Udi Dahan   Udi Dahan – The Software Simplist
Enterprise Development Expert & SOA Specialist
 
   
    Blog Consulting Training Articles Speaking About
  

Archive for the ‘Simplicity’ Category



How to create fully encapsulated Domain Models

Friday, February 29th, 2008

image Update: The new and improved solution is now available: Domain Events, Take 2.

Most people getting started with DDD and the Domain Model pattern get stuck on this. For a while I tried answering this on the discussion groups, but here we have a nice example that I can point to next time.

The underlying problem I’ve noticed over the past few years is that developers are still thinking in terms of querying when they need more data. When moving to the Domain Model pattern, you have to “simply” represent the domain concepts in code – in other words, see things you aren’t used to seeing. I’ll highlight that part in the question below so that you can see where I’m going to go with this in my answer:

I have an instance where I believe I need access to a service or repository from my entity to evaluate a business rule but I’m using NHibernate for persistence so I don’t have a real good way to inject services into my entity. Can I get some viewpoints on just passing the services to my entity vs. using a facade?

Let me explain my problem to provide more context to the problem.

The core domain revolves around renting video games. I am working on a new feature to allow customers to trade in old video games. Customers can trade in multiple games at a time so we have a TradeInCart entity that works similar to most shopping carts that everybody is familiar with. However there are several rules that limit the items that can be placed into the TradeInCart. The core rules are:

1. Only 3 games of the same title can be added to the cart.
2. The total number of items in the cart cannot exceed 10.
3. No games can be added to the cart that the customer had previously reported lost with regards to their rental membership.
    a. If an attempt is made to add a previously reported lost game, then we need to log a BadQueueStatusAddAttempt to the persistence store.

So the first 2 rules are easily handled internally by the cart through an Add operation. Sample cart interface is below.

   1:  class TradeInCart{
   2:      Account Account{get;}
   3:      LineItem Add(Game game);
   4:      ValidationResult CanAdd(Game game);
   5:      IList<LineItems> LineItems{get;}
   6:  }

However the #3 rule is much more complicated and can’t be handled internally by the cart, so I have to depend on external services. Splitting up the validation logic for a cart add operation doesn’t seem very appealing to me at all. So I have the option of passing in a repository to get the previously reported lost games and a service to log bad attempts. This makes my cart interface ugly real quick.

   1:  class TradeInCart{
   2:      Account Account{get;}
   3:      LineItem Add(
   4:          Game game, 
   5:          IRepository<QueueHistory> repository, 
   6:          LoggingService service);
   7:   
   8:      ValidationResult CanAdd(
   9:          Game game, 
  10:          IRepository<QueueHistory> repository, 
  11:          LoggingService service);
  12:   
  13:      IList<LineItems> LineItems{get;}
  14:  }

The alternative option is to have a TradeInCartFacade that handles the validations and adding the items to the cart. The façade can have the repository and services injected though DI which is nice, but the big negative is that the cart ends up totally anemic.

Any thought on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jesse

As I highlighted above, the thing that will help you with your business rules is to introduce the Customer object (that you probably already have) with the property GamesReportedLost (an IList<Game>). Your TradeInCart would have a reference to the Customer object and could then check the rule in the Add method.

Before I go into the code, it looks like your Account object might be used the same way, but your description of the domain doesn’t mention accounts, so I’m going to assume that that’s unrelated for now:

   1:  public class Customer{
   2:   
   3:      /* other properties and methods */
   4:   
   5:      private IList<Game> gamesReportedLost;
   6:      public virtual IList<Game> GamesReportedLost 
   7:      { 
   8:          get
   9:          {
  10:              return gamesReportedLost;
  11:          }
  12:          set
  13:          {
  14:              gamesReportedLost = value;
  15:          }
  16:      }
  17:  }

Keep in mind that the GamesReportedLost is a persistent property of Customer. Every time a customer reports a game lost, this list needs to be kept up to date. Here’s the TradeInCart now:

   1:  public class TradeInCart
   2:  {
   3:      /* other properties and methods */
   4:   
   5:      private Customer customer;
   6:      public virtual Customer Customer
   7:      { 
   8:          get { return customer; }
   9:          set { customer = value; }
  10:      }
  11:   
  12:      private IList<LineItem> lineItems;
  13:      public virtual IList<LineItem> LineItems
  14:      {
  15:          get { return lineItems; }
  16:          set { lineItems = value; }
  17:      }
  18:   
  19:      public void Add(Game game)
  20:      {
  21:          if (lineItems.Count >= CONSTANTS.MaxItemsPerCart)
  22:          {
  23:              FailureEvents.RaiseCartIsFullEvent();
  24:              return;
  25:          }
  26:   
  27:          if (NumberOfGameAlreadyInCart(game) >=
  28:              CONSTANTS.MaxNumberOfSameGamePerCart)
  29:          {
  30:              FailureEvents
  31:                .RaiseMaxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReachedEvent();
  32:              return;
  33:          }
  34:   
  35:          if (customer.GamesReportedLost.Contains(game))
  36:              FailureEvents.RaiseGameReportedLostEvent();
  37:          else
  38:              this.lineItems.Add(new LineItem(game));
  39:      }
  40:   
  41:      private int NumberOfGameAlreadyInCart(Game game)
  42:      {
  43:          int result = 0;
  44:   
  45:          foreach(LineItem li in this.lineItems)
  46:              if (li.Game == game)
  47:                  result++;
  48:   
  49:          return result;
  50:      }
  51:  }
  52:   
  53:  public static class FailureEvents
  54:  {
  55:      public static event EventHandler GameReportedLost;
  56:      public static void RaiseGameReportedLostEvent()
  57:      {
  58:           if (GameReportedLost != null)
  59:               GameReportedLost(null, null);
  60:      }
  61:   
  62:      public static event EventHandler CartIsFull;
  63:      public static void RaiseCartIsFullEvent()
  64:      {
  65:           if (CartIsFull != null)
  66:               CartIsFull(null, null);
  67:      }
  68:   
  69:      public static event EventHandler MaxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached;
  70:      public static void RaiseMaxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReachedEvent()
  71:      {
  72:           if (MaxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached != null)
  73:               MaxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached(null, null);
  74:      }
  75:  }

image Your service layer class that calls the Add method of TradeInCart would first subscribe to the relevant events in FailureEvents. If one of those events is raised, it would do the necessary logging, external system calls, etc.

