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Spring Integration Java DSL (pre Java 8): Line by line tutorial

Dear Spring Community!

Recently we published the
Spring Integration Java DSL: Line by line tutorial,
which uses Java 8 Lambdas extensively. We received some feedback that this is good introduction
to the DSL, but a similar tutorial is needed for those users, who can’t move to the Java 8 or aren’t yet familiar
with Lambdas, but wish to take advantage

So, to help those Spring Integration users who want to moved from XML configuration to Java & Annotation
configuration, we provide this line-by-line tutorial to demonstrate that, even without Lambdas, we gain
a lot from Spring Integration Java DSL usage. Although, most will agree that the lambda syntax provides for a
more succinct definition.

We analyse here the same Cafe Demo sample,
but using the pre Java 8 variant for configuration. Many options are the same, so we just copy/paste their description here to
achieve a complete picture. Since this Spring Integration Java DSL configuration is quite different to the
Java 8 lambda style, it will be useful for all users to get a knowlage how we can achieve the same result with a rich variety
of options provided by the Spring Integration Java DSL.

The source code for our application is placed in a single class, which is a Boot application;
significant lines are annotated with a number corresponding to the comments, which follow:

@SpringBootApplication                                                   // 1
@IntegrationComponentScan                                                // 2
public class Application {

  public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
  	ConfigurableApplicationContext ctx =, args);              // 3

  	Cafe cafe = ctx.getBean(Cafe.class);                                 // 4
  	for (int i = 1; i <= 100; i++) {                                     // 5
  	  Order order = new Order(i);
  	  order.addItem(DrinkType.LATTE, 2, false);
  	  order.addItem(DrinkType.MOCHA, 3, true);

  	System.out.println("Hit 'Enter' to terminate");                      // 6;

  @MessagingGateway                                                      // 7
  public interface Cafe {

  	@Gateway(requestChannel = "orders.input")                            // 8
  	void placeOrder(Order order);                                        // 9


  private final AtomicInteger hotDrinkCounter = new AtomicInteger();

  private final AtomicInteger coldDrinkCounter = new AtomicInteger();    // 10

  private CafeAggregator cafeAggregator;                                 // 11

  @Bean(name = PollerMetadata.DEFAULT_POLLER)
  public PollerMetadata poller() {                                       // 12
  	return Pollers.fixedDelay(1000).get();

  public IntegrationFlow orders() {                                      // 13
  	return IntegrationFlows.from("orders.input")                         // 14
	  .split("payload.items", (Consumer) null)                           // 15
	  .channel(MessageChannels.executor(Executors.newCachedThreadPool()))// 16
	  .route("payload.iced",                                             // 17
	    new Consumer<RouterSpec<ExpressionEvaluatingRouter>>() {         // 18

	      public void accept(RouterSpec<ExpressionEvaluatingRouter> spec) {
	      	spec.channelMapping("true", "iced")
                .channelMapping("false", "hot");                         // 19

  	  .get();                                                            // 20

  public IntegrationFlow icedFlow() {                                    // 21
  	return IntegrationFlows.from(MessageChannels.queue("iced", 10))      // 22
	  .handle(new GenericHandler<OrderItem>() {                          // 23

	  	public Object handle(OrderItem payload, Map<String, Object> headers) {
	  	  Uninterruptibles.sleepUninterruptibly(1, TimeUnit.SECONDS);
	  	    + " prepared cold drink #" + coldDrinkCounter.incrementAndGet()
	  	    + " for order #" + payload.getOrderNumber() + ": " + payload);
	  	  return payload;                                                // 24

  	  .channel("output")                                                 // 25

  public IntegrationFlow hotFlow() {                                     // 26
  	return IntegrationFlows.from(MessageChannels.queue("hot", 10))
	  .handle(new GenericHandler<OrderItem>() {

	  	public Object handle(OrderItem payload, Map<String, Object> headers) {
	  	  Uninterruptibles.sleepUninterruptibly(5, TimeUnit.SECONDS);    // 27
	  	    + " prepared hot drink #" + hotDrinkCounter.incrementAndGet()
	  	    + " for order #" + payload.getOrderNumber() + ": " + payload);
	  	  return payload;


  public IntegrationFlow resultFlow() {                                  // 28
    return IntegrationFlows.from("output")                               // 29
      .transform(new GenericTransformer<OrderItem, Drink>() {            // 30

        public Drink transform(OrderItem orderItem) {
          return new Drink(orderItem.getOrderNumber(),
            orderItem.getShots());                                       // 31

