument is used and the event handler annotation declares an entity as well, the argument is automatically validated during startup of the application. Alternatively it is possible to let CAP infer the entity for the event handler registration from the entity data argument:

    @Before(event = { CqnService.EVENT_CREATE, CqnService.EVENT_UPDATE })
    public void changeBooks(List<Books> books) { }
    

    The mapping between a data accessor interface and an entity, is based on the @CdsName annotation of the accessor interface.

    Entity data arguments only work on CRUD events of CQN-based services. In addition they work with the draft-specific CRUD events provided by Draft Services.

    The origin from which the entity data is provided depends on the phase of the event processing. During the Before and On phase it is obtained from the CQN statement. The CQN statement contains the entity data that was provided by the service client. However during the After phase the entity data is obtained from the Result object, which is provided as the return value of the event to the service client. Some CQN statements such as for example CqnSelect, which is used with READ events, don’t allow to carry data. In these cases entity data arguments are set to null.

    There are different flavours of entity data arguments. Besides using List<Books> it is also possible to use Stream<Books>:

    @Before(event = { CqnService.EVENT_CREATE, CqnService.EVENT_UPDATE })
    public void changeBooks(Stream<Books> books) { }
    

    It is also possible to use non-collection-based entity arguments, such as Books. However if multiple data rows are available at runtime an exception will be thrown in that case:

    @Before(event = { CqnService.EVENT_CREATE, CqnService.EVENT_UPDATE })
    public void changeBook(Books book) { }
    

    Entity data arguments are safely modifiable. During the Before and On phase changes affect the data carried by the CQN statement. During the After phase changes affect the return value of the event.

    Return Values

    The return value of an event can be set by returning a value in an event handler method:

    @On(entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    public Result readBooks(CdsReadEventContext context) {
        return db.run(context.getCqn());
    }
    

    In case an event handler method of the Before or On phase has a return value it automatically completes the event processing, once it is executed. Event handler methods of the After phase that have a return value, replace the return value of the event.

    Only return values that extend Iterable<? extends Map<String, Object>> are supported. The Result object or a list of entity data (for example List<Books>) fulfill this requirement.

    @On(entity = Books_.CDS_NAME)
    public List<Books> readBooks(CdsReadEventContext context) {
        Books book = Struct.create(Books.class);
        // ...
        return Arrays.asList(book);
    }
    

    Event handler methods with return values only work on CRUD events of CQN-based services or the draft-specific CRUD events provided by Draft Services.

    To learn how to build your own Result objects, have a look at the Result Builder API

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