Platform Migration & Modernization

A Muley Movember: APIs, MuleSoft, & Mustaches

MuleSoft. API Management. Mustaches. I know what you’re thinking. One of these isn’t like the others. What if I told you that growing a mustache has more in common with building complex APIs than you ever thought possible? Movember is upon us once again this year. Movember is a foundation based on growing glorious mustaches to raise awareness and charitable donations every November to support men’s health. To the connection of MuleSoft and mustaches, we’ve gone into detail and laid out 5 categories. Just like the razor, MuleSoft offers the most cutting-edge technology

So without further ado, I “mustache” you a question. Are you ready to gain a new perspective into the world of MuleSoft and mustaches?

Transform Your Look

Transformation is at the forefront of building an API as well as growing your mustache. Picture your technology stack and tell us what you see. Are there multiple services that are performing inconsistently, maybe your data is unreliable and dirty, or maybe you have become so bogged down with tech debt that you can’t see the forest through the trees? 

Now, just like before, picture a beard. One that is unruly and scraggly and has no shape or direction. While a mustache is a great way to transform your look, MuleSoft allows us to transform your data. With the help of MuleSoft, data transformations become simple, inconsistent services and endpoints can be rebuilt to perform at lightning speed, and tech debt will begin to clean itself up.

Choose Your Style

Now that you have committed to transformation, a style needs to be chosen. This is an important piece of the puzzle. Are you a Fu Manchu or a handlebars guy? Are you wanting to make a statement with this mustache or do you want it to be more functional? 

The same style question can be asked around your API network. What are you wanting your APIs to do? Are you having issues with lower-level services or would you like to build out multiple layers to handle the flow from client-facing UI to services and back? Maybe you need a complex sync process between multiple systems, which MuleSoft handles very well. Choosing a style is a key piece in the research and planning phase before any targeted progress can be made. Below are some of the more common styles/types of APIs:

      • Open APIs: Allows any developer to access.
      • Partner APIs: Only authorized developers are given access.
      • Internal APIs: Allows for only internal teams to access.
      • Composite APIs: Combines multiple APIs.

Embrace Your Growth Patterns

You may be follicly or technologically challenged. Not everyone can grow a mustache or fully implement MuleSoft to build their API networks on their own. 

While Green Irony is here to help implement all of your MuleSoft needs, we can only offer tips and suggestions with the mustache growth. Slowly growing out your stache or replacing functionality over time in smaller pieces makes the transition and the growth seem less abrupt. 

Mustaches take time to grow. APIs take time to properly build and test. Knowing how you want to grow is pivotal to the overall success of a project. Using a modular API approach gives more flexibility over time. Small pieces over time allow for a seamless approach that allows you to continue building and replacing piece by piece, API by API, until you’ve reached your final form. Just like with a mustache, you don’t want to slap a temporary fake on your lip and call it natural. With this continuous growth process, your outdated systems become more performant and less error-prone without the inherent risk of a big bang approach.

Don’t Neglect Maintenance

So you’ve reached your final form. Production deployments are in the past and systems are connecting and running seamlessly. Or, you’re walking around with the most amazing mustache, comments are flowing in, and you’re even considering changing your name to Mustachio. You may think that it’s time to step back, accept the recognition, and move on, but maintenance is another key piece of the puzzle. You have to be good to the rest of your face and also be good to the rest of your technology stack. 

This is where investing in a quality team/trimmer comes in. Technology is constantly changing, data gets ugly fast, services go down. You must keep trimming, keep modifying, and keep your APIs up to date. This is one of the benefits of moving away from a point-to-point integration approach as it allows you to scale and lower complexity as future requirements arise.

With a mustache, you may notice that your handlebars are going all over the place and need some proper guidance or updates to straighten out. By giving us a much simpler way of updating or replacing APIs, MuleSoft does this by breaking out functionality into different API layers. To maintain a flow, it isn’t necessary to do a large rewrite. If one system needs to be updated or replaced, it’s as simple as building a new API or updating the old one without the need to impact the whole integration. Similar to maintaining your mustache, only the smaller areas will need to be affected.

Be Patient

MuleSoft is built to expedite the time to deliver and build out solutions in a much shorter timeline. Patience is a learned skill, but valuable for both growing a mustache and building complex integrations. Halfway through your MuleSoft project or mustache growth, you may not know what the final product will look like. 

Nobody will fault you for being anxious and concerned about the results. There is a lot of pressure with both of these topics, but with proper planning and following the steps above, you can have confidence in where you’ll end up. 

It’s like that famous quote, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” The same can be said for growing out an epic stache or building out a successful API network.

As you’re thinking about your next integration project or just starting to see the peach fuzz that will inevitably lead to an award-winning mustache, follow the suggestions above and you will surely find success. 

