EMF Notifications


  • All EMF objects implement the EObject interface, which extends Notifier.
  • Thus, all EMF objects have a list of listeners which are informed when a property or relationship changes.
  • These listeners must implement the Adapter interface.


  • As mentioned previously in DevDocEditPartCreation, edit parts are associated to model elements.
  • The seg.jUCMNav.editparts.ModelElementEditPart is the base class for most graphical edit parts. The same concepts apply to the tree edit parts.
  • This class implements the Adapter interface and hooks up with EMF in activate() and deactivate()

    public void activate() {
        if (!isActive())
            ((EObject) getModel()).eAdapters().add(this);

    public void deactivate() {
        if (isActive())
            ((EObject) getModel()).eAdapters().remove(this);

  • The EditParts in JUCMNav are classes that extend org.eclipse.gef.editparts.AbstractGraphicalEditPart and implement org.eclipse.emf.common.notify.Adapter. This coupling is introduced to use the power of both frameworks. This is one place where our plugin differs from the GEF examples. In the examples, the developpers implemented their own notification mechanism. There is no other need for EMF (of course the model generation is useful but this happens outside JUCMNav) so the coupling is reduced to this. Through EMF, we can gain access to a great number of objects, but in order to limit the coupling, this practice should be avoided. Use only what the interfaces to the model provide you. If you need more than that, it is a probably a sign that the model needs to be modified.
    • For example, if you are tempted to use the function eContainer() to get the parent of an object because the children doesn't know its parent, maybe you should add a new relation in the model instead of using the functions EMF provide. This reduce coupling.

EMF Notifications

  • The actual notifications sent to notifyChanged(Notification notification) themselves are pretty cool.
  • From the Notification object, you can extract the old/new values, the notifier, the event type (set, add/remove items in a list, etc) and the feature ID used byEMF reflection.
  • Therefore, you can be very selective on when you react to changes. This granularity is a powerful asset for performance improvements in jUCMNav. Right now, we refresh too often and this could be improved.

jUCMNav Specifics

  • Typically, an editpart is responsible for refreshing itself when its underlying model element changes.
  • For example, a ComponentRef for which the ComponentKind changes should invoke its refreshVisuals() method.
  • Either because of inexperience or because the framework was not built with this kind of scenario in mind, some of our editparts forward the notification to their parent.
    • The scenario which first introduced this problem is resizing components. Imagine two components, the first, smaller, inside the other. Move and resize the larger component so that it now becomes contained in the initially smaller one.
    • Because the ComponentRefEditParts are children of the MapGraphEditPart, the children were ordered (and thus rendered) from largest to smallest. This ensures that smaller components stay visible.
    • Therefore, when ComponentRefs are resized, their notifyChanged() methods delegate the refreshing to the MapAndPathGraphEditPart which refreshes all the components.
    • Later, other features were introduced. Labels were made children of the MapGraphEditPart instead of the PathNodeEditPart or ComponentRefEditPart for a reason that is unknown to me. This might have something to do with children figures must be inside the bounds of their parents or else they are cropped off and hidden.
      • Labels have to be children of MapGraphEditart since they have to be drawn on the diagram and they can be moved anywhere. Their position is relative to the PathNode, but they are not children of PathNode. In GEF, if they would have been children of PathNode, their EditPart would have been drawn INSIDE the PathNode figure and could not go out of thoses bounds. So we could not move the EditPart outside of the PathNode without it beeing cropped.
    • We now have many editparts redirecting the notification and I am not sure all of them need to be there, performance enhancements are possible.
  • Our connection router also listens to the model elements to detect when the splines must be redrawn.

-- JasonKealey - 05 Jul 2005
Topic revision: r4 - 08 Nov 2005, JeanFrancoisRoy
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