Reusing integration design patterns

Integration specialists often use or implement integration design patterns when connecting Point A to Point B. There are dozens of integration design patterns available––from canonical data model patterns and façade design patterns to messaging, routing, and composition patterns. 

These integration design patterns serve as a “formula” to successfully connect data, applications, systems, and devices. Every pattern serves a specific purpose––whether it is to transmit events from one application to another or to consume application messages as they become available.

 

Many integration specialists use integration design patterns without necessarily realizing that’s what they are implementing. More importantly, the majority of integration specialists reuse these patterns to integrate more quickly, save time and effort, and, in turn, achieve business goals in a timely manner. 

The problem arises when reuse is done through a copy-and-paste approach––in the same way you might copy a paragraph within a document and paste it in another document. If you use this “copy-and-paste” approach when integrating, you end up with this sprawl of artifacts and patterns; none of which are truly reusable

How? Let’s take a simple scenario.

Integration design patterns and reusability

Imagine an organization has a canonical integration design pattern for how to implement security. This canonical pattern refers to creating a messaging or data model that can then be routed through an integration platform such as an Enterprise Service Bus), where the data can be converted into a canonical standard format. 

Now, let’s imagine that every time an integration specialist needs to use that canonical pattern, they simply copy-and-paste it into the next interface or asset. 

For years, this approach worked for this organization and they did not face any problems. That all changed, three years later, when a new Chief Security Officer (CSO) took over the organization. This CSO points out a bug in the canonical integration design pattern, and asks the team to adjust it. 

However, by using a “copy-and-paste” approach to reusability, the integration team at this organization never created a link between the “copy-and-pasted” integration design pattern and the original canonical version of that pattern. 

Now, all the interfaces or assets that uses the “copy-and-pasted integration design pattern will need to be manually changed, one-by-one, because there is no link to the original canonical version of that pattern.  

However, if every interface or asset simply referred to the original canonical design pattern (i.e. the model is not copy pasted across the organization), then all interfaces can automatically update when the original pattern is changed.

Learn more about reusing integration design patterns

At the end of the day, integration design patterns exist in enterprises across industries and sectors. The key, however, is not only to choose the correct type of integration pattern for your use case, but to also ensure that when a model is reused, it is not done in a “copy-and-paste” fashion. Instead, integration specialists should simply refer to the original pattern to reuse it. 

In order to better leverage integration design, organizations must consider new approach to integration: API-led connectivity. Read about API-led connectivity and see you it can help organizations better reuse integration design patterns.