Better Faster Lighter Java [Electronic resources] نسخه متنی

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Better Faster Lighter Java [Electronic resources] - نسخه متنی

Justin Gehtland; Bruce A. Tate

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4.2 Who's in Control?

Close to the center of my universe are my two little girls. One Christmas, we splurged a little and traded in our out-of-date 19-inch TV for a much larger model. We set the new television up. A little later, I looked around the room: one of my daughters was staring with a blank, passive face at frantic Disney images on the TV. The other kid had the cardboard box. With her mother, she had carved out doors and a window, and was actively jumping and dancing around the passive box. The contrast was striking. On one side, I saw an active toy, and a passive kid; on the other side, a passive toy and an active kid. Since then, I've repeated the experiment, albeit more intentionally. I've filled my house with passive toys that let the kids actively build, imagine, create, or act (at least, when I can pry them away from the TV).

4.2.1 Active Domain Models

Modern programming is undergoing a similar transition from active to passive domain models. Figure 4-1 shows the organization of classic services in a client-server application. Designers put services on the bottom, so their clients could build applications that use the services directly. Essentially, active business logic invoked services as needed. The passive services presented an interface, and waited idle until invoked. Early programmers found it easy to build applications with active business layers. When they needed a transaction, they called a function like BeginWork. When they needed data, they asked for it directly from the database. Easy development gave way to complex maintenance and foiled attempts at extension, because the architecture muddied and entangled concerns between layers.

Figure 4-1. This client-server model lets service logic intrude into the business logic, increasing coupling and complicating code

The problem at the core of this type of design is the commingling of business entities and business rules. The entities themselves, representing the central concepts of the problem domain, manage their own state and their interactions with other entities. This makes changing them more difficult, since structural changes will at the very least entail wading through the logic, and usually involve editing it as well.

When your model actively reaches into other areas of your application, passive services like persistence, logging, and security tend to cut across all aspects of an application. Said another way, a crosscutting concern applies to every aspect of an application. Object-oriented technologies do not handle crosscutting concerns very well.

4.2.2 The Power of Passive Models

You've seen that active models tend to couple much more tightly to individual services. Lately, new object-oriented architectures make an improvement over the all-controlling domain model. Figure 4-2 shows that the business domain model can relinquish control and act like other passive services. The business domain model, if anything, is just another service, albeit an important one. Usually, peer relationships exist between the model and services. You should strive to diminish them. Using this paradigm, controllers marshal data between the model and other services as needed. Controllers model the rules of the application, while the domain model represents the entities. Whole frameworks, like Struts or JDO, solve this problem for user-interface development or persistence.

Figure 4-2. A better architecture has controllers dictating program control

Still, today's developers rely too heavily on hard-wired peer interfaces directly between the business layers and individual services. The next natural step in development evolution is to build a model with generic services that have no advanced knowledge about the model at all. It's a difficult problem that raises some complex questions:

How can a service support a business object without explicit knowledge of it? For example, how can you save an Account object without knowing about the account in advance?

How can you build a business model that uses services in a complex way, without prior knowledge of those services? For example, how can you make sure that the first four business rules execute in one transaction, while the next two occur in another?

How can services react to events in a business model?

These are issues are about establishing transparency. If you haven't dealt with these issues before, it may sound like I am promoting anything but better, faster, and lighter Java. Stay with me, though. These techniques can help you dramatically simplify other areas of your architecture. They are worth the effort.

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