Benjamin Reed commented on ZOOKEEPER-84:

The problem with the reconnect method is that it is easy to use but very hard 
to use correctly. In general, we try to avoid giving programmers methods that 
make it easy to hang themselves. We provide plenty of rope, and they are free 
to make a noose; we just don't provide a tieTheKnot method.

The basic problem has to do with clean up that happens when a session dies. 
Obviously ephemeral nodes will go away. Our watch reestablishment patches could 
be updated to make watches reestablish on reconnect, but that would be very 
confusing to have ephemerals disappear but watches get reestablished.

To ZooKeeper an expired session is a dead client, so by making the ZooKeeper 
service handle die as well we have clear semantics.

As an historical note, session expiration wasn't always a fatal thing. We used 
to delivered the session expiration event and then get a new session. The 
earliest problem our users ran into was with multi-threaded applications. If 
there are multiple threads going, the watcher object will get the session 
expired event; the other threads may still be trying to use the ZooKeeper 
object. If you use the same ZooKeeper object to reconnect with, you can easily 
end up with a thread that uses the object thinking that it is running in the 
context of an earlier session and really mess things up. The explicit reconnect 
alleviates this slightly, but you would still need to do synchronization around 
the ZooKeeper object and it would be very difficult to get working when you are 
using different libraries using the same ZooKeeper object.

You are working on a lock class; you can imagine someone else does a barrier 
class. Who is in charge of doing the reconnect() and deciding when it is safe?

Testing applications that use this would also be a pain given the number of 
race conditions involved.

So the safest thing to do is have the lock object become invalid when it's 
ZooKeeper object becomes invalid. An expired session is a really bad thing, we 
can't hide it nicely.

> provide a mechanism to reconnect a ZooKeeper if a client receives a 
> SessionExpiredException
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: ZOOKEEPER-84
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/ZOOKEEPER-84
>             Project: Zookeeper
>          Issue Type: Improvement
>          Components: java client
>            Reporter: james strachan
>            Assignee: james strachan
>         Attachments: reconnect_patch.patch
> am about to attach a patch which adds a reconnect() method to easily 
> re-establish a connection if a session expires - along with a toString() 
> implementation for easier debugging

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