As you can see, the API of TradeInCart doesn’t need to make use of any external repositories, nor do you need to inject any other external dependencies in.

One thing I didn’t do in the above code to keep it “short” is to define the relevant custom EventArgs for bubbling up the information as to which game was reported lost or already have 3 of those in the cart. That is something that definitely should be done so that the service layer can pass this information back to the client.

Here’s a look at Service Layer code:

   1:  public class AddGameToCartMessageHandler :
   2:      BaseMessageHandler<AddGameToCartMessage>
   3:  {
   4:      public override void Handle(AddGameToCartMessage m)
   5:      {
   6:          using (ISession session = SessionFactory.OpenSession())
   7:          using (ITransaction tx = session.BeginTransaction())
   8:          {
   9:              TradeInCart cart = session.Get<TradeInCart>(m.CartId);
  10:              Game g = session.Get<Game>(m.GameId);
  11:   
  12:              Domain.FailureEvents.GameReportedLost +=
  13:                gameReportedLost;
  14:              Domain.FailureEvents.CartIsFull +=
  15:                cartIsFull;
  16:              Domain.FailureEvents.MaxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached +=
  17:                maxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached;
  18:   
  19:              cart.Add(g);
  20:   
  21:              Domain.FailureEvents.GameReportedLost -=
  22:                gameReportedLost;
  23:              Domain.FailureEvents.CartIsFull -=
  24:                cartIsFull;
  25:              Domain.FailureEvents.MaxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached -=
  26:                maxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached;
  27:   
  28:              tx.Commit();
  29:          }
  30:      }
  31:   
  32:      private EventHandler gameReportedLost = delegate { 
  33:            Bus.Return((int)ErrorCodes.GameReportedLost);
  34:          };
  35:   
  36:      private EventHandler cartIsFull = delegate { 
  37:            Bus.Return((int)ErrorCodes.CartIsFull);
  38:          };
  39:   
  40:      private EventHandler maxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached = delegate { 
  41:            Bus.Return((int)ErrorCodes.MaxNumberOfSameGamePerCartReached);
  42:          };
  43:      }
  44:  }

It’s important to remember to clean up your event subscriptions so that your Service Layer objects get garbage collected. This is one of the primary causes of memory leaks when using static events in your Domain Model. I’m hoping to find ways to use lambdas to decrease this repetitive coding pattern. You might be thinking to yourself that non-static events on your Domain Model objects would be easier, since those objects would get collected, freeing up the service layer objects for collection as well. There’s just on small problem:

The problem is that if an event is raised by a child (or grandchild object), the service layer object may not even know that that grandchild was involved and, as such, would not have subscribed to that event. The only way the service layer could work was by knowing how the Domain Model worked internally – in essence, breaking encapsulation.

If you’re thinking that using exceptions would be better, you’d be right in thinking that that won’t break encapsulation, and that you wouldn’t need all that subscribe/unsubscribe code in the service layer. The only problem is that the Domain Model needs to know that the service layer had a default catch clause so that it wouldn’t blow up. Otherwise, the service layer (or WCF, or nServiceBus) may end up flagging that message as a poison message (Read more about poison messages). You’d also have to be extremely careful about in which environments you used your Domain Model – in other words, your reuse is shot.

Conclusion

I never said it would be easy :-)

However, the solution is simple (not complex). The same patterns occur over and over. The design is consistent. By focusing on the dependencies we now have a domain model that is reusable across many environments (server, client, sql clr, silverlight). The domain model is also testable without resorting to any fancy mock objects.

One closing comment – while I do my best to write code that is consistent with production quality environments, this code is more about demonstrating design principles. As such, I focus more on the self-documenting aspects of the code and have elided many production concerns.

Do you have a better solution?

Something that I haven’t considered?

Do me a favour – leave me a comment. Tell me what you think.



From CRUD to Domain-Driven Fluency

Friday, February 15th, 2008

I got a question about how to stay away from CRUD based service interfaces when the logic itself is like that, and I’ve found that this shift in thinking really needs more examples, so I’ve decided to put this out there:

For instance, in an HR system, the process of interviewing candidates – wouldn’t you just insert, update, and delete these Appointment objects?

If I were to put on my domain-driven hat, I would describe those requirements differently – interview appointments have a lifecycle: proposed, accepted, cancelled, etc. It seems that only a user of the role HR Interviewer should be able to make appointments for themselves, so the service layer code would probably look something like this:


using (ISession session = SessionFactory.OpenSession())
using (ITransaction tx = session.BeginTransaction())
{
    ICandidateInterviewer interviewer = session.Get<ICandidateInterviewer>(message.InterviewerId);
    ICandidate candidate = session.Get<ICandidate>(message.CandidateId);

    interviewer.ScheduleInterviewWith(candidate).At(message.RequestedTime);  
    tx.Commit();
}  

The “ScheduleInterviewWith” method accepts an ICandidate and returns an IAppointment. IAppointment has a method “At” which accepts a DateTime parameter and returns void – just changes the data of the appointment. The state of the appointment at creation time would probably be proposed. The appointment object would probably be added to the list of appointments for that interviewer – that’s what will cause it to be persisted automatically.

