Yesterday, I met with a consultant that I used to work with. I asked him what he has been up to and he told me that he is writing an ESB. To which I could only respond, "just you?" And he answered ,"yea.. just me, why?"
He then went on to explain to me that he was building his ESB on top of JBossMQ. And that 'what' he was building was the 'extra services' like validation, transformation and a tad of routing. He made a real interesting point. There isn't a whole hell of a lot in an ESB. The JMS based message queue is commoditized, validation services can be ripped from probably any thin client J2EE app, transformation is usually a prepackaged library, and light-weight routing isn't rocket science. He told me that he had some other services planned and that he would likely throw his version into the open source community when he was done.
Hmmm. I found myself almost speechless. But, I gave him some advice and wished him best of luck.
In the past, I've made fun of the ESB - mostly because of the pure amount of hype that has gone into it by the media and one analyst and a few vendors. But it has now occurred to me that making fun of an ESB is like making fun of 'JavaDoc' or 'log4j'. It is a very small commoditized piece of software that will work its way into many applications. I don't know if there is a big market for reselling 'log4j' nor do I know if there is a big market for the ESB. Frankly, the "Apache ESB" sounds about right. There may be a bigger market for the sophisticated ESB leverage a service fabric and can be leveraged by high-end service composition tools. But as far as I know, no vendor has gone done that road (yet).
Perhaps we could house the new open ESB here... along with handful of other buses that my partner in crime, James Higginbothamhas written over the last 7 years...