Data exchanges between companies increase a lot. The number of applications which must be integrated increases, too. The interfaces use different technologies, protocols and data formats. Nevertheless, the integration of these applications shall be modeled in a standardized way, realized efficiently and supported by automatic tests.
Three integration frameworks are available in the JVM environment, which fulfil these requirements: Spring Integration, Mule ESB and Apache Camel. They implement the well-known Enteprise Integration Patterns (EIP, http://www.eaipatterns.com) and therefore offer a standardized, domain-specific language to integrate applications.
These integration frameworks can be used in almost every integration project within the JVM environment – no matter which technologies, transport protocols or data formats are used. All integration projects can be realized in a consistent way without redundant boilerplate code.
This article compares all three alternatives and discusses their pros and cons. If you want to know, when to use a more powerful Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) instead of one of these lightweight integration frameworks, then you should read this blog post: http://www.kai-waehner.de/blog/2011/06/02/when-to-use-apache-camel/ (it explains when to use Apache Camel, but the title could also be „When to use a lightweight integration framework“).
Several criteria can be used to compare these three integration frameworks:
- Open source
- Basic concepts / architecture
- Commercial support
- Enterprise readiness
- Domain specific language (DSL)
- Number of components for interfaces, technologies and protocols
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