Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Amitabh Sinha, Mike Wood, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT: Article

When Should Java And XML Be Used For Messaging?

When Should Java And XML Be Used For Messaging?

When does it make sense to use JMS (Java Message Service) and XML to support a heterogeneous messaging environment? Most buzzword-compliant people talk about JMS and XML when thinking about developing a messaging solution for their organization.

While in most cases this is the correct answer, we need to understand the requirements we're trying to fulfill before giving an answer. For example:

  • Can the solution be deployed using asynchronous communications or does it require synchronous behavior?
  • Will the solution be used in the intranet or extranet?
  • What are the messaging paradigms supported by your system?
  • Does the underlying messaging system support JMS?
  • What qualities of service (QoS) are supported by the messaging system?
  • What are the characteristics of the information to be published on the network?
  • Are e-mail messages a requirement?
  • What are the possible messaging systems the solution will be deploying against?
In short, we need to understand the characteristics of the problem before we can justify the use of any technology - in this case JMS and XML. Let me first give a brief introduction to JMS and explain the role of XML. My goal this month is to help you understand the requirements that XML and JMS are attempting to meet.

JMS
Sun, IBM, Modulus, NEON, OpenHorizon, Oracle, TIBCO, and Vitria developed the JMS specification. The purpose was to define a common API that would enable Java developers to use the same messaging system. In the JMS specification there's a clear distinction between the application and the message provider layers. The software developer is responsible for coding his or her application against the JMS interfaces; the message provider is responsible for coding the implementation to the interfaces. The idea behind this approach is to decouple the client application from the specifics of the messaging system. This allows the message provider layer to plug into the application layer. JMS defines two types of messaging paradigms:

  • Point-to-point
  • Publish/subscribe
The point-to-point paradigm follows a producer/consumer pattern that allows the producer application to write information to a queue and a consumer application to read it from the queue (see Figure 1). The queue mechanism identifies the decoupling point between the producer application and the consumer application. The producer application doesn't depend on the consumer application to access the queue to write to it, or vice versa. Some messaging systems provide QoS that enables persistence of the information stored inside a queue.

The publish/subscribe paradigm follows an observer pattern with explicit interest defined (see Figure 2). This approach allows subscriber applications to specify the types of events they're interested in receiving and allows the publishing application to broadcast messages independent of interested parties. The mapping between interested subscribers and published content is facilitated by the messaging system. This allows subscribers to publish information totally independent of recipients and vice versa. Some messaging systems provide QoS that enables the persistence of published messages for future processing.

JMS developers are responsible for selecting the message provider and for specifying the type of messaging model they want to implement. In addition, some JMS services are supported by the JMS layer independent of the underlying messaging implementation. These are:

  • Transactions
  • Message filtering
These need to be supported by the JMS provider implementation layer, however.

XML
Most messaging systems, including the JMS specification, are agnostic when it comes to message content. They categorize message content as:

  • Basic types (int, float, char, long, etc.)
  • Text (string)
  • Bytes (byte arrays)
This is where XML comes to the rescue by providing the mechanisms to define the content of a message. This information is used by both sender and receiver clients to manipulate complex objects. The XML tags allow the sender application to serialize an object for future consumption by the receiver application. It's the responsibility of the receiver application to reconstruct the object for further manipulation.

Another advantage of using XML for defining the content of a message is that it provides a platform-independent mechanism for exchanging information between heterogeneous applications. This means a Visual Basic application can package an object using XML and send it to a Java application where it can be reconstructed from the XML message.

It's important to realize that XML doesn't provide a communications transport like TIBCO, MQSeries, IIOP, SMTP, and HTTP. However, it can work with any of these transports to provide message- content abstraction. One example of how XML facilitates the creation of communication transport is the use of HTTP and XML to develop XML RPCs.

JMS and XML
Does this mean that the buzzword-compliant people know best? I don't think so! However, they pay enough attention to know what the technologists are saying. As mentioned earlier, JMS provides a communication abstraction layer for messaging while XML provides a message content abstraction layer. JMS enables the use of XML via its TextMessage content type. This enables string-based messages and XML text (see Listing 1).

When JMS and XML?
JMS and XML provide a total abstraction of communications transport and data content. Given this statement, why should you care about any requirements? Isn't this the solution to all your messaging needs? Let's revisit the questions asked earlier:

Q: Can the solution be deployed using asynchronous communications or does it require synchronous behavior?
A: JMS deals with asynchronous communications. If you need to manipulate synchronous flows like RMI, CORBA, or HTTP, you may want to consider using synchronous protocols. While you can implement synchronous behavior with asynchronous protocols, this isn't the norm and it's more difficult.

Q: Will this solution be used in the intranet or extranet?
A: JMS deals with messaging in thje intranet. Publish/subscribe and queue management systems aren't designed to deal with unreliable networks like the Internet. If you want to set up extranet communications, you need to consider XML RPC (SOAP) or SMTP (e-mail).

Q: What are the messaging paradigms supported by your system?
A: Does the underlying system support publish/subscribe or point-to-point? Some systems support only one or the other. Publish/subscribe systems have been optimized for broadcast (e,g., TIBCO). They haven't been optimized for point-to-point. Similarly, queue management systems have been optimized to provide message persistence via queues and point-to-point communications. They haven't been optimized for publish/subscribe.

Q: Does the underlying messaging system support JMS?
A: If your corporate messaging system doesn't support JMS, you may be stuck with their proprietary Java interfaces or you may need to develop your own JNI interfaces.

Q: What QoS are supported by the messaging system?
A: Does the JMS implementation that comes with your messaging system support guaranteed delivery, transactions, and message filtering? If your application requires transactions and your JMS implementation doesn't support them, this may be a problem. You may be forced to evaluate a different JMS provider. If your JMS provider supports message persistence, where is the persistence storage happening, in an RDBMS or proprietary storage? Persistence may be an issue if your JMS provider requires you to purchase a specific RDBMS.

Q: What are the characteristics of the information to be published on the network?
A: If you're using publish/subscribe, what type of information are you publishing? This issue is particularly important if you're using publishing as an event mechanism. Events are normally regarded as lightweight messages. Because of this requirement, it may not make sense to inquire about the overhead of wrapping a simple event value in an XML message. The subscribers may be listening on a topic called shipping orders, and the only content inside the event may be the order number. In this situation there's no need to create an XML message to publish the information. However, if subscribers are listening for the complete order with all of its parameters, it makes sense to package the order object inside an XML message for further processing by the subscriber application.

Q: Are e-mail messages a requirement?
A: JMS doesn't handle e-mail sending or receiving. That's the purpose of the JavaMail APIs. If the application needs to support e-mail for asynchronous messaging, then JMS isn't the answer. However, if your application needs to use an intranet-based messaging system like TIBCO, and you want to implement an e-mail gateway, the combination of JMS and JavaMail is ideal.

Q: What are the possible messaging systems that the solution will be deployed against?
A: If the solution being developed will be used only against one messaging system, it may not make sense to use JMS. This is the case if there's no JMS provider for a particular messaging framework but there is a Java API for that system. However, if the solution can be deployed against multiple messaging systems, it makes sense to leverage a communications abstraction layer.

Conclusion
JMS and XML are an ideal combination and can be deployed to provide a total abstraction solution for messaging and data content. However, you need to understand your requirements clearly before making the technology call. Therefore, it's important to know the limitations and correct usage of the JMS and XML technologies.

More Stories By Israel Hilerio

Israel Hilerio is a program manager at Microsoft in the Windows Workflow Foundation team. He has 15+ years of development experience doing business applications and has a PhD in Computer Science.

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, 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 ma...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...