Elements and Attributes

The BFR configuration file is an XML document:

    Configuration and documentation.

The XML child elements are names of BFR components that are “stacked” together. The elements can be specified in any order, normally the files have their elements starting with the bottom of the stack.

Elements come in flavors of clients, servers, or both. A server is a kind of element that sits at the bottom layers of the stack and communicates via packets to a client. An element that provides communications on a UDP socket would be a server, and its associated client would do things with the packets that are received. The client might also generate packets, in which case the server would take care of transmitting them via the socket library.

Packets that go from a server to a client are said to be going upstream, going up the protocol stack. Likewise packets that go from a client to a server are said to be going downstream.

Binding Clients and Servers

The XML elements that can be servers have a server attribute which is a simple label. Similarly, XML elements that are or can be a client have a client attribute. When the server elements and client elements have matching labeles, they are said to be bound together.

This is a sample configuration file:

    Make a debug element.

    <Debug server="test"/>

    Now make a console element and bind it to the debug element.

    <Console client="test"/>

As a service the Debug element dumps the contents of packets it receives from its connected client and can then pass the packet downstream to another service. In this case there is no additional service so the packet is simply dropped.

As a client the Console element will dump the contents of the packets it receives upstream from its connected service, and it will provide a prompt to send packets downstream when requested by the user. In this case the Debug element will not send any packets upstream.

Here the user has given this sample configuration to the BFR application, then requested that a packet of four octets be sent to a broadcast address, which is then printed by the Debug element:

$ bfr sample.bfr
* 01020304
* <- null :

Note that the Debug element shows the packet going downstream by the directional arrow. This sample configuration file flips the client and server relationship:

    Make a console element that is a server.

    <Console server="test"/>

    Make and bind a debugging client.

    <Debug client="test"/>

Now packets that are “sent” by the Console go upstream rather than downstream. This is a way to provide sample packets into the BFR stack as if they have been received by some other component. In this case the debugging shows the packet going upstream:

$ bfr sample.bfr
* 01020304
* -> null :

Client and Server Combinations

The samples above show the same kind of component acting as a client and a server. Debugging components can be a client, or a server, or both, and it is one of the few components that have that behavior. There can be as many debugging components as needed in the configuration.

The Console component can be a client or a server, but not both at the same time, and the configuration file can only have one instance.