Thursday, September 17, 2009

Client/server or consumer/provider

Wow, I can't believe that it is now September and I've not posted anything since July. In a nutshell I landed a new airport customer (Subang Skypark - the Kuala Lumpur domestic airport) and so life has been terribly busy. As a result there's a lot of software development to be discussed since my last post. However I'll start with this little one as a result of an interesting conversation today.

I designed an interface today that describes a set of remote services. As the interface is a consumer of those services I came up with the name XXXConsumer (I didn't really use XXX though). A friend of mine asked why not call it XXXClient? I had to really think about that.

Two seconds later I blurted out that client and server had become an overloaded term and that the hip terms are now consumer and provider respectively. In other words I didn't really know why I preferred to use the word consumer and provider and put it down to the time I've spent with JMS and Apache Camel. These technologies often use the terms consumer and provider.

Wikipedia offer a nice definition of client and server that effectively implies that these names are used for fairly course-grained objects such as applications and systems. My assertion having thought about this a little more is that consumers and providers are used in a finer-grained context. By finer-grained I refer to the software components found within my application.

In addition client and server are certainly overloaded terms and typically imply that an application or system has just this one role. By contrast I often see that components are both consumers and providers of services. Perhaps this is another difference.

Thank you for allowing me to client^H^H^H^H^Hconsume your time!

No comments: