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  1. @title Ruby AMQP gem: Working with queues

Working with queues

About this guide

This guide covers everything related to queues in the AMQP v0.9.1 specification, common usage scenarios and how to accomplish typical operations using the
amqp gem. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (including images & stylesheets). The source is available on Github.

Which versions of the amqp gem does this guide cover?

This guide covers v0.8.0 and later of the Ruby amqp gem.

Queues in AMQP v0.9.1 – overview

What are AMQP queues?

Queues store and forward messages to consumers. They are similar to mailboxes in SMTP.
Messages flow from producing applications to {file:docs/Exchanges.textile exchanges} that route them
to queues and finally queues deliver the messages to consumer applications (or consumer applications fetch messages as needed).

Note that unlike some other messaging protocols/systems, messages are not delivered directly
to queues. They are delivered to exchanges that route messages to queues using rules
known as bindings.

AMQP is a programmable protocol, so queues and bindings alike are declared by applications.

Concept of bindings

A binding is an association between a queue and an exchange. Queues must be bound to at least one exchange in order to receive messages from publishers.
Learn more about bindings in the {file:docs/Bindings.textile Bindings guide}.

Queue attributes

Queues have several attributes associated with them:

  • Name
  • Exclusivity
  • Durability
  • Whether the queue is auto-deleted when no longer used
  • Other metadata (sometimes called X-arguments)

These attributes define how queues can be used, what their life-cycle is like and other aspects of queue
behavior.

The amqp gem represents queues as instances of {AMQP::Queue}.

Queue names and declaring queues

Every AMQP queue has a name that identifies it. Queue names often contain several segments separated by a dot “.”, in a similar fashion to URI
path segments being separated by a slash “/”, although almost any string can represent a segment (with some limitations – see below).

Before a queue can be used, it has to be declared. Declaring a queue will cause it to be created if it does not already exist. The declaration will have no effect if the queue does already exist
and its attributes are the same as those in the declaration. When the existing queue attributes are not the same as those in the declaration a channel-level exception is raised. This case is explained later in this
guide.

Explicitly named queues

Applications may pick queue names or ask the broker to generate a name for them.

To declare a queue with a particular name, for example, “images.resize”, pass it to the Queue class constructor:


queue = AMQP::Queue.new(channel, "images.resize", :auto_delete => true)

Full example:

Server-named queues

To ask an AMQP broker to generate a unique queue name for you, pass an empty string as the queue name argument:


AMQP::Queue.new(channel, "", :auto_delete => true) do |queue, declare_ok|
  puts "#{queue.name} is ready to go. AMQP method: #{declare_ok.inspect}"
end

Full example:

The amqp gem allows server-named queues to be declared without callbacks:


queue = AMQP::Queue.new(channel, "", :auto_delete => true)

In this case, as soon as the AMQP broker reply (`queue.declare-ok` AMQP method) arrives, the queue object name will
be assigned to the value that the broker generated. Many AMQP operations require a queue name, so before an
{AMQP::Queue} instance receives its name, those operations are delayed. This example demonstrates this:


queue = channel.queue("")
queue.bind("builds").subscribe do |metadata, payload|
  # message handling implementation...
end

In this example, binding will be performed as soon as the queue has received its name generated by the broker.
If a particular piece of code relies on the queue name being available immediately a callback should be used.

Reserved queue name prefix

Queue names starting with “amq.” are reserved for internal use by the broker. Attempts to declare a queue with a name
that violates this rule will result in a channel-level exception with reply code 403 (ACCESS_REFUSED) and a reply
message similar to this:

ACCESS_REFUSED - queue name 'amq.queue' contains reserved prefix 'amq.*'

Queue re-declaration with different attributes

When queue declaration attributes are different from those that the queue already has, a channel-level exception with
code 406 (PRECONDITION_FAILED) will be raised. The reply text will be similar to this:

PRECONDITION_FAILED - parameters for queue 'amqpgem.examples.channel_exception' in vhost '/' not equivalent

Queue life-cycle patterns

According to the AMQP v0.9.1 specification, there are two common message queue life-cycle patterns:

  • Durable message queues that are shared by many consumers and have an independent existence: i.e. they
    will continue to exist and collect messages whether or not there are consumers to receive them.
  • Temporary message queues that are private to one consumer and are tied to that consumer. When the
    consumer disconnects, the message queue is deleted.

