IBM offers software development patterns

Focusing on code reuse, IBM is making available four enterprise software development patterns intended to ease application-building for users of the IBM Rational Software Architect tool.

The free IBM Rational Software Architect Enterprise Patterns feature code that can be integrated directly into the Software Architect tool. The patterns enable automation and reuse of application designs. For example, an online account balance inquiry application could be fitted into any other application that requires "view account balance" functionality.

"It's essentially a set of codified, reusable assets that folks can bring into Rational tools and increase their productivity and help them implement enterprise applications in a more quick way," said Angel Diaz, director of On Demand software development at IBM.

The four patterns being made available include:

  • Business delegates, which allows for taking business-specific code and linking it to a service that will use the code. This pattern is applicable to assembling an SOA, according to Diaz.
  • Data access object, which provides for automated access to back-end data and insulates a client application from details on how the data is stored. Data can be accessed via mechanisms such as ODBC and SQL calls. Developers specify the data sources when building the applications.
  • Message facade, which provides an abstraction layer for message transport between applications, supporting mechanisms such as SOAP or MQ.
  • Session facade, for managing sessions, such as in logging transactions.

Although the four patterns are generic, IBM also supports developers who want to build their own specific patterns via Software Architect, Diaz said. Software Architect is a design and development tool that provides for model-driven development via UML.

With the patterns, IBM is embedding best practices directly in tools for easier use, said Carl Zetie, an analyst at Forrester Research. Patterns encapsulate best practices but enable developers to deviate from the pattern when it makes sense, he said.

"Patterns are one of the most successful things that we've seen in general modeling," Zetie said.

The patterns are available on the IBM DeveloperWorks site.

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