Please consider contributing to Movember to help raise awareness and support men’s health by growing mustaches, donating, or simply spreading the love. We hope you’ve had a fan-stache-tic time becoming more aware of the similarities between building with MuleSoft and growing a mustache and I hope we didn’t stubble over our words too much. I’d love to stay and chat, but I really “mustache.”

Platform Migration & Modernization

MuleSoft Madness: The Elite Eight MuleSoft Feature Winners

Welcome to the Elite Eight of MuleSoft Madness! We’re about to witness eight of the most powerful features and capabilities that MuleSoft has to offer as they battle it out for the right to be called the champion. It’s time to go big or go home. No excuses. Will there be any huge upsets or will the top seeds all move on? Follow along as we run through each matchup to see which features will be sent home packing and who will move on to the Final Four.

(1) API Manager vs (8) Anypoint Design Center

Top seed API Manager comes in boasting a very deep group of features while Anypoint Design Center relies on 2 star contributors in API Designer and Flow Designer. Starting off we have API Manager coming out strong with the ability to create a single API instance to be used in multiple environments as well as being able to use multiple instances in a single environment. API manager was able to create an instance to use as a proxy and another to use as a basic endpoint to give multiple ways to manage and apply policies.

Anypoint Design Center would fight back led by its two designers. API Designer had the hot hand with being able to create API specifications by using a visual or a text editor. After creating these specifications directly in RAML or OAS 2.0, API Designer is able to simulate calls to a mocking endpoint even before publishing to Exchange that can be publicly accessible to use for testing in place of the real implementation. Not to be outshined, Flow Designer comes out showing the end-to-end movement of data through each flow by using a visual representation. Flow Designer is able to incorporate connections from connectors to systems, define and use data types, and add logic and data transformations to flows.

API Manager may not be a team full of superstars, but it’s full of glue guys. Glue guys are features that may not get the headlines, but do things you appreciate and will get you to the winner’s circle. Powered by management of API Instance contracts, defining SLA tiers and policies to determine approval level access, and enforcing policy regulation to help manage security and control traffic, API Manager put on a great showing that fully proves why it’s deserving of the overall top seed.

While they were admirable, the abilities of API Designer and Flow Designer would prove to be not enough to compete against the deep feature set of API Manager.

Winner: API Manager

(2) Anypoint Exchange vs (7) Anypoint Connectors

In this matchup we have a feature in Anypoint Exchange that makes its living behind the 3-point arc with their 3 main points of finding, sharing, and incorporating assets. Going up against Exchange is an Anypoint Connectors feature that is possibly the deepest in the tournament with its unlimited amount of connectors and configurations that allows numerous looks to be thrown at its opponent. 

Anypoint Connectors allow you to easily integrate with third-party APIs. To name a few of the Mule 4 Connectors available include Salesforce, SAP, Database, and HTTP. There are many more connectors to pop in when building a Mule application that reduces code complexity, allows for updates to connector configuration without the need to update other parts of the app, and also makes it easier to transform data with Dataweave. Connectors allow you to simplify many different pieces, as well as give you the ability to create your own.

Facing the barrage of the many reusable and versatile connectors, Anypoint Exchange battles back from downtown and clearly the bank is open for them as well. The bank of content available in Exchange, both public and private, includes connectors, templates, policies, API spec fragments, and examples just to name a few. Exchange makes it easy to search for assets by using the asset name, tags, categories, custom attributes, or even combine terms with filters. Sharing assets, the 2nd main ability of Exchange, makes it easy to share privately with internal developers, reuse code and APIs, and even enables the sharing of assets externally by using Exchange Portal. Draining the final shot to put the nail in the coffin is how easy Exchange makes consuming an API. The API console and API Notebook allow you to view functions and documentation while the mocking service allows you to simulate data to an API.

The ability of Anypoint Connectors to be so reusable and easily configurable almost pulled out the win, but in the end it’s the sheer ease of use and discoverability in Exchange that led to victory.

Winner: Anypoint Exchange

The Value of MuleSoft Anypoint Platform

(3) Mule Runtime vs (6) MUnit

Testing its opponents and presenting mistakes and errors made is a huge reason MUnit is in this tournament. Mule Runtime is one of the most well balanced features in the tournament with the ability to lock down security on the defensive end, but also utilize Dataweave to transform any outcome on the offensive side. 

MUnit is a very powerful testing framework integrated within Anypoint Studio that allows mocking and testing across many different scenarios. Mocked resources with sample data, mocking messages inside Foreach processors, and testing with mocked errors and environment properties are just the tip of the iceberg. Among the many processors available with MUnit are Mock When, Spy Event, Sleep Processor and Assertions on matchers and expressions.