Later, when the candidate accepts the meeting, we could have the following method on ICandidate – void Accept(IAppointment); that would obviously check that the candidate is the right person for that interview, the appointment’s current state (not cancelled), etc – finally updating its state. What part of this looks like create, update, delete? If that’s what your service layer to domain interaction looks like, do you now know what your messages will be looking like?CRUD seems to be what most of us are familiar with. Moving to domain-driven thinking takes time and practice, but is well worth it. Contrast this with a more traditional O/R mapping solution:

using (ISession session = SessionFactory.OpenSession())
using (ITransaction tx = session.BeginTransaction())
{
    ICandidateInterviewer interviewer = session.Get<ICandidateInterviewer>(message.InterviewerId);
    ICandidate candidate = session.Get<ICandidate>(message.CandidateId); 

    Appointment a = new Appointment(); 

    a.Interviewer = interviewer; 
    interviewer.Appointments.Add(a); 

    a.Candidate = candidate;
    candidate.Appointments.Add(a); 

    a.Time = message.RequestedTime; 

    session.Save(a);  

    tx.Commit(); 
} 

As you can see, we’ve got simpler, more expressive, and more testable code when employing the domain model pattern, than using “just” O/R mapping. I’m not saying that the domain model pattern doesn’t need O/R mapping in the background for it to work. But that’s just it – the persistence gunk needs to be in the background and the business logic needs to be encapsulated.

So, while I’ll agree with Dave that the Domain Model is more lifestyle than pattern, I would argue against these conclusions:

If this post had a point, it’s only to share the idea that Domain Model is a big, big thing. It’s probably overkill in a lot of cases where you have simple applications that have very simple purposes.

As you just saw in the example above, there is no “overkill” to be seen. The domain model in the example wasn’t “a big, big thing”.

The domain model. Use it.

Why not have a better lifestyle?   ;-)



YAGNI – Once Bitten, Twice Shy?

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

yagni_once_bitten_twice_shy It’s one of the things that sometimes drives me mad about the YAGNI philosophy of Agile.

We need to stop throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Jay really liked that statement with relation to my previous post “Scalability – you wish you’re gonna need it“, so I thought I’d put up a logo for this movement. Anyone feeling like joining in, leave a comment, link, or whatever.

I understand that we don’t need to over-engineer everything, putting in every possible kind of extensibility point, so I accept that part of YAGNI. That is not a license to not think about the extensibility points you do need.

<Remarks>

This is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post, and I do not want the pendulum to swing to far back the other way. But I do think it’s time it took a step back from the over-zealous “we’ll TDD our way there” thinking. Maybe Ron can pull it off. I’ve yet to see anyone else succeed.

</Remarks>



Successfully Applying Agile to Fixed-Bid Projects

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Jeremy’s trying to answer some hard questions about agile. I wanted to tackle the issue of fixed-bids, since most of my clients work on those kinds of projects and I managed those projects full-time before becoming a consultant.

So, here’s the thing.

The only way to win on fixed-bid projects, is to bid low, and then rack up the change-requests. This is why people spend so much time documenting requirements, and then getting the client to sign off. It’s so they can prove that something is an actual change request, and thus they don’t have to do it. So, if the client wants to do whatever, they have to pay more money.

The problem is that it pisses off the client.

There’s another, subtler problem. It’s that clients get wise to this game, and front-load every possible requirement requesting total flexibility in everything.

This leads to another problem. We can’t bid low anymore.

Which leads to another problem. The client doesn’t have the budget to pay for the longer list of requirements.

Which leads us back to square one.

Fixed bids are a lose-lose proposition.

You see, if you bid rationally, taking into account the fact that some requirements will change, others will appear mid-way through, and so on, you’re bid will be significantly higher than the other guy who low-balled it. That means that the client will have a very hard time explaining to his management why he wants you to do the project.

So, the only way to win is for the client to realize this and game the system. This is sometimes a fine-line, possibly bordering on illegal when it comes to government contracts.

Once you have a client who understands that the fixed-bid is not in their interest, they will work collaboratively with you to get a reasonable system out the door within the given budget. There will be a lot of give-and-take but it can work. After a system goes into production successfully, it’s a lot easier to get management buy-in for the next version.

Fact is, upper management doesn’t really know all the specific requirements. So, if you don’t do them all, you’re OK, and so is your client.

In these circumstances, agile development is not only possible, but likely.

I know that it’s not really fixed-price, fixed-time, fixed-scope this way. But that’s what makes it successful :)



IOutputChannel and IRequestChannel – More WCF Angst

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

I’m in the process of implementing a generic WCF transport for NServiceBus and am seriously going out of my mind. The fact that I have to do crazy reflection over generics to get around some of the channel model is ludicrous. To top it off, I now find out that there isn’t a simple generic way to send messages.

IOutputChannel exposes “void Send(Message message);” while IRequestChannel exposes “Message Request(Message message);”. Of course, they are incompatible having only an anorexic common interface IChannel (which exposes only “T GetProperty<T>() where T: class;”).

I’m doing everything in power to hide the complexity (sorry, flexibility) of WCF behind the simple IBus interface, but it looks like it’s going to bubble up in the configuration anyway.

If push comes to shove, I’ll just implement a bunch of my own transports which will specifically encapsulate each of the WCF bindings.

New release coming soon.



Don't EDA between existing systems

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

In Nick Malik’s great post, EDA: Avoiding coupling on the name he describes additional “handshakes” to be used to avoid the following problems:

Let’s say I have a system to handle a call center for financial services or telco. When a customer calls on the phone and asks to be enrolled in “Heavily Advertised Program ABC,” there may need to be three or four systems that interact to make that real.

Harry asks me to consider using a ‘logical name’ of the receiver. The sender contacts a logical end point, the addressing infrastructure turns that into a physical end point, and we still have decoupling.

Honestly, I like it but I think it is insufficient. What if we need to contact 20 downstream systems in a complex workflow, but I don’t want a single “orchestration coordinator” to be a bottleneck (or single point of failure). I don’t want to hand the orchestration off from my app to a central orchestration hub.

Let me propose a different approach.

When we use SOA/EDA (the same thing as far as I’m concerned), the top-level building block used is the Service. A service may make use of a number of existing systems to perform its work. The business-level events that we publish (and subscribe to) are done by the service, not the existing systems.

