Introduction and Example¶
This tutorial is a step-by-step introduction to osBrain with examples. In order to start playing with this module, you only need to install it.
osBrain requires Python 3. Most probably, Python 3 is already packaged for your favorite distribution (and maybe even installed by default in your system). If you do not have Python 3 available, consider using Conda to create a virtual environment with Python 3.
Installing osBrain is very simple with
pip install osbrain
You should now be able to import
osbrain from a python console:
>>> import osbrain
The first example is, of course, a simple hello world! program. Three steps are taken here:
- Run a name server.
- Run an agent with an alias
- Log a
Hello worldmessage from the agent.
from osbrain import run_nameserver from osbrain import run_agent if __name__ == '__main__': # System deployment ns = run_nameserver() agent = run_agent('Example') # Log a message agent.log_info('Hello world!') ns.shutdown()
Running this example from your terminal should simply show you a log message
Hello world! but, what exactly is happening there?
ns.shutdown() calls in the examples are there because we do
not want examples to run indefinitely. For more information on that method,
refer to the Shutting down section.
Agents and proxies¶
An agent, in osBrain, is an entity that runs independently from other agents in the system. When running, it executes the main loop:
- Poll for incoming messages.
- Process incoming messages and execute developer-defined code.
This means a single agent, as in the
Hello world! example, makes little or no
sense. Agents in a multi-agent system start to make sense when connected to
The easiest way to run an agent in an osBrain architecture is by calling the
>>> agent = run_agent(...)
This function will spawn a new agent and will return a
osbrain.Proxy to it.
Proxies are simply local objects that allow us to easily have access to the remote agent. The fact that agents are run independently from each other justifies the need of a proxy.
A proxy allows us to call methods or access attributes of the remote agent in a very convenient way. See for example the previous call:
>>> agent.log_info('Hello world')
log_info() is implemented in
when this method is called from the proxy, this call is actually being
serialized to the remote running agent and gets executed there. The return
value, if any, is then serialized back and returned by the proxy. So basically
so get the impression of being working with a local object while your code is
The name server¶
A name server is just like any other agent, so it runs independently, but with a very specific role. Name servers are used as an address book. This means other agents can be run in the system and can be registered in the name server using a human-readable alias. Aliases help us accessing these agents easily even from remote locations.
Note that when calling the
osbrain.run_agent() function, we are
passing a string parameter. This parameter is the alias the agent will use to
register itself in the name server.
When we run a name server calling the
also get in return a proxy to this name server:
>>> ns = run_nameserver()
This proxy can be used to list the agents registered in the name server:
from osbrain import run_nameserver from osbrain import run_agent if __name__ == '__main__': # System deployment ns = run_nameserver() run_agent('Agent0') run_agent('Agent1') run_agent('Agent2') # Show agents registered in the name server for alias in ns.agents(): print(alias) ns.shutdown()
The code above should simply print the aliases of all the agents registered in the name server.
A name server proxy can also be used to create proxies to registered agents. This is specially useful when accessing the multi-agent system from a different console or location, as it will reduce the number of addresses that we need to remember.
from osbrain import run_nameserver from osbrain import run_agent if __name__ == '__main__': # System deployment ns = run_nameserver() run_agent('Agent0') run_agent('Agent1') run_agent('Agent2') # Create a proxy to Agent1 and log a message agent = ns.proxy('Agent1') agent.log_info('Hello world!') ns.shutdown()
The code above creates (and registers) three different agents in a name server
and then creates, through the name server proxy, a proxy to one of those agents
simply using its alias. Then it uses the agent proxy to remotely call a
method to log a
Hello world! message.