OpenShift Camel Component in a SwitchYard Project – An Overview

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Camel OpenShift SwitchYard LogoIn an earlier post, I introduced a custom Apache Camel component that can be used to manage the OpenShift platform. It allows for the invocation of operations that control key components of the OpenShift lifecycle such as displaying user metrics and managing applications. The operations and metrics generated from this component can be used in a variety of applications that leverage the Camel framework to solve business goals. Camel can be deployed to a variety of runtime environments ranging from servlet containers such as Tomcat, application servers such as JBoss , OSGi containers such as Karaf, or even self sufficient as a standalone application. To demonstrate the functionality of the OpenShift Camel component in a project, we will leverage SwitchYard and JBoss as the running environment within a sample project called camel-openshift-switchyard. SwitchYard is a services delivery framework for running and managing service-oriented applications. By running on SwitchYard, it will allow for the opportunity to cover both the OpenShift Camel component and developing and running applications using Switchyard. This post will provide an overview to the sample project including the steps necessary to configure and deploy either in your own environment or on the OpenShift platform. In subsequent posts, we will review the project in depth including how Camel can be integrated into a SwitchYard project and how to integrate the OpenShift Camel component in a project of your own.

The camel-openshift-switchyard project consists of a SwitchYard application and a basic web application that can be used to invoke services exposed by SwitchYard. The SwitchYard application contains two services: OpenShiftOperationsService and OpenShiftApplicationsStartupService. Each contains Camel routes utilizing the OpenShift Camel Component. The OpenShiftOperationsService invokes operations against a given users’ account such as retrieving the details of a given domain or applications within a domain. Meanwhile, the OpenShiftApplicationStartupService will attempt to start any Application associated to a user that is not currently started. A diagram depicting these services and the overall SwitchYard composite is shown below:

Camel OpenShift SwitchYard Composite

Both services contain a RestEasy binding to allow for external invocation via REST. The OpenShiftApplicationsStatup service also contains a timer binding which will initiate the service at the top of each hour based on a cron schedule. To take advantage of the scheduled service operation, the following two system properties must be configured either within the application itself or on application platform.

  • openshift.user – The login of the OpenShift user
  • openshift.password – The password on the account


Included in the project are a series of integration tests designed to validate the functionality of the application and to demonstrate the testing capabilities of SwitchYard applications. Injection of property values and invocation of Services and HTTP resources are some of the components demonstrated.

Building and Deploying

The project is hosted on GitHub and can be cloned into a local environment by running the following command:

git clone

Prior to built or imported into an IDE, certain project dependencies must be configured. A core project dependency is the OpenShift Camel component which must be installed and available in the local Maven repository. Because this library is not part of any publicly available repository, initialization scripts for both Windows and Unix have been provided to configure the required dependencies. This script is found in the support folder of the project. Execute the or init.bat depending on your Operating System.

Next, build the project using Maven by running the following command:

mvn clean install

With the project now built, deploy the archive to Fuse Service Works or a JBoss container with SwitchYard installed. Once deployed, the application can be accessed by browsing to http://localhost:8080/camel-openshift-switchyard/

 Camel OpenShift SwitchYard Application

Deployment to OpenShift

The project has been configured to be seamlessly deployed to the OpenShift Platform. OpenShift provides the functionality to utilize custom cartridges which are not part of the core OpenShift platform to host applications. Since this project is built on SwitchYard, we will leverage a custom JBoss EAP 6 cartridge preconfigured with the SwitchYard runtime. The OpenShift Web interface provides the ability to specify a custom cartridge and existing source code during new application creation. However, due to the number of dependencies required by the SwitchYard platform, the project is unable to be built and deployed prior to the default application creation timeout. To get around this limitation, we will create the application using the OpenShift command line tools (RHC), merge the local OpenShift project with the camel-openshift-switchyard project hosted on GitHub, then finally push the application to OpenShift. Using the terminal in the location where the repository of the newly created application will be created on your local machine, issue the following command to create an application using the custom SwitchYard cartridge as the container.

rhc app create <app-name> ""

After the application was successfully created and the source code now available on your machine, change into the application directory:

cd <app-name>

First, add the GitHub hosted project as an upstream Git remote repository

git remote add upstream -m master

Next, pull in the changes from the upstream repository

git pull -s recursive -X theirs upstream master

Finally push the changes to OpenShift

git push origin master

OpenShift will then handle obtaining the required dependencies, building and deploying the project. Once complete, the application can be viewed in a web browser. To determine the URL of an OpenShift application from the command line, execute the following command:

rhc app show <app-name>

You should be able to browse to the URL and utilize the application as you would on your local machine.

As mentioned previously, we will walk through the project in detail in a future post. This will allow for the demonstration of SwitchYard components and provide examples of how the OpenShift Camel component can be used in projects of your own.

