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JBoss Fuse - Enterprise application architecture with JBoss Fuse and JBoss BPM suite

Modern enterprise application consists of cross-communication between departments, dealing with multiple type of technologies from different era. Having a complete well design application in today's enterprise requires more then just tying up all the nots, that is, connecting all the systems, application together. One simple missed decision can lead to disastrous results of having to adjust every single application for every small changes. So it is important to define different role and responsibility of what each individual module of the application should do, and making sure they are independent form each other, so we can limit the impact of changes needed, but also flexible enough to cope with enhancements.

With JBoss BPM suite and JBoss Fuse,they are great when it comes to helping developer who wants to build an enterprise application. JBoss BPM Suite allows developers to create and monitor business process and rules. And JBoss Fuse can help with the application integration. To achieve a better software architecture we want to make sure the business aspect of the application are separated with the other. When combining these two middleware together, I found sometime it's pretty hard to define what belongs to business layer and what should go with integration? So the steps I normally goes through to define what goes where is

  • Define the business process and the people or parties involve in it. 
  • Define the services needs to provide for each step and where they belong. 

For instance, when our inventory department produces a report of old stock and ready for clearance, it require co-ordination between departments, such as finance for cost analysis to set how much lower the price can go down to and create a report, ask manager to approve the clearance base on the cost analysis. It might also need marketing for campaign on television, web advertisement. Lastly we need to make sure all shops are aware of the clearance and ready for this by automatically updating labels, and make rooms for the dispatch inventories … etc.

First thing first, we need to find out where are the business processes, and are there any existing applications providing services, as well as, are there any human interactions allowed?  Do I need to build services for this process, what are the granularity of these services?  We want to automate the process of product clearance, therefore a process is created to deal with product clearance. In the process, we need automatically calls a services that does cost analysis by accessing databases, applying business rules to calculate costs, generate reports, and let managers to review. It is then passed onto marketing team for them to organize advertising, and then a service kicks off, so each shops with the information they need to support the clearance. Here we have identify a process, it require human task interaction in both Finance and Marketing department.

For me process should be a description that even a non-IT personal should understand, this can be done by either a computer application service(either embedded or external services), or needs to pass to a human for further interactions. A process should not have transaction, no rollbacks, transactions should be capsulate in a service. You need to specify in the process to handle exception or error occurred in the process.

We can then start implement this process in JBoss BPM Suite.

Let's see the services we need for this process, few thing to watch out for on the services, look for existing services and reuse them as possible. Avoid building complex business algorithm into integration service, make it simple and small (microservices?), if really need to include these logic, use Drools, or java bean to encapsulate and package them, so whenever if we need to change it, it minimize the impact to integration layer by simply replace the package. In our example case here are the services I defined:

A. A automatic polling services from the inventory that kickstart the clearance process. This polling services pulls

B. Cost analysis that calculate the cost and generates report.

C. Generates and print labels for the clearance.

D. Print out shipping schedule.

E. Handle situation when the clearance was rejected by managers.
All the above services can be easily done by utilizing the Enterprise Integration Pattern in Apache Camel of JBoss Fuse and then deploy onto distributed lightweight ESB container, which can be provision, manage and monitor with JBoss Fuse too.

And put all these together, it'll become an application architecture for this particular case.

As for later monitoring of the application in maintenance phase, in JBoss Fuse, by going to Fuse Console, you will see how each one of the service are doing and manage it through the console accordingly. As for processes, inside BPM suite, there is a BAM, which allows you to see the statistics of processes, tasks and even business related data by configuring it.


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