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From Fraser Adams <fraser.ad...@blueyonder.co.uk>
Subject Re: The future of Qpid Management.
Date Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:00:30 GMT
On 26/02/14 11:43, Gordon Sim wrote:
> On 02/25/2014 10:35 PM, Jakub Scholz wrote:
>> I think the QMF and the tools around it demonstrate the problem of tools
>> modeled only according to some schema. Utilities like qpid-tool allow 
>> you
>> to find the schema details about the objects/classes and their 
>> methods and
>> call these methods. But if you want to use the filter in the purge 
>> method
>> of a queue object, it doesn't really tell you how should the filter
>> attribute look like.
>> It is of course great to be able to save development effort and to 
>> have at
>> least some tools. But the value of such tools to the end user is often
>> questionable, especially since it is often connected with missing
>> documentation.
> You are of course correct. Sufficiently accurate and detailed 
> documentation is essential in order to allow users to use any tool.

I'll 'fess up now, one of the reasons that I am fairly vocal about 
having something useful for the schema in the AMQP 1.0 Management 
specification is because if it's not explicitly required by the 
specification then sure as eggs is eggs we'll end up with no 
documentation, whether in Qpid (not unheard of) or some other container 
implementation. It's one of those things where a little "forcing of the 
hand" really won't go amiss. To be honest I'm actually fairly agnostic 
about how such a schema should be implemented and if it were in the form 
of say an XML file I'd probably be OK with that, but saying that it's 
not compliant with AMQP 1.0 Management without a useful description of 
the methods and attributes being presented is IMHO something of a 
powerful statement. If vendors are forced to have documentation to be 
compliant and thus be able put the little "Supports AMQP 1.0 Management" 
sticker on the box and in their marketing then that's no bad thing IMHO.

This won't be the first time I've said that I'm not *wildly* keen on 
forcing users to have to look at the container's source code in order to 
be able to effectively invoke management operations, to me that doesn't 
seem at all reasonable, so making the need for a schema to be available 
a mandatory part of the protocol would force the issue.

Perhaps this is an overly aggressive stance and I appear to be the only 
person in the discussion so far to be advocating this. I'll take a look 
at the docs for the Java Broker Management Node and the dispatch router 
Management Node - oh wait ;-p I rest my case m'lud ...

OK so I'm being a bit of a Smart Alec (sorry Rob, I know it's early days 
and I'm just being cheeky!) but hopefully you see my point.

Another slightly facetious point I'd make on this subject is that these 
guys seem to have figured that this sort of thing is ever so slightly 


And indeed if you look at:


You can get rather a lot of useful information about method signatures. 
I'd of course agree that if you have arguments that are Maps and then go 
on to not describe the properties of said Map then you're back to square 
one. That's actually one of the problems with QMF from my perspective - 
the CRUD stuff goes so far like create name, type is fine, but the 
properties Map ends up being just a bit *too* free form - can anyone 
point to where one would figure out which properties to set without 
looking at the code? That's kind of the point Jakub makes, but I don't 
think this stuff *couldn't* be added to management-schema.xml or 
whatever - sure it'd get a bit verbose if we had lots of nested 
Maps/Lists but that's atypical, describing the properties Map would be 
really useful for people.

Actually now that I'm on a roll there's actually a standards based way 
of describing this sort of thing:


Quite a few UML Modelling tools use XMI to store their models so 
sophisticated hierarchies *could* be described in a systematic way.

I'd accept that this might be overkill and I'm probably getting somewhat 
carried away :-D but given that it's possible to describe complex UML 
models I'd suspect that describing a Management Node and a few Manageble 
Entities to be possible.

> A schema is a form of documentation which to be useful as such needs 
> to have descriptive elements within it (rather than just types and 
> names).
> In one sense the example with the purge filter highlights the fact 
> that the description for that parameter is not sufficiently clear. Any 
> form of documentation can suffer from the same deficiency.
Yes I absolutely agree, FWIW I think that the QMF management-schema.xml 
tends to be pretty good, but as I say above it's let down at the last 
hurdle by not having the properties part of the various methods documented.

All I'm really arguing for is for the ability for a document such as 
this to be served via an AMQP request/response so that an application 
can use the information (including annotations). I quite like JSON or a 
Map because they seem more natural for AMQP and modern Web Services, 
though I'd settle for XML at a push.

> That said I don't believe one single source of information is ever 
> likely to be (and remain) sufficient for a tool that can be used with 
> multiple different brokers (there will always be 'extensible' 
> elements, such as the queue-declare 'arguments' for which you will 
> need to consult some other source of documentation).
Perhaps, though I'd argue that it's just a recursive type - so you 
supply a Map parameter and describe the properties of the Map and their 
types. Ultimately to be of use this stuff has to be described 
*somewhere*, making said documentation *structured* doesn't then seem 

I'm probably on a losing streak with this, but at least you guys know 
where I'm coming from now, if there are better approaches to document 
this and better ways to make sure that said documentation does in fact 
happen then I'll go with the flow.
> Neither am I in any way advocating for or against schema retrieval 
> mechanisms.
> I do think a generic tool for in some way 'managing' - e.g. like 
> qpid-config add|del|list or a gui equivalent - a range of different 
> brokers, each with divergent but overlapping sets of semantics, is 
> both feasible and (potentially) useful. I'd be interested to hear 
> other opinions on that though, especially with regard to usefulness.
I'd agree that it's a difficult one. My gut feeling is that with the 
right sort of schema (and perhaps by "right" this includes annotations) 
then at the very least it will be a whole lot easier to write more 
general tooling. It's not black and white by any means - for example I 
look at management-schema.xml and look at the QMF GUI and I've made 
"judgement calls" on some of the properties that just take up real 
estate and those which are useful and TBH I have "coded" pages for 
specific Node types, but I do often wonder if I could make things more 

Perhaps the differences between the C++ and Java Brokers gives us a 
chance to figure out if it's actually possible to do useful "generic" 
tooling. Perhaps rather than sweating blood trying to align the 
Management Nodes and Manageable Entities we try to use a consistent way 
to (structured) document them and see if that allows us to provide 
common tooling at least for Qpid whilst still celebrating their 
differences. If we can't do it for Qpid then there's no hope more 
widely, but if we can then at least we've got an approach.

At the very least it's good to be having this discussion and getting 
some of the different perspectives on the table - even if I'm losing the 
argument at the moment :-D


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