Data Activities

Data Activities defines the base classes that help us implement our architecture, centered around business activities. All the concepts developed in this context owe a lot to the vision and the ideas of Yves Darmaillac.

We define an activity as a part of a business process. All the business process parts that are involved in a business application define this application activities. An activity is a finite state machine, comprising two kinds of states :
  • treatment states : those require no external data (think user interaction). For instance, a treatment state can perform an action on our domain model (create a new reservation), or directly on the data (calculate booking fees). All a treatment state needs to perform its action is data.
  • question states : those do require external data. For instance, a question state can ask for data for a domain model instance (fill reservation details), or it can ask for a specific domain model instance (pick up your seat). Usually, a question is answered via user interaction (but not necessarily, like in the case of unit tests where answers can be automated).

The golden rule here is to make sure that all the application behavior is defined in terms of activities. Treatments are by definition self-sufficient and generic. Questions define abstractions that have to be implemented by the HMI layer. In effect, such abstractions can be implemented by all kinds of presentation technologies (console applications, Windows Forms, ASP .NET, WPF...) with no impact on the business logic.

The fundamental interfaces defined in this library are :
  • IActivityState is an interface implemented by an activity state, and treatment states in particular. IQuestionActivityState is a specialization that is implemented by a question state.
  • IActivityData is implemented by an activity data holder type : it holds the data that is manipulated by a specific activity.
  • IActivityParameters is implemented by an activity parameters holder type. An activity parameter could be seen as an immutable activity data.
  • IActivityController is implemented by an activity controller. Such a class is essential to the activity execution : it initiates the activity, terminates it and controls all the state transitions in between.

All the states must be validated before any transition occurs : this is achieved via the integration of Data Rules. The library defines base implementations for all these interfaces, and helpful classes to implement questions in specific presentation technologies (so far Windows Forms and ASP .NET).

Last edited Oct 22, 2009 at 9:15 AM by cartoixa, version 2

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