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oVirt Engine API Model

Introduction

This project contains the specification of the oVirt Engine API, also known as the model.

The specification of the API is written using Java as the supporting language.

Data types are represented by Java interfaces. For example, the Vm.java file contains the specification of the Vm entity, which looks like this:

@Type
public interface Vm extends VmBase {
    String stopReason();
    Date startTime();
    Date stopTime();
    ...
}

The methods of these interfaces represent the attributes of the data types, including their type and name.

Services API are also represented by Java interfaces. For example, the VmService.java file contains the specification of the Vm service, and it has content similar to this:

@Service
public interface VmService extends MeasurableService {
    interface Start {
        @In Boolean pause();
        @In Vm vm();
        @In Boolean useCloudInit();
        @In Boolean useSysprep();
        @In Boolean async();
    }
    ...
}

Operations are represented as nested interfaces. The names of these nested interfaces correspond to the names of the operations, and the methods correspond to the parameters of the operations.

The Java language supports adding documentation in the code itself, using the Javadoc comments. These comments start with /** and end with */ and can be added before the definition of any element, like interfaces and methods. These Javadoc comments are the mechanism that we use to document the specification. For example, the Vm type can be documented modifying the Vm.java file like this:

/**
 * Represents a virtual machine.
 */
@Type
public interface Vm extends VmBase {
    ...
}

Attributes can be documented in a similar way, just placing the Javadoc comment before the definition of the method that represents that attribute:

/**
 * Represents a virtual machine.
 */
@Type
public interface Vm extends VmBase {
    /**
     * Contains the reason why this virtual machine was stopped. This reason is
     * provided by the user, via the GUI or via the API.
     */
    String stopReason();
    ...
}

Same for services, their operations and their parameters:

/**
 * This service manages a specific virtual machine.
 */
@Service
public interface VmService extends MeasurableService {

    /**
     * This operation will start the virtual machine managed by this
     * service, if it isn't already running.
     */
    interface Start {
        /**
         * Specifies if the virtual machine should be started in pause
         * mode. It is an optional parameter, if not given then the
         * virtual machine will be started normally.
         */
        @In Boolean pause();
        ...
    }
    ...
}

These Javadoc comments are processed by tools that are part of the system and it is used to automatically generate the reference documentation. You can see an example of the generated documentation here.

This documentation viewer will eventually be part of the oVirt Engine server itself.

Regular builds of the documentation are available at project Github page.

The Javadoc comments have their own format, but it isn’t used by the our documentation tools. Instead of that the tools expect and support AsciiDoc. This means that Javadoc comments can contain rich text and examples. For example, you could write the following to better describe the Start operation of the Vm service:

/**
 * Specifies if the virtual machine should be started in pause
 * mode. It is an _optional_ parameter, if not given then the
 * virtual machine will be started normally.
 *
 * To use this parameter with the Python SDK you can use the
 * following code snippet:
 *
 * [source,python]
 * ----
 * # Find the virtual machine:
 * vm = api.vms.get(name="myvm")
 *
 * # Start the virtual machine paused:
 * vm.start(
 *   params.Action(
 *     pause=True
 *   )
 * )
 * ----
 */
@In Boolean pause();

Contributing documentation

Cloning the ovirt-engine-api-model repository

The mechanism to contribute documentation is to modify the .java source files. This source code is part of the ovirt-engine-api-model project, which is hosted in gerrit.ovirt.org. So the first step to be able to contribute is to register to that system and prepare your environment for using git. For details see this.

To summarize, once you have registered and prepared your system to use git, this is the command that you need to execute in order to clone the ovirt-engine-api-model source:

$ git clone gerrit.ovirt.org:ovirt-engine-api-model

Creating a working branch for your changes

Create a working branch off master in which to make your changes.

$ git checkout master
$ git checkout -b my_working_branch

Working branches allow you to keep your changes separate from the master branch while they are being reviewed, and work on multiple unrelated patches at the same time.

Locating the source file that you want to modify

The model source files are all inside the src/main/java directory, so you will probably want to change to that directory:

$ cd src/main/java

This directory contains two sub-directories: types and services. The first is for the specifications of data types and the second for the specifications of services.

Files are named like the entities, so they should be easy to locate.

Modifying the source files

You can use your favorite editor to modify the source files. Just make sure to modify only the Javadoc comments.

You must also add or update in each Javadoc comment the following three tags, which are used to track updates to the documentation:

  1. @author - The name and email of the person writing or updating the documentation item. For example: @author Juan Hernández <juan.hernandez@redhat.com>

    Note
    Do not overwrite any existing value in this field. Add an additional @author field with your own name on the line below.
  2. @date - The date on which the documentation was added or updated. For example: @date 06 Jul 2016

  3. @status - The status of the documentation item. The following values are accepted:

    1. requires_text - This status is to be added to items that do not have any documentation at all.

    2. added - Added by an engineering team member or other contributor after they provide initial documentation.

    3. updated_by_docs - Added by a documentation team member after the documentation item has been reviewed.

