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Developing Adapters

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Introduction to the ADK

This guide provides instructions for using the BEA WebLogic Integration Adapter Development Kit (ADK). It shows you how to develop, test, and deploy event and service connections and the design-time user interface.

This section provides information about the following subjects:


Section Objectives

This section serves as an overview to using the ADK to develop event and service connections and a design-time GUI. You will learn:


What Is the ADK?

The ADK is a set of tools for implementing the event and service protocols supported by BEA WebLogic Integration. These tools are organized in a collection of frameworks that support the development, testing, packaging, and distribution of resource adapters for WebLogic Integration. Specifically, the ADK includes frameworks for four purposes:

Requirements for Adapter Development

The ADK addresses three requirements for adapter development:

What the ADK Provides

The ADK provides:


What Are Adapters?

Resource adapters—referred to in this document as adapters—are software components used to connect applications that were not originally designed to communicate with each other. For example, an adapter might be needed to enable an order entry system built by one company to communicate with a customer information system built by another.

By using the ADK, you can create two types of adapters:

You can also create an adapter that supports both services and events. All these types of adapters include an implementation of a top-level adapter interface

You can also use the ADK to create J2EE-compliant adapters that are not specific to WebLogic Integration but that comply with the J2EE Connector Architecture Specification.

ResourceAdapter Interface

The ResourceAdapter interface is new in WebLogic Integration 8.1. It serves as a single object to unify both event and service handling. In prior WebLogic Integration releases, the event adapter and service adapter were treated as separate adapter components. Each was deployed and configured separately.

In this release, the event and service adapters are unified under the ResourceAdapter interface, and the adapter's implementation of that interface. It provides access to 0 or 1 event connection (created by the event adapter), and 0 or more service connections (created by the service adapter). The service connections are sometimes referred to as connection factories.

Configuration of event and service connections are now done under the umbrella of the ResourceAdapter interface. You will see the term Resource Adapter used in the Application Integration Design Console to represent a container of event and service connections.

Each adapter must implement ResourceAdapter in a concrete class and package that class into the adapter's EAR module in order to operate within WebLogic Integration. The ADK provides an abstract base implementation of the ResourceAdapter class in com.bea.adapter.spi.AbstractWLIResourceAdapter.

To learn how to develop a ResourceAdapter implementation, see Developing a Resource Adapter.

Service Connections

Service connections receive XML request documents from clients and invoke specific functions in the underlying enterprise information system (EIS). They are consumers of messages; they may or may not provide a response.

A service may be invoked in either of two ways: asynchronously or synchronously. When a service is invoked asynchronously, the client application issues a service request and then proceeds with processing without waiting for the response. When a service is invoked synchronously, the client waits for the response before proceeding with processing. BEA WebLogic Integration supports both types of service connection invocations, so you are not required to provide this functionality.

Service connections perform the following four functions:

As with events, the ADK implements the aspects of these four functions that are common to all service connections.

To learn how to develop a service connection, see Developing a Service Adapter.

Event Connections

Event connections are designed to propagate information from an EIS to WebLogic Server; they can be described as publishers of information.

There are two basic types of event connections: in-process and out-of-process. In-process event connections execute within the same process as the EIS. Out-of-process adapters execute in a separate process. In-process and out-of-process event connections differ only in terms of how they accomplish the data extraction process.

Event connections running in a WebLogic Integration environment perform the following three functions:

The ADK implements the aspects of these three functions that are common to all event connections. Consequently, you can focus on the EIS-specific aspects of your adapter. This concept is the same as the concept behind Enterprise Java Beans (EJB): the container provides system-level services for EJB developers so they can focus on implementing business application logic.

To learn how to develop an event connection, see Developing an Event Adapter.

J2EE-Compliant Adapters Not Exclusive to WebLogic Integration

These adapters are not designed for WebLogic Integration exclusively; they can be plugged into any application server that supports the J2EE Connector Architecture specification. These adapters can be developed by making minor modifications to the procedures given for developing a service connection. To learn how to develop an adapter that is not specific to WebLogic Integration, see Creating an Adapter Not Specific to WebLogic Integration.


Design-Time GUI

Along with event and service connections, the ADK's design-time framework provides tools you can use to build the Web-based GUI that adapter users need to define, deploy, and test application views (see Application Views). Although each adapter has EIS-specific functionality, all adapters require a GUI for deploying application views. The design-time framework minimizes the effort required to create and deploy these interfaces, primarily by using two components:

To learn how to develop a design-time GUI, see Developing a Design-Time GUI.

Application Views

While an adapter represents a system-level interface to all the functionality in an application, an application view represents a business-level interface to a particular set of functions in the application.

An application view is configured for a single business purpose and contains only services related to that purpose. These services require only business-relevant data to be specified in the request document; they return only business-relevant data in the response document. Without user intervention, the application view combines this business-relevant data with stored metadata necessary for the adapter. The adapter takes both the business-relevant data and the stored metadata and executes a system-level function on the application.

The application view also represents both the events and services that support the specified business purpose. As a result, the business user can perform all communication with an application through the application view. Such bidirectional communication is supported by two adapter components: the event connection and the service connection. The application view abstracts this fact from users and presents them with a unified business interface to the application.

For more information about application views, see Introduction to Using Application Integration in Using Application Integration.


Packaging Framework

The ADK packaging framework is a tool set for packaging an adapter for delivery to a customer. Ideally, all adapters are installed, configured, and uninstalled in the same way on WebLogic Server. All service connections must be J2EE compliant. The packaging framework simplifies the creation of a J2EE adapter archive (RAR) file, a Web application archive (WAR) file, an enterprise archive (EAR) file, and a WebLogic Integration design environment archive.


Before You Begin

Before beginning your development work, make sure WebLogic Integration is installed on your computer. For more information, see Installing BEA WebLogic Platform and the BEA WebLogic Integration Release Notes.


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