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4/10/2008
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Eclipse-Compatible User Interface Included On Mule 2.0 ESB

The IDE in Version 2.0 lets a Java developer create connectivity between his application and existing applications in his target environment.

MuleSource, the company behind the open source enterprise service bus Mule, has expanded Mule's capabilities in Version 2.0, giving it an integrated development environment that works inside Eclipse.

"It's a milestone for Mule to get a drag-and-drop user interface," says Ross Mason, CTO of MuleSource and lead developer for the enterprise service bus, which provides messaging between heterogeneous systems. Mason was interviewed during Mule's user group meeting in San Francisco, April 1-2.

Mason gained experience in ESB functions -- messaging routing, transformation, and management, such as guaranteed delivery -- while working as a programmer for London banks. When asked where the name Mule came from, Mason once said it's meant to do much of the "donkey work" he was formerly called upon to do. Mule has been downloaded over 1 million times from the MuleSource Web site during its five-year lifespan. MuleSource is a small company employing the core Mule developers and supported by 75 subscribers to its product.

The integrated development environment in Version 2.0 allows a Java developer to create connectivity between his application and existing applications in his target environment. The IDE helps generate a Mule configuration file for any project being built inside the Eclipse programmer's workbench. Developers can drag and drop the attributes, the type of messaging and the origin and destination of the messages, in the configuration file using the options available in the IDE's editor. The messages are typically XML and developers may view the XML source code as well as work with visual elements, Mason said.

Version 2.0 was released April 1 and is available for free download at MuleSource.com.

The donkey imagery was dropped when it came to a second MuleSource product announced in mid-January. "Galaxy is a surprise. It's doing much better than we thought it would," Mason said. "It's a front-running horse."

Galaxy is a service registry and repository and competes with Software AG's registry and repository, originally built by Infravio and obtained in Software AG's WebMethods purchase. Talking Blocks and Systinet, now owned by Hewlett-Packard, as well as AmberPoint, also compete in the field.

Web services registries typically capture Web Services Description Language (WSDL) information on a service so it can be discovered by someone on the network who wants the service. In addition to WSDL service names, Galaxy can capture and index additional information for quick reference, such as an annotations that describe Java interfaces, telling an outside user how to connect to a Java service; summary information on Windows Communication Foundation, a set of .Net technologies for building Web services; and implementations of the Internet Engineering Task Force's Atom content syndication protocol.

Mule Galaxy also draws on the work of the Apache incubator project, CXF, aimed at connecting services to a variety of protocols, such as SOAP, XML/HTTP, and RESTful HTTP.

MuleSource now hosts a new Web site, MuleForge.org, to encourage additional open source participation in Galaxy, Apache CXF Transport, Jersey Transport for building RESTful Java services, and other projects, noted Dave Rosenberg, CEO of MuleSource.

Competing open source enterprise service buses include Red Hat's JBoss Enterprise Service Bus and the Apache Software Foundation's ServiceMix. Proprietary systems include ESBs from IBM, Tibco, BEA Systems [now part of Oracle], and Cape Clear Software, recently acquired by WorkDay.

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