There are some variations of these, such as shared message queues that are deleted when the last of
many consumers disconnects.

Let us examine the example of a well-known service like an event collector (event logger). A logger is
usually up and running regardless of the existence of services that want to log anything at a particular
point in time. Other applications know which queues to use in order to communicate with the logger and can
rely on those queues being available and able to survive broker restarts. In this case, explicitly named durable
queues are optimal and the coupling that is created between applications is not an issue.

Another example of a well-known long-lived service is a distributed metadata/directory/locking server like
Apache Zookeeper, Google’s Chubby or DNS. Services like this benefit from using well-known, not server-generated,
queue names and so do any other applications that use them.

A different sort of scenario is in “a cloud setting” when some kind of worker/instance might start and
stop at any time so that other applications cannot rely on it being available. In this case, it is possible
to use well-known queue names, but a much better solution is to use server-generated, short-lived queues
that are bound to topic or fanout exchanges in order to receive relevant messages.

Imagine a service that processes an endless stream of events – Twitter is one example. When traffic
increases, development operations may start additional application instances in the cloud to handle the load.
Those new instances want to subscribe to receive messages to process, but the rest of the system does not
know anything about them and cannot rely on them being online or try to address them directly. The new instances
process events from a shared stream and are the same as their peers. In a case like this, there is no reason for
message consumers not to use queue names generated by the broker.

In general, use of explicitly named or server-named queues depends on the messaging pattern that your application
needs. {http://www.eaipatterns.com/ Enterprise Integration Patterns} discusses many messaging patterns in depth and
the RabbitMQ FAQ also has a section on {http://www.rabbitmq.com/faq.html#scenarios use cases}.

Declaring a durable shared queue

To declare a durable shared queue, you pass a queue name that is a non-blank string and use the “:durable” option:


queue = AMQP::Queue.new(channel, "images.resize", :durable => true)

Full example:

the same example rewritten to use {AMQP::Channel#queue}:


channel.queue("images.resize", :durable => true) do |queue, declare_ok|
  puts "#{queue.name} is ready to go."
end

Declaring a temporary exclusive queue

To declare a server-named, exclusive, auto-deleted queue, pass "" (empty string) as the queue name and
use the “:exclusive” and “:auto_delete” options:


AMQP::Queue.new(channel, "", :auto_delete => true, :exclusive => true) do |queue, declare_ok|
  puts "#{queue.name} is ready to go."
end

Full example:

The same example can be rewritten to use {AMQP::Channel#queue}:


channel.queue("", :auto_delete => true, :exclusive => true) do |queue, declare_ok|
  puts "#{queue.name} is ready to go."
end

Full example:

Exclusive queues may only be accessed by the current connection and are deleted when that connection closes.
The declaration of an exclusive queue by other connections is not allowed and will result in a channel-level exception
with the code 405 (RESOURCE_LOCKED) and a reply message similar to

RESOURCE_LOCKED - cannot obtain exclusive access to locked queue 'amqpgem.examples.queue' in vhost '/'

The following example demonstrates this:

Binding queues to exchanges

In order to receive messages, a queue needs to be bound to at least one exchange. Most of the time binding is explcit
(done by applications). To bind a queue to an exchange, use {AMQP::Queue#bind} where the argument passed can be
either an {AMQP::Exchange} instance or a string.


queue.bind(exchange) do |bind_ok|
  puts "Just bound #{queue.name} to #{exchange.name}"
end

Full example:

The same example using a string without callback:


queue.bind("amq.fanout")

Full example:

Subscribing to receive messages (“push API”)

To set up a queue subscription to enable an application to receive messages as they arrive in a queue, one uses the
{AMQP::Queue#subscribe} method. Then when a message arrives, the message header (metadata) and body (payload) are
passed to the handler:


queue.subscribe do |metadata, payload|
  puts "Received a message: #{payload.inspect}."
end

Full example:

Subscriptions for message delivery are usually referred to as consumers in the AMQP v0.9.1 specification, client
library documentation and books. Consumers last as long as the channel that they were declared on, or until the
client cancels them (unsubscribes).

