Autoloading of modules allows new features to be added to an application just by "dropping in" a JAR that contains a module: the services in the module are automatically integrated into the overall service registry, along with any configuration or other supporting code and resources.
An example of this is the tapestry-upload library, which introduces an Upload component, along with supporting services related to handling file upload requests.
The core Tapestry IoC module is automatically included. When using the Tapestry web framework, the core Tapestry module is also included, as is an optional per-application module, plus any autoloaded modules.
Module autoloading isn't 100% free ... you must tell Tapestry IoC where the modules to load are located, which can be done via a Manifest file entry, or via an annotation.
JAR Manifest Entries
When setting up the registry, Tapestry can automatically locate modules packaged into JARs. It does this by searching for a particular global manifest entry.
The manifest entry name is "Tapestry-Module-Classes". The value is a comma-separated list of fully qualified class names of module classes (this allows a single JAR to contain multiple, related modules). Whitespace is ignored.
If you are using Maven 2, then getting these entries into your JAR's manifest is as simple as some configuration in your pom.xml:
More details are provided in the Maven Manifest Guide.
Often, you will have several different modules working together that should all be loaded as a unit.
One approach is to update the module ids into the manifest, as shown in the previous extension.
This can become tedious, and somewhat brittle in the face of refactorings (such as renaming of classes or packages).
A better alternative is the @SubModule annotation.
The value for this annotation is a list of additional classes to be treated as module classes, exactly as if they were identified in the manifest. Despite the name, there is no hierarchy of modules in Tapestry IoC.
In general, your should only need to identify a single module in the JAR manifest, and make use of @SubModule to pull in any additional module classes.