Implementing a light weight web service trigger in Flux

Aloha from Hawaii! Shame on me to not blog for months. Well, honestly I have been quite busy during the past few months. With the big move to Hawaii in December and the recent launch of Floify kept me occupied. Although moving to a new place is fun, getting settled on an island can sometimes be more stressful. Now all that is taken care, there is no good reason to not blog from rainbow nation 🙂

Recently, I was working with an evaluator implementing a proof of concept where they had a requirement for scheduling workflows from a web service request. In Flux, this can be easily implemented as a trigger which typically waits for an event to occur. Flux supports popular triggers out of the box, which are either based on timer or database condition or file or audit trail or mail. While ago, I implemented a custom web service trigger which supports both SOAP and HTTP requests and expedites the workflow to the subsequent step. The sample testcase below shows how web service trigger can be implemented in your Flux workflows.

The sample client code that expedites the trigger is shown below.

With this plugin, your workflows can be designed to trigger based on web service requests and it also allows users to configure an embedded web server that runs part of the workflow. If this were one shot workflows, this nicely fits the bill. If the requirement were to support a recurring workflow, I would classify this approach as heavy weight mainly because it spins a web server for each run of your workflow which may not be ideal for high performance workflows. It makes more sense to reuse a single web server instance that accepts requests and triggers a workflow template from the repository. I do not believe this can be easily supported without making some core changes in Flux. But, it is not the end of the world, there is a more efficient way to implement this in Flux today by using Flux Cluster APIs.

Flux 7.11 Operations Console exposes set of APIs that allows clients to talk to Flux engine cluster via simple HTTP interface. In essence, Flux Opsconsole acts as a web service trigger for the cluster. You can find the documentation of these APIs here. The API that schedules a workflow template from repository will be available in 7.11.4. If you would like to try out this, you can request a 7.11.4 build from Flux support, we would be happy to send one on your way. The Operations Console deploys HTTP resources that can be accessed in a number of ways. If you were a Java shop, you would consider something similar shown in the Gist below. This sample uses Jersey APIs to POST a multipart request to the endpoint. You just need to toss in restaction.jar which is part of the Flux distribution.

In this example, we add three properties to a multipart request. The first one “template” is required and specifies the name of the template in the repository. The “category” and “rate” are optional variables that will be made available in your workflow instance. You can add as many data points that you would like to pass on to your workflow instance. You can also optionally customize the name of the workflow instance that you would like to spin off from the repository by setting the “namespace” property in the request.

There is another API that might interest you as well. This API schedules a given flow chart to the engine. The major difference here is your are exporting a workflow file to the engine instead of spinning an instance from existing repository template.

Enjoy developing in Flux and Mahalo for stopping by!

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