Service Orchestration for CSPs using Camunda BPM and Erlang

Camunda Erlang

In this blog article, I will be attempting to describe an application that is created using the Camunda BPM engine and Erlang programming language.

The use case for this article is more related  more towards subscription management and is relevant to validating a subscription request for a specific service code from the subscriber MSISDN. Do not worry if you are not very familiar with this Telecommunication domain-specific application. The main objective here on this article is to describe the methodolgy of how the Camunda BPM engine can work alongside the Erlang programming language.

The component diagram for this use case scenario is shown below:

As depicted in the above diagram, JMeter has been used as the API client, while the Talend ESB runtime has been used as the database access layer; the database application used here is PostgreSQL. All  relevant tables are created in a PostgreSQL database, and the access layer is exposed as an RESTful/HTTP API via Talend ESB runtime.

Note: Creating the database access layer with Talend ESB will be described in the next article on Database(PostgreSQL) browser with Talend ESB

Camunda runtime with BPM process is deployed as a Spring application which is initialized using the web utility start.camunda.com.

Components which are used in BPM Flow created using Camunda BPM Modeler is described below:

Service Task

Service Tasks are used to invoke services. Service Tasks of all the flows in this use case scenarios are declared external to decouples the implementation of tasks from the process engine. Then process engine offers a work item to external workers that independently poll the engine for work to do and complete asynchronously. The attribute Implementation is set to external and the attribute Topic specifies the external task’s topic. The return value of a service execution is assigned to an already existing or to a new process variable after the service execution completes.

Fg2.1.1 Service Task

Business Rule Task

A Business Rule Task is used to synchronously execute one or more rules. Business tasks of all the flows are declared DMN engine integration to evaluate a DMN decision.

The attribute Implementation is set to DMN and the attribute Decision Ref specifies the decision key i.e. the id of the DMN table to evaluate. The output of the decision i.e. decision result is not saved as a process variable automatically. It has to pass into a process variable by using a mapping of the decision result by Map decision result attribute which references the mapper to use. The result of the mapping is saved in the variable which is specified by the Result variable attribute.

Fg2.1.2 Business Rule Task

Exclusive Gateway

An exclusive gateway is used to model a decision in the process.

When the execution arrives at this gateway, all outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined.

The sequence flow which condition evaluates to ‘true’ is selected for continuing the process.

Fg2.1.3 Exclusive Gateway

Blank Start Event

Fg2.1.4 Blank Start Event

  • Blank start event defines where a process or sub-process starts.
  • Blank start event is used when the process instance is started through the API.

 

Blank End Event

Fg2.1.5 Blank End Event

  • Blank end event ends current path of execution.

 

Message Start Event

Fg2.1.6 Message Start Event
  • A message start event can be used to start a process instance using a named message including name and a payload.
Message End Event
 Fg2.1.7 Message End Event
  • When process execution arrives at a Message End Event, the current path of execution is ended and a message is sent. All Message End Events in this use case scenarios are implemented by specifying a class that implements a Java Delegate by providing the fully qualified class name in the class attribute.

Call Activity Sub-process

Call activity references a process that is external to the process definition by creating of a new sub-process instance. The main process instance waits until the sub-process is completely ended, and continues the original process afterwards. A call activity is a regular activity that requires a calledElement which references a process definition by its key i.e. the id of the process is used in the calledElement. Process variables can be passed to the sub-process and vice versa. In this use case all the call activities are configured so that all process variables are passed to the sub-process and vice versa. The process variables have the same name in the main process as in the sub-process.
Fg2.1.8 Call Activity

Fg2.2 BPMN Service List validation main process

A.1 — Blank Start event: The starting point of the process instance.

B.1 — Service Task: External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic service-details with process variable service_code, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. service_type, managed, service_code, partner_id, name, global_service_whitelist, global_service_blacklist, enable_service_whitelist, enable_service_blacklist, enable_global_subscription_blacklist, enable_global_charging_blacklist) which are saved as process variables automatically.

