One of the most popular enterprise service bus (ESB), Mule has the features of being Java-based, light-weight, and it functions as the runtime engine of a complete hybrid enterprise integration platform for SOA, SaaS and APIs called the Anypoint platform

What is MuleSoft?

Mule is a lightweight enterprise service bus, which its an integration framework provided by MuleSoft. This is a complete JAVA based platform but it can connect to any other platform and APIs such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more applications. 

MuleSoft allows developers to connect and interact with any application regardless of whatever language is used to build that application in a very flexible manner. It builds an active communication channel between the integrated application to send and exchange data over a reliable and secure platform.

Who can benefit from this tutorial?

The information is targeting the developer who wants to build and integrate APIs, Databases, and other applications into an advanced ecosystem. A developer working on ESB and the enterprise looking to migrate their already existing application to Mule environment will be the main focused audience of this tutorial. Along with these two, this tutorial is beneficial for students and researchers who have an interest in technology. 

What we can expect from this tutorial 

Well, this tutorial is designed to help developers, students, researchers, and cloud architects to help to understand the fundamental concepts of the mule. Let’s take a quick look at the core aspects:

  • What is Mule?
  • Mule ESB functionality and design.
  • Ways to implement ESB 
  • ESB core component and functionality. 
  • Mule Core Architecture.
  • Overview of Mule ESB.
  • Advantage or Mule ESB. 
  • Mule Services.
  • Mule Configuration Architecture.
  • Mule Message Component 
  • How to Download and Install Mule 
  • How To download and Install Anypoint Studio 

Introducing MuleSoft ESB

MuleSoft ESB (stands for Enterprise Service Bus) is a middleware tool created by MuleSoft to integrates N number of the application over a liner bus-like infrastructure. It is an efficiently designed infrastructure which supports uniform communication and data exchange through the various application. This ESB enables you to connect N number of the application over a Mule Bus and build the communication between one and another application without any interruption. 

Ways to implement ESB 

The purpose of the Mule ESB is to separate applications from each other and activate them to communicate in a highly scalable and speedy network Bus. It’s full proof controllable network system that also minimizes the risk of data loss. ESB can be implemented using the Adaptor and the BUS as below.

Mule uses messaging servers like JMS and AMQP which allows the implementation of BUS connectivity by separating the application from each other. The Bus implementation is only can be achieved through Mule Servers. 

Adaptors are responsible to act similar to a telephone network which allows you to communicate from one person to another. Similarly, the adaptor allows you to build a communication network to exchange data between the applications. 

ESB Bus allows consistent passage of data and information from one application to another. This way Mule achieves a great level of application communication over a single platform. Rather than using multiple different applications and APIs over the different networks to manage your application, Mule offers cloud-based application interaction and communication networks to support application interactions. 

Adaptors are not single-end operation controller, rather it also controls security, network errors, monitoring, and message routing activities.

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Guiding Principles provided by ESB

The guiding principles of ESB are also called as Core Principle of Mule in general.

  • Orchestration: This is a process of synchronizing two or more applications with each other to achieve a continues flow of data and process. 
  • Transformation:  This is a process of transforming data from the raw format to a specific application process data format. 
  • Transportation: This is a process similar to the transportation layer which allows the transport of messages using FTP, HTTP, JMS protocols for network transmissions. 
  • Mediation: It provided multiple interfaces to support multiple application interactions with multiple versions of services. 
  • Non-Functional Consistency:  This guideline ensures the mechanical support for handling transactions and security within the integrated environment. 

Why ESB is needed?

ESB has a vast integration architecture, which allows us to integrate and operate N number of applications through a single platform. Let’s see some of the important areas where you can use ESB features.

  • Integrating Multiple Applications on a single platform: Whenever is the need for integration of one or more services or application Mule ESB fulfills the needs of the requirement. 
  • Migrating the application to cloud or scaling large in future: It makes it easier to scale as per the increase in service demand by the users. It handles scalp up and scales down the process of the application with ease. You can easily deploy a new application or migrating the existing one without any infrastructure issues related to another application. 
  • Utilizing the benefits of multiple network protocols: ESB usage FTP, HTTP, JMS internet transfer protocols to ensure secure transmission of data from one application to another. 
  • Message routing feasibility: ESB also transmits messages between the applications and ensure smooth communication network. The message header, body and message content can be transmitted from one end to another in this ecosystem.
  • Consumption and Composition:  It is useful when if you need to publish services with composition and consumption.