      .aggregate(new Consumer<AggregatorSpec>() {                        // 32

        public void accept(AggregatorSpec aggregatorSpec) {
          aggregatorSpec.processor(cafeAggregator, null);                // 33

      }, null)
      .handle(CharacterStreamWritingMessageHandler.stdout())             // 34

  public static class CafeAggregator {                                   // 35

  	@Aggregator                                                          // 36
  	public Delivery output(List<Drink> drinks) {
  	  return new Delivery(drinks);

  	@CorrelationStrategy                                                 // 37
  	public Integer correlation(Drink drink) {
  	  return drink.getOrderNumber();



Examining the code line by line…

java @SpringBootApplication
This new meta-annotation from Spring Boot 1.2. Includes @Configuration and
@EnableAutoConfiguration. Since we are in a Spring Integration application and Spring Boot has auto-configuration
for it, the @EnableIntegration is automatically applied, to initialize the Spring Integration infrastructure including an
environment for the Java DSL - DslIntegrationConfigurationInitializer, which is picked up by the
IntegrationConfigurationBeanFactoryPostProcessor from /META-INF/spring.factories.

java @IntegrationComponentScan
The Spring Integration analogue of @ComponentScan to scan components based on
interfaces, (the Spring Framework’s @ComponentScan only looks at classes). Spring Integration supports the discovery of interfaces
annotated with @MessagingGateway (see #7 below).

java ConfigurableApplicationContext ctx =, args);
The main method of our class is designed to start the Spring Boot application using the
configuration from this class and starts an ApplicationContext via Spring Boot. In addition, it delegates command
line arguments to the Spring Boot. For example you can specify --debug to see logs for the boot auto-configuration report.

java Cafe cafe = ctx.getBean(Cafe.class);
Since we already have an ApplicationContext we can start to interact with application. And Cafe
is that entry point - in EIP terms a gateway. Gateways are simply interfaces and the application does not interact
with the Messaging API; it simply deals with the domain (see #7 below).

java for (int i = 1; i <= 100; i++) {
To demonstrate the cafe “work” we intiate 100 orders with two drinks - one hot and one iced. And send the Order to the Cafe gateway.

java System.out.println("Hit 'Enter' to terminate");
Typically Spring Integration application are asynchronous, hence to avoid early exit from the main Thread we block the
main method until some end-user interaction through the command line. Non daemon threads will keep the application
open but provides us with a mechanism to close the application cleanly.

java @MessagingGateway
The annotation to mark a business interface to indicate it is a gateway between the
end-application and integration layer. It is an analogue of <gateway /> component from Spring Integration XML
configuration. Spring Integration creates a Proxy for this interface and populates it as a bean in the
application context. The purpose of this Proxy is to wrap parameters in a Message<?> object and send it to the
MessageChannel according to the provided options.

java @Gateway(requestChannel = "orders.input")
The method level annotation to distinct business logic by methods as well as by the target
integration flows. In this sample we use a requestChannel reference of orders.input, which is a MessageChannel
bean name of our IntegrationFlow input channel (see below #14).

java void placeOrder(Order order);
The interface method is a central point to interact from end-application with the integration layer. This method has a
void return type. It means that our integration flow is one-way and we just send messages to the integration flow, but don’t wait for a reply.

java private AtomicInteger hotDrinkCounter = new AtomicInteger(); private AtomicInteger coldDrinkCounter = new AtomicInteger();
Two counters to gather the information how our cafe works with drinks.

java @Autowired private CafeAggregator cafeAggregator;
The POJO for the Aggregator logic (see #33 and #35 below). Since it is a Spring bean, we can simply inject it even to the current @Configuration and use in any place below, e.g. from the .aggregate() EIP-method.

java @Bean(name = PollerMetadata.DEFAULT_POLLER) public PollerMetadata poller() {
The default poller bean. It is a analogue of <poller default="true"> component from Spring Integration XML configuration. Required for endpoints where the inputChannel is a PollableChannel. In this case, it is necessary for the
two Cafe queues - hot and iced (see below #18). Here we use the Pollers factory from the DSL project and use its
method-chain fluent API to build the poller metadata. Note that Pollers can be used directly from an IntegrationFlow definition,
if a specific poller (rather than the default poller) is needed for an endpoint.

