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The core ideas are about the same, depending of course on your definition of ESB. If you look at Enterprise integration patterns book as your base, you can do the things mentioned there pretty much on top of any system that allows you to construct message bus and other concepts on top of that.
For me Spring integration looks now as a compelling choise for our application that is built wholly in spring framework and is archietcted to use lots of message passing. Messagepassing brings decoupling to components and allows us in future to change the software from one node into fully distributed system.
To choose Mule or ServiceMix etc. is business decision and technical decision based on your needs and products fit for your needs. Mule etc. might have transformers and adapters that would be beneficial in your project, but then again have their own paradigm for integration to your application infrastructure.
For us Spring Integration - at least now - looks most promising, as it is very much of keep it simple style - and we don't yet need integration to other systems as much as message passing in our own system. Therefore I believe we will choose spring integration as an internal tool for our application - and possible in the future use Mule as an external integration platform - thank to it's ready made adapters and connectors.
Saddle is an Open Source NetBeans-based graphical frontend to configure the Mule ESB. It allows you to graphically create, view, or edit the configuration files of Mule v2.x and 3.x.
You can even convert a v2.x configuration to a v3.x configuration.
Furthermore, it enables you to graphically map messages from different systems and to apply Java buisiness logic with all comfort you are used from your Java IDE.
Once the configuration work is done, Saddle allows you to administrate and monitor your runing Mule instances via any web browser.
This also includes the graphical tracing of messages through your integration schema.
Learn more about the features of Saddle in the documentation section.