Vigil's Azure Command Queue

Vigil Journey

Command Query Responsibility Segregation (CQRS) was not something that I easily understood. Martin Fowler did a thorough job of explaining it in often-linked post from 2011. However, I still did not quite grasp it at the time. I also wasn’t working on any project large enough or complex enough that it made sense to use a pattern with that level of depth. When I came back to the concept many years later while working on a significantly more complex project, I could put together all of the puzzle pieces but I still couldn’t quite see the whole picture. While researching the topic, I stumbled on a blog post by Cesar de la Torre from Microsoft - CQRS BUS and Windows Azure technologies. His picture was well worth the thousands of words that I had already read.

Using an Explicit Model Constructor with a JsonInputFormatter

Vigil Journey

I may have gone down a long and twisted rabbit hole trying to figure out this problem, but I learned a lot about how model binding along the way, so I consider the whole experiment a productive use of my time, even if I end up ripping it all out in a few weeks. However, since I thought this would be a good idea, I figure others might find a good use for this knowledge. Thus, this is how I am using an explicity constructor when the input is in a JSON format and parameter is bound using the request body.

Discovering the ASP.NET Core MVC Stack

Vigil Journey

Now that the Vigil Project has breached into the API layer, I started to learn all kinds of new information about what takes place before the Controller’s Action method is called and what happens after that method returns. The MVC framework, especially while using Visual Studio, make it incredibly easy to forget about all of the heavy lifting that the framework does – long before my code is ever executed. It is only when I wanted to start changing how pieces worked that I really start to see the true depth and breadth of what Microsoft has created. As I begin to discover new pieces of the framework, I felt that the best way to retain this information is to repeat it; and since no one around me wants to hear about all of this, I’ll just type it into a blog post.

22 Month Status Report

Vigil Journey

As I was writing the previous post, it came as a shock how far behind my posts on the progress of the Vigil Donor Relationship Management System had gotten. I was going too deep into the code and making too many changes that I didn’t pause to write a post about my progress. My posts are 22 commits behind, and there are quite a few changes I’ve made to the workflow and to the application. As a way to catch up on all the missed posts that I should have written, I am putting this one together as a status report of the project/journey/solution.

In terms of workflow, I have embraced the GitHub Flow workflow (both for Vigil and for this blog). For my little project, since there is no discussion and no deployments (as of yet), the workflow is as simple as Branch, Commit(s), Pull, Merge, Delete. I like the way that a merge can squash all of the commits made on a branch, so that I have one summarized collection of everything that I did. This way, I can easily differentiate the content of a post by doing one per Pull Request / Merge. Hopefully, this process will now keep the posts coming regularly, help me be more concise about what should be in a post, and better contain runaway developing.

Introducing Vigil Web API

Vigil Journey

Thus far in the series, the Vigil Journey project has been able to create a patron, update a patron, and have those redefined as “a patron can be created and updated”. However, as acknowledged in those posts, this was all smoke and mirrors. Nothing was being persisted, and once the unit tests were run, there was no lasting effect of the code. All of the tests passed and there were lots of pretty green check marks, but no residual digital substance. Additionally, there was no application that could be left running with which someone could interact.

Illusions of Queues and Buses

Vigil Journey

There are many solutions on the market (including free open source) for creating both message queues and event buses. However, for example purposes - and as a simple proof of concept - I just wanted a simple way to store the contents of a Command, run the CommandHandler, receive Event objects, call the EventHandler actions, and save all of the results. Everything runs synchronously and there are no retry policies, topics, or request/reply patterns. It is a simple, nearly useless set of code - but it serves its very specific purpose.

Hydrating A Patron

Vigil Journey

There are two ways to retrieve the current values associated with an entity. The canonical source is the collection of events that describe how an entity came into existance and then was affected over time. The standard term for this seems to be “hydrating” the entity. Once the current state of the entity is found, it can then be persisted to a different medium for easier access. In the example of a Patron, there are few circumstances where the entire history of the entity is needed. Instead, most requests for the information will only be looking for the most current iteration - which is found in a snapshot database. One of the first challenges that I faced when building this initial prototype was proving that my code could rehydrate a Patron from only a list of events.