Software Development

TIBCO BusinessWorks – why I love it and why I hate it. Part 1

Wrzesień 22, 2017 19
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TIBCO Software is one of the integration legends. This is a well-thought-out solution that has won many developers’ hearts (or caused their heart attacks 😉) and has helped many IT departments. However, just like the majority of applications, it has also its disadvantages.

If you deal with system integration then I suppose you have probably come across TIBCO Software products. I also bet that not everyone knows where the company name comes from. The Information Bus COmpany indicates the company’s roots and actually in 1997 TIBCO started from an enterprise bus.

My adventure with TIBCO products started in 2010. Previously, in projects I used webMethods Integration Server and IBM WebSphere Message Broker. The project I was involved into used TIBCO BusinessWorks ™ 5. Years have passed, other products have appeared (e.g. TIBCO ActiveMatrix® Service Grid), but BW 5 always played the leading role. Not only for me but also for the corporation. During this time, I have learned a lot, some functionalities I liked, some were a burden. Below there is a subjective list of what I liked and what could be improved.

  1. It’s so ugly that it’s beautiful

My first contact with TIBCO Designer 5 was a bit shocking. The interface was just like in the end of the XX century – weak UX, ugly icons, not intuitive enough XSD editor, the “humor” of the application which was able to find errors in correct projects (after restarting, everything was OK). After some time I got used to some things, and even started to enjoy some of them.

In BusinessWorks 5 itself, I liked the support for many open as well as proprietary standards (dozens of adapters and plug-ins) and practically unlimited development opportunities thanks to the ability of writing custom Java/C++ adapters and modules.

Many producers declare the cross-platform capability of their applications. However, it often turns out that this applies only to the runtime (server) environment. In BW you can easily install the development environment on Linux. Definitely for those developers who don’t like to work on Microsoft Windows this is a great advantage. And a developer who can choose the most suitable environment is a satisfied developer. A satisfied developer is one step towards a better code J

  1. Small improvements

In TIBCO Designer, many times developers can appreciate the ideas of its authors. If your version control system is not officially supported via GUI, no problem. The project is a set of XML files that can be managed externally (SVN, Git, …). If there is any problem with the project, you can always look into the source code to see what is wrong and even in a critical situation make edits in any text editor. Connecting Continuous Delivery / Integration / Deployment to the tool is also not a problem as well as with code validators (verification of compliance with accepted principles of integration solution implementations).

  1. Experience

While creating solutions in TIBCO BusinessWorks ™ 5, the questions and doubts will certainly appear, either about the product itself (how to do something?), about implementation errors (why something is not working?), or about the optimization of the generated code (is my solution effective?). Since BW 5 has been present on the market for many years, it is not affected by childhood illnesses and also the knowledge and solution bases are extensive. It is very likely that someone else has already experienced and solved the problem that you are experiencing. And if not, the company’s support is usually helpful ( as well as the support of the large Tibco community (

Obviously, as well as every solution, TIBCO products are not without flaws. But that’s the topic for another post on the blog. Stay tuned 🙂


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