App domains themselves are subdivided into contexts. Contexts can be thought of as boundaries within which objects share usage rules. These usage rules include synchronization transactions (see Chapter 20), and so forth.

Context-Bound and Context-Agile Objects

Objects are either context-bound or they are context-agile. If they are context-bound, they exist in a context, and to interact with them, the message must be marshaled. If they are context-agile, they act within the context of the calling object: their methods execute in the context of the object that invokes the method and so marshaling is not required.

Suppose you have an object A that interacts with the database and so is marked to support transactions. This creates a context. All method calls on A occur within the context of the protection afforded by the transaction. Object A can decide to roll back the transaction, and all actions taken since the last commit are undone.

Suppose that you have another object, B, which is context-agile. Now suppose that object A passes a database reference to object B and then calls methods on B. Perhaps A and B are in a callback relationship, in which B will do some work and then call A back with the results. Because B is context-agile, B’s method operates in the context of the calling object; thus it will be afforded the transaction protection of object A. The changes B makes to the database will be undone if A rolls back the transaction, because B’s methods execute within the ...

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