Attribute configuration and inheritance in WebSphere Partner Gateway

This article explains the details of routing object inheritance in WebSphere Partner Gateway V6.2, then shows you how to set routing object attributes and use attribute configuration, attribute inheritance, and overriding attribute values in order to configure B2B document flows.

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Mohan P Annamala (mohan.annamalai@in.ibm.com), Development Manager, IBM

Mohan P. Annamalai is a Development Manager at the IBM India Software Labs in Bangalore. He earned a Bachelors degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bharathiar University, and a Masters degree in Energy Management from Bharathidasan University. Mohan has 11 years of IT experience, including three years in project management in B2B domain, and has been with IBM for six years. You can contact Mohan at mohan.annamalai@in.ibm.com.



Anand Bandaru (abandaru@in.ibm.com), Senior Staff Software Engineer, IBM

Anand Bandaru is a Staff Software Engineer at the IBM India Software Labs in Bangalore. He earned a Masters degree in System Software from Birla Institute of Technology, and a Masters degree in Computer Applications from Osmania University. Anand has 10 years of IT experience, mainly in Java and J2EE, and is a Sun-certified Java2 Programmer. He has been with IBM for seven years. You can contact Anand at abandaru@in.ibm.com.



Anil R Patlolla (apatloll@in.ibm.com), Staff Software Engineer, IBM  

Anil R. Patlolla is a Staff Software Engineer at the IBM India Software Labs in Bangalore. He earned a Bachelors degree in Electronic Engineering from Bangalore University. Anil has 10 years of IT experience, mainly in Java and J2EE, and has been with IBM for five years. You can contact Anil at apatloll@in.ibm.com.



16 December 2009

Introduction

IBM® WebSphere® Partner Gateway enables integration between trading partners, regardless of their particular B2B requirements.

When documents are exchanged between partners, WebSphere Partner Gateway uses document flow attribute information for various document processing and routing functions, such as AS business id, AS MDN requested, and validation level. The partner or community manager specifies the type of documents that can be sent or received during hub configuration. In WebSphere Partner Gateway, you can define attributes as Document Flow Definitions, B2B Capabilities, or Connections. Document Flow Definitions are considered Global Definitions.

Business scenario 1

Consider an attribute Time to Acknowledge defined at the Document Definition stage, and assume that no values have been set for this attribute at the B2B Capabilities or Connections stage. Figure 1 shows the attribute Time to Acknowledge defined for the Document Flow type Package:

Figure 1. Time to Acknowledge defined at Document Definition stage
Time to Acknowledge defined at Document Definition stage

If the same attribute is defined in all levels of hierarchy (Protocol and Document Flow), as shown below, which attribute value will be taken while routing a document?

Figure 2. Binary document flow defined in Document Definition stage
Binary document flow defined in Document Definition stage

Try setting some values for this attribute at all the three levels of hierarchy. If only the Package level attribute value is set to 30, then the value 30 will be used while routing a document:

Figure 3. Time to Acknowledge attribute with value 20
Time to Acknowledge attribute with value 20

If you set a value of 20 for his attribute at the Protocol level with the Package level value remaining at 30, then the value 20 will be used when routing a document:

Figure 4. Time to Acknowledge attribute with value 30
Time to Acknowledge attribute with value 30

Similarly, if you set a value of 10 for the attribute at the Document Flow level with both Package level and Protocol level attribute values remaining at 30 and 20 respectively, then the value 10 will be used while routing a document:

Figure 5. Time to Acknowledge attribute with locally assigned value 10
Time to Acknowledge attribute with locally assigned value 10

Thus the Document Flow level attribute values precede Protocol level attribute values which in turn precede the Package level attribute values:

Figure 6. Document Flow inheritance
Document Flow inheritance

This scenario also holds true for attributes defined at the B2B Capabilities or Connection stage.

Business scenario 2

Here is a summary of the difference between the three stages:

Document Definition stage
Attributes defined at this stage are global across all partners.
B2B Capabilities stage
B2B Capabilities are set for a specific business partner, and attributes defined at this stage apply only to that partner.
Connection stage
Attributes defined at this stage apply only to the connection involved.

For example, take the attribute Time to Acknowledge defined as Package-level attribute at all three stages (Document Definition, B2B Capabilities, and Connection), with the Package being AS (for routing AS documents). If Time to Acknowledge is set to 30 at the Package level and Document Definition stage, then the value 30 will be used by all connections made using AS packaging and by all partners:

Figure 7. Document Flow definition with locally assigned value 30
Document Flow inheritance -- Time to Acknowledge value 30

In addition to the above change, if the Time to Acknowledge attribute value is set to 20 at the Package level and at B2B Capabilities stage for a partner, then the corresponding value 20 will be used by all connections made using AS packaging and for that partner:

Figure 8. Document Flow inheritance with locally assigned value 20
Document Flow inheritance -- Time to Acknowledge value 20

In addition to the above change, if the Time to Acknowledge attribute value is set to 10 at the Package level and for a specific Connection, then the corresponding value 10 will be used by that connection alone.

