News Column

Patent Issued for Configuration of Componentized Software Applications

February 13, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY) has been issued patent number 8640096, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Arcese, Mauro (Fontana Liri, IT); Bernardini, Gianluca (Rome, IT); Crudele, Michele (Rome, IT); Pichetti, Luigi (Rome, IT).

This patent was filed on August 22, 2008 and was published online on January 28, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "The present invention relates generally to software configuration, and in particular, to configuration of componentized software application.

"With the advent of the software application componentization and integration initiatives, progressively more software applications are componentized. Such a paradigm has several advantages in terms of software code reuse, reduction of implementation effort, integration opportunities, etc. However, componentization can create new issues to manage in relation to central configuration of a componentized software application.

"A componentized software application includes several software components (modules or pieces), each of which has its own configuration as a stand-alone application. Configuring a componentized application involves configuring all the software components used by the application in such a way that they are able to work together and be exploited successfully by an aggregating application. This is an involved task since each component is typically developed by an independent team and has its own mechanisms and repositories to manage its configuration (e.g., text files, binary files, database, registry keys, etc.). Moreover, when dealing with componentized applications, two aspects need to be considered. The first aspect involves constraints for the component configuration, wherein the same parameter can be used by different components and, in this case, it is mandatory for the parameter to assume the same value for each component (e.g., a communication port used to exchange data between two components). The second aspect involves shared components, wherein the same component can be shared among several applications and, in this case, its configuration has to be managed in a consistent manner. Each application/component tends to provide its own way of managing the configuration and the available configuration management solutions are only focused in handling configuration settings in terms of desired state at application level, without addressing a componentized infrastructure."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The invention provides a method and system for centrally managing configuration of software application components. One embodiment involves creating configuration metadata for each component of the application; providing a specific configuration for a component; checking validity of the specific configuration using the metadata for said component; and monitoring the application component configuration for consistency with said specific configuration.

"The configuration metadata for each component may include one or more of: a list of application components using the current component; a list of application components required by the current component; a list of configuration parameters; a list of relations between the configuration parameters; and start and stop methods.

"Each configuration parameter may define at least the following attributes: parameter name, a flag indicating if the parameter can be set without requiring a restart of the component, and functions to access and modify the parameter value.

"Checking validity of the specific configuration may include: validating the configuration consistency according to relationships among configuration parameters as specified in the configuration metadata; and checking for shared components, and if a component is shared among several applications, then validating the related configurations.

"Monitoring application component configurations may further include: retrieving the current configuration of components; validating the current configuration consistency; comparing the retrieved configuration with the specified configuration; and reporting invalid configurations and differences between the retrieved configuration and the specified configuration. The method may further include performing application configuration based on the specific configuration and the monitored configuration.

"The method may further include providing an application configuration for all the involved components specifying values for configuration parameters exposed by the application and the related components, comprising: logical parameters including abstract configuration parameters and their mapping to the actual component specific parameters, wherein a logical parameter identifies a logical property, which may be applied to all the components of the application, thereby providing a unique view of such parameters at the application level; and application configuration pairs including key/value pairs identifying the actual configuration settings for the application and the related components, wherein for each component, the actual values for the configuration parameters exposed by the component configuration metadata are specified, such that the configuration settings specified satisfy the relations among the configuration parameters, as defined in the configuration metadata.

"Other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, which, when taken in conjunction with the drawings, illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Arcese, Mauro; Bernardini, Gianluca; Crudele, Michele; Pichetti, Luigi. Configuration of Componentized Software Applications. U.S. Patent Number 8640096, filed August 22, 2008, and published online on January 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=12&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=588&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140128.PD.&OS=ISD/20140128&RS=ISD/20140128

Keywords for this news article include: Software, International Business Machines Corporation.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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