If there’s any orchestration/workflow that needs to be done as a result of a service receiving an event, it is done entirely internal to that service. Inter-service orchestrations don’t really exist, as in there is no orchestration coordinator that is not in a service. And the orchestration coordinators within a service don’t touch other services’ back-end systems – if anything, they publish other business level events.

Be aware: when just starting out on an SOA, you’ll find that multiple Services make use of the same backend systems. This may be necessary, but not a desirable state to stay in for too long since it embodies the most insidious and invisible kind of inter-service coupling there is.

I want to go back to Nick’s original question:

So what if no one picks the message up? Is that an error?

The answer is mu.

If a service publishes a business-event (message) and no other services currently care, that’s fine. It’s not an error. Actually, you’d probably have some kind of infrastructure “queue” where messages that haven’t been received more than X time get sent to, so that the event isn’t “lost”. On the other hand, within a service – if an existing system sends out a message that needs to arrive at another system, and that message doesn’t arrive or isn’t picked up “in time”, that is an error.

This is one of the advantages SOA brings to the table in terms of EDA (again, the same as far as I’m concerned). You get simple messaging semantics between services, while within the “sphere of control” of a service you need, and more importantly can do more complex messaging and orchestration.

Bottom line: you need higher abstractions than your existing systems to employ EDA effectively.

You might also want to check out my podcast on this topic: SOA, ESB, and Events.



What happens if it fails – circa 1989

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Via Patrick Logan’s Bits of Wisdom: HOPL III’s History of Erlang:

1989 also provided us with one of our first opportunities to present Erlang to the world outside Ericsson. This was when we presented a paper at the SETSS conference in Bournemouth. This conference was interesting not so much for the paper but for the discussions we had in the meetings and for the contacts we made with people from Bellcore. It was during this conference that we realised that the work we were doing on Erlang was very different from a lot of mainstream work in telecommunications programming. Our major concern at the time was with detecting and recovering from errors. I remember Mike, Robert and I having great fun asking the same question over and over again: “what happens if it fails?”— the answer we got was almost always a variant on “our model assumes no failures.”We seemed to be the only people in the world designing a system that could recover from software failures…

Those of you who’ve had the chance to hear me speak about technology and architecture know that one of my favorite ways to win an argument is by saying, “yeah, but what if the server restarts?”

Almost 20 years later, the more things change, the more they stay the same.



Space-Based Architecture – scalable, but not much to do with SOA

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Space-Based Architecture (or SBA for short) just might be in your future if your building large-scale distributed systems. By focusing on high-throughput and low latency, SBA joins messaging and in-memory data caching and adds a good measure of load partitioning. However, with the entire industry enamoured with SOA, what place is left for SBA?

Before going too far ahead, you might want to take a look at my previous post “Space-Based Architectural Thinking, or listen to my podcast Space-Based Architecture for the Web. There’s also a 30 minute webcast online describing SBA more fully here. I’m also going to try to stay away from things concerning Jini this time after already discussing the connection between Jini and SOA, and the tradeoffs between two general approaches: Tasks and Spaces vs Message and Handlers.

OK, so the issue of state-management is a big one. Everybody wants to work stateless, because it scales. The only problem is that the business processes that we are automating are long running, meaning that there are external systems or people involved. This makes these processes inherently stateful. So, we need a way to scale statefully – SBA gives us that. For some background on the “Shared Nothing Architecture”, I suggest reading this post on inter-process SOA and this one as well.

Availability also has to be handled, not only in terms of having enough servers online to handle the required load but in having all the data required to process each request be accessible. This has often been handled by the database using ACID transactions – durability being that which solved availability issues, but also hurting latency the most. The problem with saving the state of our long-running business processes/workflows in the database is the load and the responsiveness requirements. In many verticals – telcos, financial, and defense to name a few, we need millisecond level latency on each stage of the workflow. This is what leads SBA to the in-memory, replicated data grid.

Note that SBA only intends to take these workflows out of the database, and not anything else – especially not Master Data. The lifetime of these workflows is incredibly short compared to that of master data like customers and products. It will have much different backup strategies as well. In terms of load, these workflows will be heavy on reads and writes together in the same transactions, but quite low in terms of just reads. If we have workflows that perform work in parallel, we easily end up with concurrency requirements that make DBAs cringe under the barrage of short transactions.

If you’re worried that Workflow Foundation (WF) won’t scale because of the above, you needn’t be. You can (more or less easily) replace the persistence mechanism of WF with your own, saving your workflow instances to an in-memory replicated data grid.

By enabling the objects in the grid to call back into logic on your servers, you have, in essence, done messaging and more. The added benefit that SBA receives from this is a unification of technology between caching and messaging. This translates directly to savings when it comes time to cluster each of those technology’s environments.

Finally, if we can find an attribute in the incoming stream of messages that creates a nice even distribution, we can then partition our load between our servers by that key. This will work up to the point where the load per key increases beyond a single server’s capacity, and then we have to look at re-partitioning, a non-trivial problem. However, if we put objects in our grid that represent the master data, and tie them to our workflow instances with both of those tied to the key of our load, a smart infrastructure can make sure all that data is already resident on the server that is handling that piece of the load. That decreases latency even more since we no longer have to pay network roundtrips to collect all the data needed before we can process it. That’s a substantial advantage for the above verticals.

But all of this has nothing to do with SOA.

Sure, it’ll change how we implement our Services internally, but it has no impact on their interfaces or the top-level service decomposition. In the Java community, the word “service” is often used to describe the logic of a system. Great significance is placed on keeping these “services” simple, as in Plain-Old Java Objects. The fact of the matter is that the logic of the system should be simple and independent of other concerns like data access and communcations (a la Web Services), but that does not make it a service, not in the SOA sense.

For more information on what Services in SOA are like, check out this podcast on Business and Autonomous Components in SOA. Actually, SBA will probably have the biggest impact on the way autonomous components will handle service-level agreements.