Consumers are identified by consumer tags. If you need to obtain the consumer tag of a subscribed
queue then use {AMQP::Queue#consumer_tag}.

Accessing message metadata

The `header` object in the example above provides access to message metadata and delivery information:

  • Message content type
  • Message content encoding
  • Message routing key
  • Message delivery mode (persistent or not)
  • Consumer tag this delivery is for
  • Delivery tag
  • Message priority
  • Whether or not message is redelivered
  • Producer application id

and so on. An example to demonstrate how to access some of those attributes:


# producer
exchange.publish("Hello, world!",
                 :app_id      => "amqpgem.example",
                 :priority    => 8,
                 :type        => "kinda.checkin",
                 # headers table keys can be anything
                 :headers     => {
                   :coordinates => {
                     :latitude  => 59.35,
                     :longitude => 18.066667
                   },
                   :participants => 11,
                   :venue        => "Stockholm"
                 },
                 :timestamp   => Time.now.to_i)


# consumer
queue.subscribe do |metadata, payload|
  puts "metadata.routing_key : #{metadata.routing_key}"
  puts "metadata.content_type: #{metadata.content_type}"
  puts "metadata.priority    : #{metadata.priority}"
  puts "metadata.headers     : #{metadata.headers.inspect}"
  puts "metadata.timestamp   : #{metadata.timestamp.inspect}"
  puts "metadata.type        : #{metadata.type}"
  puts "metadata.delivery_tag: #{metadata.delivery_tag}"
  puts "metadata.redelivered : #{metadata.redelivered?}"

  puts "metadata.app_id      : #{metadata.app_id}"
  puts "metadata.exchange    : #{metadata.exchange}"
  puts
  puts "Received a message: #{payload}."
end

Full example:

Exclusive consumers

Consumers can request exclusive access to the queue (meaning only this consumer can access the queue). This is useful
when you want a long-lived shared queue to be temporarily accessible by just one application (or thread, or process).
If the application employing the exclusive consumer crashes or loses the TCP connection to the broker, then the
channel is closed and the exclusive consumer is cancelled.

To exclusively receive messages from the queue, pass the “:exclusive” option to {AMQP::Queue#subscribe}:


queue.subscribe(:exclusive => true) do |metadata, payload|
  # message handling logic...
end

TBD: describe what happens when exclusivity property is violated and how to handle it.

Using multiple consumers per queue

Historically, amqp gem versions before v0.8.0.RC14 (current master branch in the repository) have had a “one consumer
per Queue instance” limitation. Previously, to work around this problem, application developers had to open multiple
channels and work with multiple queue instances on different channels. This is not very convenient and is surprising
for developers familiar with AMQP clients for other languages.

With more and more Ruby implementations dropping the GIL,
load balancing between multiple consumers in the same queue in the same OS process has become more and more common.
In certain cases, even applications that do not need any concurrency benefit from having multiple consumers on the
same queue in the same process.

Starting from amqp gem v0.8.0.RC14, it is possible to add any number of consumers by instantiating {AMQP::Consumer} directly:


# non-exclusive consumer, consumer tag is generated
consumer1 = AMQP::Consumer.new(channel, queue)

# non-exclusive consumer, consumer tag is explicitly given
consumer2 = AMQP::Consumer.new(channel, queue, "#{queue.name}-consumer-#{rand}-#{Time.now}")

# exclusive consumer, consumer tag is generated
consumer3 = AMQP::Consumer.new(channel, queue, nil, true)

Instantiated consumers do not begin consuming messages immediately. This is because in certain cases, it is useful to
add a consumer but make it active at a later time. To consume messages, use the {AMQP::Consumer#consume} method in
combination with {AMQP::Consumer#on_delivery}:


consumer1.consume.on_delivery do |metadata, payload|
  @consumer1_mailbox << payload
end

{AMQP::Consumer#on_delivery} takes a block that is used exactly like the block passed to {AMQP::Queue#subscribe}.
In fact, {AMQP::Queue#subscribe} uses {AMQP::Consumer} under the hood, adding a default consumer to the queue.


