Friday, November 23, 2007

Building Yakkle (Part 4: Object Design)

As stated in our last Building Yakkle post, we (the ZenViva Guys) first outlined four of our primary distributed objects. These objects were derived by using a Top-Down Design approach.

Defining Yakkle's Distributed Objects
We identified the primary components: User, Texting, Voice, and Desktop; and then our secondary or helper components: Supervisor, Operator, and Session (a.k.a actively yakkling).

We separated our objects in two categories to help focus our efforts. First, the primary objects had technology requiring some prototyping and proving out (i.e. was it possible to do). The secondary objects had organizational and managerial responsibility and thus could be implemented later.

Since the “ZenViva Guys” are composed of server and user-interface (UI) guys, the server guys defined the distributed object interfaces (a.k.a our API) to be used by internal services, as well as, the Yakkle UI. By defining the objects and interfaces first, we created a development process that allowed for the guys to work in parallel.

The defining of the User and Texting objects went through some interesting design evolution. One of our fundamental design choices was to integrate with the popular XMPP Instant Messaging protocol. As a result, the User and Texting objects are not distributed objects with state and behavior, but distributed interfaces since XMPP provides all the state and behavior we needed. So our design was to objectify the XMPP services and make them available in a distributed sense.

Our voice and desktop objects needed a bit of prototyping. We had questions on whether the Java platform could be use to create high quality voice and remote desktop services in real-time, whether distributed objects are a good medium for real-time environments, and lastly, whether we could use the UDP connection less protocol for some of our connection oriented services.

In Our Next Post
In our next building Yakkle post, we'll discuss how to write user-interfaces using distributed objects and in subsequent posts we will continue to describe our design by diving deeper into the world of distributed objects. Until then, if you would like to experience the result of our works go to www.yakkle.com and start Yakkling today.

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