Mule Runtime is the engine that runs Mule applications. Mule applications are able to provide functionality across many different areas and connect using API-led connectivity as opposed to more of a point-to-point integration. This connectivity and adhesiveness makes Mule Runtime a difficult team to compete against. When developing a Mule application there are core components used such as Choice routers, batch processing, flow and subflow scopes, and error handlers. Adding to these components is the ability to use Dataweave to transform from one format to another, set variables, perform flow control and pattern matching, and also utilize external functions that are available.

The broad capabilities that Mule Runtime brings to any matchup proved more than enough to knock off MUnit. MUnit may be able to Mock When, but in this matchup it just isn’t able to Mock a Win.

Winner: Mule Runtime

(4) APIkit vs (5) Anypoint Studio

Anypoint Studio storms out of the gate in most matchups, but it would be hard to tell it’s the underdog in this one. Speed kills and Anypoint Studio is all about figuring out ways to increase speed to be a more productive feature. From tip-off Anypoint Studio shows multiple views like Package Explorer, Mule Palette, Mule Properties, and Console. Studio is integrated with Exchange to import templates, connectors, and other resources from Anypoint Platform. Exchange allows the instant running of a Mule application inside of a local runtime, visual editors and debuggers, and even has built-in support to deploy to CloudHub. 

APIkit comes in boasting a simplified design and implementation process for REST APIs. Based on a spec using RAML or WSDL, flows are automatically generated within Studio or alternatively an XML editor can be used to create the flows. With the ability to run onsite or on CloudHub, APIkit also generates an API Console that allows a user to easily simulate calls.

At the end of regulation, APIkit was beaten in our first upset of the tournament as it didn’t have the capabilities needed to keep up with Anypoint Studio and the weapons it brought to the table. 

Winner: Anypoint Studio

MuleSoft Madnesss Final Four

Talk about an exciting Elite Eight to get this tournament started! With only one upset, we see the depth and versatility the top seeds possess. Going into the Final Four the championship is up for grabs as each feature has the potential to take home the trophy. 

Will Anypoint Studio have enough to knock off top seed API Manager? Will Dataweave take charge and lead Mule Runtime to a victory over the higher seeded Anypoint Exchange? Check back for the Final Four to see which of these features will continue to move on as we dive deeper into the capabilities of each.

In the meantime, check out our whitepaper, The Value of MuleSoft Anypoint Platform, to get insight into the technical, business, and financial advantages of the platform as well as a comparison case study. You can learn more here.

Platform Migration & Modernization

MuleSoft Madness – The Elite Eight MuleSoft Features

It’s time to dust off those old Jock Jams CDs, pump up the jam, and let’s get ready to rumble! It’s time to use bracketology in the technical world to create something new, something exciting. A competitive bracket that compares some of the top features and capabilities of the MuleSoft platform and pits them against each other in a win or go home tournament that we call MuleSoft Madness. 

As Dickie V. would say, “This is going to be awesome, baby, with a capital “A.” So without further ado, here are the selections.

No. 8 – Anypoint Design Center

Coming in at No. 8 is Anypoint Design Center. Though it’s coming in as the low seed, Design Center is not one to write off as an easy task. Boasting a dynamic duo of API Designer and Flow Designer, Design Center comes into this tournament with the ability to create API specifications and fragments in RAML using text or visual editors, as well as being able to create Mule applications and flows with a more visual card-based sequential approach.

No. 7 – Anypoint Connectors

Our No. 7 seed is the Anypoint Connectors. Connectors come in as one of the most reusable and versatile components in the tournament. Connectors have made their way into the tournament by simplifying the process and reducing complexity for easier maintenance. With the ability to use MuleSoft-built connectors or create your own, connectors will prove to be no easy walk in the park to get past.

No. 6 – MUnit

MUnit shows up on our list as the No. 6 seed in the tournament and will be a true test for any matchup. Full integration is the key for MUnit as it allows you to create and run tests in the same manner as you would a Mule application. Just to name a few of the weapons that MUnit has to offer, this testing framework will use mocks, spies, and can generate impressive coverage results.

The Value of MuleSoft Anypoint Platform

No. 5 – Anypoint Studio

Our No. 5 seed is Anypoint Studio. Anypoint Studio is MuleSoft’s Eclipse-based IDE. Productivity is the name of the game for Studio. Everything about Anypoint Studio is built to enhance the speed of production. Instant running of your Mule applications, a code editor that allows you to switch between XML and visual modes, and code debugging using breakpoints are just a few of the features that Studio will use to compete.

No. 4 – APIkit

APIkit comes in at No. 4. Simplification is one of the ways that APIkit has found success and ended up in this spot. By simplifying the design and implementation process, APIkit will generate Mule flows based on the RAML or WSDL that has already been created either within Design Center or Anypoint Studio. There is even an API console that is automatically opened that will allow you to view generated documentation for the API.

