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Constructor

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    The Constructor is a workspace where you can build your business connectors

    1. Tab / Select application
    2. Information widgets
    3. Business connector selector/creator
    4. Interfaces overview
    5. License selector / Application information

    Menu

    The menu, or header of the ConnectPlaza interface has 3 tabs on the left hand a logout button on the right.

    By selecting Dashboard, Constructor, Deploy or Analyze, you will end up with the application of your choice. The option Dashboard is only visible if you have administrative rights. In Constructor you can build the business connectors and in Deploy, you can deploy the connectors to any of your end user environments. Analyze is a separate licensed application which gives you the opportunity to analyze the data consumed and produced by the ConnectPlaza application.

    At the left side of your log out button, you will see your company name and the user who is logged in at the moment. With the log out button, you can leave the application. 

    Cockpit Widgets

    The widgets in the cockpit will give you additional information concerning the ConnectPlaza environment. You can add the available widgets to your desktop by clicking on the

    If there are any available widgets you can select them in the Add widget box by selecting the widget.

    License selector / Application information

    At the right of the screen you can see the next icons .
    Those icons will always appear at the top of the page in Constructor.
     

    - License selector. With this selector you can select a specific license you are entitled to work on. This is probably you development account and some installed end user licenses.

     - Go to the widget screen of Constructor

     - Select advanced mode for constructor items

    - The amount of accounts logged in.

     - Enable/Disable the tooltips

     - Toggle the help menu to select the About text or the documentation web site. 

    Advanced settings

    As of version 3.4.x of ConnectPlaza you will get a special Advanced option in your selection bar. With this option Constructor switches between the advanced state and the more normal state of the components.The advanced state will display for some of the components more fields of an advanced nature, i.e. field that are not needed in most implementations, but necessary in specific situations.

    For instance the HTTP Gateway:

    You seen an indication at the top of the component screen:

    You see this indication if you not have entered the advanced mode so notice the developer that this is a component with advanced options. If you press the  button (it turns blue), the advanced indication will move after the labels of the advanced option fields. For instance: .

    Business connector selector/creator

    Here you can select and create your Business connectors. These Business connectors will hold your Interfaces.

    You can see two items here, a selection box and a   button. With the selection box, you can select a previously created business connector. With the button, you can create a new business connector. If the  button is not available, you probably have a partner account. With this type of account, you can only create one business connector. The  will be removed from the page, if this is the case. 

    Docu

    Here you can select a name for your new Business connector. By pressing the Save button you will create a new Business connector, pressing the Cancel button will return you to the menu.

    When you have created your new Business connector, the business connector will be automatically selected for you. If you have more than one business connector, you can select the one you want to work on via the selection box.

    You can change the name of your business connector or add properties using the edit button.

    If you want to delete your current business connector, you can do so with the delete button.

    Be careful! When you delete a business connector, you will also delete all of the interfaces and flows you have created within that business connector. 

    Adding Properties

    You can add properties on a global leven at the business connector. These properties can be use throughout the whole business connector. To add properties, select the .

    Press the button to add a property:

    Field

    Description

    Dynamic property

    Most of the time you will use Dynamic Properties. Dynamic means that the defaults set in this property value can be modified while Deploying the application with Deploy.

    If you set the Dynamic Property off, the value of this property will be used within Constructor only. You do not have the option to modify this value when Deploying the application.

    Name*

    Name of the property.

    Field name

    This is the field name used for reference in the Constructor. You can not modify this field. All spaces in the Name of the property will be replaced by '-'.

    Label*

    This is the label, for reference in the properties list in the Constructor.

    Value

    This is the default value of this property.
    CronEditor only visible if type is Cron. When pressing this button, you will get the helper for the Cron.

    Description

    This is the description of this property. For documentation purposes.

    Type*

    This is the type of the property, which can be Text, Secret (passwords etc), Select (Selection box), Cron (Quartz Cron expression).

    Select

    Only visible when Type is 'Select'. You can add the rules of the selection box here.

     

    When added a property to the business connector, it looks like this:

    Pressing the button, returns the following metnu:

    Here you can select to copy the field to the clipboard, edit the settings or remove the value.

    The property-values created in the business connector have a larger scope than the properties created at Flow level. The properties of the businss connector appear in the properties tab with an underline and will be sorted alphabetically at the top of the properties list.

    Interfaces overview

    When you have chosen a business connector in the business connector overview, you can start creating interfaces. An interface is a collection of flows  belonging together, including their resources, custom error handlers and beans.

     Add an Interface by pressing the  button next to the text ‘Interfaces of’

     

    In this screen, you can choose to either import an existing interface or start creating a new one. Because we have not made an Interface yet, we will start creating one.

    Field name Description
    Name Give your interface a name. This is a required field. The name field may not contain any spaces. These characters will be replaced bij '-' characters
    Description Optional, you can put a description of your interface in this box
    Default exception handling

    Error Exceptions can be sent to a different Flow. You can either choose “off”, “storeChannel” or one of the other existing Flows.

