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From René Peinl <rene.pe...@hof-university.de>
Subject JPA pros and cons (Re: Rave on MySQL)
Date Thu, 12 Jul 2012 13:01:41 GMT
Dear Rave developers,

I’ve just discovered the Rave project a week ago and therefore have not yet
fully understood all of its concepts and decisions, but I’m currently
preparing a project, where Rave could be very helpful and wanted some
suggestions on how to proceed there.


I’m replying to the “Rave on MySQL” thread since my questions are related to
the JPA or not discussion.


Our project involves developing a “social media hub/portal” for an intranet
scenario and our plan was to build on Shindig. Since it is a research
project (not rocket science, just application-oriented research) we are
planning on using OpenSocial 2.0 as the API between our portal and the other
applications involved (DMS, Groupware, ERP system) and using a graph
database (neo4j) as a data backend in order to offer extended functionality
like friend suggestion and friend-of-a-friend queries on the portal.


Now that we have discovered Rave, we obviously wanted to make use of it,
although some things could be done more simple in our intranet scenario
(e.g. permissions for gadgets). My main question is regarding the data
abstraction layer. We have developed a draft Shindig backend for evaluation
purposes that works with neo4j and already has some additional functionality
compared to the Shindig JPA backend. Now we tried to make Rave work together
with our Shindig version and found out, that it kind of works, mainly
because it is often using its own database abstraction and for me it is not
clear why. For example there is rave.portal.model.Person which uses JPA to
store a (incomplete compared to OpenSocial 2.0 specs) person object in the
database using JPA and there is shindig.social.opensocial.jpa.PersonDB which
does the same, but seems like a complete implementation of the fields
defined in OpenSocial 2.0.


For our project, we wanted this to be merged in a single class and reused
across the whole portal implementation. Our own Shindig backend currently
operates at an even higher level to gain some speed and avoid additional
conversions, but that’s of course not ideal.

What we want to find out is whether it makes sense for us to use Rave or do
an own implementation that would be similar in many aspects, reuse Rave and
have two databases, one relational for Rave and neo4j for Shindig, or change
our Shindig backend so that it covers both Shindig and Rave data. For the
latter alternative there are again two ways: building kind of a fork and
using a more direct database access layer or use SpringData as a JPA
abstraction for neo4j. 


Our goals are to let the Apache community benefit as much as possible from
our efforts, without burdening our project too much with
non-project-specific requirements. Below you find a list of requirements for
our portal, for those who want to better understand our project.

Any suggestions?




P.S.: I’m posting a similar question on the Shindig mailing list, just that
you are not wondering if you are subscribed on both.



Prof. Dr. René Peinl

Teaching area: architecture of Web applications

University of applied Sciences Hof

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1, 95028 Hof, Bavaria, Germany

Tel: +49-9281-409-4820

Email: rene.peinl@hof-university.de



Requirements for OpenSocial Intranet Portal


Presentation layer

·         Portal entry page with admin predefined gadgets, customizable by
(mostly existing in Rave)

·         Gadget catalog (existing in Rave 0.12)

·         User profile page with photo, name and other attributes. Admin
customizable. All open social fields should be available for display.
Gadgets can be used to show additional data like activity stream, friends
network, bookmarks/tags, …
(basic functionality available in Rave 0.12 /portal/app/person)

·         User directory with overview of existing users (including paging
and search)
(not present in Rave 0.12 yet)

·         Ability to add friends/following people to “friends network” (e.g.
on profile page)
(not present in Rave 0.12 yet)

·         Suggestion list for new friends based on common friends,
interests, etc.
(not present in Rave 0.12 yet)

·         Ability to set a status message
(basic functionality available in Rave 0.12)

·         Ability to send a personal message to a friend
(not present in Rave 0.12 yet, maybe possible with one of the gadgets)


Logic layer

·         Gadget Rendering API
(existing in Shindig 2.5 beta2)

·         Authentication against external identity and access management
system (IAM) using OAuth 2.0 and SAML.
(some references state that Apache Shiro is able to do that, but we haven’t
seen the code implementing it)

·         Exposing social media data like friends, activities, … as RESTful
Web services
(available in Shindig 2.5 beta2)

·         Exposing extended social media data like friend of a friend to
portal gadgets as RESTful Web service
(draft implementation available at iisys)


Data layer

·         Full support for activitystrea.ms data storage and retrieval at
data object layer
(draft implementation available at iisys, but not with JPA support)

·         Storing/retrieving social media data like friends, activities,
ratings, bookmarks, tags, … in/from a graph database like neo4j
(draft implementation available at iisys, 
it has to be discussed, whether it would be better to use SpringData JPA
abstraction instead of direct neo4j access)

·         Integrating Rave and Shindig person data
(not clear why Rave is having it’s own Person class which seems like a
subset of Shindigs PersonDB)

·         Keeping Rave User and PageUser data consistent with IAM system

·         Storing Rave authorization data (gadget permissions, user
preferences, …)  in neo4j
(not available yet)

·         Storing Rave general user data in neo4j.
(not available yet)




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