Default consumers do not have any special properties, they just provide a convenient way for application developers
to register multiple consumers and a means of preserving backwards compatibility. Application developers are
always free to use AMQP::Consumer instances directly, or intermix them with AMQP::Queue#subscribe.

Most of the public API methods on {AMQP::Consumer} return self, so it is possible to use method chaining extensively.
An example from amqp gem spec suite:


consumer1 = AMQP::Consumer.new(@channel, @queue).consume.on_delivery { |metadata, payload| mailbox1 << payload }
consumer2 = AMQP::Consumer.new(@channel, @queue).consume.on_delivery { |metadata, payload| mailbox2 << payload }

To cancel a particular consumer, use {AMQP::Consumer#cancel} method. To cancel a default queue consumer, use {AMQP::Queue#unsubscribe}.

Message acknowledgements

Consumer applications – applications that receive and process messages – may occasionally fail to process individual
messages, or will just crash. There is also the possibility of network issues causing problems. This raises a
question – “When should the AMQP broker remove messages from queues?” The AMQP v0.9.1 specification proposes
two choices:

  • After broker sends a message to an application (using either basic.deliver or basic.get-ok methods).
  • After the application sends back an acknowledgement (using basic.ack AMQP method).

The former choice is called the automatic acknowledgement model, while the latter is called the explicit
acknowledgement model
. With the explicit model, the application chooses when it is time to send an acknowledgement.
It can be right after receiving a message, or after persisting it to a data store before processing, or after fully
processing the message (for example, successfully fetching a Web page, processing and storing it into some persistent
data store).

If a consumer dies without sending an acknowledgement, the AMQP broker will redeliver it to another consumer, or, if
none are available at the time, the broker will wait until at least one consumer is registered for the same queue
before attempting redelivery.

The acknowledgement model is chosen when a new consumer is registered for a queue. By default,
{AMQP::Queue#subscribe} will use the automatic model. To switch to the explicit model, the “:ack” option should
be used:


queue.subscribe(:ack => true) do |metadata, payload|
  # message handling logic...
end

To demonstrate how redelivery works, let us have a look at the following code example:

So what is going on here? This example uses 3 AMQP connections to imitate 3 applications, 1 producer and two
consumers. Each AMQP connection opens a single channel:


# open three connections to imitate three apps
connection1 = AMQP.connect
connection2 = AMQP.connect
connection3 = AMQP.connect

channel_exception_handler = Proc.new { |ch, channel_close| EventMachine.stop; raise "channel error: #{channel_close.reply_text}" }

# open two channels
channel1    = AMQP::Channel.new(connection1)
channel1.on_error(&channel_exception_handler)
# ...

channel2    = AMQP::Channel.new(connection2)
channel2.on_error(&channel_exception_handler)
# ...

# app 3 will just publish messages
channel3    = AMQP::Channel.new(connection3)
channel3.on_error(&channel_exception_handler)

The consumers share a queue and the producer publishes messages to the queue periodically using an `amq.direct`
exchange. Both “applications” subscribe to receive messages using the explicit acknowledgement model. The AMQP broker
by default will send each message to the next consumer in sequence (this kind of load balancing is known as
round-robin). This means that some messages will be delivered to consumer #1 and some to consumer #2.


exchange = channel3.direct("amq.direct")

# ...

queue1    = channel1.queue("amqpgem.examples.acknowledgements.explicit", :auto_delete => false)
# purge the queue so that we do not get any redeliveries from previous runs
queue1.purge
queue1.bind(exchange).subscribe(:ack => true) do |metadata, payload|
  # do some work
  sleep(0.2)

