Navigation Menu

Skip to content


Repository files navigation

Flusswerk - Digital Collections Workflow Engine

Javadocs License Maven Central

Flusswerk makes it easy to create multi threaded workers for read/transform/write chains (aka ETL jobs). Workflows are coordinated via RabbitMQ, so it's easy to create chains of independent workflow jobs (each a new Java application).




dependencies {
    compile group: 'com.github.dbmdz.flusswerk', name: 'flusswerk', version: '5.0.0'

Getting started

To get started, clone or copy the Flusswerk Example application.

What's new in Flusswerk 5

  • Flusswerk connections are now shown in RabbitMQ management UI
  • structured logging now automatically contains fields duration and duration_ms that report the time your app spent on processing a certain message in seconds or milliseconds.
  • The deprecated tracing_id has been removed
  • The deprecated Envelope.timestamp has been removed in favor of Envelope.created which is now of type Instant.
  • Constructor of FlusswerkApplication now takes Optional<Engine> as an argument (call as super(Optional.of(engine));).
  • Options for centralized locking using Redis have been removed

The Big Picture

A typical Flusswerk application has three parts:

  • Messages
  • the data processing flow (usually a Reader, a Transformer and a Writer)
  • Some Spring Boot glue code
  • Spring Boot application.yml to configure all the Flusswerk things

Usually it is also useful to define your own data model classes, although that is not strictly required.

Other optional parts are

  • Custom metrics collection
  • Custom logging formats (aka ProcessReport)


Message classes are for a sending and receiving data from RabbitMQ. All Message classes extend Message, which automatically forwards tracing ids from incoming to outgoing messages (if you set the tracing id by hand, it will not be overwritten).

class IndexMessage implements Message {

  private String documentId;

  public IndexMessage(String documentId) {
    this.documentId = requireNonNull(documentId);

  public String getId() { ... }

  public boolean equals(Object other) { ... }

  public int hashCode() { ... }


Register the type for the incoming message, so it gets automatically deserialized:

public IncomingMessageType incomingMessageType() {
  return new IncomingMessageType(IndexMessage.class);


All configuration magic happens in Spring's application.yml.

A minimal configuration might look like:

# Default spring profile is local
    name: flusswerk-example

      - search.index
      default: search.publish

This defaults to connecting to RabbitMQ localhost:5672, with user and password guest, five threads and retrying a message five times. The only outgoing route defined is default, which is used by Flusswerk to automatically send messages. For most applications these are sensible defaults and works out of the box for local testing.

The connection information can be overwritten for different environments using Spring Boot profiles:

  profiles: production
      - rabbitmq.stg
    username: secret
    password: secret

The sections of the Flusswerk configuration

processing - control of processing

property default
threads 5 Number of threads to use for parallel processing

rabbitmq - Connection to RabbitMQ:

property default
hosts localhost list of hosts to connect to
username guest RabbitMQ username
passwords guest RabbitMQ password

routing - Messages in and out

property default
incoming list of queues to read from in order
outgoing routes to send messages to (format 'name: topic')
exchange flusswerk_default default exchange for all queues
dead letter exchange <exchange> + ".retry" default dead letter exchange for all queues
exchanges - queue: exchange name to override default exchanges
dead letter exchanges <exchange> + ".retry" queue: exchange name to override default dead letter exchanges
failure policies default how to handle messages with processing errors

routing.failure policies - how to handle messages with processing errors

property default
retries 5 how many times to retry
retryRoutingKey where to send messages to retry later (dead lettering)
failedRoutingKey where to send messages to that should not be processed again
backoff how long to wait until retrying a message

The queue that should get a custom failure policy is a YAML key here. Please note that the name not only gets processed by YAML, but also by Spring and therefore needs to be quoted and inside square brackets - otherwise Spring Boot will silently ignore it:

        retries: 3
        backoff: '1s'

monitoring - Prometheus settings

property default
prefix flusswerk prefix for prometheus metrics

Data Processing

To set up your data processing flow, define a Spring bean of type FlowSpec:

public FlowSpec flowSpec(Reader reader, Transformer transformer, Writer writer) {
  return FlowBuilder.flow(IndexMessage.class, Document.class, IndexDocument.class)

With the Reader, Transformer and Writer implementing the Function interface:

Reader Function<IndexMessage, Document> loads document from storage
Transformer Function<Document, IndexDocument> uses Document to build up the data structure needed for indexing
Writer Function<IndexDocument, Message> sends indexes the data and returns a message for the next workflow step

Best Practices

Stateless Processing

All classes that do data processing (Reader, Transformer, Writer,...) should be stateless. This has two reasons:

First, it makes your code thread-safe and multiprocessing easy without you having to even think about it. Just keep it stateless and fly!

Second, it makes testing a breeze: You throw in data and check the data that comes out. Things can go wrong? Just check if your code throws the right exceptions. Wherever you need to interact with external services, mock the behaviour, and your good to go (the Flusswerk tests make heavy use of Mockito, btw.).

If you absolutely have to introduce state, make sure your code is thread-safe.

Immutable Data

Wherever sensible, make your data classes immutable - set everything via the constructor and avoid setters. Implement equals() and hashCode(). This leads usually to more readable code, and makes writing tests much easier. This applies to Message classes and to the classes that contain data.

Your particular data processing needs to build your data over time and can't be immutable? Think again if that is the best way, but don't worry too much.

Manual Interaction with RabbitMQ

For manual interaction with RabbitMQ there is a Spring component with the same class:

ack(Message) acknowledges a Message received from a Queue
queue(String) returns the Queue instance to interact with a queue of the given name
topic(Message) returns the Topic instance for the given name to send messages to
route(Message) returns the Topic instance for the given route from application.yml

Error Handling

Any data processing can go wrong. Flusswerk supports two error handling modes:

  1. stop processing for a message completely. This behaviour is triggered by a StopProcessingException.
  2. retry processing for a message later. This behaviour is triggered by a RetryProcessingException or any other RuntimeException.

The default retry behaviour is to wait 30 seconds between retries and try up to 5 times. If processing a message still keeps failing, it is then treated like as if a StopProcessingException had been thrown and will be routed to a failed queue.

For more fine-grained control, see the configuration parameters for flusswerk.routing.failure policies.

Skip Processing

Processing can be skipped for a message by throwing a SkipProcessingException at any point in your code. Log messages and metrics will have status=skip to indicate that processing was skipped.

Collecting Metrics

Every Flusswerk application provides base metrics via as a Prometheus endpoint:

flusswerk.messages total number of processed messages since application start
flusswerk.messages.seconds total amount of time spent on processing these messages

To include custom metrics, get counters via MeterFactory. A bean of type FlowMetrics can also consume execution information of single flows (best to extend BaseMetrics for that).

The prometheus endpoint is available at /actuator/prometheus.

Customize Logging

To customize log messages, provide a bean of type ProcessReport.