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Difference between Point to Point integration and ESB integration 

For a middle or higher level application the number of integrations increases rapidly with the requirement to provide services, web hosting, messaging, database manipulation, storage, and so many other related concerns. With the P2P integration technique, you can build the architecture to support the application but at the same time, the architecture will become complex when the number of applications increases. Also, P2P has allotted of restriction over platform compatibility and language support. Let take an example to understand this.

 

EXAMPLE OF P2P COMPLEXITY 

p2p complexity

The restriction of connectivity to a different platform and the complexity with multiple application integration creates the need of using Mule ESB.

Mule ESB provides word-class flexibility to integrate without having concerns about language support and compatibility issues with different application architectures. It enhances the reusable capability of the application by encapsulation functionalities together in a single platform. Applications can be easily integrated into a synchronized manner as shown in the below image. 

mule esb architecture

Mule ESB consists of two components for managing integrations

Service Registry 

All the services exposed to Mule ESB are stored, registered and published from the service registry. It’s a repository that allows you to consume and access services and application capabilities as per your requirement. 

Centralized Administration 

It is a transparent administration unit where all the access and capability of application through services get controlled and monitored as a centralized unit of services. 

Functionalities of ESB 

Validate (V): Schema validation is handled by Validate. ESB usage a validation parser and updated schema to validate the schema outlines.  For example, you can check the XML document confirming a schema. 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<note>

<to>Jony</to>

<from>America</from>

<heading> Caller Reminder </heading>

<body>Lets learn Mule this weekend! </body>

</note>

Enrich (E): The purpose of enriching is to add additional data to a message. It simply adds more meaning to the destination user.

Transform (T): The process of converting data into a sequential format that is easily accessible to the requesting application is called transformation. For example, when you travel abroad you require to exchange your currency into the destination country currency which makes the currency easily movable into that country. Similarly, data also requires being transformed into a specific format for the acceptance of the requesting application. 

Routing (R):  You can call it as an endpoint or gatekeeper of the service which provides rout to the services to commute between the source and destination. 

Operate (O): The word operates itself defines the functionality performed by the component. It either invokes required services or communicates with the targeted application for the service processing. 

Overview of Mule ESB

As discussed earlier in the introduction Mule ESB is a lightweight Enterprise Service Bus that allows interaction between the application over a single platform. Mule is a widely used cloud service provided by MuleSoft Org to serve the corporate and individual developer who is serving the clients with a wide range of software applications. Mule ESB gives you the flexibility to create a communication channel between various applications that are critical for the service operation. It also simplifies the need for huge hardware configuration to support such a large scale application by simplify integrating to the cloud-based platform. MuleSoft is a SaaS-based platform that minimizes the use of large scale hardware setup and reduces hardware installation costs as well. You can get the below editions of MuleSoft as per your need. 

  • Community Edition 
  • Enterprise Edition 

A high level of scalability is also the most eye-catching advantage of the MuleSoft platform where you can buy community addition and later scale as enterprise addition as per your need. 

Advantages of Mulesoft ESB

Mule ESB offers a wide range of application support features such as 

  • It offers simple drag and drops graphical design to ease UI design complexities 
  • It supports visual data mapping ad transformation to give to data insights by making it more effective and meaningful. 
  • You can get the flexibility to access more than 100 pre-built connectors for applications. 
  • It gives you one end centralized monitoring and administration.
  • It gives to robust enterprise security features to operate in an ultra-secure platform. 
  • ESB gives to the accessibility of N number APIs for your application support and enhancement needs.
  • MuleSoft allows you to operate through a secure Gateway connection and protects from on-premises/ Cloud data treats. 
  • Service Registry manages the publication of data and services through registered access. 
  • You can get access through the web-based management console.
  • A service flow analyzer allows you to rapidly test the applications and services. 

Mulesoft Architecture

MuleSoft follows three-layer architecture for application integration and data processing.  Application Layer, Integration Layer, and Transport Layer. The architecture can be seen in the below diagram. 

mule esb for application integration

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Mule Development can be configured and customized in three categories of tasks.

Service Component Development 

This task involves encouraging the reusability of the POJOs and spring beans. Developers who have the spring development knowledge can easily understand the POJO and Spring Beans usability’s. POJO is a spring generated class which allows the use of getting and set methods along with cloud connectors. Spring beans contain business logic for application development and message enrichment. 

Service Orchestration 

It performs as a service mediation which allows integration of configuring the message processors, Adaptors and router with transformers and filters. 

