Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Jnan Dash, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Who Does Business Logic?

'Business Logic' seems to crop up a lot in presentations, articles, sales pitches and so forth

One of the phrases that has always puzzled me is "business logic". It seems to crop up a lot in presentations, articles, sales pitches and so forth. The one I saw it in most recently was a talk about how great web servers are because they keep all of the business logic on the server where it can be robust, secure, and logged. By analogy the client is a poor place for business logic because, while it can do richer things with the user interface, all of the core rules must be kept on the server.

It's not the first time I've come across server heads who use this argument, that their box has to be the gatekeeper for all of the hard and important corporate logic. By using the adjective "business" they're sort of belittling the desktop in any client server equation to be good for nothing more than fancy editing controls and salad dressing the user experience.

The problem is that often when you push people for what business logic really means, it boils down to something like "this value can't be larger than the sum of these values" or "this date can't be before this date for this kind of transaction". It's an answer that more often than not sounds to me like something the GUI is not only perfectly capable of doing, but is probably most sensibly done on the desktop. After all, it can notify errors instantly on mouse and keyboard events, and provide completion assistance and help without incurring the latency of an expensive server round trip.

Wikipedia describes "business logic" with the following sentence:

"Take a spreadsheet, for example. The spreadsheet in itself is a generic tool and embodies no business logic as such. When you use the spreadsheet by encoding formulas which calculate values of importance to your organization, then you are encoding business logic"

For any server guy reading this, a spreadsheet is a desktop application. However, the key phrase in the definition above is "importance to your organization, then you are encoding business logic".

From that definition I think that all code any of us have ever written is business logic. I assume of course none of us have ever written stuff that wasn't important to whichever organization was paying our salary at the time.

Why then is there such a mystique about the phrase ? I think it's because as soon as the adjective "business" is placed around something it means that it's more important to the organization and therefore attracts the attention of managers, accountants and analysts. Business modeling is something done by analysts (proper analysts, not people who write specs for programs that developers have to stay at work late and write) where they take apart the mechanics and structure organization of an organization in attempt to apply change management and restructure its processes to be more efficient and cost effective in future. A Masters of Business Administration studies for three years or more to understand this in depth, hoping for a destiny in the echelons of senior management to perfect and apply their skills. There are even executive MBA programs for those who are aiming even higher up the corporate ladder. I wonder whether MBAs drill into people a subliminal Pavlovian association that make its graduates salivate each time the word "business" is used to prefix an otherwise boring task, such as coding spreadsheet cells.

It's not just business logic that one can dissect in this way, but there are a slew of terminologies such as "business process execution language", "business event publishing", or "business process modeling notation". If you dig hard enough behind the sea of white papers and PowerPoint charts surround these however, you'll find that at the core of each is some plain old-fashioned, unfashionable, boring old code. "When value foo reach values a limit moo write value foo*100 to buffer boo that program goo reads and updates database yoo with".

There is benefit in abstracting lines of code to higher level units. Both from the benefits of modularity and re-use, while object-oriented programming further reifies blocks of work to become recognizable tasks and functions around anthropomorphic functions. What troubles me though, is when just because someone has grabbed a trendy name for what's basically just code, and then denigrates those who aren't using their coding technique as being fat, thick, poor, or whatever other insult they can dream up, allowing them smugly preaching the benefits of the new "business logic application hardware" (BLAH) technique they created with impunity.

We all write business logic. From games programmers, to COBOL guys, through Java, Visual Basic, and spread sheet macro heads. A good rule of thumb I think is to always apply the wikipedia test, which is when coding or designing, to continually question the importance of what you're doing to the organization for whom the program is being built.

Business logic can, and does, run anywhere, in any language, on any platform. Next time you see an over the top presentation being given by someone who dresses up their newfangled architecture with the "business" adjective start questioning them hard and peel back the layers of their onionware. You'll find that behind the robes there's just some code served up in an alphabet soup of acronyms to make it current and confusing. Then question whose benefit this is for. The customer for who the application is going to work, or the company whose consulting services are behind the presentation. Seems pretty logical to me.

More Stories By Joe Winchester

Joe Winchester, Editor-in-Chief of Java Developer's Journal, was formerly JDJ's longtime Desktop Technologies Editor and is a software developer working on development tools for IBM in Hursley, UK.

Comments (6) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
SYS-CON Brazil News Desk 07/31/06 03:32:37 PM EDT

One of the phrases that has always puzzled me is 'business logic'. It seems to crop up a lot in presentations, articles, sales pitches and so forth. The one I saw it in most recently was a talk about how great web servers are because they keep all of the business logic on the server where it can be robust, secure, and logged. By analogy the client is a poor place for business logic because, while it can do richer things with the user interface, all of the core rules must be kept on the server.

JDJ News Desk 07/31/06 01:50:32 PM EDT

One of the phrases that has always puzzled me is 'business logic'. It seems to crop up a lot in presentations, articles, sales pitches and so forth. The one I saw it in most recently was a talk about how great web servers are because they keep all of the business logic on the server where it can be robust, secure, and logged. By analogy the client is a poor place for business logic because, while it can do richer things with the user interface, all of the core rules must be kept on the server.

JDJ News Desk 07/31/06 01:08:01 PM EDT

One of the phrases that has always puzzled me is 'business logic'. It seems to crop up a lot in presentations, articles, sales pitches and so forth. The one I saw it in most recently was a talk about how great web servers are because they keep all of the business logic on the server where it can be robust, secure, and logged. By analogy the client is a poor place for business logic because, while it can do richer things with the user interface, all of the core rules must be kept on the server.

JDJ News Desk 07/31/06 12:54:52 PM EDT

One of the phrases that has always puzzled me is 'business logic'. It seems to crop up a lot in presentations, articles, sales pitches and so forth. The one I saw it in most recently was a talk about how great web servers are because they keep all of the business logic on the server where it can be robust, secure, and logged. By analogy the client is a poor place for business logic because, while it can do richer things with the user interface, all of the core rules must be kept on the server.

Raymond Pendergraph 07/31/06 12:37:22 PM EDT

I agree, business types (as with most other terminology) overuse and mis-use buzz words. "Band-width" is a personal irritant. "Business logic" will be no exception but the true meaning has never been an issue to developers in general I don't think. It has never really confused me anyway. You do make a valid point though... applications are mostly business logic. I think when people (developers?) say that phrase they mean the logical steps it takes to fulfill a task which may or may not be unique to that organization. The proper behind the scenes creation and routing of a 54-D report to accounting after the online submission of a 24-F for instance. What are these? I have no idea but I'll bet the company has specific rules about who, when, where and how. Rules that do not need to rest on several hundred clients (at different revision levels). Now the data entry and validation rules of the 24-F are another type of business logic that you mentioned. I would think these would most likely be on the client.

JDJ News Desk 07/31/06 08:36:34 AM EDT

One of the phrases that has always puzzled me is 'business logic'. It seems to crop up a lot in presentations, articles, sales pitches and so forth. The one I saw it in most recently was a talk about how great web servers are because they keep all of the business logic on the server where it can be robust, secure, and logged. By analogy the client is a poor place for business logic because, while it can do richer things with the user interface, all of the core rules must be kept on the server.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for ...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.