C.1 — Business Rule Task

Two process variables has been taken as inputs and one output variable has been created. As single variable is the output, mapping of the decision result is done by singleEntryMap decision and result of the mapping is saved in the variable which is specified by the Result variable attribute i.e. service_valid which is a new process variable.

D.1 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{not service_valid}

TRUE : #{service_valid}

B.2 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic partner-dnd with process variable partner_id, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. partner_dnd) which are saved as process variables automatically.

D.2 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{not partner_dnd}

TRUE : #{partner_dnd}

B.3 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic device-blacklist with process variables service_id and device_model_code, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. device_blacklist) which are saved as process variables automatically.

D.3 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{not device_blacklist}

TRUE : #{device_blacklist}

C.2 — Business Rule Task —

Fg2.2.2 DMN list-for-all

Two process variables has been taken as inputs and one output variable has been created. As single variable is the output, mapping of the decision result is done by singleEntryMap decision and result of the mapping is saved in the variable which is specified by the Result variable attribute i.e. listed which is a new process variable.

D.4 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{listed == ‘none’}

TRUE : #{listed== ‘whitelist all’ or listed == ‘blacklist all’}

D.5 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{not enable_service_whitelist}

TRUE : #{enable_service_whitelist}

E.1 — Call Activity — The main process instance waits until the sub-process that is referenced by call activity is completely ended, and continues the original process afterwards. CalledElement type is defined as BPMN and its value which references a process definition by its key is configured as service-whitelist. And also Business key pass configuration to the sub-process is enabled. In the variables section both In Mapping and Out Mapping is set to all to pass all main process variables to the sub-process and vice versa.

The sub-process is as below.

E.1-EA.1 — Blank Start Event — The starting point of the process instance.

E.1-EB.1 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic service-whitelist with process variables service_id and msisdn, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. listed) which are saved as process variables automatically.

E.1-ED.1 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{listed == ‘none’}

TRUE : #{listed == ‘service whitelist’}

E.1-EB.2 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic service-group-whitelist with process variables service_id and msisdn, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. listed) which are saved as process variables automatically.

E.1-EG.1 — Blank End Event — Ends current path of execution.

E.1-EG.2 — Blank End Event — Ends current path of execution.

D.6 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{listed == ‘none’}

TRUE : #{listed == ‘service whitelist’}

D.7 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{not enable_service_blacklist}

TRUE : #{enable_service_blacklist}

E.2 — Call Activity — The main process instance waits until the sub-process that is referenced by call activity is completely ended, and continues the original process afterwards. CalledElement type is defined as BPMN and its value which references a process definition by its key is configured as service-blacklist. And also Business key pass configuration to the sub-process is enabled. In variables section both In Mapping and Out Mapping is set to all to pass all main process variables to the sub-process and vice versa.

The sub-process is as below.

E.2-EA.1 — Blank Start Event — The starting point of the process instance.

E.2-EB.1 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic service-blacklist with process variables service_id and msisdn, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. listed) which are saved as process variables automatically.

E.2-ED.1 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{listed == ‘none’}

TRUE : #{listed == ‘service blacklist’}

E.2-EB.2 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic service-group-blacklist with process variables service_id and msisdn, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. listed) which are saved as process variables automatically.

E.2-EG.1 — Blank End Event — Ends current path of execution.

E.2-EG.2 — Blank End Event — Ends current path of execution.

D.8 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{listed == ‘none’}

TRUE : #{listed == ‘service blacklist’}

C.3 — Business Rule Task —

Fg 2.2.5 DMN global-blacklist-eligible

Three process variables has been taken as inputs and two output variables have been created. As multiples variables are the output, mapping of the decision result is done by singleResultMap decision and result of the mapping is saved in the variable which is specified by the Result variable attribute i.e. Lookup which is a new process variable. As Lookup is a Map variable, the actual output variables needs to be extracted and saved as process variables. Therefore output parameter to be added in input/output section of the component as below.

Name : global_subscription_blacklist_lookup
Type : Text
Value : ${Lookup.get(‘global_subscription_blacklist_lookup’)}

Name : global_charging_blacklist_lookup
Type: Text
Value: ${Lookup.get(‘global_charging_blacklist_lookup’)}

global_subscription_blacklist_lookup and global_charging_blacklist_lookup are set as new process variables.

