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Archive for the ‘Message Broker’ Category

Wooing the Connected consumer ….@IBMInterConnect 2015

It was a great week at IBM Interconnect with so many great sessions to choose from, activities to participate in, and networking to be had. I want to share my thoughts on one session in particular that was of interest – Carter’s “Creating a Smarter Shopping Experience”.   During the session I was reflecting on all the retailers we are working with to build innovative technology solutions to woo the connected consumers of today and how shopping has evolved from park the car, pick from the shelves, check out and bring home. Shopping has also evolved from search online, add to cart, pay and wait for delivery. Rich pins on Pinterest, Likes on Facebook and hashtags on Twitter drive purchases of goods and services.

Retailers like Target, Carters, JCrew, Nordstrom, Starbucks etc. have begun to incorporate social networking channels into their campaigns. The consumer is now ‘connected’, ‘always-on’ and being bombarded by marketing campaigns from competitors all over the globe. Although, consumers still make the conventional decision of buying what they need and when they need  it, alternative business models are making their way front-and-center to reap the benefits of understanding the  consumer behavior. Thousands of analytics apps scour heaps of structured and unstructured data, to figure out what and when the consumer will buy and most importantly, what the consumer feels.

The ‘Connected’ Consumers defined:

  • They rely on social channels to guide purchases.Blogpost1
  • They expect personalized experience, tailored to their needs.
  • They want mobile alerts on promotions, special events and recommendations based on purchasing history.
  • They want a 360 degree view of the product, not only physical looks from every angle, but also technical specifications, reviews, market trends, price match and customer ratings at their fingertips.
  • They expect broad assortments, ‘endless aisles’ and competitive pricing for products of interest.
  • They need flexible order systems, where order should be received from any channel – store, online, mobile, call center and shipped from anywhere – manufacturer, distribution center or store.
  • They demand faster and flexible delivery and return options in hours, days, and weeks or scheduled for months later.
  • And…. all this via a wearable device, if you please!

Initiatives to make it work

Tight coupling of customer engagement systems, marketing technology and social tools enable better understanding of shopper behavior and patterns. Creation of social profiles in social CRM systems, like Salesforce, use of social listening and real – time insights with tools like IBM’s Consumer Insights could be put to work. It may require re-inventing email marketing programs and lead management.

Investment in data analytics to track consumers’ purchasing patterns, social media monitoring and sentiment analysis provides a sure shot payback. The adoption of Internet of Things has a huge impact on future business models where sensors in brick-and-mortar stores will help gather and process data. IBM’s InfoSphere BigInsights, Apache Cassandra and Hadoop facilitate scalable and affordable real-time analysis. Fast delivery can be achieved by an in depth understanding of getting the right items to the right locations at the right time. This implies that inventories are managed and updated in real time, order management and logistics systems are fully integrated and tuned to work in synchronization.


To extract value from mobile for the connected consumer the key factors for engagement are personalization, contextualization and geo-location. A robust mobile strategy that encompasses these factors will stand the test of constant digital disruption.

Web APIs are the magic words that bond cloud, social and mobile technologies to work in unison for a common goal. These lightweight software interfaces streamline access to product information, store inventory, location details and mashups of other APIs from various sources. All systems throughout Amazon communicate via APIs. Several other APIs from leading retailers like Target, eBay, Best Buy can be quickly consumed to spin up a new site.

Now wearable technology is the hottest consumer trend that needs to be taken heed of, when developing shopping experience. Data from wearable technology can be funneled into existing ecosystems for personalized shopping experience. Mobile-friendly websites reduce shopping card abandonment. Websites should be optimized for mobile devices and integrated with mobile couponing and mobile payments. Mobile enabled loyalty programs keep customers engaged and add value to brand interactions. Self-service kiosks, enabling technologies like mobile, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), clienteling software and retail apps are facilitating and further enhancing the retail experience, uncovering new revenue sources and enable one-to one marketing.

A seamless approach to customer experiences available through all shopping channels, a single view of shopper derived from personal profiles and a single database of products, prices and promotions is the Holy Grail, and the path is strewn with challenges. Legacy applications and business functions require transitioning to newer tools and applications.

With careful approach of building interfaces across projects in an incremental fashion, establishing integration standards and best practices for across projects, the possibilities are practically endless. I left InterConnect more determined than ever to get our teams engaged with top retailers, and all industries really, to keep them relevant, innovative, and competitive in their marketplace. Then I rested my weary feet after a week in Las Vegas. J


Performance Testing Framework for Websphere Message Broker

With this post, I will cover performance testing framework for Websphere Message Broker.

Tools Used:

Tools used to do the performance testing of ESB interfaces:

  • Jmeter
  • SupportPac IS03

The following section will brief the tools that are used in the ESB Performance test plans.


