Spine Event Engine Concepts

This chapter introduces some key concepts Spine is based on. The framework provides implementation for most important building blocks of a CQRS/ES application. In terminology we heavily lean on Domain-Driven Design (DDD) and the “Big Blue Book” by Eric Evans, and on terms standard to CQRS/ES on “Enterprise Integration Patterns” by Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Woolf.

Below you can find a typical Spine Event Engine application architecture. The concepts behind these building blocks are described in the sections below.

Spine Application Architecture

Domain Model Concepts

Command are messages that instruct a specific entity to perform a certain action. Unlike an event, a command is not a statement of fact; it is only a request, and thus may be refused. A typical way to convey refusal is to throw an error or failure. In Spine command is defined as a protobuf message.

Event is something that happened in the past. All changes to an application state are captured as a sequence of events. Events is the main “database” of the application. In Spine events are defined as protobuf messages as well.

Error — is a technical issue (a programming error, a resource lack, a technical malfunction). The end user usually cannot do much about an error.

Failure — is state of the business logic, which can be handled by the end user. Examples are “credit card validation declined”, “order cannot be empty”, “insufficient funds”, etc. In Spine failures are defined as protobuf messages as well.

Command Handler is an object, which receives commands, modifies the state of the application, and generates events if the modification was successful. More about command handling you can find in Java section of this documentation.

Aggregate is the main building block of a business model. Aggregates guarantee consistency of data modifications in response to commands they receive. Aggregate is the most common case of Command Handler. In response to a command an aggregate modifies its state and produces one or more events. These events are used later to restore the state of the aggregate. In Spine aggregates are defined as Java classes, and their states are defined as protobuf messages.

Event Handler is an object that is subscribed to receive events.

Process Manager is an independent component that reacts to domain events in a cross-aggregate, eventually consistent manner. It serves as a centralized processing unit that maintains the state sequence and defines the next processing step based on intermediate results. A process manager can be both Command Handler and Event Handler.

Projection is an Event Handler, which transforms multiple events data into a structural representation. Projections are main building blocks of Query side of the application.

Entity Fragment — a message with the partial state of an entity. It returns a fragment of the entire state filtered using FieldMasks provided in a query.

Architectural Concepts

Bounded Context is an autonomous component, with its own domain model and its own ubiquitous language. Larger systems usually have multiple contexts (orders, user management, shipping are examples of the separate contexts within an online retail system). Interaction between bounded contexts is organized via Integration Events in Spine.

Repository is a mechanism for encapsulating storage, retrieval, and search behavior which emulates a collection of objects. It isolates domain objects from details of the database access code. Aggregate Repository, Process Manager Repository, and Projection Repository are types of the repositories your application would have.

Command Bus is responsible for routing the command to its handler. Unlike a Command Handler it does not change business model or produce events.

Event Bus allows publish-subscribe-style communication between components without requiring the components to explicitly register with one another (and thus be aware of each other).

Command Store keeps the history of all the commands of the application and statuses of their execution.

Event Store keeps all the events of the application in the chronological order, which is also called Event Stream. New projections are built by passing the event stream “through” them. TODO: link to the example.

Query Service returns data to the client applications in response to a query. The query is the request for:

  • state of one or more aggregates or their fragments;
  • one or more projection states or their fragments.

Aggregate Stand serves latest states of aggregates. It is called that way to emphasize its “read” nature. It may return complete state, or its fragment, if corresponding query requests partial representation.

Detailed overview of each concept and its implementation in Spine you can find in Creating Business Model and Java chapters.

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