So, it appears that even with SOA, SBA has its place. The former dealing with business level agility, the latter dealing with all the technical aspects of supporting that agility. If you’re tasked with the designing the architecture of a scalable, available, high-throughput, low-latency distributed system, I’d strongly advise you to look at SBA – the technical value is overwhelming. Even if you don’t utilize all elements of SBA and choose the Master Worker Pattern instead of load partitioning, you’ll find the technologies supporting SBA to be quite flexible in that respect.

Will Space-Based Architectures be a part of your future? I don’t know for sure, but they’re a most welcome part of my present.



Why AsynchronousCommunication is in its own project

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

I’ve gotten a couple of questions on my MSMQ implementation of an ESB as to why I chose to take the definition of the CompletionCallback and put it in its own project, rather than just putting it together with the IBus interface.

The answer to this is that this callback is designed for Controller classes in Smart Clients, at least when employing an MVC style. You see, as the Controller class is the one who decided to initiate the action on the remote service by calling into a Service Agent class, it will also contain the logic for what to do when a result arrives. Therefore, it needs to pass a callback to the Service Agent class, possibly also passing in some other state (for instance, a reference to the form for which it is making this call, if there can be multiple instances of the same type of form open).

The only dependency the Controller class has is on the fact that there is asynchronous communication happening – made clear by the tiny assembly containing only the callback definition. The Controller does not need to know anything about ESBs and such, and thus does not need a reference to the IBus interface project.

As always, when working asynchronously you need to be aware that these callbacks will be coming in on a thread other than the UI thread. This means that if your Controller class has any state (ie. member variables), you need to protect that.



Workflow Failures Easier to Solve Than Ever Before

Friday, June 8th, 2007

So you’re code threw an exception for some reason. Now, your WF workflow gets terminated. You’re not a happy camper. You go looking for help and find this practical set of solutions, but think to yourself “it shouldn’t be this hard”.

And you’re absolutely right.

The fact of the matter is, you don’t have to do anything special to deal with failures in workflow. It all can be handled in terms of messaging, since the only interesting kind of workflow is the “long-running” kind. Long running workflows are those that may involve calling out to other services/systems, or involve humans in the process. Conversely, “short-running” workflows involve receiving a single message, handling it by calling code on the same server, in the same process, and on the same thread, and possibly returning a response. Simple request/response interaction is short-running. Things you might think to use BizTalk for would probably be long-running.

Take a look at this post which shows that long-running workflow is just regular messaging with a sprinkle of state-management.

Anyway, in my article describing failure handling for messaging, these workflow failures fall under the following category and solution:

Other kinds of failure conditions include having our DB transactions fail because they were chosen as the victim of a deadlock. The appropriate system level error handling is to just retry the transaction a bit later. Once again, if we were using our queues within the context of a transaction scope that included that of the database, the message would return to the queue when that deadlock exception bubbled through. This is exactly the behavior that we want in this case, although having the message go to the end of the queue instead of the front would also be just fine.

Other kinds of failure conditions we might run into include things like unique-constraint violations, attempting to perform actions on entities that no longer exist, and other activities where trying them over again probably won’t yield any different behavior. In these cases, if an exception were to cause the perpetrating message to return to the input queue we’d get exactly the wrong behavior. At the very least we would want to maybe log the exception information

So, in some cases, it makes perfect sense for the workflow to let the exception bubble through. Not so that the workflow will be terminated, but rather that the message which triggered it would be tried again. You can configure Workflow Foundation to have this behavior as well, or so I’ve been told.

Now you’re happy, the problem’s been solved for you – by design. No need to go mucking around in the nooks and crannys of FaultHandlers, CallExternalMethodActivity, and hacking the InsertWorkflow stored procedure.

Clean, Correct, and Simple – courtesy of The Software Simplist.

Additional References:



   


Don't miss my best content
 

Recommendations

Bryan Wheeler, Director Platform Development at msnbc.com
Udi Dahan is the real deal.

We brought him on site to give our development staff the 5-day “Advanced Distributed System Design” training. The course profoundly changed our understanding and approach to SOA and distributed systems.

Consider some of the evidence: 1. Months later, developers still make allusions to concepts learned in the course nearly every day 2. One of our developers went home and made her husband (a developer at another company) sign up for the course at a subsequent date/venue 3. Based on what we learned, we’ve made constant improvements to our architecture that have helped us to adapt to our ever changing business domain at scale and speed If you have the opportunity to receive the training, you will make a substantial paradigm shift.

If I were to do the whole thing over again, I’d start the week by playing the clip from the Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo the choice between the red and blue pills. Once you make the intellectual leap, you’ll never look at distributed systems the same way.

Beyond the training, we were able to spend some time with Udi discussing issues unique to our business domain. Because Udi is a rare combination of a big picture thinker and a low level doer, he can quickly hone in on various issues and quickly make good (if not startling) recommendations to help solve tough technical issues.” November 11, 2010

Sam Gentile Sam Gentile, Independent WCF & SOA Expert
“Udi, one of the great minds in this area.
A man I respect immensely.”





Ian Robinson Ian Robinson, Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks
"Your blog and articles have been enormously useful in shaping, testing and refining my own approach to delivering on SOA initiatives over the last few years. Over and against a certain 3-layer-application-architecture-blown-out-to- distributed-proportions school of SOA, your writing, steers a far more valuable course."

Shy Cohen Shy Cohen, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft
“Udi is a world renowned software architect and speaker. I met Udi at a conference that we were both speaking at, and immediately recognized his keen insight and razor-sharp intellect. Our shared passion for SOA and the advancement of its practice launched a discussion that lasted into the small hours of the night.
It was evident through that discussion that Udi is one of the most knowledgeable people in the SOA space. It was also clear why – Udi does not settle for mediocrity, and seeks to fully understand (or define) the logic and principles behind things.
Humble yet uncompromising, Udi is a pleasure to interact with.”

Glenn Block Glenn Block, Senior Program Manager - WCF at Microsoft
“I have known Udi for many years having attended his workshops and having several personal interactions including working with him when we were building our Composite Application Guidance in patterns & practices. What impresses me about Udi is his deep insight into how to address business problems through sound architecture. Backed by many years of building mission critical real world distributed systems it is no wonder that Udi is the best at what he does. When customers have deep issues with their system design, I point them Udi's way.”

Karl Wannenmacher Karl Wannenmacher, Senior Lead Expert at Frequentis AG
“I have been following Udi’s blog and podcasts since 2007. I’m convinced that he is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the field of SOA, EDA and large scale systems.
Udi helped Frequentis to design a major subsystem of a large mission critical system with a nationwide deployment based on NServiceBus. It was impressive to see how he took the initial architecture and turned it upside down leading to a very flexible and scalable yet simple system without knowing the details of the business domain. I highly recommend consulting with Udi when it comes to large scale mission critical systems in any domain.”

Simon Segal Simon Segal, Independent Consultant
“Udi is one of the outstanding software development minds in the world today, his vast insights into Service Oriented Architectures and Smart Clients in particular are indeed a rare commodity. Udi is also an exceptional teacher and can help lead teams to fall into the pit of success. I would recommend Udi to anyone considering some Architecural guidance and support in their next project.”

Ohad Israeli Ohad Israeli, Chief Architect at Hewlett-Packard, Indigo Division
“When you need a man to do the job Udi is your man! No matter if you are facing near deadline deadlock or at the early stages of your development, if you have a problem Udi is the one who will probably be able to solve it, with his large experience at the industry and his widely horizons of thinking , he is always full of just in place great architectural ideas.
I am honored to have Udi as a colleague and a friend (plus having his cell phone on my speed dial).”

Ward Bell Ward Bell, VP Product Development at IdeaBlade
“Everyone will tell you how smart and knowledgable Udi is ... and they are oh-so-right. Let me add that Udi is a smart LISTENER. He's always calibrating what he has to offer with your needs and your experience ... looking for the fit. He has strongly held views ... and the ability to temper them with the nuances of the situation.
I trust Udi to tell me what I need to hear, even if I don't want to hear it, ... in a way that I can hear it. That's a rare skill to go along with his command and intelligence.”

Eli Brin, Program Manager at RISCO Group
“We hired Udi as a SOA specialist for a large scale project. The development is outsourced to India. SOA is a buzzword used almost for anything today. We wanted to understand what SOA really is, and what is the meaning and practice to develop a SOA based system.
We identified Udi as the one that can put some sense and order in our minds. We started with a private customized SOA training for the entire team in Israel. After that I had several focused sessions regarding our architecture and design.
I will summarize it simply (as he is the software simplist): We are very happy to have Udi in our project. It has a great benefit. We feel good and assured with the knowledge and practice he brings. He doesn’t talk over our heads. We assimilated nServicebus as the ESB of the project. I highly recommend you to bring Udi into your project.”

Catherine Hole Catherine Hole, Senior Project Manager at the Norwegian Health Network
“My colleagues and I have spent five interesting days with Udi - diving into the many aspects of SOA. Udi has shown impressive abilities of understanding organizational challenges, and has brought the business perspective into our way of looking at services. He has an excellent understanding of the many layers from business at the top to the technical infrstructure at the bottom. He is a great listener, and manages to simplify challenges in a way that is understandable both for developers and CEOs, and all the specialists in between.”

Yoel Arnon Yoel Arnon, MSMQ Expert
“Udi has a unique, in depth understanding of service oriented architecture and how it should be used in the real world, combined with excellent presentation skills. I think Udi should be a premier choice for a consultant or architect of distributed systems.”

Vadim Mesonzhnik, Development Project Lead at Polycom
“When we were faced with a task of creating a high performance server for a video-tele conferencing domain we decided to opt for a stateless cluster with SQL server approach. In order to confirm our decision we invited Udi.

After carefully listening for 2 hours he said: "With your kind of high availability and performance requirements you don’t want to go with stateless architecture."

One simple sentence saved us from implementing a wrong product and finding that out after years of development. No matter whether our former decisions were confirmed or altered, it gave us great confidence to move forward relying on the experience, industry best-practices and time-proven techniques that Udi shared with us.
It was a distinct pleasure and a unique opportunity to learn from someone who is among the best at what he does.”

Jack Van Hoof Jack Van Hoof, Enterprise Integration Architect at Dutch Railways
“Udi is a respected visionary on SOA and EDA, whose opinion I most of the time (if not always) highly agree with. The nice thing about Udi is that he is able to explain architectural concepts in terms of practical code-level examples.”

Neil Robbins Neil Robbins, Applications Architect at Brit Insurance
“Having followed Udi's blog and other writings for a number of years I attended Udi's two day course on 'Loosely Coupled Messaging with NServiceBus' at SkillsMatter, London.

I would strongly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in how to develop IT systems which provide immediate and future fitness for purpose. An influential and innovative thought leader and practitioner in his field, Udi demonstrates and shares a phenomenally in depth knowledge that proves his position as one of the premier experts in his field globally.

The course has enhanced my knowledge and skills in ways that I am able to immediately apply to provide benefits to my employer. Additionally though I will be able to build upon what I learned in my 2 days with Udi and have no doubt that it will only enhance my future career.

I cannot recommend Udi, and his courses, highly enough.”

Nick Malik Nick Malik, Enterprise Architect at Microsoft Corporation
You are an excellent speaker and trainer, Udi, and I've had the fortunate experience of having attended one of your presentations. I believe that you are a knowledgable and intelligent man.”

Sean Farmar Sean Farmar, Chief Technical Architect at Candidate Manager Ltd
“Udi has provided us with guidance in system architecture and supports our implementation of NServiceBus in our core business application.

He accompanied us in all stages of our development cycle and helped us put vision into real life distributed scalable software. He brought fresh thinking, great in depth of understanding software, and ongoing support that proved as valuable and cost effective.

Udi has the unique ability to analyze the business problem and come up with a simple and elegant solution for the code and the business alike.
With Udi's attention to details, and knowledge we avoided pit falls that would cost us dearly.”