java @Bean public IntegrationFlow orders() {
The IntegrationFlow bean definition. It is the central component of the Spring Integration Java DSL, although it does not play any role at runtime, just during the bean registration phase. All other code below registers Spring Integration components (MessageChannel, MessageHandler, EventDrivenConsumer, MessageProducer, MessageSource etc.) in the IntegrationFlow object, which is parsed by the IntegrationFlowBeanPostProcessor to process those components and register them as beans in the application context as necessary (some elements, such as channels may already exist).

java return IntegrationFlows.from("orders.input")
The IntegrationFlows is the main factory class to start the IntegrationFlow. It provides a number of overloaded .from() methods to allow starting a flow from a SourcePollingChannelAdapter for a MessageSource<?> implementations, e.g. JdbcPollingChannelAdapter; from a MessageProducer, e.g. WebSocketInboundChannelAdapter; or simply a MessageChannel. All “.from()” options have several convenient variants to configure the appropriate component for the start of the IntegrationFlow. Here we use just a channel name, which is converted to a DirectChannel bean definition during the bean definition phase while parsing the IntegrationFlow. In the Java 8 variant, we used here a Lambda definition - and this MessageChannel has been implicitly created with the bean name based on the IntegrationFlow bean name.

java .split("payload.items", (Consumer) null)
Since our integration flow accepts messages through the orders.input channel, we are ready to consume and process them. The first EIP-method in our scenario is .split(). We know that the message payload from orders.input channel is an Order domain object, so we can simply use here a Spring (SpEL) Expression to return Collection<OrderItem>. So, this performs the split EI pattern, and we send each collection entry as a separate message to the next channel. In the background, the .split() method registers a ExpressionEvaluatingSplitter MessageHandler implementation and an EventDrivenConsumer for that MessageHandler, wiring in the orders.input channel as the inputChannel.

The second argument for the .split() EIP-method is for an endpointConfigurer to
customize options like autoStartup, requiresReply, adviceChain etc. We use here null to show that we rely
on the default options for the endpoint. Many of EIP-methods provide overloaded versions with and without
endpointConfigurer. Currently .split(String expression) EIP-method without the endpointConfigurer argument is not available; this will be addressed in a future release.

java .channel(MessageChannels.executor(Executors.newCachedThreadPool()))
The .channel() EIP-method allows the specification of concrete MessageChannels between endpoints, as it is done via
output-channel/input-channel attributes pair with Spring Integration XML configuration. By default, endpoints in the
DSL integration flow definition are wired with DirectChannels, which get bean names based on the IntegrationFlow
bean name and index in the flow chain. In this case we select a
specific MessageChannel implementation from the Channels factory class; the selected
channel here is an ExecutorChannel, to allow distribution of messages from the splitter to separate Threads, to process
them in parallel in the downstream flow.

java .route("payload.iced",
The next EIP-method in our scenario is .route(), to send hot/iced order items to different Cafe kitchens. We again use here a SpEL expression to get the routingKey from the incoming message. In the Java 8 variant, we used a method-reference Lambda expression, but for pre Java 8 style we must use SpEL or an inline interface implementation. Many anonymous classes in a flow can make the flow difficult to read so we prefer SpEL in most cases.

java new Consumer<RouterSpec<ExpressionEvaluatingRouter>>() {
The second argument of .route() EIP-method is a functional interface Consumer to specify ExpressionEvaluatingRouter options using a RouterSpec Builder. Since we don’t have any choice with pre Java 8, we just provide here an inline implementation for this interface.

java spec.channelMapping("true", "iced") .channelMapping("false", "hot");
With the Consumer<RouterSpec<ExpressionEvaluatingRouter>>#accept() implementation we can provide desired AbstractMappingMessageRouter options. One of them is channelMappings, when we specify the routing logic by the result of router expresion and the target MessageChannel for the apropriate result. In this case iced and hot are MessageChannel names for IntegrationFlows below.

