Chapter 5. Architecture of the OpenEngSB

This chapter tries to give a short summary of the most important concepts in the OpenEngSB architecture.

The following graphic shows the architecture of the OpenEngSB. In the center we use a bus system to integrate different modules. In this case we do not use a classical Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), but rather the OSGi service infrastructure via Apache Aries Blueprint-DM (Section 5.1, “OpenEngSB Enterprise Service Bus (ESB)”). We are using Apache Karaf as the OSGi environment. Karaf is used in this case, instead of a most basic OSGi environment, such as Apache Felix or Eclipse Equinox , because it supports us with additional features as extended console support and the feature definitions. This base infrastructure, including all modifications required for the OpenEngSB is called the Section 5.2, “OpenEngSB Infrastructure”. Within the OpenEngSB Infrastructure so called Section 5.3, “OpenEngSB Components” and Section 5.4, “OpenEngSB Tool Domains” are installed. Both types are written in a JVM compatible language, including OSGi configuration files to run in the OpenEngSB Infrastructure. They are explained later within this chapter. Different tools running outside the OpenEngSB Infrastructure are called Section 5.5, “Client Tools (Service Consumer)” or Section 5.6, “Domain Tools (Service Provider)”, depending on their usage scenario. To integrate and use them within the OpenEngSB so called Section 5.7, “Domain- and Client Tool Connectors” are used. All of these concepts are explained within the next sections.

Technical view of the OpenEngSB highlighting the most important concepts of the integration system

5.1. OpenEngSB Enterprise Service Bus (ESB)

One of the principal concepts for the OpenEngSB development is (if possible) to use already existing and proven solutions rather than inventing new ones. In this manner the OpenEngSB is an extension to the ESB concept. Typical ESBs such as Apache Servicemix or other JBI or ESB implementations always have the feeling to be huge and bloated. Complex integration patterns, messaging, huge configuration files and similar concepts/problems lead to this feeling. And those feelings are right. They are bloated. The OpenEngsB tries a different approach. Using Karaf as its base framework the environment is VERY lightweight. Depending on your use case you can use different configurations and packages out of the box.

5.2. OpenEngSB Infrastructure

While Apache Karaf provides a rich environment and functionality we're not done with it. Via the Apache Aries Blueprint-DM extension mechanism, AOP and the OSGi listener model the OpenEngSB directly extends the environment to provide own commands for the console, fine grained security and a full grown workflow model. These extensions are optional and not required if you want to use the platform alone. Add or remove them as required for your use case.

5.3. OpenEngSB Components

These libraries are the OpenEngSB core. The core is responsible to provide the OpenEngSB infrastructure as well as general services such as persistence, security and workflows. To provide best integration most of these components are tied to the OpenEngSB ESB environment. Nevertheless, feel free to add or remove them as required for your use case.

5.4. OpenEngSB Tool Domains

Although each tool provider gives a personal touch to its product their design is driven by a specific purpose. For example, there are many different issue trackers available, each having its own advantages and disadvantages, but all of them can create issues, assign and delete them. Tool Domains are based on this idea and distill the common functionality for such a group of tools into one Tool Domain interface (and component). Tool domains could be compared best to the concept of abstract classes in in object orientated programming languages. Similar to these, they can contain code, workflows, additional logic and data, but they are useless without a concrete implementation. Together with the ESB, the OpenEngSB infrastructure and the core components the tool domains finally result in the OpenEngSB.

5.5. Client Tools (Service Consumer)

Client Tools in the OpenEngSB concept are tools which do not provide any services, but consume services provided by Tool Domains and Core Components instead. A classical example from software engineering for a client tool is the Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Developer prefer to have the entire development environment, reaching from the tickets for a project to its build results, at hand. On the other hand they do not need to provide any services.

5.6. Domain Tools (Service Provider)

Domain Tools (Service Provider) Domain Tools, compared to Client Tools, denote the other extreme of only providing services. Classically, single purpose server tools, like issue tracker or chat server, match the category of Domain Tools best. Most tools in (software+) engineering environments fit of course in both categories, but since there are significant technically differences between them they are described as two different component types.

5.7. Domain- and Client Tool Connectors

Tool Connectors connect tools to the OpenEngSB environment. They implement the respective Tool Domain interface. As Client Tool Connectors they provide a Client Tool with an access to the OpenEngSB services. Again, Domain- and Client Tool Connectors are mostly mixed up but separated because of their technical differences. Additionally it is worth mentioning that tools can be integrated with more than one connector. This allows one tool to act in many different domains. Apache Maven is an example for such multi-purpose tools, relevant for build, as well as test and deploy of Java projects.