In some views SOA is represented as a series of 4 layers: Presentation Layer (SOA 1), Business Process Layer (SOA 2), Business Service Layer (SOA 3) and Technical Layer (SOA 4). Typically each layer higher up in the hierarchy consumes services exposed by the layer under it. So the Presentation Layer would consume services provided by the Business Process or Business Service Layers. Service interfaces are described using Web Services Description Language (WSDL), sheltering service consumers from details of service implementation. Web Services are seen as the technical means to implement the decoupled functional layers in a SOA development. Decoupling allows implementations of business functionality at different layers to be swapped in and out without disturbing other layers in the stack. The SOA 1, Presentation Layer, is often implemented as JSR-168-compliant or JSR-286-complaint Portlets, exposed through a standards-based Portal.
The business idea behind the functionality developed in this walkthrough is that patients are looked after in various healthcare facilities. Healthcare workers need to lookup patient details such as their identifier, gender, birth date or address. A relational database holds patient details as well as other information of relevance such as descriptions of various coded values. Patient details are available through a web service. Facility list and details, used to narrow down the search for patients to a specific facility, are available through a web service. These web services will be used to construct the Portlet that will allow patient search and a display of patient details. This Portlet will be deployed to the Sun FOSS Web Space Server 10 Portal.
Previous documents in this series, see pre-requisites, walked the reader through the process of implementing GlassFish ESB v2.1-based web services which return facility list and facility details as well as patient details.
In this document I will walk through the process of developing a JSR-286-compliant Visual Web JSF Portlet, deployed to the Sun Web Space Server 10 Portal, which will use these Web Service as a data providers. We will use the NetBeans 6.5.1 IDE, which comes as part of the GlassFish ESB v2.1 installation, the Portal Pack 3.0.1 NetBeans Plugin and the JSF Portal Bridge infrastructure provided by the Web Space Server 10. The Portlet will be implemented as a Visual Web JavaServer Faces Portlet using JSF components provided by Project Woodstock.
Note that this document is not a tutorial on JavaServer Faces, Visual Web JSF, Project Woodstock components or Portlet development. Note also that all the components and technologies used are either distributed as part of the NetBeans 6.5, as part of the GalssFish ESB v2.1, as part of the Web Space Server 10 or are readily pluggable into the NetBeans IDE. All are free and open source