Building with Encoders

The basis of a channel stack is that there is a series of objects that share a common interface for communication. This leaves message encoders with something of a problem as the primitive operations for encoding and decoding messages are different than the primitive operations for sending and receiving messages. Message encoders avoid this problem by being contained within a channel rather than acting as a peer in the channel stack. However, this is different than the model used for bindings, which make the message encoding binding element a peer of the other channel binding elements.

To make things harder, bindings use a "no lookahead" construction process where constructing an object cannot speculate about future construction by looking into the unprocessed information in the binding. That results in a subtle dance between a message encoder and a channel that wants to use a message encoder.

During the construction process, a binding gives you only a context for storing computed information and the ability to initiate the next phase of the construction process. When we go to build a message encoder, it's not possible to actually build anything because the channel that will hold the message encoder doesn't exist yet. The message encoder doesn't know how or why it is going to be used. Instead, what a message encoding binding element does to build is add itself to the BindingParameters in the context. The message encoding binding element then initiates the next phase of the construction process. At some point in the future, a channel may look at the context to see if it contains a previously saved binding element, which can now be built. The delay in instantiation is what allows channels to have a different order for physical containment than the logical order of the binding elements.

Next time: Quotas for Copying Messages