Integration 

The integration of various applications is crucial for large scale application development process. It gives great flexibility to connect over many differently build applications regardless of protocols used by them. Using the transport method it simply allows the messages to travel from one end to another in source and destination channel. It builds a high level of communication association between the applications to transmit messages within the environment. You can use any available transport method or you can customize the transport method as per your needs. 

Mule configuration architecture

Mule configuration consists of below components

Mule configuration architecture

Mule Message components 

Mule message is the data that pass through Mule flaws and wrapped under mule object. Mule message consists of below components 

Header: 

Like any normal header, the Mule header holds the metadata of the information. It holds below two properties.

Inbound Properties:

Inbound is the properties that represent the directly sent messages by the source application. The value and structure of the message cannot be changed or modified as per the user's needs. It's consistent throughout the journey from source to destination. Technically it is an immutable message which cannot be changed at any phase of processing.

Outbound properties:

These are the messages which contain the metadata similar to the inbound message but can be changes and mutable during the flow. It can be either set by Mule or can be modified by the users of the application. 

If the message passage through an inbound source endpoint then it becomes immutable. The message passage as outbound flow from one end to the inbound flow to the other end, when it becomes immutable. Users cannot change or modify the context of the message. The message gets transmitted through the transport method.

Payloads 

The payload is a message carrying an object which holds the actual message of the business. 

Variables 

Variables are the user-defined metadata about the messages. Variables are the temporary representation of the information kept by the messages. Variable is not required to be passed with the message into the message flow to the destination. ESB variables are defined into three different categories. 

  • Flow variables 
  • Session variables 
  • Record Variables 

So, now you are ready with the basic fundamental knowledge about what, where and how Mule operates lets checkout the basic configuration to know, How to run Mule in your system?

Let’s get started by understanding the system and application configuration required to run a Mule code. 

First, you need to verify that your system has JAVA JDK installed in it. You can download JDK 8.1.0 to support the Mule configuration.

Mule support a wide range of operating system check the below list to know that you system contains any of them.

OS supported by Mule 

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 2016 Server
  • Windows 2012 R2 Server
  • MacOS 10.11.x
  • Ubuntu Server 18.04
  • Linux Kernel 3.13+
  • HP-UX 11iV3
  • Solaris 11.3
  • AIX 7.2
  • RHEL 7

Once you are ready with the Mule let’s check the Database required for running Mule application.

Database 

Mule runs its standalone server so you do not require any additional database application support for this. But if you required to process data, or access data store in Mule you require the below server to be configured. It will allow you to use the application server.

  • Oracle 12c
  • Oracle 11g
  • MySQL 5.5+
  • IBM DB2 10
  • PostgreSQL 9
  • Derby 10
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • System configuration to run Mule 
  • Minimum 2 GHz CPU or 1 Virtual CPU in virtualized environments
  • At least 1 GB RAM
  • At least 4 GB storage

How to Download Mule

You can download Mule from its official Website at  https://www.mulesoft.com/lp/dl/mule-esb-enterprise

mulesoft download window

Download Mule 4 Zip file into your local system by providing the above information.

Installing 

Unzip the downloaded file and run the Mule 4 binary exe. Set the environment variable as Mule_Home and create a Mule directory under the folder where you have extracted the downloaded file.

Let’s take an example of a windows environment and see how you can set the environment variable. 

You can set the variable in windows, Linux/Unix environment for version 4.1.5

Windows Environment Variable Example 

$ env:MULE_HOME=C:Downloadsmule-enterprise-standalone-4.1.5

Linux/Unix Environment Variable Example

$ export MULE_HOME=~/Downloads/mule-enterprise-standalone-4.1.5/

Once the environment variable is set now, you are ready to RUN the command to check whether Mule is working fine or generating an error in your system.

Windows Command for Mule Testing 

$ $MULE_HOMEbinmule.bat

Linux/Unix for Mule Testing

$ $MULE_HOME/bin/mule

Using the above command you will be able to RUN the Mule into foreground Mode. Once this command is activated you cannot run any other command in the terminal. If you want to stop the running command use the key ctrl-c.

The process to start Mule services 

There are two ways to start Mule services. Either you can start as windows services or you can choose to start as Linux/Unix demon services.

Let’s start with windows services 

Follow the below-given steps to start windows services.

