Integrating Drupal with Enterprise Back-Office Systems to Deliver Best of Breed e-Commerce Sites


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Drupal experts from IBM Global Business Services detail the process of defining business requirements, selecting the appropriate technologies, overcoming the technical enterprise integration challenges, and ultimately launching best of breed e-commerce sites with Drupal.

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  • I really enjoyed this webinar. Does anybody know whether any of the modules covering OO forms API and SOAP integration have been pushed back into the Drupal community? If so, I'd be really interested to find out more. Thanks
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Integrating Drupal with Enterprise Back-Office Systems to Deliver Best of Breed e-Commerce Sites

  1. 1. Integrating Drupal with Enterprise Back-Office Systems to Deliver Best of Breed e-Commerce Sites<br />Ted Tritchew<br />Delivery Executive<br />IBM Global Business Services<br />Bryan House<br />Sr. Director, Marketing <br />Acquia<br />@bryanhouse<br />Stuart Robertson<br /> Lead IT Architect<br />IBM Global Business Services<br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />Ted Tritchew<br />Delivery Executive, IBM Global Business Services<br />Stuart Robertson<br />Lead IT Architect, IBM Global Business Services<br />
  3. 3. Integrating Drupal with Enterprise Back-Office Systems<br />to Deliver a Best of Breed e-Commerce Sites <br />January 21st, 2010<br />
  4. 4. 4<br />Agenda<br />Background <br />Technology Selection <br />Solution Overview <br />Challenges and Solutions <br />Questions <br />
  5. 5. 5<br />Background<br />IBM Application Services<br />Typical website scope for custom eCommerce solutions<br />
  6. 6. 6<br />IBM Application Services <br />The IBM Application Innovation Services group is part of IBM’s consulting organization – IBM Global Business Services<br />“The mission of Application Innovation Services is to help our clients grow, innovate, differentiate, and transform their businesses by delivering world-class solution design, development and integration services.”<br />Create many custom applications for clients, including Drupal-based web sites, and e-commerce sites which integrate into enterprise systems.<br />This presentation we talk about custom e-commerce solutions that are built when there is no commercially available e-commerce infrastructure that meets the needs of client, and the solution requires integration to clients enterprise systems…<br />
  7. 7. 7<br />Typical Website Scope<br />Superior Brand<br />Companies brand should be supported through “best of breed” web site <br />Support best of breed Web 2.0 features including: Blogs, RSS Feeds, Ratings and Comments, Tell-a-friend, Polls, Contact us.<br />Self Evident User Interface & features<br />Self Service user interface optimized for ease-of-use, and requiring minimum on-line help <br />Self-service ordering, order status, and account management<br />Significant Reach<br />Allow as many users as possible to access the site (support multiple browsers)<br />Support multiple regions through web site<br />Speed<br />Highly responsive user interface (sub-second response time)<br />Users can quickly perform key operations such as: customer sign-up, order entry, order status, order history<br />Secure<br />Secure role-based web access to site, and to individual accounts, <br />Data security<br />Secure Web site administration<br />Seamless Integration to backend applications<br />Account Setup, Account Maintenance, Quotes, Orders, Order History, Order Status, Account Balance, Credit Card/Checking Account Payment/Validation<br />
  8. 8. 8<br />Agenda<br />Background <br />Technology Selection <br />Solution Overview <br />Challenges and Solutions <br />Questions <br />
  9. 9. 9<br />Technology Selection<br />Constraints <br />So many choices…<br />What we chose and why <br />
  10. 10. 10<br />Constraints<br />Web site scope and requirements drive many of the technology requirements & decisions:<br />Browser based access<br />Real-time integration to enterprise applications<br />Best of breed ecommerce<br />Self-service ordering and account management<br />Blogs, RSS Feeds, Ratings and Comments etc.<br />Secure <br />Role based authentication<br />Protect personal information<br />Self evident highly responsive user interface<br />Instant feedback to user by integrating with back-office application in real-time <br />Support branding and marketing:<br />Quickly make changes to web site content<br />Search Engine Optimization<br />
