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Java Cookbook by Ian F. Darwin

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Program: RMI Callbacks

One major benefit of RMI is that almost any kind of object can be passed as a parameter or return value of a remote method. The recipient of the object will not know ahead of time the class of the actual object it will receive. If the object is of a class that implements Remote (java.rmi.Remote), then in fact the returned object will be a proxy object that implements at least the declared interface. If the object is not remote, it must be serializable, and then a copy of it will be transmitted across the Net. The prime example of this is a String. It makes no sense to write an RMI proxy object for String. Why? Remember from Chapter 3 that String objects are immutable! Once you have a String, you can copy it locally but never change it. So Strings, like most other core classes, can be copied across the RMI connection just as easily as they are copied locally. But Remote objects will cause an RMI proxy to be delivered. So what is stopping the caller from passing an RMI object that is also itself a proxy? Nothing at all, and this is the basis of the powerful RMI callback mechanism.

An RMI callback occurs when the client of one service passes an object that is the proxy for another service. The recipient can then call methods in the object it received, and be calling back (hence the name) to where it came from. Think about a stock ticker service. You write a server that runs on your desktop and notifies you when your stock moves up or down. This server is ...

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