Saga patterns: wrap up

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NServiceBus sagas are a simple yet flexible tool to achieve a variety of end goals. Whether it’s orchestration, choreography, business activity monitoring, or just other long-running business transaction variants, the uses of an NServiceBus saga are pretty much endless.

When choosing to go with a centralized workflow, we also saw that there is a cost to centralization with the introduction of a bottleneck. With the routing slip pattern, we can include instructions with our message in a header so that each recipient only needs to reference the attached instructions. In a routing slip, flow is linear, but there’s nothing stopping us from including more advanced instructions for state machines, compensations and so on.

I tend to think of the NServiceBus saga as more of a facility, than a specific pattern, because it doesn’t force us to go in any one direction. Rather than assume a specific role or function for a saga, I like to keep things a bit more flexible, and choose one of the many conversation/messaging patterns available for each given scenario.

In the end, sagas are a useful tool (and one that can be over-used, not every workflow deserves central management), but a nice one to have. Every time I introduce NServiceBus sagas to folks that spent time with other messaging tools, whether it’s big orchestration with ESBs or bare-metal messaging tools, the simplicity and code-centric nature of NServiceBus sagas either excites or depresses, depending on the possibility of switching or introducing new tools.

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About Jimmy Bogard

I'm a technical architect with Headspring in Austin, TX. I focus on DDD, distributed systems, and any other acronym-centric design/architecture/methodology. I created AutoMapper and am a co-author of the ASP.NET MVC in Action books.
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