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A Java library for Reliable Delivery Pub/Sub over Redis

What is this?

RedisQ is a Java implementation of a distributed message queue that uses Redis as a backend. It has the following features:

  • Multiple consumers per message queue: Each queue can have multiple consumer clients sending messages at their own rate.
  • Single or multi-threaded consumers: Each consumer can be either single threaded or multi threaded.
  • Distributed processing: Multiple clients/processes/nodes can consume messages from a queue in parallel.
  • Reliable delivery: Each consumer on a queue will receive each message even if they are temporarily offline.
  • Pluggable queue/dequeue algorithms: By default, FIFO is used, but this is pluggable (see below).
  • Optional sequential delivery: Consumers can be configured to use a locking mechanism on a queue to make sure each message is delivered in order.
  • Configurable payload serialization: Out of the box, JAXB XML, JSON (using Google's GSON) and String serializers are available.
  • Optional pluggable retry strategies: By default, consumers do not retry consumption upon error. A pluggable mechanism exists to enable retry schemes when consuming messages.
  • High performance: Hey, it's Redis!

Why not use Redis Pub/Sub?

This implementation does not use the Pub/Sub functionality offered by Redis.

Why not use the Pub/Sub semantics supported out-of-the-box? The reason is two fold:

  • What Redis offers with Pub/Sub is a listener model, where each subscriber receives each messages when it is listening, but won't receive them when not connected. We want every consumer to eventually receive all messages, independently of their online or offline status.
  • In a clustered environment where you have multiple instances of your consumer component (application) running at the same time, each instance would receive each message produced on the channel. This library makes sure any given message is consumed once per logical consumer, even when multiple instances of this component are running.

Hence the name "Reliable Delivery", because we want to make sure every logical consumer eventually receives all messages produced on a queue once and only once, even when those consumers are not connected - i.e. due to a deployment, a restart or a application failure/crash.

High level concepts

Message queue

The core concept of RedisQ is the queue itself. A queue has a name, and that's pretty much it. Messages can be published and consumed from a MessageQueue. The MessageQueue interface also provides some read only meta information, i.e. getting the list of registered consumers on the queue, the number of messages in the queue for each consumer, etc.


A Message is the entity that gets published and consumed on the queue. A Message instance provides some meta information about your actual message, along with its payload. The payload is the actual content that your application publishes and consumes. Within Redis, each individual message is stored as a Hash containing all of the message attributes. Each attribute in the hash is stored as strings, including the payload. For this reason, a (configurable) serialization mechanism exists. More on that later.

Message producer

The MessageProducer is the side of the system that publishes messages on a queue for consumption by consumers. Multiple producers can exist for the same logical queue.

Message consumer

A message consumer will consume messages from the queue and pass them out to your application using the MessageListener that you define.

You can define an ID for each logical application consuming messages on a queue, and messages submitted to a queue will be distributed independently to each logical consumer. This allows for per-consumer reliable delivery of messages. In practice, a separate Redis List is created and managed for each registered consumer ID as their own queues.

Multiple application instances (processes) can be defined using the same consumer ID for distributed processing of messages - effectively enabling reliable clustering on your application.

Using consumer IDs is optional. If not defined, a default consumer ID is used (default) on both the producer and the consumer side. This is sufficient for simple cases where you're using a single Redis server in a single logical application.

The class that is used for defining a message consumer is conveniently called MessageConsumer.

Message listener

On the consumer side, the MessageListener interface represents the link between the queue and your application. Your application must implement the MessageListener interface in order to actually consume messages. This interface defines a single onMessage(Message<T> message) method that gets called when there's a message available for consumption. This interface is generically typed and the type you define in your implementation actually gets passed as a hint to your configured PayloadSerializer.

Configuring payload serialization

By default, JAXB is used to serialize message payloads that you publish through the MessageProducer interface (producer-side) and that you consume through the MessageListener interface (consumer side).

To change this default implementation, you need to define a bean that implements the PayloadSerializer interface in your Spring context.

A few serializers are available out-of-the-box:

  • JaxbPayloadSerializer: Uses JAXB to serialize your payload objects. Your payload objects must be annotated using JAXB annotations (such as @XmlRootElement and the like). This serializer supports inheritance in your payload objects.
  • GsonPayloadSerializer: Uses Google's GSON library to serialize your payload objects. This serializer does not support inheritance in your payload objects, but provides a simple and effective way to serialize simple message objects (note: when using GSON as your serializer, the GSON library must be explictly provided by your project as a dependency).
  • StringPayloadSerializer: Expects your payloads to be strings, formatted as needed. Calls toString() on your payload objects to serialize them, and the deserialization operation is a pass-through.

Adding a payload serializer is as simple as implementing an interface with a serialize and a deserialize functions.

Maven dependency

This artifact is published on Maven Central since version 2.0.0:


Usage with Spring

Note: the examples below assume you're using Spring's autowiring features.

