Adaptive Framework (AFW) is a framework for building
applications that facilitate the access of data from common sources,
such as databases, and presents the data and its metadata in flexible
formats that can be consumed and interacted with by clients or
applications that work well with object data. You will find that many
aspects of its design resemble common technologies, such as
Object-Relational Mapping (ORM),
Integration Patterns (EIP) and
Buses (ESB). This framework implements many of those same
ideas and patterns in a way that's very extensible, adaptable to
technology changes, considerate of open standards, and available as open
It's important to understand that this is a framework, not a product or solution, and everything provided by Adaptive Framework are tools to help build applications that would benefit from these features. Specific application requirements will vary and some applications may wish to use more or less features from this framework than others.
Adaptive Framework was also designed to be modular. A core set of features exist, but extensions can be added at runtime and register additional features that look just like first-class citizens.
Objects and Metadata
Adaptive Framework was partially inspired by ideas and concepts
Adaptive Object Model (http://adaptiveobjectmodel.com).
Nearly everything in Adaptive Framework is described by objects and
metadata. By separating data from metadata, and representing them
by separate objects, we achieve flexibility over design that is very
dynamic and doesn't require recompilation when metadata is changed.
The origins of Adaptive Framework grew from a set of procedures and tools that were created for the purpose of maintaining an identity vault. We needed to integrate data from several systems and conform to the unique rules that each system presented. We also needed to conform to the unique needs of our user base. Data access, data transformations, provisioning and deprovisioning, web applications, security, and data inconsistencies were just some of the many challenges to our project. During this process, it was also became obvious that the only constant we could seem to rely on was change itself. Requirements, data, protocols and software were always changing. Staff, along with their expertise, moved between groups or retired. Vendors could go out of business and licensing costs could change. It was imperative, therefore, to design something that was adaptable to all of these moving parts.
One feature that we really wanted was to be able to plug in any database of choice and allow for all applications, new or legacy, to interoperate with with each other. We also wanted to harvest metadata from existing systems and use it to make business decisions without replicating code and policy. We wanted to be able to adapt to new software technologies and data formats without changing business rules that were in place. We needed the ability to generate documentation and APIs in order to keep up with the data model that was constantly changing. Finally, it was ideal for the solution to be open source. These emerging design features - the interface definitions, objects, metadata, data types, functions, expressions, languages, language bindings, command-line and web-based tools, doc and code generation - produced the Adaptive Framework.
The following diagram constructs how the parts may be assembled
together, to create an
Application in order to demonstrate how the parts are
constructed, visually. This application leverages extensions to
interact with external databases in various data formats and uses
configuration files and objects to influence how it will respond to
Adaptive Framework Core
Adaptive Framework Core refers to the
functionality that is provided by the framework, by default.
Core includes built-in interfaces, data types, functions,
extensions, adaptors for persisting objects, logs and request
handlers. It also includes a runtime environment and a language
interpreter to evaluate Adaptive Scripts and Expressions.
Extensions are shared libraries that are able
to be loaded dynamically at runtime by Adaptive Framework Core.
These extensions can then register additional functionality,
such as new data types, functions or adaptors.
Services bundle configuration objects with
extension implementations, along with startup instructions, to
deploy a dynamically reloadable unit of work. These may include
logging, database adaptors, authorization handlers and more.
Server in this example is a compiled
binary that is linked against the Adaptive Framework Core, and
may load extensions at runtime based on configuration files that
it has been provided. It will also instantiate a request handler
in order to process client requests. The Adaptive Framework
provides a default server implementation, based on FastCGI,
which can be used behind a web server such as Apache or Nginx.
In order to configure an application, we use
Configuration Objects, along with a single
afw.conf file to instruct the application
instance which extensions to load, what services to start and
where to locate additional configurations.
Data in this diagram may be optional,
structured databases, object stores, log files, event journals,
or anything else that may be used by services to read or persist
Application is the sum of
everything in this diagram, and is defined to Adaptive Framework
through a special configuration object. This documents the
application and provides some additional processing
instructions, such as which extensions to load at startup, a
default authorization script, general file path information and
some properties useful for the Administrative Web Application.