Jmeter is an open source Apache Software used for load testing the applications. It’s a 100% pure java application for load and performance testing. It requires JDK 1.6 or higher. This is a Java desktop application with a graphical interface using the Swing graphical API, can therefore run on any environment / workstation accepting a Java virtual machine, for example: Windows, Linux, Mac, etc. Read the rest of this post »

Integrating IBM Integration Bus with DataPower XC10 – (REST APIs)


In this article we will discuss about how you can achieve the integration between IBM Integration Bus (IIB) and WebSphere DataPower XC10 (XC10) using the REST APIs functionality of XC10 devices. Since the release of the V9, IIB can now connect to an external data grid cache to improve SOA’s services performance by the use of a eXtreme Scale client. But the good thing about integrating with the XC10 REST APIs is that it can also be achieved by previous and earliest versions of WebSphere Message Broker (WMB) like 7 and 8.

For a complete understanding of Global Cache and External Cache on IIB, please consider the following link:

If you’re looking for details on how to achieve this integration using the Java APIs MbGlobalMap, please visit:

Also, a detailed explanation of the Side Cache pattern in a SOA architecture is beyond the scope of this article. To learn more about the pattern, please consider the following links: Read the rest of this post »

WebSphere Message Broker integration with Netezza using ODBC/JDBC

What is Netezza:

At an extremely high level Netezza is a massively Parallel Process Database Appliance designed to process and analyze large amounts of data. Netezza’s core value is to keep the things simple and accelerating high performance analysis of data to help clients uncover insights into their business. One of the reasons of it’s performance is that it is deeply integrates hardware, software and storage to simplify and accelerate deployment to deliver business analytics value in few days. This data warehouse appliance requires nearly no to minimal tuning and administration – e.g., no storage administration, less database/system administration – further reducing the cost of deploying and total cost of ownership.

WebSphere Message Broker integration with Netezza using ODBC/JDBCIBM Netezza appliances are now part of IBM PureSystems – expert integrated systems with built in expertise, integration by design and a simplified user experience. Part of the PureData family, the Netezza appliance is now known as the PureData System for Analytics. It has the same key design tenets of simplicity, speed, scalability and analytics power that was fundamental to Netezza appliances. With simple deployment, out-of-the-box optimization, no tuning and minimal on-going maintenance, the IBM PureData System for Analytics has the industry’s fastest time-to-value and lowest total-cost-of-ownership.

What is Message Broker:

IBM WebSphere® Message Broker is an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) built for universal connectivity and transformation in heterogeneous IT environments. WebSphere Message Broker distributes information and data generated by business events in real time to people, applications, and devices throughout your extended enterprise and beyond.

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Posted in Message Broker, News, WMB

Simplify Development = Embrace Patterns

I’m a BIG believer in two things: a) work smarter, not harder; 2) keep things simple — avoid complexity. Complex leads to complicated, complicated leads to misunderstanding, misunderstanding leads to chaos. Nonetheless, my guidelines seem easy enough, right? Well, good news then, they are simple and easy to apply in just about anything we face day to day — except in golf. Ah yes, the wonderful world of golf [which currently holds me hostage]. The place where complex instructions, ideas and or suggestions have license to run rampant — like a wild herd of buffalo feasting on the open range. If anyone tells you differently about golf, run. I started hacking away on fairways and driving ranges across this great country 28 years ago. It’s only recently that I finally feel like a hero when I play. But that feeling came at a high price. Golf IS a complex sport to learn, practice and or play. It requires the highest of all levels in humility and stick-to-itiveness. Love that word, stick-to-itiveness [defined as: the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult or unpleasant]. But I digress.


Let’s get back to keeping things simple in the blog. What is a pattern, as it applies to WebSphere Message Broker [WMB] and or IIBv9? In short, a pattern is a reusable solution that encapsulates a tested approach to solving a common architecture, design, or deployment task in a particular context. Ever hear of the television show Cupcakes Wars on Food Network? Each show consists of cupcake bakers battling to see who will reign supreme as cupcake baker of the week. In the final bake-off, bakers are required to bake 1,000 cupcakes each. To accomplish this, bakers use commercial cupcake pans, like the one shown to the right. So, how does a cupcake pan apply to patterns in WMB or IIBv9? Easy, the pan is my pattern. The pattern ensures that each artifact [message flows in WMB or IIBv9] are created the same, like a cupcake. Are you now thinking “…what about customization Jason?” Easy, what kind of cupcake does your client like? Vanilla, chocolate or strawberry? Does it need sprinkles and frosting too? In case you’re curious, my fav cupcake is a vanilla, maple syrup and bacon concoction. Read the rest of this post »

eXtreme Scale

Just for curiosity’s sake and this blog, I looked up the definition of ‘cache’ [as used in computer science]. Most sources define it as “…a component that transparently stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster “.  The part about served faster reminded me of an old adage. It goes like this. Cheap, fast and good; pick two. In other words, say you need something that is cheap and fast; most likely, it will not be good. Kinda like the bread sticks I ordered for dinner earlier this week. Conversely, say you need something that is fast and good, it will not be cheap. Enter WebSphere eXtreme Scale [WXS]; an enterprise caching solution.

eXtreme ScaleIn the SOA world, architects, developers and or administrators are consistently faced with performance challenges. For me, I feel immersed in a never-ending battle of resolving and or improving our client’s performance issues. Many customers have business applications that process thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not billions of transactions daily. Typically, these applications will require high levels of efficiency and near-linear capability. It is here that WXS, a distributed caching platform fits well. It provides an efficient way to increase and streamline system wide performance. WXS is designed to work in heterogeneous environments throughout leading application server platforms and visualization environments.

