10 steps to write a cartridge

This article shows you how to write an AndroMDA cartridge in 10 distinct steps, using a sample cartridge which generates an Ant-like build script from a UML deployment model. This is why the tutorial cartridge is called "andromda-deployment".

The task the new cartridge has to do

Let's have a look at a test model that the cartridge should process:


You see four important kinds of model elements on this picture:

  • node: a box on which artifacts can be deployed (usually a machine, e.g. a server)
  • component: a logical block of software with a defined interface
  • artifact: a physical block of software, e.g. a jar file which conforms to a (in UML speak: "manifests a") component interface
  • package: hull around a number of classes

The idea behind this model is: Artifacts contain packages and are deployed on nodes. Packages contain classes which should be compiled before being packaged into an artifact. That's it. You can do much more from such a model, but this would make this cartridge too complex for a tutorial.

From this model, the cartridge will generate two kinds of files:

  • an Ant-like build script (one for each node)
  • a simple report about nodes, components, artifacts and packages to be deployed (one report per model)

From the model above, the new cartridge shall generate the following output:


    <project name="org.andromda.cartridges.deployment.sampledeployment.AppServer1" default="deploy">
        <target name="compile">
            <javac package="org.andromda.cartridges.deployment.sampledeployment.mybackendservices"/>
            <javac package="org.andromda.cartridges.deployment.sampledeployment.mywebapp"/>
            <javac package="org.andromda.cartridges.deployment.sampledeployment.mywebapp2"/>
        <target name="deploy" depends="compile">
            <jar name="MyBackendComponents.jar">
                <package name="org.andromda.cartridges.deployment.sampledeployment.mybackendservices"/>
            <jar name="MyWebComponents.jar">
                <package name="org.andromda.cartridges.deployment.sampledeployment.mywebapp"/>
                <package name="org.andromda.cartridges.deployment.sampledeployment.mywebapp2"/>

Ant experts among you will now say that this is not a valid Ant file. No, it is not. It's a fake!

There is another file to generate:


    <deployment-report generation-date="Fri Feb 17 10:12:33 CET 2006">
        <node name="AppServer1">
            <component name="BackendComponent">
                <artifact name="MyBackendComponents.jar">
            <component name="WebComponent">
                <artifact name="MyWebComponents.jar">

We'll walk through the design of this cartridge in each step of the cartridge development process which I show you below.