  11. 11. 11<br />Technology Selection: Constraints<br />Need to integrate with existing back-office systems and IT environment<br />Largely dictated choice of Application Server and “mid-tier” database.<br />Short time to market<br />Ease of use and rapid prototyping very important.<br />Use of proven e-commerce application and SOA patterns important<br />Skills availability<br />Java, WebSphere, dynamic languages (Ruby, PHP), SASS, CSS, etc.<br />Familiarity with standard IBM Tools (Rational tool suite, etc).<br />“Enterprise readiness”<br />Scalability, performance, security …<br />Need to be easily supported by IT operations team<br />Limitations on use of “approved” Open Source Software (OSS)<br />GPL<br />Legal pedigree<br />Precedent<br />Cost<br />
  12. 12. 12<br />Self-service ecommerce application pattern<br /><ul><li>Presentation Tier responsible for presentation logic
  13. 13. Web Application Tier responsible for some application business logic, and for accessing backend application logic and data (in real time) via point-to-point integration
  14. 14. Backend Enterprise applications contain core business logic and data that run the business. </li></li></ul><li>13<br />Technology Selection: So many choices…<br />Presentation Tier<br />Content Management System<br />Alfresco (Java based)<br />Drupal (PHP)<br />Joomla (PHP)<br />Custom-built solution<br />JavaServer Faces (JSF)<br />Ruby on Rails<br />Zend Framework<br />Web Application Logic Tier<br />Java-based<br />Essentially dictated by client IT strategy.<br />
  15. 15. 14<br />Technology Selection: What we choose and Why<br />Web Application Logic Tier<br />Linux, WebSphere, DB2; Custom Development (Java)<br />Skills availability, good fit with existing IT environment and strategy<br />IT operations team has solid experience supporting “Blue stack”<br />Presentation Tier<br />Acquia Drupal (6.x), Linux; Contributed & Custom Modules<br />Supported features required for best of breed solution<br />Stable APIs<br />Extensibility <br />Security<br />Documentation <br />Quality <br />Support (both Acquia and community-based)<br />Rapid delivery and prototyping <br />Cost effective<br />
  16. 16. 15<br />Agenda<br />Background <br />Technology Selection <br />Solution Overview <br />Challenges and Solutions <br />Questions <br />
  17. 17. 16<br />Solution Overview<br />Architecture <br />Logic Layer (WebSphere)<br />Presentation Layer (Drupal)<br />Interaction Patterns<br />
  18. 18. 17<br />Solution Overview: Architecture<br /><ul><li>Logical Architecture</li></li></ul><li>18<br />Solution Overview: Architecture<br /><ul><li>Physical Architecture (Overview)</li></li></ul><li>19<br />Solution Overview: Logic Layer<br />Key components<br />WebSphere, DB2, Java 6, Spring, Apache CXF.<br />Purpose<br />Expose business-aligned web-services<br />Provide a stable abstraction of the ERP system and other back-ends<br />Present a clean, easy-to-test interface to the UI layer<br />
  19. 19. 20<br />Solution Overview: Presentation Layer<br />Key components<br />Acquia Drupal 6.14, LAMP stack <br />CCK, Views, Panels, JQuery, Location, GMap<br />Custom modules including:<br />OO SOAP-client framework<br />OO Forms API abstraction<br />OO Logging framework (into watchdog)<br />Configurable diagnostics and tracing<br />Forms (“My Account”, “Signup”, “Order”, “Order History”…)<br />Login hooks, etc.<br />
  20. 20. 21<br />Solution Overview: Interaction Patterns<br /><ul><li>Example from “Serviceability Check” built for determining heating oil delivery availability, as well as price savings.</li></li></ul><li>22<br />Agenda<br />Background <br />Technology Selection <br />Solution Overview <br />Challenges and Solutions <br />Questions <br />
  21. 21. 23<br />Challenges and Solutions<br />Dynamic Requirement and Agile Delivery<br />ERP System Integration<br />Team Development with Drupal<br />Drupal Limitations (ie. Panels availability, Forms API)<br />