  # acknowledge some messages, they will be removed from the queue
  if rand > 0.5
    # FYI: there is a shortcut, metadata.ack
    channel1.acknowledge(metadata.delivery_tag, false)
    puts "[consumer1] Got message ##{metadata.headers['i']}, ack-ed"
  else
    # odd messages are not ack-ed and will remain in the queue for redelivery
    # when app #1 connection is closed (either properly or due to a crash)
    puts "[consumer1] Got message ##{metadata.headers['i']}, SKIPPED"
  end
end

queue2    = channel2.queue!("amqpgem.examples.acknowledgements.explicit", :auto_delete => false)
queue2.subscribe(:ack => true) do |metadata, payload|
  metadata.ack
  # app 2 always acks messages
  puts "[consumer2] Received #{payload}, redelivered = #{metadata.redelivered}, ack-ed"
end

To demonstrate message redelivery we make consumer #1 randomly select which messages to acknowledge. After 4 seconds
we disconnect it (to imitate a crash). When that happens, the AMQP broker redelivers unacknowledged messages to
consumer #2 which acknowledges them unconditionally. After 10 seconds, this example closes all outstanding
connections and exits.

An extract of output produced by this example:

=> Subscribing for messages using explicit acknowledgements model

[consumer2] Received Message #0, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer1] Got message #1, SKIPPED
[consumer1] Got message #2, SKIPPED
[consumer1] Got message #3, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #4, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer1] Got message #5, SKIPPED
[consumer2] Received Message #6, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #7, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #8, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #9, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #10, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #11, redelivered = false, ack-ed
----- Connection 1 is now closed (we pretend that it has crashed) -----
[consumer2] Received Message #5, redelivered = true, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #1, redelivered = true, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #2, redelivered = true, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #12, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #13, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #14, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #15, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #16, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #17, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #18, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #19, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #20, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #21, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #22, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #23, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #24, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #25, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #26, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #27, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #28, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #29, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #30, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #31, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #32, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #33, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #34, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #35, redelivered = false, ack-ed

As we can see, consumer #1 did not acknowledge 3 messages (labelled 1, 2 and 5):

[consumer1] Got message #1, SKIPPED
[consumer1] Got message #2, SKIPPED
...
[consumer1] Got message #5, SKIPPED

and then, once consumer #1 had “crashed”, those messages were immediately redelivered to the consumer #2:

Connection 1 is now closed (we pretend that it has crashed)
[consumer2] Received Message #5, redelivered = true, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #1, redelivered = true, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #2, redelivered = true, ack-ed

To acknowledge a message use {AMQP::Channel#acknowledge}:


channel1.acknowledge(metadata.delivery_tag, false)

{AMQP::Channel#acknowledge} takes two arguments: message delivery tag and a flag that indicates whether or not we
want to acknowledge multiple messages at once. Delivery tag is simply a channel-specific increasing number that
the server uses to identify deliveries.

When acknowledging multiple messages at once, the delivery tag is treated as “up to and including”. For example, if
delivery tag = 5 that would mean “acknowledge messages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5”.

As a shortcut, it is possible to acknowledge messages using the {AMQP::Header#ack} method:


queue2.subscribe(:ack => true) do |metadata, payload|
  metadata.ack
end


Acknowledgements are channel-specific. Applications must not receive messages on one channel and acknowledge them on
another.


A message MUST not be acknowledged more than once. Doing so will result in a channel-level exception
(PRECONDITION_FAILED) with an error message like this: «PRECONDITION_FAILED – unknown delivery tag»

Rejecting messages

When a consumer application receives a message, processing of that message may or may not succeed. An application can
indicate to the broker that message processing has failed (or cannot be accomplished at the time) by rejecting a
message. When rejecting a message, an application can ask the broker to discard or requeue it.

To reject a message use the {AMQP::Channel#reject} method:


queue.bind(exchange).subscribe do |metadata, payload|
  # reject but do not requeue (simply discard)
  channel.reject(metadata.delivery_tag)
end

in the example above, messages are rejected without requeueing (broker will simply discard them). To requeue a
rejected message, use the second argument that {AMQP::Channel#reject} takes:


queue.bind(exchange).subscribe do |metadata, payload|
  # reject and requeue
  channel.reject(metadata.delivery_tag, true)
end


When there is only one consumer on a queue, make sure you do not create infinite message delivery loops by rejecting
and requeueing a message from the same consumer over and over again.

