6 ways to Increase Mule Development Productivity


Photo by Matthew Lockhart on Unsplash


During my time as a consultant, I worked on multiple APIs professionally and as side projects. My runtime of choice was and still is Mule 4. Majority of these APIs follow the API Led Connectivity approach and become a part of an application network. Going through the process of building multiple APIs over and over again has led me to improvements to increase my productivity when developing APIs and various integrations in Mule 4. Here are my six ways to increase your productivity in Mule 4:

  1. Use the latest version of Anypoint Studio

  2. Utilize DataWeave Playground

  3. Mock systems and its data

  4. Use MUnit Test Recorder

  5. Improve your DataWeave skills

  6. Use Maven Archetypes to create project templates

Disclaimer: Everything mentioned on this post and throughout my site are my own thoughts and opinions. They are not thoughts from MuleSoft or Salesforce, my current employer.


Use the latest version of Anypoint Studio

Having the latest version of Anypoint Studio is a BIG DEAL! Why? As MuleSoft makes updates to improve the overall platform, Anypoint Studio is included. There was a time in history where one could start a design in the Design Center and make small modifications in Anypoint Studio and both versions would be out of sync. MuleSoft improved the developer's experience by providing a synchronization between Anypoint Studio and Design Center. The API synchronization improvement was released in Anypoint Studio 7.5.


Another example is the Studio Dark Theme improvements released with Anypoint Studio 7.10. If you are interested in learning how to enable Anypoint Studio’s Dark Theme, please click here.


Utilize DataWeave Playground

For those familiar with Mule development, you may already utilize DataWeave Playground. However, for those that are new to Mule let me briefly introduce you to this awesome tool.


DataWeave Playground is a DataWeave online scripting utility that allows you write and test your DataWeave scripts without the need to use Anypoint Studio or run the Mule 4 Runtime. It reminds me of the JavaScript code playgrounds like JSFiddle, where you write and test code snippets in the browser. During my brief stint in JavaScript I found these online code playgrounds to be really helpful.



DataWeave Playground is my go-to tool for creating DataWeave scripts. Prior to the release of DataWeave Playground developers would have to code DataWeave scripts ONLY in Anypoint Studio. They could test their scripts through the “preview” pane of the transform message processor, run the application in Anypoint Studio using debug mode, or write a MUnit test case. Now, I develop all of my DataWeave scripts in DataWeave Playground first and then transfer them to my Mule application. I feel that this has helped me to increase my productivity!


Mock Systems and its Data

In my last project I found myself wasting much time trying to build integrations around the availability of downstream systems (outbound systems) I was planning to connect. However, waiting too long can impact the project timelines. This is where mocking systems and its data comes in. When you mock systems you put a placeholder for the system and return sample data until the intended system is ready for integration. Mocking is also used when building MUnit test cases. Anypoint Platform and Mule 4 offer a bunch of options for mocking. Here are a few:


Mocking Service

During the design phase, some teams may opt to use Anypoint Design Center to design an API. While designing, the mocking service can be enabled and used after the specification is published in Anypoint Exchange. This service can be utilized through the Design Center UI, Exchange UI or programmatically through an HTTPS call.


MUnit Mocking

Mocking is common when building MUnit test cases. I typically employ mocking, when I want to test a unit of work without calling external endpoints. To accomplish this, use the Mock When MUnit operation.


DataWeave's Read URL

readUrl is a DataWeave function that I often use in conjunction with MUnit’s Mock When to pull sample data. readUrl will read data returned after passing an URL or a classpath location of a file to pull mock data.


Use MUnit Test Recorder

MUnit test recorder is a tool in Anypoint Studio that allows you to record flows and generate test cases through a wizard interface. This is not to replace the need to create your own MUnit test cases, but it should help to make the process slightly easier and save you time. Be sure to read the documentation and limitations before starting.


Improve your DataWeave Skills

DataWeave is so crucial to Mule development. Do not look at DataWeave as simply a transformation language, but look at it as a functional programming language. Become astute in DataWeave. Knowing DataWeave well will prevent you from struggling through your next complex transformation. Check out the tutorial section of DataWeave Playground and the MuleSoft documentation.


Use Maven Archetypes to create project templates

Have you found yourself creating similar APIs over and over again?

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That was me a couple of months ago. I found myself creating 10+ API projects. Guess what? I was not using a template. It started out NOT being a BIG DEAL but after the 4th API it became a big deal.


Consider this scenario. You are building APIs that are running on CloudHub or Runtime Fabric and need to deploy them through a CI/CD pipeline. All of the projects need to have the same maven plugin, maven plugin repositories, number of cores, replicas, memory and distribution management configurations in the pom file. How do you address this scenario? You can use a maven archetype to create a baseline project with the proper pom plugins, configurations and distribution management.


Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed these practical ways to increase your productivity when developing Mule applications. However, I want to hear from you! Have you also experienced increased productivity using the above ideas? What has increased your productivity when developing Mule 4 applications?


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