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Simplified lifecycle of components:

Broadly speaking Windsor is a tool that controls creation and destructions of components. From the ten thousand foot view, the component's lifecycle consists of three steps:

  • creation - everything that happens within container.Resolve or similar method (see How components are created for more details).
  • usage - whatever you do with the component in your code
  • destruction - everything that happens within and/or after container.ReleaseComponent or when the component's lifetime scope is ending.

Windsor lets you plug into the lifecycle pipeline (creation and destruction) and invoke some additional logic, either external, or internal to the component by using lifecycle concerns (objects implementing one of twoILifecycleConcern-derived interfaces).

Creation - commission concerns

Lifecycle concerns executed during creation of the component are called commission concerns. Implementation-wise they all implement the ICommissionConcern interface. They get executed after the component is instantiated and all of its dependencies are wired up. There are several standard ways of hooking a commission concern to the component.

The OnCreate method

When you register your component using the fluent registration API you can use its OnCreate method to hook additional logic, that will be executed as a commission concern.

      .OnCreate((kernel, instance) => instance.Timestamp = DateTime.UtcNow)

The IInitializable interface

There are a couple of interfaces that when implemented by your components, receive special treatment from Windsor. One of them is Castle.Core.IInitializable which has just one method:

void Initialize();

When Windsor instantiates a component which implements this interface, it will then invoke the Initialize method during component commission.

public class InitializableComponent : IInitializable
   public DateTime Timestamp { get; private set; }

   public virtual void Initialize()
      Timestamp = DateTime.UtcNow;

The ISupportInitialize interface

If you don't want to reference Castle assemblies in your domain and still want to benefit from Windsor's lifecycle management you can implement another interface:

System.ComponentModel.ISupportInitialize which is part of BCL and has two methods:

void BeginInit();
void EndInit();

When Windsor instantiates a component which implements this interface, it will then invoke the BeginInit and EndInit methods during component commission.

public class InitializableComponent: ISupportInitialize
   public DateTime Timestamp {get; private set;}

   public virtual void BeginInit()
      Timestamp = DateTime.UtcNow;

   public virtual void EndInit()

Destruction - decommission concerns

Lifecycle concerns executed during destruction of the component are called decommission concerns. Implementation-wise they all implement IDecommissionConcern interface. They get executed when the component is released from the container, which may happen when it's released via container.ReleaseComponent method, the container is disposed, or its lifetime scope (for example web request) ends.

The OnDestroy method

The method is analogous to OnCreate, and allows you to specify ad-hoc decommission concerns (code that will run when instance is released).

   .OnDestroy(myInstance => myInstance.ByeBye())

Note that if your class implements IDisposable, then Dispose will automatically be called on the object before your custom destroy function is invoked.

⚠️ Instance tracking and OnDestroy: Notice that in order to decommission the object, Windsor will need to track it. Be mindful of that when managing usage of your component instances and make sure they get released when no longer needed.

The IDisposable interface

The IDisposable interface is the standard method of decommission in .NET and it is also supported by Windsor. Whenever Windsor creates a component that implements IDisposable it will then invoke its Dispose method when releasing the component.

⚠️ Windsor tracks components: Notice that in order to support decommission properly Windsor holds reference to each components it creates*. That's why it's crucial to release components. Otherwise you may have to deal with increased memory consumption.

ℹ️ Lifecycle and Release policy: Above statement is not 100% accurate. Release policy can opt out of tracking components. You then lose ability to perform proper destruction of the component, and it's generally discouraged to do so.

Custom lifecycle concerns

Windsor's lifecycle is not limited to only the concerns mentioned above. Component's lifecycle like everything in Windsor is extensible and you can extend it with your own concerns. In Windsor Startable Facility uses component lifecycle concerns to do its job.

Writing your own

Lifecycle concerns are required to implement one of the following two interfaces: Castle.Core.ICommissionConcern or Castle.Core.IDecommissionConcern. The interfaces expose one method:

void Apply(ComponentModel model, object component)

The first argument is the model of the component, and the second is its instance.

Attaching the lifecycle concerns

You attach your custom lifecycle concern to the ComponentModel of the component you're interested in using the following code:

model.Lifecycle.Add(new MyCommissionConcern());
model.Lifecycle.Add(new MyDecommissionConcern());

⚠️ Use ComponentModel construction contributor: As attaching lifecycle concerns is operation modifying ComponentModel you should always do it in a ComponentModel construction contributor.