Another way to reject a message is by using {AMQP::Header#reject}:


queue.bind(exchange).subscribe do |metadata, payload|
  # reject but do not requeue (simply discard)
  metadata.reject
end


queue.bind(exchange).subscribe do |metadata, payload|
  # reject and requeue
  metadata.reject(:requeue => true)
end

Negative acknowledgements

Messages are rejected with the `basic.reject` AMQP method. There is one limitation that `basic.reject` has: there
is no way to reject multiple messages, as you can do with acknowledgements. However, if you are using
RabbitMQ, then there is a solution. RabbitMQ provides an AMQP v0.9.1 extension known as
negative acknowledgements (nacks) and
the amqp gem supports this extension. For more information, please refer to the
{file:docs/VendorSpecificExtensions.textile Vendor-specific Extensions guide}.

QoS – Prefetching messages

For cases when multiple consumers share a queue, it is useful to be able to specify how many messages each consumer
can be sent at once before sending the next acknowledgement. This can be used as a simple load balancing technique or
to improve throughput if messages tend to be published in batches. For example, if a producing application sends
messages every minute because of the nature of the work it is doing.

Imagine a website that takes data from social media sources like Twitter or Facebook during the Champions League
final (or the Superbowl), and then calculates how many tweets mention a particular team during the last minute.
The site could be structured as 3 applications:

  • A crawler that uses streaming APIs to fetch tweets/statuses, normalizes them and sends them in JSON for processing by other applications (“app A”).
  • A calculator that detects what team is mentioned in a message, updates statistics and pushes an update to the Web UI once a minute (“app B”).
  • A Web UI that fans visit to see the stats (“app C”).

In this imaginary example, the “tweets per second” rate will vary, but to improve the throughput of the system and
to decrease the maximum number of messages that the AMQP broker has to hold in memory at once, applications can be
designed in such a way that application “app B”, the “calculator”, receives 5000 messages and then acknowledges them
all at once. The broker will not send message 5001 unless it receives an acknowledgement.

In AMQP parlance this is know as QoS or message prefetching. Prefetching is configured on a per-channel
(typically) or per-connection (rarely used) basis. To configure prefetching per channel, use
the {AMQP::Channel#prefetch} method. Let us return to the example we used in the “Message acknowledgements” section:


# app #1 will be given up to 3 messages at a time. If it does not
# send an ack after receiving the messages, then the messages will
# be routed to app #2.
channel1.prefetch(3)

# app #2 processes messages one-by-one and has to send an ack after receiving each message
channel2.prefetch(1)

In that example, one consumer prefetches 3 messages and another consumer prefetches just 1. If we take a look at the output that the example produces, we will see that `consumer1` fetched 4 messages and acknowledged 1. After that,
all subsequent messages were delivered to `consumer2`:

[consumer2] Received Message #0, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer1] Got message #1, SKIPPED
[consumer1] Got message #2, SKIPPED
[consumer1] Got message #3, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #4, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer1] Got message #5, SKIPPED
---
  by now consumer 1 has received 3 messages it did not acknowledge.
  With prefetch = 3, AMQP broker will not send it any more messages until consumer 1 sends an ack
---
[consumer2] Received Message #6, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #7, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #8, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #9, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #10, redelivered = false, ack-ed
[consumer2] Received Message #11, redelivered = false, ack-ed


The prefetching setting is ignored for consumers that do not use explicit acknowledgements.

How message acknowledgements relate to transactions and Publisher Confirms

In cases where you cannot afford to lose a single message, AMQP v0.9.1 applications can use one or a combination of
the following protocol features:

  • Publisher confirms (a RabbitMQ-specific extension to AMQP v0.9.1)
  • Publishing messages as immediate
  • Transactions (noticeable overhead)

This topic is covered in depth in the {file:docs/Exchanges.textile Working With Exchanges} guide.
In this guide, we will only mention how message acknowledgements are related to AMQP transactions and the Publisher
Confirms extension.

