Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Irit Gillath, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David Sprott, Martin Etmajer

Related Topics: Java

Java: 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
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
CommVault has announced that top industry technology visionaries have joined its leadership team. The addition of leaders from companies such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco, PwC and EMC signals the continuation of CommVault Next, the company's business transformation for sales, go-to-market strategies, pricing and packaging and technology innovation. The company also announced that it had realigned its structure to create business units to more directly match how customers evaluate, deploy, operate, and purchase technology.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along with a steady stream of well-publicized data breaches, only add to the uncertainty
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Every innovation or invention was originally a daydream. You like to imagine a “what-if” scenario. And with all the attention being paid to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) you don’t have to stretch the imagination too much to see how this may impact commercial and homeowners insurance. We’re beyond the point of accepting this as a leap of faith. The groundwork is laid. Now it’s just a matter of time. We can thank the inventors of smart thermostats for developing a practical business application that everyone can relate to. Gone are the salad days of smart home apps, the early chalkb...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.