Spring Integration boosts service-based apps

The Java technology makes things easier for developers by easing the enterprise integration of apps

SpringSource, the keepers of the popular Spring Framework for Java application development, this week introduced Spring Integration, a framework to ease enterprise integration.

Spring Integration is intended to assist Spring users in building service-oriented, message-driven applications. It offers a model for building message-driven systems by encapsulating internal complexities of these systems so business components can be declaratively configured without knowledge of the integration infrastructure, according to SpringSource, which formerly was known as Interface21.

The open-source framework handles message-listening and service-invoking aspects and applies Inversion of Control principles to the runtime arena, SpringSource said. Inversion of Control principles in Spring Integration pertain to the framework taking over the linking of activities.

With Spring Integration, SpringSource seeks to provide support for integrating different types of systems, such as Web applications, Web services, and messaging, while insulating the developer from having to deal with these plumbing issues. Developers can focus on the application while the framework manages the tying of things together, said Mark Fisher, SpringSource project lead for Spring Integration.

"All of that's managed in a layer that's then separate from the business requirements of the application," Fisher said. "We're just isolating the responsibilities of integration from the business responsibilities."

Spring Integration, for example, could be used in a stock ordering system that handles data arriving via both HTTP and messaging. "What this does is it provides a layer of insulation that manages those different endpoints and routes them to the same service implementation that actually places the stock order," Fisher said.

Also part of Spring Integration are adapters to integrate with common input and output sources. Spring Integration builds on functionality in the core Spring Framework, including support for Java Message Service, aspect-oriented programming, event publication, and subscription and transaction management.

Written in Java, Spring Integration features extension points, including input and output adapters; content-based routers; and message filters and translators. Version 1.0 of the framework is due in the second quarter of 2008. SpringSource will sell support services for Spring Integration.

SpringSource announced Spring Integration and several other offerings at the The Spring Experience conference in Hollywood, Fla. this week. Also announced was SpringSource Application Management Suite, which publishes information about internal components of a Spring application to a management console. Users can leverage either the Hyperic HQ interface or the JConsole system featured in every Java developer kit, said Adrian Colyer, SpringSource CTO.

Information is tracked, including how many transactions are coming out of a system and how many messages are being parsed.

The SpringSource Advanced Pack for Oracle Database, which works in conjunction with Oracle RAC (Real Application Clusters), was also announced. Advanced Pack for Oracle will resubmit Spring application requests in the event a database node goes down.

Also unveiled was SpringSource Tools Suite, which provides assistance in using Spring products. It ties into an online knowledge base.

SpringSource's Application Management Suite, Advanced Pack for Oracle Database and Tools Suite will all be offered in a shared source fashion to those with a paid subscription to SpringSource products. These three offerings will be available in an early access format in January with general release planned for the end of the first quarter.

 SpringSource also unveiled SpringSource Certification Program, providing an exam to certify proficiency in Spring technology. "We finally bowed to that popular demand and we are putting place a certification program," Colyer said.

The certification program will be available in North America on January 21, 2008.

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