By the time you read this, we’re strolling the streets of London, our heads filled with input on new and improved WSO2 products, digital trends, Ballerina and Authorization as A Service. The WSO2 Con might be over, but we’re far from done exploring new ways to help our customers realize their digital transformation. So, in this blog, our specialists tell you about their WSO2 key take-aways one last time. Just to make sure you didn’t miss out on the important stuff. And important it was. Let’s talk about the future of the ESB, microservices, Mobile Connect, a digital way of collecting taxes and the many -many- advantages of WSO2’s MSF4J.
Configuration is dead, long live code & Ballerina
By Rob Blaauboer, Integration Consultant & Trainer
One of today’s key note speeches was in the hands of Sanjiva Weerawarana (AKA Mr. Ballerina). He discussed Ballerina plans and shared his vision for the future. Because why would you choose Ballerina? The answer is simple: to make integration great again. Today, everything is connected, and if you want to do something (anything), you call an API. Additionally, as we operate in a global market with disappearing sector boundaries, everything that we make is interesting to other people and businesses. This requires us to be inventive and agile.
The ESB is too hot and heavy for this future. Sanjiva therefore predicts we will soon move to microservices: serverless architectures that change the world, like the steam engine did in the 1700s. Second, as configuration is dead and the usage of domain specific language is not working anymore, we will go back to code. This makes application development faster, as code will get you up and running in no time and also supports CI/CD processes- even better than an ESB.
With this future in mind, Ballerina was created: a special language for connection of use cases. The languages that are currently used are poor at asynchronous programming and Ballerina solves this problem. Let’s have a look at some Ballerina characteristics:
- Event-driven, parallel programming language for net worked application
- Textual and graphical syntaxes with sequence diagram metaphor (to support sequence diagrams)
- Powerful type system, connectivity and resilience
- Designed for modern development practices
- Reduces the chance of bugs
Good to know: ESB and DSS will become Ballerina. There will be a migration tool that will take some of the pain away, however this doesn’t mean it will take on all the work. I therefore recommend you prepare for a migration strategy! Second, a combination of API, Event and Streams is one of the future modes of operation of networked programs: future versions will support this.
Note that the development of Ballerina is a marathon rather than a sprint. Languages get better with new generations or versions, meaning some patience is required. Low memory, fast boot, network natively, resilience, serverless microservices are all parameters for Ballerina, though, meaning the future of connectivity is bright.
Mobile Identity in the Digital Economy
By Rob Blaauboer, Integration Consultant & Trainer
Marie Ausetenaa, VP and Head of Personal Data and Mobile Identity, tells us about Mobile Connect, a tool that matches the user to their mobile phone, so they can log-in to websites and applications without the need to remember passwords and usernames. Mobile Connect is safe, secure and doesn’t share personal information without permission. But most important of all, it serves a real need. As can be seen on the picture below, 57 operators in 30 markets have launched the tool.
How did Mobile Connect became so successful? According to Marie, the success factor lies in their ability to anticipate these major market trends, that are driving the need for a secure digital identity:
- Digital is everywhere and mobile is everything
- Security in the digital world is not up to the task, but alternatives are in the making
- Major regulatory chances are underway (all over the world)
The mobile identity industry is estimated to be worth 88 billion dollars in 2020, meaning mobile operators have some work to do. Authorization and Authentication As A Service should be a main focus, says Marie. This principle can be deployed in pretty much every segment, from alcohol locks, to governmental data exchange and something simple as not having to remember your passwords while protecting your photos and secret conversations.
Writing Microservices Using MSF4J
Nils Eckert – Integration Consultant
WSO2 introduced MSF4J early 2016. Therefore, today’s session on how to write microservices using WSO2 MSF4J was not exactly “hot news”. However, for those that hadn’t been in touch with MSF4J yet, it provided a neat introduction to what MSF4J is, how it compares to other frameworks and how it can be used to write microservices.