Børge Hansen Børge Hansen, Architect Advisor at Microsoft
“Udi delivered a 5 hour long workshop on SOA for aspiring architects in Norway. While keeping everyone awake and excited Udi gave us some great insights and really delivered on making complex software challenges simple. Truly the software simplist.”

Motty Cohen, SW Manager at KorenTec Technologies
“I know Udi very well from our mutual work at KorenTec. During the analysis and design of a complex, distributed C4I system - where the basic concepts of NServiceBus start to emerge - I gained a lot of "Udi's hours" so I can surely say that he is a professional, skilled architect with fresh ideas and unique perspective for solving complex architecture challenges. His ideas, concepts and parts of the artifacts are the basis of several state-of-the-art C4I systems that I was involved in their architecture design.”

Aaron Jensen Aaron Jensen, VP of Engineering at Eleutian Technology
Awesome. Just awesome.

We’d been meaning to delve into messaging at Eleutian after multiple discussions with and blog posts from Greg Young and Udi Dahan in the past. We weren’t entirely sure where to start, how to start, what tools to use, how to use them, etc. Being able to sit in a room with Udi for an entire week while he described exactly how, why and what he does to tackle a massive enterprise system was invaluable to say the least.

We now have a much better direction and, more importantly, have the confidence we need to start introducing these powerful concepts into production at Eleutian.”

Gad Rosenthal Gad Rosenthal, Department Manager at Retalix
“A thinking person. Brought fresh and valuable ideas that helped us in architecting our product. When recommending a solution he supports it with evidence and detail so you can successfully act based on it. Udi's support "comes on all levels" - As the solution architect through to the detailed class design. Trustworthy!”

Chris Bilson Chris Bilson, Developer at Russell Investment Group
“I had the pleasure of attending a workshop Udi led at the Seattle ALT.NET conference in February 2009. I have been reading Udi's articles and listening to his podcasts for a long time and have always looked to him as a source of advice on software architecture.
When I actually met him and talked to him I was even more impressed. Not only is Udi an extremely likable person, he's got that rare gift of being able to explain complex concepts and ideas in a way that is easy to understand.
All the attendees of the workshop greatly appreciate the time he spent with us and the amazing insights into service oriented architecture he shared with us.”

Alexey Shestialtynov Alexey Shestialtynov, Senior .Net Developer at Candidate Manager
“I met Udi at Candidate Manager where he was brought in part-time as a consultant to help the company make its flagship product more scalable. For me, even after 30 years in software development, working with Udi was a great learning experience. I simply love his fresh ideas and architecture insights.
As we all know it is not enough to be armed with best tools and technologies to be successful in software - there is still human factor involved. When, as it happens, the project got in trouble, management asked Udi to step into a leadership role and bring it back on track. This he did in the span of a month. I can only wish that things had been done this way from the very beginning.
I look forward to working with Udi again in the future.”

Christopher Bennage Christopher Bennage, President at Blue Spire Consulting, Inc.
“My company was hired to be the primary development team for a large scale and highly distributed application. Since these are not necessarily everyday requirements, we wanted to bring in some additional expertise. We chose Udi because of his blogging, podcasting, and speaking. We asked him to to review our architectural strategy as well as the overall viability of project.
I was very impressed, as Udi demonstrated a broad understanding of the sorts of problems we would face. His advice was honest and unbiased and very pragmatic. Whenever I questioned him on particular points, he was able to backup his opinion with real life examples. I was also impressed with his clarity and precision. He was very careful to untangle the meaning of words that might be overloaded or otherwise confusing. While Udi's hourly rate may not be the cheapest, the ROI is undoubtedly a deal. I would highly recommend consulting with Udi.”

Robert Lewkovich, Product / Development Manager at Eggs Overnight
“Udi's advice and consulting were a huge time saver for the project I'm responsible for. The $ spent were well worth it and provided me with a more complete understanding of nServiceBus and most importantly in helping make the correct architectural decisions earlier thereby reducing later, and more expensive, rework.”

Ray Houston Ray Houston, Director of Development at TOPAZ Technologies
“Udi's SOA class made me smart - it was awesome.

The class was very well put together. The materials were clear and concise and Udi did a fantastic job presenting it. It was a good mixture of lecture, coding, and question and answer. I fully expected that I would be taking notes like crazy, but it was so well laid out that the only thing I wrote down the entire course was what I wanted for lunch. Udi provided us with all the lecture materials and everyone has access to all of the samples which are in the nServiceBus trunk.

Now I know why Udi is the "Software Simplist." I was amazed to find that all the code and solutions were indeed very simple. The patterns that Udi presented keep things simple by isolating complexity so that it doesn't creep into your day to day code. The domain code looks the same if it's running in a single process or if it's running in 100 processes.”

Ian Cooper Ian Cooper, Team Lead at Beazley
“Udi is one of the leaders in the .Net development community, one of the truly smart guys who do not just get best architectural practice well enough to educate others but drives innovation. Udi consistently challenges my thinking in ways that make me better at what I do.”

Liron Levy, Team Leader at Rafael
“I've met Udi when I worked as a team leader in Rafael. One of the most senior managers there knew Udi because he was doing superb architecture job in another Rafael project and he recommended bringing him on board to help the project I was leading.
Udi brought with him fresh solutions and invaluable deep architecture insights. He is an authority on SOA (service oriented architecture) and this was a tremendous help in our project.
On the personal level - Udi is a great communicator and can persuade even the most difficult audiences (I was part of such an audience myself..) by bringing sound explanations that draw on his extensive knowledge in the software business. Working with Udi was a great learning experience for me, and I'll be happy to work with him again in the future.”

Adam Dymitruk Adam Dymitruk, Director of IT at Apara Systems
“I met Udi for the first time at DevTeach in Montreal back in early 2007. While Udi is usually involved in SOA subjects, his knowledge spans all of a software development company's concerns. I would not hesitate to recommend Udi for any company that needs excellent leadership, mentoring, problem solving, application of patterns, implementation of methodologies and straight out solution development.
There are very few people in the world that are as dedicated to their craft as Udi is to his. At ALT.NET Seattle, Udi explained many core ideas about SOA. The team that I brought with me found his workshop and other talks the highlight of the event and provided the most value to us and our organization. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to recommend him.”