    If you use 'storeChannel' all errors will be saved into the directory /temp/storechannel. Please not that nothing will be deleted from this directory automatically. You have to do this by hand.

    If you choose Off, all error messages will be lost.

    NOTE: If you 'storeChannel' you get an extra option with in the options menu, .

    Auto start

    This option tells you if your interface will start at start-up of the ConnectAgent. If you do not select this option, which is by default on, the interface will not start when you start the agent. This can be convenient if you are testing the software and do not want to start the new interface when starting the ConnectAgent.

     

    By pressing the Save button you will create a new Interface, pressing the Cancel button will return you to the menu.

    Your newly created Interface will look like this:

    With the Options button , you can bring up the options menu.

    Here you can edit your Interface, giving you the option to change the name, description and default custom error handling. You can also download your Interface here. This makes it possible to import this interface in another Business connector. Your third option is to bring up the diagram. This gives you a textual representation of your interface and all the flows in it, which is very useful for documentation purposes. Then you have the option to move your interface.

    Here you can select a business connector to move your interface to.

    Finally the options menu gives you the option to outright remove your interface. 

    With the  button you can unfold your interface to show its components.

    From this screen you can choose to add  and see  the flows, resources, custom error handlers, beans and bundles in this interface. 

    Flows

    A Flow is a collection of ConnectPlaza-components and consists of:

    • A Consumer (mandatory);
    • One or more Services (not mandatory);
    • A Producer (not mandatory, but recommended) 

    With the Add Button , you can add a Flow.

    Field name Description
    Name Give your Flow a name. This is a required field. Within an interface, the flow name has to be unique. The name field may not contain any spaces. These characters will be replaced by '-' characters
    Default custom handling

    Error exceptions can be sent to a different flow. You can either choose “off”, “storeChannel” or one of the other existing Flow.

    If you use 'storeChannel' all errors will be saved into the directory /temp/storechannel. Please note that nothing will be deleted from this directory automatically, you have to do this by hand.

    If you choose Off, all error messages will be lost.

    Heartbeat Check this box, if you want to send a heartbeat-message to the ConnectPlaza Control Adapter, every time a Message passes through this flow. The ConnectPlaza Control Adapter will pick up control data from the ConnectAgent every minute. If, within that minute, one of more messages have passed, you will be able to find them within ConnectPlaza Control. This is used within Nagios to keep track if messages are sent through this flow.
    Concurrent This option will make this flow concurrent. Which means that you make this flow multi-threading. Default this flag is off, which means that this flow is single-threated. One process at a time that is.
    Enabled Check this box, if you want to enable this flow in its interface. If this box is unchecked, this flow will be bypassed when building a bundle.

     

    By pressing the Save button you will create a new flow, pressing the Cancel button will return you to the menu.

    When you have created your Flow, it will become visible in the Interface Overview, under the Interface of your choice.

    With the  button, you can open, edit, move, duplicate or remove the Flow. 

    Resources

    A Resource can be any kind of file. Some ConnectPlaza-components require external files, for example this could be a XSLT Resource. Resources can be added with the Add button .

    If you want to upload a Mapforce Mapping, select the special link. Mapforce resources are .zip files, which are treated differently than other resources.

    Simply drag the resource you would like to use into the drop field to add them to your Interface.

      

    With the  button, you can edit or remove the Resource. 

    Custom handling

    Custom handlings are only visible if you have activated the default error flow on the interface. Otherwise this option is not visible.

    With a custom handling you can trigger an exception handling on a specific trigger. You can add a custom handling by clicking on the . The next screen will then open for you:

    You can enter the following fields:

    Field name Description
    On This is the trigger the exception will trigger on. This field is mandatory. For instance: java.lang.NullPointerException. The routine is a kind of Try Catch routine. You can trap your own exceptions and handle it your own way.
    Action flow This is a predefined flow you can use to handle the exception. A default action flow is 'storeChannel', which stores the message on disk for examination.
    Or type here Here you can type your own flow name to use for the error exception. If you do not type a correct name, you will get a run-time error.

    Scripts

    A script can be used to add some specific behavior for a message. You can add scripts to your message flow at a variety of points. You can add a script with the Add button  . 

    The following data must be entered: 

    Field name Description
    Name Name of the java script
    JavaScript The script

     Press save to add the script to the collection. 

    With the  button, you can edit or remove the Custom error handler.

    Beans

    Some ConnectPlaza-components make use of a Java Bean. You can add a Java Bean with the Add button . Note that you add the configuration of the Bean here in XML, the .jar containing your bean should be uploaded as a Resource.

      

    Field name description
    ID name Here, you put the ID name of the Bean.
    Class Here, you specify the Bean class.
    Bean XML Here, you supply the configuration metadata for your Bean in the form of XML definitions.

     

    With the  button, you can edit or remove the Bean. 

     

    Properties

    Properties can be used in your application as a kind of global variables. You can use these properties with most fields in the constructor. Press to create a new property.

    Field

    Description

    Dynamic property

    Most of the time you will use Dynamic Properties. Dynamic means that the defaults set in this property value can be modified while Deploying the application with Deploy.

