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Containers and the container runtime

A Fluid container is a foundational concept for creating anything with the Fluid Framework. All of the sample Fluid applications use a Fluid container to manage the user experience, app logic, and app state.

However, a Fluid container is not a standalone application. A Fluid container is a code-plus-data package. A container must be loaded by the Fluid loader and connected to a Fluid service.

Because containers are such a core concept, we’ll look at them from a few different angles.

Container vs Runtime

A Fluid container is the instantiated container JavaScript object, but it’s also the definition of the container. We interchangeably use “container” to refer to the class, which can create new objects, and the instantiated object itself.

The ContainerRuntime refers to the inner mechanics of the Fluid container. As a developer you will interact with the runtime through the runtime methods that expose useful properties of the instantiated container object.

What is a Fluid container?

A Fluid container is a code-plus-data package. A container includes at least one Fluid object for app logic, but often multiple Fluid objects are composed together to create the overall experience.

From the Fluid service perspective, the container is the atomic unit of Fluid. The service does not know about anything inside of a Fluid container.

That being said, app logic is handled by Fluid objects and state is handled by the distributed data structures within the Fluid objects.

What does the Fluid container do?

The Fluid container interacts with the processes and distributes operations, manages the lifecycle of Fluid objects, and provides a request API for accessing Fluid objects.

Process and distribute operations

When the Fluid loader resolves the Fluid container, it passes the container a group of service drivers. These drivers are the DeltaConnection, DeltaStorageService, and DocumentStorageService.

The Fluid container includes code to process the operations from the DeltaConnection, catch up on missed operations using the DeltaStorageService, and create or fetch summaries from the DocumentStorageService. Each of these are important, but the most critical is the op processing.

The Fluid container is responsible for passing operations to the relevant distributed data structures and Fluid objects.

Manage Fluid object lifecycle

The container provides a createDataStore method to create new data stores. The container is responsible for instantiating the Fluid objects and creating the operations that let other connected clients know about the new Fluid object.

Using a Fluid container: the Request API

The Fluid container is interacted with through the request paradigm. While aqueduct creates a default request handler that returns the default Fluid objects, the request paradigm is a powerful pattern that lets developers create custom logic.

To retrieve the default data store, you can perform a request on the container. Similar to the loaders API this will return a status code and the default data store.

container.request({url: "/"})