Install windows services by using this command 

$ $MULE_HOMEbinmule.bat install

Run windows services using the below command 

$ $MULE_HOMEbinmule.bat start

Let’s take another example to start Linux/Unix Demon services using Mule 

Install Linux/Unix services by using this command

$ $MULE_HOME/bin/mule install

Once installed you can run the Linux/Unix services by below command

$ $MULE_HOME/bin/mule start

Example of starting Mule as demon services 

$ $MULE_HOME/bin/mule start
MULE_HOME is set to ~/Downloads/mule-enterprise-standalone-4.1.5

MULE_BASE is set to ~/Downloads/mule-enterprise-standalone-4.1.5

Starting Mule Enterprise Edition...

Waiting for Mule Enterprise Edition.

running: PID:87329

How you can deploy Mule Apps 

Follow the steps to deploy the first Mule App

Setup and start you, Mule.

Once Mule is started, you can deploy Mule app by moving the JAR package file to Apps directory in $Mule_Home 

Stopping Mule services 

There is two way using which you can stop or remove the running Mule from your terminal. 

You can use remove command to remove the running Mule services from the terminal. 

$ $MULE_HOME/bin/mule remove

MULE_HOME is set to /Applications/mule-enterprise-standalone-4.1.5

MULE_BASE is set to /Applications/mule-enterprise-standalone-4.1.5

Detected Mac OSX:

Mule Enterprise Edition is not running.

Removing Mule Enterprise Edition daemon...

Run the STOP command to stop the Mule App. Below is the example of stopping mule in Linux/Unix demon services. 

$ $MULE_HOME/bin/mule stop

MULE_HOME is set to /Applications/mule-enterprise-standalone-4.1.5

MULE_BASE is set to /Applications/mule-enterprise-standalone-4.1.5

Stopping Mule Enterprise Edition...

Stopped Mule Enterprise Edition.

Mule Anypoint studio

Mule Anypoint Studio is an IDE (Integration Development environment) created for testing and designing of the Mule Applications. It’s a user-friendly Eclipse Based IDE.  Mule Anypoint studio is an eclipse based IDE to manage application development and flow.

Process of Downloading Mule AnyPoint studio 

First, you need to have JDK accessibility in your system to support it. Verify and match that you have the correct supported version of JAVA JDK in your system.

Every operating system has its process to download and install new applications and services. Let's check how you can install Anypoint studio in your windows system. 

Anypoint Studio Windows downloading process

Click on the link https://www.mulesoft.com/Ip/dl/studio to download windows Anypoint studio and choose windows compatible setup to download. 

download-anypoint-studio

Extract the download bundle into the root folder of your system ‘c:’.

Open the setup file 

Click ok to accept the default workspace or customize as per your need. The welcome message will flash on the screen once it’s installed properly. 

Click on Get Started button and here you are ready to go with Anypoint studio.

Key Features of Anypoint Studio

Mule Anypoint studio helps in enhancing the productivity of your application while building mule applications. There is a variety of features available to support Mule development by Anypoint Studio. Let’s see some of the key features of Anypoint Studio.

  • Mule Anytime studio provides an instant run environment for mule development.
  • It gives you a visual editor using which you can configure API definition files and Mule Domains.
  • Mule Anypoint studio comes with an embedded unit testing framework that enhances productivity.
  • It provides built-in support to develop and deploy CloudHub. 

You can integrate with an exchange for importing templates, examples, definition and other resources from an organization which is having access to Anypoint studio services. 

MuleSoft is one of the most widely used application integration platforms which simplify integration complexities. It allows you to do an N number of experiments with your applications. You can either build on the Mule platform or you can easily migrate using the vast compatibility features of Mule. It’s easier to manage the large number of the application using the single platform. It provides flexibility to integrate, build, deploy, and communicate with errorless processing capabilities. MuleSoft also has a high level of security features which makes the transition of information secure and efficient over the Mule environment. Transport methods of mule make it easier to pass the messages into different flows as per the user's need. You can control, monitor and administer data security in a centralized setup. 

It is a lightweight purely java based application infrastructure which reduces the cost of in premises hardware installation need by switching you to cloud-based SaaS product. You get n number or SaaS product benefits and cloud reliability at the same point. You can either customize mule into in premises cloud or you can use it on the global cloud. It empowers developers, and enterprise owners to develop and deploy large scale applications in a user-friendly environment.  It’s designed to provide just plug and play support to the developer, researchers, enterprise owner, and students. Subscriptions and migration to Mule simplified to reduce the extra setup related issues.