Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

Transactions - Just Another Tinkertoy?

Transactions - Just Another Tinkertoy?

Over the past 16 months - has it really been that long?! - I have attempted to climb the peaks of how to design applications that use transactions, and dived into the depths of the earth, looking at obscure knowledge such as how clients can demarcate transactions, and grubby details of interfacing WebLogic's transaction manager with external resources like MQ Series and, much to my surprise, you have come along on this odyssey with me. Who'd have thought that there were so many people interested in these minutiae?

Well, to be honest, I would for one. Being an engineer by training, I like nothing more than tinkering with these kinds of mechanisms. It's interesting, challenging stuff. Some people play chess. I don't know the rules so I need an alternative pointless endeavor! But that is only half of engineering. The world wouldn't contain any engineers at all if they never produced anything - if we all spent our lives tinkering in our sheds, instead of building software systems, bridges, roads, cars, and so on, who would care? We'd be begging on the street corners, transaction manager in one hand, with a mangy dog holding a JDK in its mouth, and no more than an old copy of Kernighan and Ritchie to sleep under at night. That's not the case. We do build things too.

The things we build come in two categories. On the one hand, there is the tedious, repetitive "yet another" forms application that gathers some information from a user, updates some databases, and repeats until bored (or accidentally powered down by the cleaner). On the other hand, sometimes our employers need very technical stuff done, because unless their business is run on some pretty revolutionary systems, with mind-numbing response times and so on, they won't be able to compete and we'll all be out of a job, fighting over the K&R, and who gets first bite of the dog. For the second category of engineering problem, burning the candle at both ends reading transaction articles is time well spent - with a deep and thorough understanding of the subsystems that make up the underlying infrastructure (and a healthy dash of experience and some luck) you can build something truly amazing - the Sydney Opera House of applications.

Who Gets First Bite of the Dog?
However, the Sydney Opera House wouldn't make a great affordable housing scheme. Here builders with more modest aspirations can happily erect a housing complex from prefabricated parts just like they did last week, and will again next week, and make a family or several very happy. What is needed here isn't the pinnacle of creative expression, it's a good job well constructed from components and templates with the minimum of cost and fuss.

So what on earth is he rambling about now, I hear you sigh, has he finally lost it?

Well, not quite. To return from the land of metaphor for a moment, sensible use of transactions will be necessary whether you're building an order entry forms app, or a world-beating innovation. It's just that in the former case, there are many widely applicable and well-understood design patterns for their use (you know, the stuff I wrote about before) that can be applied in the knowledge that they will "just work" because the problem is so similar to so many others. Under these conditions, it should be possible to forget almost entirely about transactions and get on with implementing business logic. After all, how many construction engineers worry on a day-to-day basis about the laws of physics? Transactions really should be fundamental laws-type stuff...

Now, imagine a world where you can graphically describe your business process, add the few lines of code that actually do your processing at the right points, and press "run." Imagine also that you can design (or even generate) the forms front end at the same time. Sounds like second-generation, client/server desktop development tools. Imagine that you can deploy the results to large, and variable, user populations and it all still works... That sounds new! It also sounds like the new (8.1) version of WebLogic Platform. The Workshop tool allows you to do exactly that. But make no mistake, this goes much deeper than a tool. Anybody can host a load of windows in a single environment and produce a "developer tool portal," but that's not where the productivity comes from.

Remember, the productivity came from the assembly patterns and components, not from having a "universal hammer" that screws while it nails while it drills. The depth, and the value, is in the runtime framework that underpins the development environment. It applies sensible patterns and standards across the board, allowing you to treat low-level considerations like transactions as laws-of-physics rather than matters of pressing concern.

It Screws While It Nails, While It Drills!
So how does this relate to transactions directly? Well, in the process designer you draw your business process. If it's a long-running process, the framework will start a transaction at the start of the process and commit it whenever the process comes to a pause, to ensure the state is preserved. Probably what you'd want, right? For a process that doesn't pause it will start a transaction, do all the work, and simply commit it. Probably what you'd want too, right? But if the probabilities fail you, you can rubber band the transactions over your process steps, and tell the framework where they should start and end based on the physical realities of your system, still without a line of code explicitly referencing transactions. Oh, and by the way, when the framework assumptions don't apply to your particular use case you can drop back down to the J2EE APIs and the good old application server knowing that all the code will still end up deploying into the same environment.

Back to the Future
I remember my first column (WLDJ, Vol. 1, issue 1) talked about how transactions were assumed to be complex because all the two-tier developers never had to think about them, they just magically happened. And for the majority of applications, that's the way it should be. More strength to BEA's platform elbow in pushing them back into obscurity where they belong!

More Stories By Peter Holditch

Peter Holditch is a senior presales engineer in the UK for Azul Systems. Prior to joining Azul he spent nine years at BEA systems, going from being one of their first Professional Services consultants in Europe and finishing up as a principal presales engineer. He has an R&D background (originally having worked on BEA's Tuxedo product) and his technical interests are in high-throughput transaction systems. "Of the pitch" Peter likes to brew beer, build furniture, and undertake other ludicrously ambitious projects - but (generally) not all at the same time!

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...