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6.4 Content-Based Router

Content of the message may dictate the destination to which the message must be delivered. Content-based Router [EIP] inspects the message it receives and sends it to a destination depending on the content.

In a simple case, a Java Collaboration or a Business Process would have a set of destinations hardcoded within a switch or an if-then-else construct that operates on all or part of the message. An example in Figure 6-7 is a simple Java Collaboration that illustrates dynamic JMS Destination selection.

Figure 6-7

Figure 6-7 Hardcode dynamic router

A Business Process that implements a dynamic router can be constructed similarly, as the example in Figure 6-8 shows.

Figure 6-8

Figure 6-8 eInsight Business Process–based dynamic router

Here a decision gate inspects a message to determine which branch to follow. A Business Rules activity assigns a string literal to the JMS Destination's destination attribute, and the JMS.send activity gets the message delivered to the destination so set.

Whether a JCD or a Business Process is used, the connectivity map for the example will be identical to that used for the fixed router in the example in the previous section (i.e., the name of the JMS Destination will be unrelated to the actual JMS Destination to which messages will be delivered).

In the two examples shown in Figures 6-7 and 6-8, a conditional was evaluated to determine the destination of the message, which was hardcoded. If additional destinations were required, the collaboration or the process would have to be modified, and the application containing it would have to be redeployed to propagate changes to the runtime environment. This implementation of a Content-based Router is potentially a high-maintenance implementation if destinations change frequently.

In a special case, you could use the message, or the message component, as the complete name or a part of the name of the destination. You would not need to use a conditional or hardcode destination names.

The JCD in Figure 6-9 appends the first 10 characters of the input message to a literal qDest to form the name of the destination. The message is then written to the destination with the resulting name.

Figure 6-9

Figure 6-9 Dynamically generating JMS Destination names

If the first 10 characters of messages were PRIMARY??? and SECONDARY?, where ? represents a space character, the resulting destination names would be qDestPRIMARY and qDestSECONDARY respectively. If using the Sun SeeBeyond JMS implementation, which does not require you to preconfigure JMS Destinations ahead of time but rather creates JMS Destinations on first reference if they don't already exist, this could result in a completely dynamic Content-based Router. You could introduce a message whose initial characters were something other than PRIMARY??? and SECONDARY?, and the Sun SeeBeyond JMS implementation would create a new JMS Destination with that appropriate name and deliver the message there. There may not be a receiver for the message delivered to the new destination, but the Content-based Router itself would be dynamic and would not require modification. Addition of a destination would not require redeployment of the application containing such a router if no other changes were needed to take advantage of the new route. This solution does not require maintenance of the router if the number of destinations changes but makes it difficult to determine to how many destinations messages are routed, as it removes the setting of the content, upon which routing decisions are made, from the router to some other component upstream from the router or even outside the integration solution altogether.

In the previous examples, a very simple text message was used and some leading or trailing characters were extracted from the text for use in the conditional or as a part of a destination name. Messaging systems will rarely deal with such unstructured text messages. Much more likely, messages will be structured. The contents of one or more fields in the message will then be used for routing decisions or destination name derivation. For simplicity, we will continue using simple text messages wherever message structure has no bearing on the discussion.

These trivial examples demonstrate how explicit routing can be performed programmatically within a JCD or a Business Process. This method will be used to set destinations for more complex Message Routers.

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