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IIBv9 – Introduction

Peers, it is time to embrace IBM’s Integration Bus v9 aka IIBv9. Many of us are comfortable developing solutions using WebSphere Message Broker [WMB] version 6, 7 and 8. To date, all the projects I’ve worked on at Perficient, clients still used WMB 6/7. However, IBM recently re-branded WMB as Integration Bus. Much of the changes and or improvements released in WMB version 8,  were significantly updated and improved in IIBv9. Meaning, the word is out. Clients are looking to move away from WMB 6/7/8 and into IIBv9. Let’s get ahead of the migration wave and become the leaders of IIBv9 implementation. No sweat, the easiest way to do that is by informing ourselves.

According to IBM:

IBM® Integration Bus is designed to solve all integration requirements between back-end systems, from simple point-to-point connectivity to sophisticated topological patterns such as ESBs. It has a wide range of built-in connectors that enable integration between web services, files, databases, packaged applications such as SAP and Microsoft® Dynamics CRM, plus a variety of configuration and transformation options such as graphical mapping, Java™, and Microsoft .NET®.

I’ve created a brief 16 minute presentation. It provides a high-level overview of IIBv9; as well as, share new features. Please click on the link below to view the presentation. Feel free to post comments/questions too.

Message modelling using DFDL in WMB


This article addresses the DFDL message modelling feature in IBM® WebSphere® Message Broker (also known as IBM® Integration Bus). It contains step by step instructions for creating a DFDL schema for a flat file using WMB tool-kit.

Data Format Description Language, commonly known as DFDL is an open standard based modelling language which is using in Websphere message broker V8 onwards for modelling data.  DFDL is based on the XML schema and is the recommended way of modelling over the proprietary MRM domain. DFDL is using a subset of the constructs in XML schema to modell the non-XML messages.

DFDL can be used to describe legacy data files,  record-oriented text or scientific and numeric computations. DFDL is more flexible than the MRM modelling and provides better performance.

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Automated Build and Deploy in WebSphere Message Broker Using Ant

Summary:  This article shows a step-by-step approach for setting up an automated build and deploy framework in IBM® WebSphere® Message Broker (also known as IBM® Integration Bus) using Ant, Hudson and SubVersion. This also includes the set of frameworks components for setting up the auto build and deploy for a sample WMB project .

Broker ARchive(BAR) file:

Broker Archive(BAR)  is a deployable container  in a compressed file format which contains a single deployment descriptor (broker.xml), compiled message flows(*.cmf), message set dictionary files(*.xsdzip, *.dictionary), style sheets(.xsl), XSLT files and JAR files. When you unzip the BAR file, the single descriptor file can be found under META_INF folder. The deployment descriptor file has information about configuration properties of the flow and nodes.

Sample contents of a deployment descriptor file(broker.xml):
<CompiledMessageFlow name="">

<ConfigurableProperty uri=""/>
figurableProperty override="DB2_DSN_DEV" uri=""/>
<ConfigurableProperty override="SAMPLE.DEV.IN" uri=""/>
</CompiledMessageFlow >

Step 1: Get Source Code from SCM:

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Message Broker’s ABITSTREAM function

I recently had a unique integration requirement where an external service provider was expecting XML within the SOAP request. One automatically thinks CDATA but in this case the endpoint required the XML to be escaped within a SOAP request.

<SOAP-ENV:Envelope xmlns:SOAP-ENV="" xmlns:ns1="">
  <ns1:Value>&lt;order&gt; &lt;ns1:Attributes&gt; &lt;ns1:Name&gt;Transaction_ID&lt;/ns1:Name&gt;&lt;ns1:Value&gt;Transaction_ID goes here&lt;/ns1:Value&gt; &lt;/ns1:Attributes&gt; &lt;/order&gt;

After multiple attempts trying to solve this with XSLT’s a colleague suggested why not move back to ESQL and use the ABITSTREAM function. A few minutes later the below ESQL snippet proves once again why Message Broker is a true Enterprise ESB.

SET soapReq.ns:Objects.ns:Subscribers.ns:Attributes[1].ns:Name='XML_Data';
 SET myMsgBlob = ASBITSTREAM(InputRoot.XMLNSC.Order, 
                                       FolderBitStream );
  SET myMsgChar = CAST( myMsgBlob AS CHAR CCSID InputRoot.Properties.CodedCharSetId ENCODING InputRoot.MQMD.Encoding); 
 SET soapReq.ns:Objects.ns:Subscribers.ns:Attributes[1].ns:Value = myMsgChar;