Whitebeam Environment - Redbourne Case Study
Redbourne created the Whitebeam environment - and have harnessed the architecture
to build a sophisticated operational environment. The resulting hosting environment
is specifically suited for the hosting of mission critical e-business applications. Redbourne
Integration Partners develop, test
and implement applications on behalf of their clients within the Redbourne
environment - a resilient implementation of a Whitebeam environment. Authorised end users
can use these applications over the Internet using any web browser.
The Redbourne example is a good illustration of what can be achieved using the Whitebeam architecture. Below you will
find some information on what Redbourne has accomplised.
The Internet can be considered a global interconnection of host computers over
a TCP/IP network.
End users gain access to the Internet via an ISP, typically by dialling a local
telephone number. This local connection automatically gives end users access to
products or services worldwide.
The browser is the end user application responsible for displaying the
pages constructed by web servers. A
user can request a web page by keying an appropriate URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
or address. The location of the resource is resolved by the Internet.
Applications hosted within the Redbourne Data Centre are available via
the Internet. The Redbourne data centre is physically located
in a high security data centre in London.
Redbourne provides a resilient high bandwidth connectivity service that is
independent of any ISP and has multiple links to the Internet via LINX (London
INternet eXchange). LINX is a small private network operated by tier one ISPs that
routes Internet traffic through the UK when it originates from and is destined for
the UK. This improves domestic response times and releases bandwidth for international
Whitebeam System Architecture
Robust e-business applications can be quickly developed and deployed using the
Whitebeam system. Such applications can leverage the core capabilities of the Whitebeam architecture, developed
and tested originally by Redbourne, to implement bespoke and/or complex business processes
through simple application programming interfaces or APIs.
The 'Whitebeam' Open Source e-business development environment is
essentially a set of co-operating software components
hosted at the Redbourne Data Centre. These software components play a key role
in delivering application services to Redbourne partners and their clients.
Whitebeam runs as a loadable module in the industry standard Apache Web Server software.
The Web Server is responsible for serving web pages using the HTTP protocol (and
the secure variant, HTTPS) over the Internet in response to URLs keyed by a user
or generated by a client application. Redbourne operates a number of Web Servers
for load balancing.
A configuration file defines how the Web server processes user requests based upon
the received URL. Apache is configured to handle
requests for static content and to delegate requests for dynamic content to
Whitebeam's Presentation Engine.
Each client application is essentially a set of files. These files
will typically be a mixture of content types (e.g. HTML,
presentation pages, gifs and libraries).
Presentation Pages are files that define any mixture of Redbourne dynamic content
and normal static content.
The Whitebeam Presentation Engine does
the work of 'executing' the
that form the UI to the client application. The Presentation Engine finds and executes
the Presentation Page that corresponds to a specific requested URL and dynamically
generates a web page that is then delivered, to the requesting browser.
and process Whitebeam XML
(eXtensible Mark-up Language) tags. XML tags
convey document mark-up information to the Presentation Engine and to also define
interfaces to back-end Templates.
may include interactions with Redbourne Templates.
Whitebeam has a number of templates that individually encapsulate
a number of business, system and process models. Templates are the
software components that fulfil the dynamic behaviour and content of e-business
applications through interactions with the Whitebeam database.
Whitebeam Templates are designed as shared software components that execute
core e-business functions and processes. An e-business application can combine
the behaviours of any number of Whitebeam Templates to formulate complex business
processes. Whitebeam Templates, developed in a rigorous environment by skilled
technicians, abstract complex data management and integrity into simple
interfaces. As such, Whitebeam Templates form the basis for rapidly developing and
deploying robust e-business applications.
The interface to each Whitebeam Template is defined within the Whitebeam
'Resource Object Model' (ROM) that is similar to the common browser Document Object
top-level parent object, rb (resource base), whose immediate child objects
typically map onto Whitebeam Templates.
Data is stored in the Open Source PostgreSQL database.