Inheritance in a schema file
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OO::Schema Build Status

Declare your class relationships separate from their implementation so you can talk about them without loading them.


## example: declaring the relationships between different OS userlands
# lib/Userland.pm6
use OO::Schema;

schema Userland {

    node Windows {
       node XP { }

    node POSIX {
        node BSD {
            node FreeBSD { }
            node OpenBSD { }
            node OSX is alias(<Darwin xnu>) { }
        node GNU {
            node Debian {
                node Ubuntu { }
            node RHEL  is load-from("Userland::RedHat") {
                node Fedora { }
                node CentOS { }
# lib/Userland/Ubuntu.pm6
use Userland :node;

unit class Userland::Ubuntu is schema-node;

and finally in

# main.p6

use Userland;
# Don't have to load Userland::RHEL or Userland::Debian

proto install-package(Userland:D,Str:D $pkg) {*};

# 'Debian' and 'RHEL' are schema nodes -- not full classes
multi install-package(Debian $userland,$pkg) {
    run 'apt-get', 'install', $pkg;

multi install-package(RHEL $userland,$pkg) {
    run 'yum', 'install', $pkg;

# Now at runtime you load particular real class from a node ( or via require )
# The routines will accept them.
my $ubuntu =  Ubuntu.load-class; # Userland::Ubuntu
# or
my $fedora =; #
# or
my $centos    =  ( require Userland::CentOS );




warning this is module is experimental and subject to change

The main point of OO::Schema is to separate the the declaration of class inheritance trees and class implementation at a compunit level. It allows you to refer to classes by shortname aliases (schema nodes) without loading them until you need the actual implementation. The nodes contain inheritence information and any other meta-information like roles or methods attached to the node.

There are two main use cases that I know of (but you may discover more):

  1. Type introspection. You want to be able to see the relationships between classes without loading them.

    use Userland;
    # You can know that Ubuntu isa Debian without loading compunits implementing either one
    say Ubuntu.isa(Debian); #-> True
    # You can declare Typed parameters that accept a certain class without loading that class
    multi something(Debian $computer) { ... }
  2. Dynamic loading. Depending on user input, your module may only need to load a subset of the modules in your distribution.

    use Userland;
    sub USAGE {
        say "pass me one of:\n" ~ Userland.children(:all)».^name.join("\n");
    # check the arg is a userland without having to load them all
    sub MAIN($userland-name, *%opts ){
        my $userland = Userland.resolve($userland-name);
        die USAGE() if $userland === Any;
        $userland .= new(|%opts);
        # do further introspection on a "real" class instance
        given $userland {
            when Windows { ... }
            when RHEL    { ... }
            when Debian  { ... }

Without using OO::Schema you will write code like this:

need Userland::Ubuntu;
need Userland::Debian;
need Userland::RHEL;
need Userland::Fedora;

multi do-something(Userland::Fedora:D $ul) { ... }
multi do-something(Userland::RHEL:D $ul)   { ... }

or this when you are declaring inheritance

need Userland::Debain;
unit class Userland::Ubuntu is Userland::Debain

Declaring a Schema

Inside a Perl6 module file, use OO::Schema and declare a schema. If the schema name is not the same as the the directory where the node definitions will be stored, use is path to set it.

    # lib/OS/Userland.pm6
    use OO::Schema;
    # as opposed to just schema OS::Userland { }
    schema Userland is path('OS::Userland') {
    # now schema definitions should go in lib/OS/Userland/

Declare nodes with node. Node names shouldn't contain any ::. You can give them methods, attributes and roles if you want. Whether you do depends on whether you want to have them available without having to load the underlying class.

# lib/OS/Userland.pm6
use OO::Schema;

role APT { }

schema Userland is path('OS::Userland') {
    node Debian does APT {

        method default-gui { 'GNOME' }

        node Ubuntu {
            node Kubuntu {
                method default-gui { 'KDE' }
    node RHEL {

Declaring an Underlying Class

In the appropriate directory, use your schema with :node and declare a class with is schema-node.

# lib/OS/Userland/Ubuntu.pm6
use OS::Userland :node;

unit class OS::Userland::Ubuntu is schema-node;

How is this achieved

When the schema module is loaded the relationship of the nodes looks like:

use Userland;
     /       /
   RHEL   Debian
   /       /
Fedora  Ubuntu

When a node-backing class is loaded marking itself with is schema-node, it attaches itself to the node class and recursively loads and inherits from its parent. Afterwards the inheritance tree will look like:

use Userland;
use Userland::Ubuntu;
      .---->POSIX <-- Userland::POSIX
     /       /              /
   RHEL   Debian <-- Userland::Debian
   /       /              /
Fedora  Ubuntu  <-- Userland::Ubuntu

Node Methods


Loads the class associated with the node.

say Fedora.load-class.^name # Userland::Fedora


Loads the class associated with the node and calls .new with the arguments passed. => "bar");
# short for => "bar");


Does the node loosely match a string.

Debian.matches(Debian)   # True
Debian.matches("Debian") # True
Debian.matches("debian") # True
Debian.matches("Userland::Debian") # True
Debian.matches(Userland::Debian) # True

# OSX is alias ('Darwin')
OSX.matches("darwin") # True


Userland.resolve("centos") # CentOS

Walks the schema calling matches on each node with the argument. It returns the first node it finds. Although node's have it too this is usually called on the schema.


Userland.children # Windows, POSIX
POSIX.children # BSD, GNU
GNU.children(:all) # Debian, Ubuntu, RHEL, Fedora, CentOS

Returns the node's direct child nodes. if :all is passed, returns all descendants.


is alias

node OSX is alias('Darwin','xnu') { }

OSX.matches("darwin") # True
OSX.matches("xnu");   # True

Tells the node it should also match against the arguments to is alias.

is path

# Everything under Userland is now loaded from OS::Userland
schema Userland is path('OS::Userland') {
    # Everything under RHEL is loaded from OS::Userland::RedHat
    # (RHEL is still loaded from OS::Userland::RHEL
    node RHEL is path('RedHat') {
        # Fedora, and Centos will now be loaded from:
        node Fedora { } # OS::Userland::RedHat::Fedora
        node CentOS { } # OS::Userland::RedHat::CentOS

By default the underlying classes for nodes are all searched for under the schema's namespace. is path means "prepend this to the load name of any child node". schemas can use it to change the default namepsace.


schema Userland is path('OS::Userland') {
    # RHEL.load-class will not load OS::Userland::RedHat
    node RHEL is load-from('OS::Userland::RedHat') {
        node Fedora { } # still loaded from OS::Userland::Fedora
        node CentOS { }

Overrides the name of the load path ie CompUnit short-name to load from. It doesn't affect child nodes.


use OS::Userland;

unit class OS::Userland::RHEL is schema-node;
use OS::Userland;

unit class OS::Userland::RedHat is schema-node('RHEL');

Sets the node the class should attach to when loaded. By default it uses the shortname of the class itself.

potential changes

  1. is abstract for when you don't want a node that doesn't have an underlying class.
  2. It's tricky to apply roles with required methods to nodes because you probably want to implement them in the underlying class not the node. Maybe the nodes should be more like roles which don't do that.