Eytan Michaeli Eytan Michaeli, CTO Korentec
“Udi was responsible for a major project in the company, and as a chief architect designed a complex multi server C4I system with many innovations and excellent performance.”


Carl Kenne Carl Kenne, .Net Consultant at Dotway AB
“Udi's session "DDD in Enterprise apps" was truly an eye opener. Udi has a great ability to explain complex enterprise designs in a very comprehensive and inspiring way. I've seen several sessions on both DDD and SOA in the past, but Udi puts it in a completly new perspective and makes us understand what it's all really about. If you ever have a chance to see any of Udi's sessions in the future, take it!”

Avi Nehama, R&D Project Manager at Retalix
“Not only that Udi is a briliant software architecture consultant, he also has remarkable abilities to present complex ideas in a simple and concise manner, and...
always with a smile. Udi is indeed a top-league professional!”

Ben Scheirman Ben Scheirman, Lead Developer at CenterPoint Energy
“Udi is one of those rare people who not only deeply understands SOA and domain driven design, but also eloquently conveys that in an easy to grasp way. He is patient, polite, and easy to talk to. I'm extremely glad I came to his workshop on SOA.”

Scott C. Reynolds Scott C. Reynolds, Director of Software Engineering at CBLPath
“Udi is consistently advancing the state of thought in software architecture, service orientation, and domain modeling.
His mastery of the technologies and techniques is second to none, but he pairs that with a singular ability to listen and communicate effectively with all parties, technical and non, to help people arrive at context-appropriate solutions. Every time I have worked with Udi, or attended a talk of his, or just had a conversation with him I have come away from it enriched with new understanding about the ideas discussed.”

Evgeny-Hen Osipow, Head of R&D at PCLine
“Udi has helped PCLine on projects by implementing architectural blueprints demonstrating the value of simple design and code.”

Rhys Campbell Rhys Campbell, Owner at Artemis West
“For many years I have been following the works of Udi. His explanation of often complex design and architectural concepts are so cleanly broken down that even the most junior of architects can begin to understand these concepts. These concepts however tend to typify the "real world" problems we face daily so even the most experienced software expert will find himself in an "Aha!" moment when following Udi teachings.
It was a pleasure to finally meet Udi in Seattle Alt.Net OpenSpaces 2008, where I was pleasantly surprised at how down-to-earth and approachable he was. His depth and breadth of software knowledge also became apparent when discussion with his peers quickly dove deep in to the problems we current face. If given the opportunity to work with or recommend Udi I would quickly take that chance. When I think .Net Architecture, I think Udi.”

Sverre Hundeide Sverre Hundeide, Senior Consultant at Objectware
“Udi had been hired to present the third LEAP master class in Oslo. He is an well known international expert on enterprise software architecture and design, and is the author of the open source messaging framework nServiceBus. The entire class was based on discussion and interaction with the audience, and the only Power Point slide used was the one showing the agenda.
He started out with sketching a naive traditional n-tier application (big ball of mud), and based on suggestions from the audience we explored different solutions which might improve the solution. Whatever suggestions we threw at him, he always had a thoroughly considered answer describing pros and cons with the suggested solution. He obviously has a lot of experience with real world enterprise SOA applications.”

Raphaël Wouters Raphaël Wouters, Owner/Managing Partner at Medinternals
“I attended Udi's excellent course 'Advanced Distributed System Design with SOA and DDD' at Skillsmatter. Few people can truly claim such a high skill and expertise level, present it using a pragmatic, concrete no-nonsense approach and still stay reachable.”

Nimrod Peleg Nimrod Peleg, Lab Engineer at Technion IIT
“One of the best programmers and software engineer I've ever met, creative, knows how to design and implemet, very collaborative and finally - the applications he designed implemeted work for many years without any problems!

Jose Manuel Beas
“When I attended Udi's SOA Workshop, then it suddenly changed my view of what Service Oriented Architectures were all about. Udi explained complex concepts very clearly and created a very productive discussion environment where all the attendees could learn a lot. I strongly recommend hiring Udi.”

Daniel Jin Daniel Jin, Senior Lead Developer at PJM Interconnection
“Udi is one of the top SOA guru in the .NET space. He is always eager to help others by sharing his knowledge and experiences. His blog articles often offer deep insights and is a invaluable resource. I highly recommend him.”

Pasi Taive Pasi Taive, Chief Architect at Tieto
“I attended both of Udi's "UI Composition Key to SOA Success" and "DDD in Enterprise Apps" sessions and they were exceptionally good. I will definitely participate in his sessions again. Udi is a great presenter and has the ability to explain complex issues in a manner that everyone understands.”

Eran Sagi, Software Architect at HP
“So far, I heard about Service Oriented architecture all over. Everyone mentions it – the big buzz word. But, when I actually asked someone for what does it really mean, no one managed to give me a complete satisfied answer. Finally in his excellent course “Advanced Distributed Systems”, I got the answers I was looking for. Udi went over the different motivations (principles) of Services Oriented, explained them well one by one, and showed how each one could be technically addressed using NService bus. In his course, Udi also explain the way of thinking when coming to design a Service Oriented system. What are the questions you need to ask yourself in order to shape your system, place the logic in the right places for best Service Oriented system.

I would recommend this course for any architect or developer who deals with distributed system, but not only. In my work we do not have a real distributed system, but one PC which host both the UI application and the different services inside, all communicating via WCF. I found that many of the architecture principles and motivations of SOA apply for our system as well. Enough that you have SW partitioned into components and most of the principles becomes relevant to you as well. Bottom line – an excellent course recommended to any SW Architect, or any developer dealing with distributed system.”

Consult with Udi

Guest Authored Books
Chapter: Introduction to SOA    Article: The Enterprise Service Bus and Your SOA

97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know



Creative Commons License  © Copyright 2005-2011, Udi Dahan. email@UdiDahan.com