Setting the Stage for a SwitchYard Implementation

Posted: October 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Creating and deploying software in a service oriented architecture (SOA) environment can be a daunting task.  Some of the challenges one can face are the complexities of communicating with external systems, transforming data between multiple formats and the management and orchestration of multiple services. There are a number of well-established frameworks available that one can choose from including IBM WebSphere ESB, ActiveMatrix from TIBCO, and Microsoft’s BizTalk server. One of the more recent implementations of a services framework is SwitchYard. While similar to a traditional Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), SwitchYard aims to provide a “lightweight service delivery framework providing full lifecycle support for developing, deploying, and managing service-oriented applications”. So what does that really mean to both developers and stakeholders? For developers, Switchyard provides integration with multiple well established frameworks including Apache Camel, Drools, and jBPM for managing long running business processes. In addition, rich testing support allows for the validation of components at each level of the development process. For stakeholders, SwitchYard provides multiple levels of governance support by interacting with the S-RAMP artifact repository for design time governance and JBoss Overlord for runtime governance. SwitchYard has gained the support and confidence from Red Hat to drive the next version of their Service Oriented Architecture Platform (SOA-P) replacing the existing Rosetta based ESB offering. Over the course of the following several posts, we will discuss how SwitchYard can be deployed within an organization using a real life business use case. In the process, we will discuss several key components within the SwitchYard toolkit. Finally, we will explore how to deploy a SwitchYard project to both a local JBoss installation and an installation deployed on Red Hat’s Openshift Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering.

To establish a business use case for a SwitchYard and to illustrate practical implementations of various SwitchYard components, we will utilize SwitchBrick; a fictitious company in the electronics recycling market who is looking to improve a key aspect of their business. SwitchBrick’s business model is similar to other competitors in their marketplace; consumers trade in their used electronics in exchange for cash. What differentiates SwitchBrick from its competitors is that instead of requiring consumers to ship their product to the company to receive compensation, consumers can visit an automated kiosk to complete the exchange process. SwitchBrick sales have been consistently improving largely due in part to the customer feedback they have received. Seeing how this feedback mechanism has been so critical to the success of the business, they are looking at ways to improve their business process and technology stack. At the present moment, consumers can submit feedback to SwitchBrick in one of two ways:

  • At the conclusion of a transaction at an automated kiosk
  • A form on the SwitchBrick website

While the two systems are not currently integrated, they each perform the same overall functionality. A customer enters their email address and any comments they may have. In addition, the customer is given the opportunity to subscribe to the SwitchBrick newsletter which will entitle them to exclusive offers such as bonuses on future exchanges. Once records are submitted and hit backend systems, they are validated and if the consumer chose to subscribe to the newsletter, a notification is sent to the email provided confirming their subscription. The following diagram provides a visualization of the feedback process.

SwitchYard Overview

Now that we have a basic understanding of the feedback process, let’s discuss some of the specifics of their implementation as we continue to set the stage for integrating SwitchYard components. Feedback submitted at a physical kiosk and from the website are not treated the same primarily due to the process in which the records are received. Records submitted on the SwitchBrick website are received in real time via JMS while at the end of the day, each kiosk will batch up an entire day’s worth of records represented as a flat file in a CSV format. SwitchBrick already has a canonical model for their Feedback system which the website adheres to. The key is to transform the CSV records received from kiosk locations into this format before continuing on with the process. Once the records have been transformed into a canonical model format, validation and business rules can then be applied. Finally, if a subscription is requested, a notification is sent to the email submitted as part of the original request. For brevity of this example application, no persistence to a datastore will be attempted but one can assume this step exists in a real life implementation. With an end to end understanding of the feedback process, here’s how it can be visualized:

SwitchBrick Detailed Implementation

For those who have had previous experience working in a message oriented middleware (MOM) environment may recognize the icons representing the transform and subscription steps of the applications in the diagram above. Those icons signify a transformation and content based router Enterprise Integration Patterns (EIP). An EIP is based on an accepted solution for a given context when designing complex message based systems. Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Woolf’s Enterprise Integration Pattern book, which is approaching its 10 year anniversary, is still considered the go to reference when designing  message based architectures such as SwitchYard. The Apache Camel project has also assembled a quick reference guide for the majority of commonly used patterns on their website. Having a basic understanding of Enterprise Integration Patterns is a key still to attain before working with SwitchYard.

A key feature of SwitchYard and the development toolkit it provides is the support for visualizing components of a SwitchYard application graphically. This visualization allows for a live representation of the state of the application instead of having to leverage third party tools such as Microsoft Visio or open source applications such as OpenOffice/LibreOffice Draw or Dia to depict the application after the fact. Since we have all the steps in place to start developing an application, here’s how it would be modeled within SwitchYard (yes, like a good TV chef, the final product has already been completed):

SwitchYard Overview

In the next post, we will get down to business demonstrating in detail the steps required to create to create a SwitchYard application using the SwitchBrick use case as our guide. Along the way, we will introduce commonly used SwitchYard components, illustrate how they can be used, and review how to test and validate the execution of an application. In the meantime, be sure to check out the SwitchYard product page which includes references for getting your hands on SwitchYard, product documentation, and sample projects.