    4. complete - Added by the project maintainer when both engineering and documentation agree that the item is complete, and the update can be merged.

Add these tags below the documentation in the Javadoc comment:

/**
 * Represents a virtual machine.
 * @author Juan Hernández <juan.hernandez@redhat.com>
 * @date 11 Jul 2016
 * @status added
 */
@Type
public interface Vm extends VmBase {
    ...
}

Submitting the changes

Once you are happy with the changes that you made to the documentation you can prepare and submit a patch. For example, lets assume that you have modified the Vm.java file, this is what you will need to do to submit the patch:

$ git add types/Vm.java
$ git commit -s

This will open an editor where you can write the commit message. By default it will probably be vim, but you can change it with the EDITOR environment variable:

$ export EDITOR=my-favorite-editor
$ git add types/Vm.java
$ git commit -s

In that editor you will be asked to write a commit message. It is important to write good commit messages, describing the reason for the change. The first line should be a summary, then a blank line and your description of the change. For example:

Improve the documentation of vm.start

This patch improves the documentation of the "vm.start"
operation, so that it is clear that the default value
of the "pause" parameter is "false".

Write the file, and you are ready to submit it:

$ git push origin HEAD:refs/for/master

If this finishes correctly it will give you the URL of the change. Go there and make sure that there is at least a reviewer for your change. In case of doubt add [Juan Hernández](maito:juan.hernandez@redhat.com) as reviewer.

The reviewer may ask you to do changes to your patch, and will be happy to assist you with any doubts you have with the tools.

Eventually your patch will be merged and will be part of the reference documentation distributed with the next release of the software.

Testing and previewing your changes

If your changes are simple enough there may be no need to test them, just submit the patch. But if you are making larger changes you may want to see how they will look like in the generated documentation. To do this you can generate the model.html file containing the description of the API. To do this you need to use Maven. Won’t go into the details of installing and using Maven here, as you can find plenty of resources online and you will just need to run one simple command:

$ mvn package

This will analyze the model and create the model.html inside the target/generated-html directory:

$ find . -name model.html
target/generated-html/model.html

Open it with your browser and check your changes.

Building

To build this project use the usual Maven command line:

$ mvn clean install

Releasing

The project is released to Maven Central via the Sonatype OSSRH repository.

To perform a release you will need to do the following actions, most of them automated by the Maven release plugin:

Prepare the release

This is automated using the Maven release plugin:

$ mvn release:prepare

This will ask you the version numbers to use for the released artifacts and the version numbers to use after the release. The release version numbers will be something like 4.0.5, and the version numbers after the release will be something like 4.0.6-SNAPSHOT. You should use the defaults unless there is a very good reason to change them.

The result will be two new patches, and a tag added to the local repository. These patches and tag will not be pushed automatically to the remote repository, so you need to do it manually, first the patches:

$ git push origin HEAD:refs/for/master

This will send the patches for review to gerrit. Go there, review and merge them. Once the patches are merged the tag can be pushed:

$ git push origin 4.0.5

Perform the release

This is also automated using the Maven release plugin. But in this case it is necessary to sign the artifacts, as both Sonatype OSSRH and Maven Central require signed artifacts. To sign artifacts the sign profile needs to be activated:

$ mvn release:perform -Psign
Note
The artifacts will be signed using your default GPG key, so make sure you have a valid GPG key available.

This will use the tag to checkout the code from the remote repository, it will build it, run the tests and, finally, if everything succeeds, it will upload the signed artifacts to the OSSRH repository.

The rest of the process is manual, using the OSSRH web interface available here. Log in with your user name and password and select the Staging Repositories option. Then use the search bar in the top right corner to search for ovirt. In the result list you should see you repository, and in the panel below you should see the details, including the contents of the repository. Inspect those contents, and when you are satisfied click the Close button. Wait a bit, maybe clicking the Refresh button a few times, till the Release button is enabled. Click the Release button, it will ask for a message, write something like Release 4.0.5 and then OK. The release is now ready, and it will be propagated to Maven Central later, it usually takes around 30 minutes.

Branding

The build system provides some branding properties that can be used to customize the generated documentation:

adoc.separator

This indicates the separator that should be used in the section identifiers generated for the AsciiDoc documentation. By default the separator is the forward slash, but this isn’t compatible with some publication systems, like Publican, so this property can be used to change it.

product.name

The value of this property will be used where the source AsciiDoc files contain the {product-name} variable. The default value is oVirt.

engine.name

The value of this property will be used where the source AsciiDoc files contain the {engine-name} variable. The default value is oVirt Engine.

hypervisor.name

The value of this property will be used where the source AsciiDoc files contain the {hypervisor-name} variable. The default value is oVirt Node.

For example, Red Hat uses the following command to build their branded version of the documentation for their RHV product:

$ mvn \
package \
-Dadoc.separator='-' \
-Dproduct.name='Red Hat Virtualization' \
-Dengine.name='Red Hat Virtualization Manager'

Feedback/questions/issues

If you have any question, issue, or feedback please contact Juan Hernández.

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