    If you set the Dynamic Property off, the value of this property will be used within Constructor only. You do not have the option to modify this value when Deploying the application.

    Name*

    Name of the property.

    Field name

    This is the field name used for reference in the Constructor. You can not modify this field. All spaces in the Name of the property will be replaced by '-'.

    Label*

    This is the label, for reference in the properties list in the Constructor.

    Value

    This is the default value of this property.

    Description

    This is the description of this property. For documentation purposes.

    Type*

    This is the type of the property, which can be Text, Secret (passwords etc), Select (Selection box), Cron (Quartz Cron expression).

    Select

    Only visible when Type is 'Select'. You can add the rules of the selection box here.

     

    Check next example:

    You will get a property in the properties list, you can use inside this Interface.

    You can drag and drop this variable to a field within your flow:

     

    Bundles

    A bundle is a built Interface. You can run your bundles in your Deploy Agent.

    There are two types of bundles: Snapshot and Release. Snapshot is used for testing purposes and uses the current version number with the date and time of creation appended. Release is used for production environments and automatically sets the version number one higher after its creation. After creation of the bundle, you will get a Bundle status message like this:

    With the  button, you can download or remove the Bundle. 

    You have to have at least one active flow in your bundle. If you do not have an active flow in your bundle, you will receive the following message and the bundle will not be created:

    Flow workspace

    When you have created a flow you can open it by double clicking the flow or by pressing the  button and selecting Open. When you have opened the Flow, the following sections will appear in the workspace and you can start inserting components.

    The consumer, service and producer are called component sections. Within these component sections, you can start to incorporate components. You can also set a flow description on the right hand side. You can always change this later by pressing the  button.

    From this screen you can add consumers, services and producers with their respective Add buttons: ,  and .

    You can also bring up the options menu for one of the component types by pressing one of the options buttons: ,  or . There you can choose to add a component or remove all components.

    Finally you can hide or show all components of a component type by pressing the Hide/Show button belonging to that component type: ,  or  .

    Components tab

    In these type libraries you will find the Components you can add to your current Flow. You can add Components to your Flow by dragging them into the Consumer, Services or Producer tab or by pressing the Add button on the specific Component: ,  or . You can only drag a Consumer Component into the Consumer tab, a Service Component into the Services tab and a Producer Component into the Producer tab. 

    To make sure that all Components can connect with each other, we have developed a Message format. This format is called a ConnectMessage. We will explain more about this format in its own Chapter.

    But first we will give you a short explanation of the Sections and their Components. All the Components will be explained extensively in their own Chapter. You can also always get a brief explanation of a Component by pressing the ,  or  button next to the specific Component. 

    All components

    When you want to open or close all categories, you can use the button at the right of the All components header.

    All categories will now open and you can see what is inside them. You can now browse the components and pick one for you project.

    You can close this view by clicking the button.

    Consumer Components

    You can enter the consumer type library by pressing the Add button  in the consumer section. Here you will find all components which you can place in the consumer section. A consumer is mainly used for reading a file with data content. The component then puts this data in a ConnectMessage.

    At the top of the screen you see the top five most used consumers. This is for your convenience. At the bottom you will see the components grouped. The number on the right, indicates the number of components within this type. 

    You can only have one consumer component in the consumer section, but next to a consumer you can place another component for other purposes. For example an Analyze Wiretap. This can send information from the message to the ConnectPlaza Analyze Module

    A flow only works, if there is at least one consumer present. This is a required item. 

    Services Components

    You can enter the services type library by pressing the Add button  in the services section. Here you will find all components which you can place in the services section. A service is mainly used for transforming the data in a ConnectMessage. The components puts the transformed data in a new ConnectMessage afterwards.

    At the top of the screen you see the top five most used services. This is for your convenience. At the bottom you will see the components grouped. The number on the right, indicates the number of components within this type. You are not obligated to use a service. There’s also no limit set for the amount of services you can put into a Flow. However, it is advised to think about a strategy before you start dragging components in. 

    Producer Components

    You can enter the producer type library by pressing the Add button  in the producer section. Here you will find all components which you can place in the producers section. A producer is mainly used for writing a file with data content. The components puts the content of the ConnectMessage into a specified file.

    At the top of the screen you see the top five most used producers. This is for your convenience. At the bottom you will see the components grouped. The number on the right, indicates the number of components within this type. The Producer is not a mandatory item either. It is, however, advised to use one. If you do not add a producer, a null producer will be added for you by the system.  

    If you do not need a producer, you can specify a Null producer at the end of the flow. This is not necessary. If the producer is not there, ConnectPlaza will place a Null producer itself.

    Working with more than one flow

    If you are developing software you probably work with one or more flows at once. This is no problem, you see more than one tab in your ConnectPlaza Constructor interface . The selected tab is white. You can close the tab using the on the tab. If you right click with your mouse on one of the tabs, a menu will open:

    With these options you can select to close all tabs at once, close all other tabs or just close the current tab.

     

     

     


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