D.9 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{not global_subscription_blacklist_lookup and not global_charging_blacklist_lookup}

TRUE : #{global_subscription_blacklist_lookup or global_charging_blacklist_lookup}

E.3 — Call Activity — The main process instance waits until the sub process that is referenced by call activity is completely ended, and continues the original process afterwards. CalledElement type is defined as BPMN and its value which references a process definition by its key is configured as globalblacklist. And also Business key pass configuration to the sub process is enabled. In variables section both In Mapping and Out Mapping is set to all to pass all main process variables to the sub process and vice versa.

Sub process is as below.

E.3-EA.1 — Blank Start Event — The starting point of the process instance.

E.3-ED.1 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{not global_subscription_blacklist_lookup}

TRUE : #{global_subscription_blacklist_lookup}

E.3-EB.1 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic global-subscription-blacklist with process variable msisdn, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. listed) which are saved as process variables automatically.

E.3-ED.2 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{listed == ‘none’}

TRUE : #{listed == ‘global subscription blacklist’}

E.3-ED.3 — Exclusive Gateway — All outgoing sequence flows are evaluated in the order in which they have been defined. The sequence flow which condition evaluates to true is selected for continuing the process. One sequence flow is named as TRUE while other is named as FALSECondition type of two sequence flows are configured as Expression and expressions are as below.

FALSE : #{not global_charging_blacklist_lookup}

TRUE : #{global_charging_blacklist_lookup}

E.3-EB.2 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic global-charging-blacklist with process variable msisdn, then do the necessary processing and database lookups and finally complete the work item with output variables (i.e. listed) which are saved as process variables automatically.

E.3-EG.1 — Blank End Event — Ends current path of execution.

E.3-EG.2 — Blank End Event — Ends current path of execution.

E.3-EG.3 — Blank End Event — Ends current path of execution.

F.x — Message End Event — The current path of execution is ended and a message is sent which is implemented by specifying a class that implements a Java Delegate. Message Name to be sent is configured as ListStatus and process variables (i.e. service_valid, partner_dnd, device_blacklist, listed) and businessKey are correlated with Message ListStatus with in Java Delegate.

The message received by below sub process and the message start event in this sub process is used to start a process instance using a named message ListStatus. The sub process is as below:

Fg2.2.7 BPMN Send list status

F.x-FH.1 — Start a process instance using a named message including name and a payload.

F.x-FC.1 — Business Rule Task —

Two process variables has been taken as inputs and one output variable has been created. As single variable is the output, mapping of the decision result is done by singleEntryMap decision and result of the mapping is saved in the variable which is specified by the Result variable attribute i.e. status which is a new process variable.

F.x-FB.1 — Service Task — External worker fetch and lock the work items on topic send-response with process variable status, then do the necessary processing and finally complete the work item with no output variables.

F.x-FG.1 — Blank End Event — Ends current path of execution.

Considering the erlang application, there are four main components.

  1. Camunda API client — API client component which is used to access Camunda RESTful API.
  2. Talend API client — API client component which is used to access database access layer exposed through Talend ESB runtime.
  3. API server — Expose an API which is used to access the system functionality for the API client. This component use Camunda API client to access relevant resource end-points to start main process instance. At the starting of a new process instance a new business key is generated by API server and pass as the businessKey parameter which is used as a kind of transaction key for the entire flow. Additionally the parameters i.e. service_code and msisdn are passed as variables. Mapping of businessKey to process id of the requestor is cached.
  4. External executor — Camunda API client is used to fetch and lock work items in Camunda Service Tasks. Variables retrieved are used to lookup database tables by using Talend API client and complete the work items by using Camunda API client. Final states of the Flows which are fetched as work items from send-response Service Task topic are send to the waiting process which has sent the original request (process ids of the original requestor is mapped by businessKeys received with work items).

Resources :

GitHub location for the public repository of the above use case is mentioned below.

https://github.com/camunda-erlang

Author:

Chananka Fernando, WavenetChanaka Fernando

Associate Software Architect,

Global Wavenet


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