Figure 9. Document Flow inheritance with locally assigned value 10
Document Flow inheritance -- Time to Acknowledge value 10

These examples show how the Connection stage attribute values precede B2B Capabilities stage which in turn precede Document Definition stage:

Figure 10. Document Flow level attribute precedence
Document Flow level attribute precedence

Business scenario 3

Scenario 3 combines Scenarios 1 and 2. Take the same attribute Time to Acknowledge defined at all three levels -- Package, Protocol, and Document Flow. If the Time to Acknowledge attribute value is set to 30 at the Document Flow level and at Document Definition stage, then the corresponding value 30 will be used by all connections using AS packaging with Binary Document Flow and by all partners:

Figure 11. Document Flow inheritance with locally assigned value 30
Document Flow inheritance -- Time to Acknowledge value 30

In addition to the above change, if the Time to Acknowledge attribute value is set to 20 at the Protocol level and at B2B Capabilities stage for a partner, the value 30 will still be used by all connections using AS packaging with Binary Document Flow and for that partner:

Figure 12. Document Flow inheritance with locally assigned value 20
Document Flow inheritance -- Time to Acknowledge value 20

In addition to the above change, if the Time to Acknowledge attribute value is set to 10 at the Package level and for a Connection with AS packaging with Binary Document Flow, the value 30 will still be used by the connection:

Figure 13. Document Flow inheritance with locally assigned value 10
Document Flow inheritance -- Time to Acknowledge value 10

Looking at the connection summary after all of these changes, you can see that the Time to Acknowledge attribute value is shown as 30:

Figure 14. Document Flow inheritance attribute Time to Acknowledge with locally assigned value 30
Document Flow inheritance attribute Time to Acknowledge with locally assigned value 30
Figure 15. Document Flow inheritance table
Document Flow inheritance table

Attribute setup

The above scenarios show how Websphere Partner Gateway handles attributes for document flow. The system uses attribute information for various document processing and routing functions, such as validation, checking for encryption, retry count, and synchronous or asynchronous communication. Document Flow definitions (DFDs) are defined in a hierarchical manner, the top level being Package. Some attributes are predefined for each level. Attribute setup is basically used to add user-specific attributes, which you can add at any level.

Adding attributes

  1. Log in to the Community Console as Hubadmin
  2. Click Hub Admin => Hub Configuration => Document Flow Definition. The Manage document flow definitions screen opens, showing all existing document flow definitions.
  3. Click the Open or Close icon Close icon to open or close a context to the appropriate Document Flow definition level, or else select a number from 0-4 or select All to expand the displayed Document Flow definition contexts:
    Figure 16. Document Flow definition expanded list
    Document Flow definition expanded list
  4. You can add attributes at any level. To add attributes at a specific level, click on the corresponding Actions icon Add attribute icon
  5. Here you can find all existing context-level attributes and their values. Click Add attribute link:
    Figure 17. Document Flow definition add attribute link
    Document Flow definition add attribute link
  6. All available attributes is displayed and marked with the Existing attribute icon Existing attribute icon Select the attributes required for the specific contextual level and then save:
    Figure 18. Attribute list
    Attribute list
  7. After an attribute is defined, you can add the actual values for that attribute.

Attribute inheritance

The above sections show how Websphere Partner Gateway handles attributes inheritance for document flow. The attributes of a particular document flow definition are inherited by the lower-level document flow definitions within a context in a hierarchical (top-down) fashion. The highest level document flow definition is the Package, and Package attributes are considered global because they can be inherited by all other document flow definitions within that context.

Attributes set at the Package level are inherited by the Protocol, Document Flow, Activity, Action, and Signal levels automatically. If Package level attributes have been set and their values defined, the product automatically applies these same attributes to all lower-level definitions in that same context, even if you have not defined the lower-level attributes. If you have defined the same attribute at a lower level but have not specified any value for it, it still inherits from the higher level.

Overriding attribute values

You can override inherited attributes by setting and adding values to the lower level definitions individually. For example, an attribute set at the Package level can be changed at the Protocol or Document Flow level. Because of attribute inheritance, an attribute changed at the Protocol level will be inherited by the lower Document Flow, Activity, Action, and Signal levels. You can modify attributes either in B2B Capabilities or in the Connection Channel. Overriding attributes at the connection level will be specific to that connection profile.

Changing attribute values at the B2B capabilities stage

  1. Log in to the Community Console as Hubadmin.
  2. Click on Account Admin => Profiles.
  3. Select a partner.
  4. Click on B2B Capabilities.
  5. Click the Open or Close icon Close icon to open or close a context to the appropriate Document Flow definition level, or else select a number from 0-4 or select All to expand the Document Flow definition context. In order to view the corresponding contextual hierarchy, enable the Document Flow by selecting either Source or Target:
    Figure 19. Document Flow definition expanded list
    Document Flow definition expanded list
  6. You can update attributes at any level. To update attributes at a specific level, click on the corresponding Edit icon Edit icon
  7. Update the attributes and save.

Changing attribute values at the Connection stage

  1. Click on Account Admin => Participant Connections.
  2. Select the Source and the Target partners and click Search. A list of participant connections capable of routing a document between the selected source and the target partners is displayed.
  3. Click Attributes for either the source or target participant:
    Figure 20. Connection configuration
    Connection configuration
  4. In the Scope list, select Connection if the attribute changes will apply to all gateway types associated with the connection, or select a gateway type to which the changes will apply.
  5. You can change the attributes at any level by selecting the corresponding Routing object Open or Close icon Close icon
    Figure 21. Connection attribute screen
    Connection attribute screen
  6. Update the attribute values and save.

Summary

This article explained the details routing object inheritance in WebSphere Partner Gateway, and showed you how to set routing object values both globally and specific to any connection.

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ArticleTitle=Attribute configuration and inheritance in WebSphere Partner Gateway
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