MSF4J is a lightweight, annotation-based framework for creating microservices and has a fast runtime with a low memory footprint. Let’s keep things simple by giving you a transparent overview of the main features:
Lightweight and fast runtime
– 9MB pack size
– Starts under 300ms
– Less than 25MB memory consumption for the WSO2 microservice framework
– Designed to be run in container-based environments, such as Docker
Simple development, deployment, and monitoring
– Annotation-based development in Java, including annotations for monitoring
– Support for a Spring-native programming model
– Support for Swagger annotations and Swagger definitions generations
– Built-in metrics and analytics with WSO2 Data Analytics Server
– A bunch of samples to demonstrate how to develop microservice applications
– Built-in support for JSON web token (JWT)
– Built-in support for Basic Authentication and OAuth2, leveraging WSO2 Identity Server or 3rd party authentication servers
High scalability and reliability
– HTTP/HTTPS transports based on Netty 4.0
– Native streaming support for large messages, both inbound and outbound
Looking for more details? Check out the MSF4J documentation.
The win-win-win of HHNK
By Rob Blaauboer, Integration Consultant & Trainer
At this third day of the WSO2 Con, HHNK presented their deployment of WSO2 for the collection of taxes. The Dutch Water Authority has played a role water management for hundreds of years and is one of 22 regional authorities. Everything they do revolves around water and -to a lesser extent- around road safety. Think about canals, rivers and dykes.
To fund the work of HHNK, taxes are collected from citizens and companies. Originally, this collection process was done manually. HHNK wanted to do things better, faster and more efficient, and decided to go digital. The objectives were: transparency, usability and speed.
The success factors that were mentioned are:
- A good IT vison
- IT integration principles
- Scrum approach
- Design for the web
The results are impressive, as the new digital service was instantly usable for residents and directly accessible. Moreover, the tax amount is now more transparent than it was before the switch. This win-win-win made HHNK a more reliable organization, and also allowed them to hire less staff, reduce banking cost and realize a 50% faster remission treatment. Last but not least, they have a payoff time of 1.1. to break even.
And this is just the beginning. HHNK is planning on plugging in more applications and create and reuse business application services. Moreover, the API Manager is a likely candidate to be introduced.
Microservices for Enterprises
Jochen Traunecker, Director Yenlo LABS
Kasun Indrasiri, Director of Integration Architecture at WSO2, provided a holistic view on microservices in the context of enterprise applications.
Microservices can be considered as fundamental building blocks for developing applications as a suite of fine-grained and independent services. Each microservice is executed in its own process and is developed, maintained and deployed independently. Microservices rely heavily on inter-microservice communication, and Kasun referred to various communication patterns and protocols, like synchronous message passing based on well-known and widely adopted protocols (HTTP). Especially gRPC  on-top of HTTP2 could reduce round trip times of internal service calls within an application. Asynchronous messaging based on open protocols like AMQP or MQTT is key to foster autonomy of microservices.
In general, each general-purpose programming language is suitable to implement microservices. The more microservices that are getting deployed and operated, the more you should look into the individual resources footprint of each microservice. Kasun also gave a brief overview of aspects that must be taken into account when introducing a microservices architecture:
- Granularity of microservices and how to organize them
- Securing microservices (OAuth2, OpenID Connect and JWT)
- Deployment strategies of microservices
- the role of Domain Driven Design in micro services architecture
- Governance and governance by observation
- Various service registries (etcd, consul) (it is really spelled ETCD)
- Service Mesh
Kasun concluded with the advice to follow a pragmatic approach for adopting microservices architecture and to be careful not to over-engineer a solution. https://grpc.io
Is there life after the WSO2 Con?
Yes, although life will never be the same again. We’ve enjoyed every minute of this WSO2 rollercoaster, and we can’t wait to put all of the derived knowledge into practice. Our main focus? Getting you where you want, which is probably the very top of your sector (or, you know, the world). If you ask us, you can get there, as long as you find a way to anticipate the digital trends that rule the business world. The key note speeches, panel discussions and case studies of the last three days have proven that IT plays a key role in this story. IT well deployed brings you more speed, flexibility and customer loyalty, which is a great start for a Christmas list, we reckon.
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