Creating applications that support plugins or modules
I'm more or less new to Java app development, but not at all new to OO software development. I'm in the planning stage for a stand-alone application that will need to support dynamic loading of plugins or modules. When I say dynamic, I mean that the application will need to discover, verify and load these plugins or modules in order to offer it's core functionality as well as possible extended functionality and that the names of these modules will not be coded directly into the application. When I say plugins or modules, I'm referring to things such as the plugins supported by Mozilla and Firefox (it's currently beyond my scope to support script-based extensions, though) or the modules supported by Netbeans.
So far, I've been able to find a number of different ways for doing this independently or in a home-brew fashion (via ClassLoader, IIRC) but I've had difficulty finding information about whether established frameworks or libraries exist that would support or enable this sort of behavior. JPF, the Java Plugin Framework, looks like just the thing, but I've read some concerns about it not being very standardized.
This seems like a fairly common issue that developers face these days, so I'm a bit surprised that I haven't found more information on this topic. If anyone knows how other projects are tackling this issue, could you fill me in or point me in the right direction to learn about that.
Thank you, Clayton