This is the third in a series of articles previewing the Eclipse Foundation's annual downloadable project release, code named Ganymede, which is scheduled for this Wednesday. Find the rest of the series here.
When Ganymede debuts, SOA Tools Project (STP) users will gain access to a new editor for WS-Policy, a new graphic designer for service component architecture (SCA), as well as new SOA modeling and enterprise integration components.
With these additional components, the Ganymede version of STP has progressed from the initial not-ready-for-prime-time version that was part of last year's Europa release to tools Eclipse-savvy developers can now use in enterprise SOA implementations, said Oisin Hurley, project lead.
A lot of progress has been made," said Hurley, who is SOA products architect at Iona Technologies Inc., a corporate committer to Eclipse and STP.
The policy editor, based on code contributed by SOPERA GmbH, an open source SOA vendor, is designed to help developers implement WS-Policy without getting bogged down working with "verbose" XML files, Hurley explained.
"It allows you to visually create a standard WS-Policy document," he explained. "It allows you to create the various policy expressions and it also allows you to drill down into very fine grained policy elements and edit them in a very simple forms-based way. This makes it very straightforward for any organization that wants to use WS-Policy extensively to give their developers a tool for writing, editing and debugging WS-Policy code."
The graphical SCA designer, based on code contributed by the Obeo model driven architecture consultants based in France, helps developers work visually with that specification, Hurley explained. Architects and developers can use the SCA designer to graphically construct composite applications using the notations in the SCA specification, he said. It generates SCA metadata and provides bindings for Java and business process execution language (BPEL), he added.
Modeling and integration tools
Two more new components in the Ganymede STP update provide improved SOA modeling and enterprise integration.
The SOA modeling tool is designed for architects and developers who want to extend STP, Hurley said.
"One of the things we realized quite early with STP was there is a lot of scope for tools whether it is business process related or policy related or services related or composite related," the project lead explained. "So we thought it would be a very good idea if we could produce a model within the project that would allow it to reflect the different approaches that people could take for putting business processes into services"
The model allows users to shift between different editors and views for an SOA implementation and also "harmonize" the way they view their SOA project, Hurley said. The model was contributed to Eclipse STP by the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA).
"It represents the current state-of-the-art in what you find in a SOA system in terms of architectural concepts," Hurley said. "The model covers business process, services and properties."
The model includes code generation and configuration generation capability that allows architects to move from the model they create to generating artifacts or BPEL code for implementation, he said.
The final new STP component, the enterprise integration designer, was donated by Bull, the French IT architecture company, and is based on the concepts in the book "Enterprise Integration Patterns" by Gregor Hohpe, Bobby Woolf and Kyle Brown.
"It provides the code for generating [Apache] ServiceMix and JBI containers and we're also adding support for the Apache mediation router [Camel]," Hurley said.
Speaking of integration, the project lead said, the STP committee is now working on integration of all the SOA-related components within the Eclipse project to provide an entry point for downloading and working with all the tools now available. This is in response to criticisms during the past year that it was not clear how all the STP parts fit together as a whole.
"We're planning to have an integration project within the project itself to work on tying together the technologies that are represented in the different SOA domains," Hurley said. "It will be project centric and work as a more obvious path to developing an SOA application for a developer."
As this series on Ganymede continues this week, it will focus on the Web Tools Project and the Rich Ajax Platform.