  22. 22. 24<br />Challenges and Solutions: Changing Requirements/Agile Delivery<br />Challenges<br />Short timelines.<br />Support evolving requirements in order to provide best possible solution<br />Parallel development of Presentation and Logic layers.<br />Ensure teams’ deliverables work when integrated.<br />Provide developers the freedom to “re-factor mercilessly” while preventing regressions.<br />Solutions<br />Agile development process (Scrum)<br />Test-Driven Development (TDD)<br />JUnit, PHPUnit, Selenium, SoapUI<br />Interface-based Design<br />Continuous Integration<br />Hudson, Maven, SVN<br />
  23. 23. 25<br />Challenges and Solutions: ERP System Integration<br />Challenges<br />Most e-commerce applications fail because it is difficult to integrate with Enterprise applications (ERP systems)<br />Poorly documented and evolving ERP APIs.<br />Firewalls and access restrictions.<br />Availability and stability of test systems.<br />Population of suitable test data in ERP test system. <br />Solutions (using best-of-breed patterns)<br />Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) <br />“Hide” the ERP system behind a set of business-aligned web-services (the “mid-tier”).<br />“Mock” Framework<br />Decoupled continuous-integration test environments from real ERP systems using a custom-built “mock” framework that simulates the ERP interactions<br />Automated Testing<br />Comprehensive automated test-suite (JUnit-based) run against both mock and real ERP environments.<br />
  24. 24. 26<br />Challenges and Solutions: Team Development with Drupal<br />Challenges<br />How to reliably merge team-members’ work?<br />How to ensure merged changes work correctly end-to-end?<br />How to give developers “private workspaces” without letting them get “too far” from the integration environment?<br />Solutions<br />Central Drupal “Integration Server”<br />Cron-job to dump integration DB and check it into source control (SVN).<br />Developers pull from SVN and reload their local database.<br />Continuous-integration build system<br />Reacts to changes made to source files (Java & PHP) and the Integration Server database <br />Spans both “mid-tier” and Drupal<br />Automated compile, test, package, deploy, integration-test cycle<br />Downstream Drupal “builds”<br />
  25. 25. 27<br />Challenges and Solutions: Drupal Forms API<br />Challenges<br />Verbose, error-prone syntax (“array hell”).<br />Difficult for new developers to use (no auto-complete, no inheritance or code-level reuse).<br />Difficult to ensure consistency across developers.<br />Solutions<br />Create custom object-oriented Forms API<br />Provides an OO class hierarchy for forms and form elements (Checkbox, TextField, Form, FieldSet, etc.)<br />Forms and form elements are render()’d into Drupal Forms API arrays.<br />Fully unit-tested using PHPUnit.<br />
  26. 26. 28<br />Other Considerations <br />Security<br />It is essential that e-commerce site is secure<br />Use independent team to perform security audit/testing of site before going into production<br />Use Rational Appscan as main tool for security testing<br />Development team also does ad-hoc security testing using Fiddler and Watcher as the site is being developed<br />
  27. 27. 29<br />Conclusions <br />Keys to success:<br />Use of Drupal framework as a key building block <br />Real-time integration to back-office applications to provide best of breed solution<br />Use of well known development, application and architecture patterns <br />Observations:<br />Integration to enterprise applications such as ERP systems is not easy, don’t underestimate it as it will be the difference between success and failure<br />Make sure that you spend a lot of time up front creating your development, continuous integration, and unit testing environments, it will be time well spent<br />It always helps to have an experienced team that has done similar projects in the past<br />
  28. 28. 30<br />Agenda<br />Background <br />Technology Selection <br />Solution Overview <br />Challenges and Solutions <br />Questions <br />
  29. 29. Questions<br />Today’s webinar recording <br />will be posted at:<br /><br />For more information, visit:<br /><br /><br />Contact us:<br /><br /> 888.9.ACQUIA<br />Contact IBM Global Services:<br /><br /><br />Sign up for a free 30-day Acquia Network Trial<br /><br />