About Services and Adapters

These are the key terms used with services and adapters.

Key Terms Used with Services and Adapters

These are the most frequently-used service and system-related terms in this guide. Review this topic first, then keep it available for reference as you read through the other topics.

Fundamental Service Terms

These are the terms used most often when talking about the services themselves.
Note: These terms are arranged in order of relevance, not in alphabetical order.
Term Definition
Service In Sterling B2B Integrator, a service is a resource that you can configure to carry out an activity. For example, the Translation service is used to convert EDI or XML data from one format to another.
Adapter Adapters are special cases of services that interact with external systems, or that store or manage state data outside of the workflow context. For example, the WebSphere MQ adapter and the SAP Suite adapter are used to communicate with applications external to the system.
Service Type Definition of a service. A service type is like a java class: it is not an object; it must be instantiated for it to exist. The service type defines the "concept" of a particular service; the service configuration you create from it is the object.
Service Configuration A copy of a particular service type. You use service configurations to perform various activities in the system, such as translating data, receiving data from another application, or tracking specific information like a Sender ID through the various stages of a business process.
Service Group A set of service configurations of the same service type that can act as peers (can be configured to perform the same activity in the same setting).
Service Parameters
Information used to define a service type or configuration, and to provide the system with processing data and instructions. There are three types of service parameters:
  • Global parameters These have the widest scope. They are applicable to all services of this type. They have a constant value for all configurations of a service. These parameters are preset and cannot be changed.
  • Instance parameters These are specific to a single service configuration. You define these parameters in the Admin Console, as part of creating or editing a service configuration.
  • Workflow parameters You can override or specify this type of parameter at the business process level. You define these in the Graphical Process Modeler (GPM) or by passing the information through BPML at runtime.

Additional Service Terms You Should Know

These terms pertain to service categories, and to Sterling B2B Integrator components that are used with services.
Note: These terms are arranged in alphabetical order.
Term Definition
Admin Console The Admin Console pane is your access point to all the standard features in the Dashboard. Many of the service and adapter tasks are performed from the Deployment > Services menu option located in the Admin Console.
Bootstrap Adapter Adapter that is capable of receiving data from external systems and dynamically selecting and running business processes. In some cases, is also referred to as a server adapter or input adapter. Examples of bootstrap adapters are the File System adapter, FTP Server adapter, and HTTP Server adapter.
Business Process In the business world, a business process is any goal-driven, ordered flow of activities that accomplishes a business objective. Invoicing, order fulfillment, and updating employee information are all examples of business processes. In the system, business process refers to the automated implementation of business objectives. Most processing activities are predicated upon defined business processes—the custom-designed programming instructions you provide to the system, to perform your required activities. Business processes are based on the draft Business Process Modeling Language (BPML) specification from the Business Process Management Initiative (www.bpmi.org). Business process definitions are stored in XML and can be created in any editor that can export the XML format recognized by the system.
Business Process Model The system enables you to create an automated business process using drag-and-drop technologies to link activities in a digital, graphic representation of the related task—known as a business process model. The business process model is the definition for the process, used each time it runs the process. The activities in your business process models are carried out by services and adapters, represented by icons in the graphical interface. This method enables you to incorporate small units of reusable code into your business processes, and, at the same time, create larger units of reusable code specific to your business operations. Creating business process models is the central endeavor around which the system hinges. Think of business processes as the structures by which you organize software components and activities to fulfill your work objectives.
Graphical Process Modeler (GPM) The Graphical Process Modeler is a Web-deployed graphical interface tool you use to create and modify business processes. The GPM converts your graphical business process models into source code, saving you the effort of writing code. In the GPM interface you construct your business process models, coordinating the flow of activities in a graphical depiction of the ordered steps. The GPM provides icons representing the services, adapters and BPML instructions that make up your process models. In addition, you configure related parameters through the GPM and create rules and conditions within your process models.
Internal Service Internal services are a subset of system services. They are reserved for use by the system and are subject to change without notice. Do not use these services when creating your own business processes. Examples are the Auto-Terminate service and Request Response XREF service.
Output Adapter Adapter that sends data to external systems.
Perimeter Server A perimeter server is a software tool for communications management that can be installed in a DMZ. The perimeter server manages the communications flow between outer layers of your network and the TCP-based transport adapters. A perimeter server can solve problems with network congestion, security, and scalability, especially in high-volume, Internet-gateway environments.
Removed Service Services that are no longer installed with the product, but are still available on the product CD. Patches and enhancements are no longer provided.

In Sterling B2B Integrator, resources are files, templates, and documents that are deployed to perform various actions.

Retiring Service Services that have entered the deprecation process but are still available for use in the current release of the product.
Stateful Adapter An adapter can be either stateful or stateless. For stateful adapters, the service controller instantiates one object for each configured copy of the adapter.
Stateless Adapter An adapter can be either stateful or stateless. For stateless adapters, the service controller instantiates one object that services all configured copies of the adapter. Each request to the service adapter implementation of the adapter must be a complete request, because states cannot be maintained between requests.
System Service A service that is used by the system for internal functions and processes, or a service that can be used in business processes to define how the bp should behave under circumstances such as an exception or fault.
Workflow Context (WFC) The WFC represents the business process state after each service has run. The WFC input to a service is written to a database. The service step is complete after the new WFC is placed in persistent storage. If the system stops, it can be restarted from the persisted WFCs by finding the most recent WFCs and sending those requests to the appropriate services. Services can be restarted automatically. Adapters, which are put in a halting state when the system starts, require user intervention to restart them.