Let us consider a publisher application (P) that communications with a consumer © using AMQP v0.9.1. Their
communication can be graphically represented like this:

-----       -----       -----
|   |   S1  |   |   S2  |   |
| P | ====> | B | ====> | C |
|   |       |   |       |   |
-----       -----       -----

We have two network segments, S1 and S2. Each of them may fail. P is concerned with making sure that
messages cross S1, while broker (B) and C are concerned with ensuring that messages cross S2 and are only removed
from the queue when they are processed successfully.

Message acknowledgements cover reliable delivery over S2 as well as successful processing. For S1, P has to use
transactions (a heavyweight solution) or the more lightweight Publisher Confirms RabbitMQ extension.

Fetching messages when needed (“pull API”)

The AMQP v0.9.1 specification also provides a way for applications to fetch (pull) messages from the queue only
when necessary. For that, use {AMQP::Queue#pop}:


queue.pop do |metadata, payload|
  if payload
    puts "Fetched a message: #{payload.inspect}, content_type: #{metadata.content_type}. Shutting down..."
  else
    puts "No messages in the queue"
  end
end

Full example:

If the queue is empty, then the `payload` argument will be nil, otherwise arguments are identical to those of
the {AMQP::Queue#subscribe} callback.

Unsubscribing from messages

Sometimes it is necessary to unsubscribe from messages without deleting a queue. To do that, use
the {AMQP::Queue#unsubscribe} method:


queue.unsubscribe

By default {AMQP::Queue#unsubscribe} uses the “:noack” option to inform the broker that there is no need to send
a confirmation. In other words, it does not expect you to pass in a callback, because the consumer tag on the queue
instance and the registered callback for messages are cleared immediately.

If an application needs to execute a piece of code after the broker response arrives, {AMQP::Queue#unsubscribe} takes
an optional callback:


queue.unsubscribe do |unbind_ok|
  # server response arrived, handle it if necessary...
end

Full example:

In AMQP parlance, unsubscribing from messages is often referred to as “cancelling a consumer”. Once a consumer is
cancelled, messages will no longer be delivered to it, however, due to the asynchronous nature of the protocol,
it is possible for “in flight” messages to be received after this call completes.

Fetching messages with {AMQP::Queue#pop} is still possible even after a consumer is cancelled.

Unbinding queues from exchanges

To unbind a queue from an exchange use {AMQP::Queue#unbind}:


queue.unbind(exchange)

Full example:

Note that trying to unbind a queue from an exchange that the queue was never bound to will result in a
channel-level exception.

Querying the number of messages in a queue

It is possible to query the number of messages sitting in the queue by declaring the queue with the “:passive”
attribute set. The response (`queue.declare-ok` AMQP method) will include the number of messages along with other
attributes. However, the amqp gem provides a convenience method, {AMQP::Queue#status}:


queue.status do |number_of_messages, number_of_consumers|
  puts
  puts "# of messages in the queue #{queue.name} = #{number_of_messages}"
  puts
end

Full example:

Querying the number of consumers on a queue

It is possible to query the number of consumers on a queue by declaring the queue with the “:passive” attribute set.
The response (`queue.declare-ok` AMQP method) will include the number of consumers along with other attributes.
However, the amqp gem provides a convenience method, {AMQP::Queue#status}:


queue.status do |number_of_messages, number_of_consumers|
  puts
  puts "# of consumers on the queue #{queue.name} = #{number_of_consumers}"
  puts
end

Full example:

Purging queues

It is possible to purge a queue (remove all of the messages from it) using {AMQP::Queue#purge}:


queue.purge

This method takes an optional callback. However, remember that this operation is performed asynchronously.
To run a piece of code when the AMQP broker confirms that a queue has been purged, use a callback that
{AMQP::Queue#purge} takes:


queue.purge do |_|
  puts "Purged #{queue.name}"
end

Full example:

Note that this example purges a newly declared queue with a unique server-generated name. When a queue is declared,
it is empty, so for server-named queues, there is no need to purge them before they are used.

