Control Bus

As described in the Enterprise Integration Patterns (EIP) book, the idea behind the control bus is that the same messaging system can be used for monitoring and managing the components within the framework as is used for “application-level” messaging. In Spring Integration, we build upon the adapters described above so that you can send messages as a means of invoking exposed operations.

The following example shows how to configure a control bus with XML:

<int:control-bus input-channel="operationChannel"/>

The control bus has an input channel that can be accessed for invoking operations on the beans in the application context. It also has all the common properties of a service activating endpoint. For example, you can specify an output channel if the result of the operation has a return value that you want to send on to a downstream channel.

The control bus runs messages on the input channel as Spring Expression Language (SpEL) expressions. It takes a message, compiles the body to an expression, adds some context, and then runs it. The default context supports any method that has been annotated with @ManagedAttribute or @ManagedOperation. It also supports the methods on Spring’s Lifecycle interface (and its Pausable extension since version 5.2), and it supports methods that are used to configure several of Spring’s TaskExecutor and TaskScheduler implementations. The simplest way to ensure that your own methods are available to the control bus is to use the @ManagedAttribute or @ManagedOperation annotations. Since those annotations are also used for exposing methods to a JMX MBean registry, they offer a convenient by-product: Often, the same types of operations you want to expose to the control bus are reasonable for exposing through JMX). Resolution of any particular instance within the application context is achieved in the typical SpEL syntax. To do so, provide the bean name with the SpEL prefix for beans (@). For example, to execute a method on a Spring Bean, a client could send a message to the operation channel as follows:

Message operation = MessageBuilder.withPayload("@myServiceBean.shutdown()").build();

The root of the context for the expression is the Message itself, so you also have access to the payload and headers as variables within your expression. This is consistent with all the other expression support in Spring Integration endpoints.

With Java annotations, you can configured the control bus as follows:

@ServiceActivator(inputChannel = "operationChannel")
public ExpressionControlBusFactoryBean controlBus() {
    return new ExpressionControlBusFactoryBean();

Similarly, you can configure Java DSL flow definitions as follows:

public IntegrationFlow controlBusFlow() {
    return IntegrationFlows.from("controlBus")

If you prefer to use lambdas with automatic DirectChannel creation, you can create a control bus as follows:

public IntegrationFlow controlBus() {
    return IntegrationFlowDefinition::controlBus;

In this case, the channel is named controlBus.input.