IBM WebSphere Process Server 7 : WebSphere Integration Developer overview

8/10/2012 5:40:39 PM
When you start working with WID, one of the first questions that you would ask at the outset is,"What is WebSphere Integration Developer (WID)?".

Let's first address that question. WID is part of the WebSphere BPM suite and is the Eclipse-based authoring environment to build SOA and BPM-based solutions. WID is primarily used in the assembly, implementation, and testing of Service Component Architecture (SCA)-based applications. It supports both top-down and bottom-up assembly-driven approaches in building the SOA and BPM-based applications.

The fundamental construct in a WID-centric world are components. Components are services, which are assembled to form end-to-end applications. In WID, the focus is on the assembly of components. The implementation of components can be done later or can be reused from capabilities exposed by existing IT systems. Users of WID typically produce artifacts or components such as business processes, state machines, data transformations, mediation flows, adapters, and so on, which are assembled together visually, to form a solution. WID provides the visual environment to build these artifacts and make the users focus on business logic implementation, by providing this layer of abstraction, and not worry about the component implementation. It also provides integrated testing, debugging, and deployment capabilities. WID provides an embedded unit test environment onto which the applications can be deployed for testing and validation. And last but not the least, solutions that are created using WID are based on the most common and prevalent industry standards such as Java Message Service (JMS), Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), Web Services, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Java EE Connector Architecture (JCA), and so on. The relationship of the various components as they apply to the WID tooling is shown in the following figure:

The preceding figure gives you an appreciation for the wide variety of components available in WID and how they relate to WPS and WESB. It also layers the components from a top-down perspective and provides an insight into their reuse.

Using the WID assembly editor, one can assemble, implement, and deploy service components to build SOA-based applications and hence solutions these applications belong to. These components can be grouped into modules or mediation modules, and specify which service interfaces are exposed by the components and hence the module to outside consumers. Services that are available include imported components such as Java beans or Web services and service components that WPS and WESB provide. Modules are then connected to form complete integration solutions.

So how does WID fit into the typical lifecycle-phases-roles involved in the Business Integration approach? Business Integration fundamentally has very strong ties to BPM and SOA, and enables the adopter of a Business Integration approach to identify, consolidate, and optimize business processes. Business Integration projects can have different flavors or different entry points.

  1. People/Portal Centric features allow for human interaction.

  2. Application Integration Centric features enable integration and collaboration between different systems, services, and applications independent of their underlying platform and language.

  3. Process Automation Centric features help optimize and automate processes.

  4. Pure Play Connectivity features allow to service providers to expose their existing application capabilities or functions on a standardized enterprise bus.

  5. Legacy Modernization features help modernize and increase efficiency and accessibility of older legacy systems.

A typical Business Integration project lifecycle will consist of the following the phases:

  1. Model

  2. Assemble

  3. Deploy

  4. Manage

  5. Govern

Typical roles involved during a Business Integration project will include:

  1. Business/Process Analyst

  2. Integration Architect

  3. Integration Specialist

  4. Component Developer

  5. Infrastructure Administrator

When dealing with a Business Integration approach, the three pillars to its programming model include:

  1. Business Process Choreography or Orchestration-how various components can be "stitched" together.

  2. Business Data Objects-what is transferred between components.

  3. Service Component Architecture-set of specifications which describe a model for building applications and systems using an SOA approach.

So in short, WID is an integrated development environment that provides the necessary capabilities and tools to:

  1. Support all the phases (except for modeling of business processes, where a true process modeling tool like IBM WebSphere Business Modeler would help).

  2. Support different roles and correspondingly support their activities.

  3. Help develop Business Integration solutions based on the various standardized technologies mentioned as the three pillars.

  4. It also helps to deploy the solutions to the WebSphere Process Server or the WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus.

  5. The four phases are shown in the following image:

The preceding diagram illustrates the Business Integration life cycle, typical activities (which is highly condensed), and roles involved in building an integrated business application.

Of particular focus are the activities and roles involved in building, testing, and deploying applications using WebSphere Integration Developer as shown in the following figure:

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