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Turning events into objects: A tale of two systems

In event-driven architecture, each new source of event data should allow new kinds of measurements or actions, but taking underlying infrastructure and enabling it to feed event mechanisms is not an easy task. How do events become objects? Here is a look at recent Oracle and IBM samples.

The practical state of event processing today is this: Applications need to get information from a wide range of applications that have no inborn awareness of the notion of business events. Easy integration is needed, because each new source of event data could allow new kinds of measurements or actions, but taking underlying infrastructure and enabling it to feed event mechanisms is not an easy task.

Recently we took a look at a sampling of blogs on tools intended to simplify this task. These may be called business event frameworks. Their job may be described as helping developers to create applications that look for and react to patterns. Examples are an Event API for use with the Oracle Event Delivery Network and a set of tools from IBM for translating Web services into business events that can be accessed using a REST interface. These tools help make it simpler to gather new business event information from many different sources.

Oracle has developed the Event Delivery Network as part of SOA Suite 11g. It can work with events created with Java, PL/SQL, and ADF. Clemons Utschig is part of the SOA team at Oracle. In a blog, he describes how to publish an event programmatically using the event API. The same blog provides a tutorial for generating events in EDN.

Event handling requires use of XMLSchema to describe the nature of the event. Events have their own namespaces, and the described event is imported through a WSDL-like import construct. A Mediator component is then used to publish/subscribe an event. Oracle's IDE software produces event icons that represent the component definition. This set-up is then tested through a remote API, at which point metadata must describe the event in an understandable manner. Finally, Ant can be used to submit the event to the Event Delivery Network.

Guido Schmutz, Oracle ACE Director for FMW and SOA at Trivadis, takes the basic idea a step further, with a twist of Spring.

He describes how to orchestrate a variety of features such as the FactoryBean interface, Spring Dependency Injection and Inversion of Control, Object/XML Mapping, and a lightweight Spring Event Handling Mechanism. Once the infrastructure is set up, you can create new EDN events with simple Java objects using a few lines of code, according to Schmutz.

For its part, IBM's WebSphere Business Events supports various transports for receiving events and initiating actions. IBM has developed a variety of tools for translating Web services into business events. The WebSphere Business Events REST interface promises to be one of the simpler ways to emit events from any application. In a recent DeveloperWorks entry, Madhu Ananthapadmanabh describes how to get started with the REST interface.

In Ananthapadmanabh 's example, a Java object is created that can take event data, construct an event connector packet, and send it to WebSphere Business Events using the REST interface. Using a designer, logic is then defined to set an action to deal with an event.

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