java .get();
This finalizes the flow.
Any IntegrationFlows.from() method returns an IntegrationFlowBuilder instance and this get() method extracts an IntegrationFlow object from the IntegrationFlowBuilder configuration. Everything starting from the .from() and up to the method before the .get() is an IntegrationFlow definition. All defined components are stored in the IntegrationFlow and processed by the IntegrationFlowBeanPostProcessor during the bean creation phase.

java @Bean public IntegrationFlow icedFlow() {
This is the second IntegrationFlow bean definition - for iced drinks. Here we demonstrate that several IntegrationFlows
can be wired together to create a single complex application. Note: it isn’t recommended to inject one IntegrationFlow to
another; it might cause unexpected behaviour. Since they provide Integration components for the bean registration and
MessageChannels one of them, the best way to wire and inject is via MessageChannel or @MessagingGateway

java return IntegrationFlows.from(MessageChannels.queue("iced", 10))
The iced IntegrationFlow starts from a QueueChannel that has a capacity of 10 messages; it is registered as a bean with the name iced.
As you remember we use this name as one of the route mappings (see above #19).

In our sample, we use here a restricted
QueueChannel to reflect the Cafe kitchen busy state from real life. And here is a place where we need that
global poller for the next endpoint which is listening on this channel.

java .handle(new GenericHandler<OrderItem>() {
The .handle() EIP-method of the iced flow demonstrates the concrete Cafe kitchen work. Since we can’t minimize
the code with something like Java 8 Lambda expression, we provide here an inline implementation for the GenericHandler
functional interface with the expected payload type as the generic argument. With the Java 8 example, we distribute this .handle()
between several subscriber subflows for a PublishSubscribeChannel. However in this case, the logic is all
implemented in the one method.

java Uninterruptibles.sleepUninterruptibly(1, TimeUnit.SECONDS); System.out.println(Thread.currentThread().getName() + " prepared cold drink #" + coldDrinkCounter.incrementAndGet() + " for order #" + payload.getOrderNumber() + ": " + payload); return payload;
The business logic implementation for the current .handle() EIP-component. With
Uninterruptibles.sleepUninterruptibly(1, TimeUnit.SECONDS); we just block the current Thread for some timeout to demonstrate how
quickly the Cafe kitchen prepares a drink. After that we just report to STDOUT that the drink is ready and
return the current OrderItem from the GenericHandler for the next endpoint in our IntegrationFlow. In the
background, the DSL framework registers a ServiceActivatingHandler for the MethodInvokingMessageProcessor to invoke the
GenericHandler#handle at runtime. In addition, the framework registers a PollingConsumer endpoint for the
QueueChannel above. This endpoint relies on the default poller to poll messages from the queue. Of course, we
always can use a specific poller for any concrete endpoint. In that case, we would have to provide a second
endpointConfigurer argument to the .handle() EIP-method.

java .channel("output")
Since it is not the end of our Cafe scenario, we send the result of the current flow to the output channel
using the convenient EIP-method .channel() and the name of the MessageChannel bean (see below #29). This is the logical
end of the current iced drink subflow, so we use the .get() method to return the IntegrationFlow. Flows that end
with a reply-producing handler that don’t have a final .channel() will return the reply to the message replyChannel header.

java @Bean public IntegrationFlow hotFlow() {
The IntegrationFlow definition for hot drinks. It is similar to the previous iced drinks flow, but
with specific hot business logic. It starts from the hot QueueChannel which is mapped from the router above.

java Uninterruptibles.sleepUninterruptibly(5, TimeUnit.SECONDS);
The sleepUninterruptibly for hot drinks. Right, we need more time to boil the water!

java @Bean public IntegrationFlow resultFlow() {
One more IntegrationFlow bean definition to prepare the Delivery for the Cafe client based on the Drinks.

java return IntegrationFlows.from("output")
The resultFlow starts from the DirectChannel, which is created during the bean definition phase with this
provided name. You should remember that we use the output channel name from the Cafe kitchens flows in the last .channel() in
those definitions.

java .transform(new GenericTransformer<OrderItem, Drink>() {
The .transform() EIP-method is for the appropriate pattern implementation and expects some object to convert one
payload to another. In our sample we use an inline implementation of the GenericTransformer functional interface to
convert OrderItem to Drink and we specify that using generic arguments. In the background, the DSL framework
registers a MessageTransformingHandler and an EventDrivenConsumer endpoint with default options to consume messages
from the output MessageChannel.

