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Simple Events vs. Complex Events

A Conceptual Model for Event Processing Systems” article from IBM discusses how event processing can be used to realize EDA. Article gives a good overview of event processing and defines a conceptual model for it. The goal of the conceptual model is

to form the basis for implementations of event processing systems and event-driven applications, and to provide a common framework for specifying, comparing and contrasting event processing solution architectures and implementations.

Article provides a basis for implementations of event processing systems but it definitely doesn’t provide any framework for specifying event processing architectures. This is not possible if event producing concept is reduced to Producer – Processing – Consumer relations. If the scope is not the event processing but the architectures which makes use of complex event processing, we should talk about business processes and business entity lifecycles, not producers and consumers. In this scope, the definitions for simple/complex events provided in the article will not be enough neither.

  • Simple events are those which occurs in business processes usually because of a transition in the lifecycle of a business entity. Some of these events are interesting even for other business processes and they’ll be published as notifications.
  • Complex events, however, are the outputs of complex event processing. They’re created by processing a stream of events and applying rules.

There’s a section in the article called “Business Event Processing”. I don’t know how it made into this article. Are there also “Technical Event Processing” which is most likely not interesting for business, maybe also doesn’t add business value? This section shows me very clearly that the publishers of the article were not able to see CEP in a higher scope. They’re in the level of producers and consumers, the level of implementing an event processing system, not using it.

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