Service Design Patterns

gerchikov edited this page Mar 7, 2016 · 3 revisions


This guide describes a few common guidelines and recommendations when implementing a Xenon service. It also describes a few common service patterns.


When starting on a new service first go through the following steps, which will help you generate the proper implementation:

  1. Draw two interaction diagrams. An interaction diagram shows the messages exchanged between services:

a. A diagram that describes how this service will be used by others (its clients). Make sure to include all self-modifying operations: A service should always issue a self PATCH or PUT if it needs to change its state, instead of doing it implicitly.

b. A diagram that describes how this services orchestrates with other services, when it receives a client requests or does a periodic task

  1. Describe the service document, the state PODO. List the properties and their type and note the behavior of state side effecting operations on each field.

  2. Pick a pattern (more on patterns in a later section)


Xenon promotes re-use through services: If you have same shared piece of logic or state create a service to represent it, and then use that service, through its REST API.

For small stateless methods consider a static class, invoked with the appropriate context and a operation, with a nested completion. These "helpers" form a language-specific library but since they are stateless they compose well with asynchronous service code.

Avoid inheritance: Do not sub class service classes. The inheritance model is not composition and will not benefit an external clients or services in other languages. It also has unknown semantics in terms of concurrency and operation life-cycle and creates a "mini" framework within the inheritance chain.

Data model design

If you have services that have relationships between each other, you can use links in their state documents to express them. Avoid bi directional links and rely on queries to find the relationships at runtime.

A good practice is to have links flow a single way: from leaf documents towards core documents. A core, common service document should never know (should never have links in its document) to all the consumers/leaf services that refer to it.

Example for Data model references

A resource pool service is created at


N Compute services, representing a physical machine are created at


The document for compute has a link to the shared, root resource, the pool:

  "poolLink" : "/resources/pools/east-coast",
  "cpuCount" : 1,


  • Is the service modeling a long-running task? Its document is something that describes the task and it should periodically update it with progress. The service should include the TaskState PODO in its state and send self-PATCHes to move its state machine forward.

  • Is the service modeling a configuration object? It should have validation in the update handlers and set OWNER_SELECTION, EAGER_CONSISTENCY if strong replication semantics are required.

  • Is the service a stateless orchestrator? When receiving instructions through a POST, and issuing asynchronous requests to other services, it should determine if: (i) a task-like service, which means it needs to reply right away with 201; or (ii) if it is time-bounded, and is local orchestration, which means it can do the work in the context of the client request and reply when the orchestration is complete.

  • Is this service managing a collection of documents/services? Then it should be split into two:

    1. A factory service that creates new service instances for each document
    2. A "child" service representing each item.
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