java public Drink transform(OrderItem orderItem) { return new Drink(orderItem.getOrderNumber(), orderItem.getDrinkType(), orderItem.isIced(), orderItem.getShots()); }
The business-specific GenericTransformer#transform() implementation to demonstrate how we benefit from Java
Generics to transform one payload to another. Note: Spring Integration uses ConversionService before
any method invocation and if you provide some specific Converter implementation, some domain payload can be
converted to another automatically, when the framework has an appropriate registered Converter.

java .aggregate(new Consumer<AggregatorSpec>() {
The .aggregate() EIP-method provides options to configure an AggregatingMessageHandler and its endpoint,
similar to what we can do with the <aggregator> component when using Spring Integration XML configuration. Of course, with the Java DSL
we have more power to configure the aggregator in place, without any other extra beans. However we demonstrate
here an aggregator configuration with annotations (see below #35).
From the Cafe business logic perspective we compose the Delivery for the initial Order, since we .split() the original order
to the OrderItems near the beginning.

java public void accept(AggregatorSpec aggregatorSpec) { aggregatorSpec.processor(cafeAggregator, null); }
An inline implementation of the Consumer for the AggregatorSpec. Using the aggregatorSpec Builder we can provide
desired options for the aggregator component, which will be registered as an AggregatingMessageHandler bean. Here we
just provide the processor as a reference to the autowired (see #11 above) CafeAggregator component (see #35 below).
The second argument of the .processor() option is methodName. Since we are relying on the aggregator
annotation configuration for the POJO, we don’t need to provide the method here and the framework will determine the correct POJO methods
in the background.

java .handle(CharacterStreamWritingMessageHandler.stdout())
It is the end of our flow - the Delivery is delivered to the client! We just print here the message payload
to STDOUT using out-of-the-box CharacterStreamWritingMessageHandler from Spring Integration Core. This is a
case to show how existing components from Spring Integration Core (and its modules) can be used from the Java DSL.

java @Component public static class CafeAggregator {
The bean to specify the business logic for the aggregator above. This bean is picked up by the @ComponentScan,
which is a part of the @SpringBootApplication meta-annotation (see above #1). So, this component becomes a bean
and we can automatically wire (@Autowired) it to other components in the application context (see #11 above).

java @Aggregator public Delivery output(List<Drink> drinks) { return new Delivery(drinks); }
The POJO-specific MessageGroupProcessor to build the output payload based on the payloads from aggregated
messages. Since we mark this method with the @Aggregator annotation, the target AggregatingMessageHandler can extract
this method for the MethodInvokingMessageGroupProcessor.

java @CorrelationStrategy public Integer correlation(Drink drink) { return drink.getOrderNumber(); }
The POJO-specific CorrelationStrategy to extract the custom correlationKey from each inbound aggregator message.
Since we mark this method with @CorrelationStrategy annotation the target AggregatingMessageHandler can extract
this method for the MethodInvokingCorrelationStrategy.
There is a similar self-explained @ReleaseStrategy annotation, but we rely in our Cafe sample just on the default
SequenceSizeReleaseStrategy, which is based on the sequenceDetails message header populated by the splitter
from the beginning of our integration flow.

Well, we have finished describing the Cafe Demo sample based on the Spring Integration Java DSL when Java Lambda
support is not available.
Compare it with
XML sample
and also see Lambda support tutorial
to get more information regarding Spring Integration.

As you can see, using the DSL without lambdas is a little more verbose because you need to provide boilerplate code
for inline anonymous implementations of functional interfaces. However, we believe it is important to support the use
of the DSL for users who can’t yet move to Java 8. Many of the DSL benefits (fluent API, compile-time validation etc)
are available for all users.

The use of lambdas continues the Spring Framework tradition of reducing or eliminating boilerplate code, so we encourage
users to try Java 8 and lambdas and to encourage their organizations to consider allowing the use of Java 8 for
Spring Integration applications.

In addition see the Reference Manual
for more information.

As always, we look forward to your comments and feedback (StackOverflow
(spring-integration tag), Spring JIRA,
GitHub) and we very much welcome

Thank you for your time and patience to read this!

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