First declare the base beans for Redis connectivity:

    <bean id="jedisConnectionFactory" class="">
        <property name="hostName" value="localhost"/>
        <property name="port" value="6379"/>

    <bean id="redisTemplate" class="">
        <property name="connectionFactory" ref="jedisConnectionFactory"/>
        <property name="keySerializer">
            <bean class=""/>

    <bean id="redisOps" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.persistence.RedisOps" />

Then declare each queue as a bean of type RedisMessageQueue:

    <bean id="myQueue" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.RedisMessageQueue">
        <property name="queueName" value="my.queue"/>

Once your queue bean is created, you need to attach a Producer:

    <bean id="messageProducer" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.producer.DefaultMessageProducer">
        <property name="queue" ref="myQueue"/>

and/or a Consumer:

    <bean id="messageListener" class="..."/>

    <bean id="messageConsumer" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.consumer.MessageConsumer">
        <property name="queue" ref="myQueue" />
        <property name="consumerId" value="someConsumerId" />
        <property name="messageListener" ref="messageListener"/>

Usually, the Producer and Consumer beans will reside in distinct application and processes, but nothing prevents you from having both a Producer and a Consumer within the same application.

Using multi-threading on consumers

By default, consumers are using a threading strategy that uses a single thread. Multi-threading is easily configurable using Spring:

    <bean id="messageConsumer" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.consumer.MessageConsumer">
        <property name="queue" ref="myQueue" />
        <property name="consumerId" value="someConsumerId" />
        <property name="messageListener" ref="messageListener"/>
        <property name="threadingStrategy">
            <bean class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.consumer.MultiThreadingStrategy">
                <constructor-arg name="numThreads" value="4"/>

Do note that in both cases (both single and multi-threaded strategies), a minimum of 1 separate thread will always be created by RedisQ for consuming messages.

Publishing messages to a queue

Sample code (once your Spring beans are properly setup as detailed above):

    private MessageProducer queue;


    queue.create(new SomePayload("with some data")).submit();

Consuming messages from a queue

    public class SomePayloadListener implements MessageListener<SomePayload> {

        public void onMessage(Message<SomePayload> message) {
            SomePayload payload = message.getPayload();

            // do your stuff with the payload...

Manually starting up consumers

By default, instances of MessageConsumer will automatically start consuming messages from their queue when the application starts up. If you want to manually control when the consumers start, set autoStartConsumers to false on your consumer instances:

    <bean id="messageConsumer" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.consumer.MessageConsumer">
        <property name="queue" ref="myQueue" />
        <property name="consumerId" value="someConsumerId" />
        <property name="messageListener" ref="messageListener"/>
        <property name="autoStartConsumers" value="false"/>

Enabling retries for failed messages

RedisQ does not retry message consumptions when an exception arises during message consumption. You must configure a retry strategy on your consumers in order to enable retries.

Moreover, your code must explicitly throw a RetryableMessageException to inform RedisQ that a known consumer error has been identified, that this error is recoverable and thus can be retried.

    <bean id="messageConsumer" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.consumer.MessageConsumer">
        <property name="queue" ref="myQueue" />
        <property name="consumerId" value="someConsumerId" />
        <property name="messageListener" ref="messageListener"/>
        <property name="retryStrategy">
            <bean class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.consumer.retry.MaxRetriesStrategy">
                <constructor-arg name="maxRetries" value="2"/>

Two MessageRetryStrategy implementations are provided out-of-the-box:

  • NoRetryStrategy: (default) Does not attempt any retry of messages that failed.
  • MaxRetriesStrategy: Will retry message consumption when a RetryableMessageException is raised, up to a configurable maximum of times.

Changing the queue/dequeue algorithm for a queue

By default, each queue is configured to produce and consume messages as FIFO (First In First Out), but this mechanism can be changed using the queueDequeueStrategy attribute on class RedisMessageQueue.

    <bean id="myQueue" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.RedisMessageQueue">
        <property name="queueName" value="my.queue"/>
        <property name="queueDequeueStrategy">
            <bean class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.queuing.FIFOQueueDequeueStrategy"/>

Implementations bundled in the library (in package com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.queuing):

  • FIFOQueueDequeueStrategy: (default) Messages are submitted to the tail of a Redis List, and are consumed from the head.
  • RandomQueueDequeueStrategy: Messages are submitted in a Redis Set, then consumed in random order from that set. To prevent the need for polling, a separate supporting Redis List is used to notify consumers of new items in the Set.

Performance tip: Disabling "multi-consumer" (fan-out) mode

By default, RedisQ producers will publish messages to all registered consumers (fan-out). If your application's design does not require multiple consumers for a given queue, then you should switch to the "single" consumer mode, this will slightly improve performance for producing each message as it removes the need for a lookup that is otherwise required when multiple consumers are used.

    <bean id="messageProducer" class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.producer.DefaultMessageProducer">
        <property name="queue" ref="myQueue"/>
        <property name="submissionStrategy">
            <bean class="com.github.davidmarquis.redisq.producer.SingleConsumerSubmissionStrategy"/>


RedisQ - Java implementation of a reliable Pub/Sub message queue based on Redis





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