No. 3 – Mule Runtime

Mule Runtime has found its way to the No. 3 spot. Mule Runtime is literally the engine that runs Mule applications. By being such a lightweight engine the Mule Runtime really excels at reliability, security, and scalability. Boasting the defense to create security policies for an API and regulate traffic through Mule applications will surely lead to success as the matchups play out. The wildcard to watch here will be the Dataweave language. Dataweave is MuleSoft’s expression language that allows for various ways to transform data.

No. 2 – Anypoint Exchange

The No. 2 seed is Anypoint Exchange. Anypoint Exchange will be one of those features that lives or dies by the 3. Discovering, sharing, and incorporating assets are those 3 main points that drive Anypoint Exchange. Exchange even offers capabilities such as an API console for a better view of all API functions, API documentation by way of API Notebook, and even allows for the simulation of data using a mocking service.

No. 1 – API Manager

Topping the bracket as the No. 1 overall seed is API Manager. Great managers and coaches always find a way to win and API manager comes in as one of the major components for managing APIs. Knocking API Manager out will be no easy task as it is tightly integrated with many of the other main tools. Permissions, versioning, and analytics are just a few of the management tasks API Manager is capable of to go along with being able to use API instances in a variety of ways and also set up proxies. 

As you can tell, MuleSoft touts a large collection of powerful capabilities. The anticipation is high now that the seeds have all been assigned and the matchups set. 

Check back to see which feature wins out. We’ll play out these matchups and go in-depth to find out which feature will be the true champion. I leave you with the words of King Leonidas, “Madness? This is MuleSoft Madness!”

In the meantime, check out our whitepaper, The Value of MuleSoft Anypoint Platform, to get insight into the technical, business, and financial advantages of the platform as well as a comparison case study. You can learn more here.

Digital Transformation Platform Migration & Modernization

Why We Love MuleSoft

Light some candles. Turn the lights down low. Put on your most effective slow jams and set the mood just right. February 14th is the day of love and allows us time to focus on the importance love plays in our lives. Here at Green Irony we are well past the dating stages and are in a committed relationship with MuleSoft. There are lots of fish in the sea, but MuleSoft really stood out as the perfect catch. Today we give out Valentine’s cards to our most loved features.

“I Be-Weave In You”

Everyone has most likely heard of the 5 love languages, but our love language is DataWeave. DataWeave, one of the most powerful offerings from MuleSoft, gives us the ability to easily transform data within our integrations. Complex data integrations could be the life or death of a project and usually involve a huge time investment. Through writing code in the DataWeave language or by using the GUI drag and drop to generate code for us, we’re able to simplify previously complex integrations. Simpler transformations like one-to-one or more complex mappings such as filtering and functional programming can transform request payloads to response output as simple values, arrays, XML, JSON, CSV, and Java.

“You’re Just My Speed”

Most of us are familiar with the old adage, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”. Developing with MuleSoft gives us the ability to handle both by setting us up to deliver in a short timeframe, but also allows us to have a well-architected network for all future needs and sustainability. MuleSoft allows us to rapidly reduce the time to market of new applications being developed and offers us a way to quickly build APIs or POCs and get deliverables out the door in a speedy fashion. By providing us with Anypoint Studio, we are able to leverage the many out-of-the-box features that are offered to build our flows, components, and transformers to handle any necessary use case.

“Will You ESB Mine”

Mule ESB is the runtime engine of Anypoint Platform. Because Mule ESB is built on an open-source platform, we are given access to numerous benefits of open-source. We are able to have more flexibility as we manage the features we do want as opposed to the overhead of controlling things we don’t. There is never a good time to discuss weight in a relationship, but in this case the rule doesn’t apply. Mule is an extremely lightweight integration platform that lets us make changes to integrations or functionality in a manner that is more time and cost effective. Mule offers community connectors and transports to make instant connectivity possible within our applications and even gives us the option to create our own connectors or reuse from a long list of previously created system connectors. In the words of Buzz Lightyear, “To infinity and beyond!”. Who knew that Buzz was talking about the vertical and horizontal scalability capabilities that Mule ESB offers to make sure there is rarely a need for a huge redesign of the application.

“We Test Out As The Perfect Pair”

Testing within an application is an extremely important factor in the long-term success or failure of a project. Integrated within Anypoint Studio is a Mule application testing framework named MUnit. MUnit gives us the ability to build automated tests to run against all of our Mule integrations and APIs. Easily installable through Anypoint Studio, we’re able to build Mule tests using Mule or Java code. These capabilities allow us to mock up message processors and outbound endpoints, debug tests, and view coverage reports with ease.

Every day we continue to find new and exciting reasons to love MuleSoft and all that the platform has to offer. This new love allows us to better strengthen all of our other relationships and commitments around the product. So, for all fans of The Notebook out there, I leave you with this, “If you’re a mule, I’m a mule”.