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Over the past few months, I have been working with our Product and Engineering team on Crowd, the latest release of Anypoint Platform. The Crowd release consists of updates to Anypoint Exchange as well as the new Anypoint Designer Center in Anypoint Platform.

This release will further drive business agility by streamlining the consumption of assets from Anypoint Exchange, allowing teams to build integration projects and design API specifications much faster than ever before. I am sure you are thinking: “But, how?”

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To answer this question, let me walk you through the top five features of the Crowd release.

1. Discovery, consumption, and reuse through Anypoint Exchange

Anypoint Exchange is at the core of the Center for Enablement (C4E) concept. With the new Anypoint Exchange, users can now save assets directly in the Exchange, share assets within teams (or business groups), as well as reuse them in various projects across the organization. This leads to faster development and more consistency across organizations.

These assets can consist of best practices, how-to documentation, connectors, templates, example tutorials, API fragments, API specifications (in OAS or RAML), and more.

2. API fragments promote consistency and reusability  

An API specification consists of a lot of elements, including resources and methods definitions, security schemes, traits, libraries with the API data model, and so on.

The above elements can be written inline in the same API specification file. However, this is challenging because it often leads to little reusability of other API specification elements, especially those that might be created in the future inside Anypoint Design Center.

Anypoint Design Center solves this challenge by making it easy to create API fragment projects that can be published to Exchange (with just one click!). Teams can then consume and reuse API fragments inside the API specification, instead of writing them inline. That way, elements that live in several APIs can be reused across other APIs created in the organization. This leads to better collaboration, more consistency, and faster development.

3. OAS and RAML interoperability

RAML recently joined the OpenAPI Initiative, a Linux Foundation project with over 20 members including tech giants such as Google, IBM, and Adobe. RAML and the OpenAPI Specification (OAS) have joined forces to drive the API lifecycle.

RAML has the power to model a large number of APIs. These API specifications can be expressed in OAS, which has become a standard for describing APIs. In short, RAML and OAS are better together because they have the power to improve collaboration.

You might be wondering: “What does this have to do with the Crowd release?”

The new Anypoint Exchange enables users to publish and reuse assets that are written using OAS. Design Center also helps export RAML API specifications as OAS documents (in JSON or YAML format). This way, teams can convert APIs between RAML and OAS using just one platform––Anypoint Platform. This, in turn, results in a seamless transition between RAML and OAS.

Overall, Anypoint Exchange and Design Center will foster agility. And, together, RAML and OAS can help enforce standardization in the world of design specifications.

4. The API designer in Anypoint Design Center uses API console 4.0

API console 4.0 is critical for developers who want to consume an API and learn about its endpoints and functionality. Here are some exciting features of our latest release of the API console, which is a part of the API designer in Anypoint Design Center:

  • You can run the new API console as a standalone web version and connect it to your own developer portal site. You can also style the API console to match color schemes and templating of your developer portal.
  • You can generate the API console using the Command Line Interface tool. This allows developers to create documentation more easily, especially when they use build tools or version control systems (e.g. Github) throughout the integration lifecycle.

For more information, visit the documentation readme on Github.

5. The flow designer in Anypoint Design Center

If want to accomplish simple integration use cases as part of your job, but integration is not your primary focus, then flow designer is made for you. The flow designer is a web-based tool to create application projects. In other words, it is a lightweight version of Anypoint Studio. Here are the most notable features of flow designer:

  • You don’t need to install anything on your system. All you need is a modern web browser, and you can immediately develop applications in flow designer.
  • Flow designer applications are automatically hosted on CloudHub. Any flows built using flow designer will automatically deploy to a CloudHub worker containing Mule Runtime. This allows you to create a working application in under a minute!
  • Flow designer projects are just Mule applications. Similar to Anypoint Studio projects, you can export and import flow designer projects into Anypoint Platform Runtime Manager in order to manage, monitor, and analyze projects in the platform in just two-clicks.
  • Connectors show up in the flow designer automatically. Also, API specifications that are published or present in Anypoint Exchange 2.0 automatically display in the same list of components as the connectors. In short, you can instantly access any connector in Exchange.
  • DataWeave is the only expression language in flow designer. You can now just program in one language, as opposed to Mule Runtime 3.8, where you have to use two languages: DataWeave and MEL.
  • You can seamlessly export flow designer projects to Anypoint Studio for further development.

Interested in learning more? Watch our demo-driven webinars: Intro to Exchange 2.0 and API Designer and Intro to Anypoint Design Center – Flow Designer. Also, check out the following training courses to learn how to use these new features: