Posted by & filed under Architecture, Dependency Management, Emergent Design, Structure, Structure101.

The Spring guys have let a single dependency cycle into their architecture. A very small flaw, but it’s a perfect example of why you need to check your code-base at different levels to keep it truly tangle-free.

I did a quick analysis of the Spring Framework some time back and sure enough found their claims of a cycle-free architecture to be correct – a pleasure to behold!

The recent announcement of Spring 2.0 rc4 prompted me to point Structure101 version 2 at same and check they were keeping up the high standard they had set themselves. The Structure101 “notables” quickly took me to the org.springframework.aop package which contains the following tangle:

Springtangle_1

Ok, this is not exactly a fatal flaw, far from it, but it surprised me because I know that Juergen keeps an eye on this stuff. Then I took a look at the leaf package slice (leaf packages being packages that contain classes), and guess what? Not a single tangle.  It is only when you look at the slice one level up that the tangle is apparent:

Springtangle2

Taking a look at the leaf packages contained by these 2 packages:

Springtangle3

(The package names are relative to org.springframework.aop). The dependency between the tagged packages (blue dots) is the one causing the problem. Overlaying the parent package boundaries on this graph, you can see why it is that, although the package diagram is acyclic, dependencies between the parent packages go in both directions, making them cyclically dependent.

Springtangle4

I presume they check only at the flat-package level, which is why this one slipped through the net.

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