Deleting queues

To delete a queue, use {AMQP::Queue#delete}. When a queue is deleted, all of the messages in it are deleted as well.


queue.delete

This method takes an optional callback. However, remember that this operation is performed asynchronously.
To run a piece of code when the AMQP broker confirms that a queue has been deleted, use a callback that
{AMQP::Queue#delete} takes:


queue.delete do |_|
  puts "Deleted #{queue.name}"
end

Full example:

Objects as message consumers and unit testing consumers in isolation

Since Ruby is a genuine object-oriented language, it is important to demonstrate how the Ruby amqp gem can be
integrated into rich object-oriented code. This part of the guide focuses on queues and the problems/solutions
concerning consumer applications (applications that primarily receive and process messages, as opposed to producers
that publish them).

An {AMQP::Queue#subscribe} callback does not have to be a block. It can be any Ruby object that responds to the
`call` method. A common technique is to combine {http://rubydoc.info/stdlib/core/1.8.7/Object:method Object#method}
and {http://rubydoc.info/stdlib/core/1.8.7/Method:to_proc Method#to_proc} and use object methods as message handlers.

An example to demonstrate this technique:


class Consumer

  #
  # API
  #

  def initialize(channel, queue_name = AMQ::Protocol::EMPTY_STRING)
    @queue_name = queue_name

    @channel    = channel
    # Consumer#handle_channel_exception will handle channel
    # exceptions. Keep in mind that you can only register one error handler,
    # so the last one registered "wins".
    @channel.on_error(&method(:handle_channel_exception))
  end # initialize

  def start
    @queue = @channel.queue(@queue_name, :exclusive => true)
    # #handle_message method will be handling messages routed to @queue
    @queue.subscribe(&method(:handle_message))
  end # start



  #
  # Implementation
  #

  def handle_message(metadata, payload)
    puts "Received a message: #{payload}, content_type = #{metadata.content_type}"
  end # handle_message(metadata, payload)

  def handle_channel_exception(channel, channel_close)
    puts "Oops... a channel-level exception: code = #{channel_close.reply_code}, message = #{channel_close.reply_text}"
  end # handle_channel_exception(channel, channel_close)
end

Full example:

In this example, `Consumer` instances have to be instantiated with an {AMQP::Channel} instance. If the message
handling was done by an aggregated object, it would completely separate the handling logic and would be make it
easy to unit test in isolation:


class Consumer

  #
  # API
  #

  def handle_message(metadata, payload)
    puts "Received a message: #{payload}, content_type = #{metadata.content_type}"
  end # handle_message(metadata, payload)
end


class Worker

  #
  # API
  #


  def initialize(channel, queue_name = AMQ::Protocol::EMPTY_STRING, consumer = Consumer.new)
    @queue_name = queue_name

    @channel    = channel
    @channel.on_error(&method(:handle_channel_exception))

    @consumer   = consumer
  end # initialize

  def start
    @queue = @channel.queue(@queue_name, :exclusive => true)
    @queue.subscribe(&@consumer.method(:handle_message))
  end # start


  #
  # Implementation
  #

  def handle_channel_exception(channel, channel_close)
    puts "Oops... a channel-level exception: code = #{channel_close.reply_code}, message = #{channel_close.reply_text}"
  end # handle_channel_exception(channel, channel_close)
end

Full example:

Note that the `Consumer` class demonstrated above can be easily tested in isolation without spinning up any AMQP
connections:


require "ostruct"
require "json"

# RSpec example
describe Consumer do
  describe "when a new message arrives" do
    subject { described_class.new }

    let(:metadata) do
      o = OpenStruct.new

      o.content_type = "application/json"
      o
    end
    let(:payload)  { JSON.encode({ :command => "reload_config" }) }

    it "does some useful work" do
      # check preconditions here if necessary

      subject.handle_message(metadata, payload)

      # add your code expectations here
    end
  end
end

TBD

Queue durability vs message durability

See {file:docs/Durability.textile Durability guide}

Error handling and recovery

See {file:docs/ErrorHandling.textile Error handling and recovery guide}

Vendor-specific extensions related to queues

See {file:docs/VendorSpecificExtensions.textile Vendor-specific Extensions guide}

What to read next

The documentation is organized as several {file:docs/DocumentationGuidesIndex.textile documentation guides},
covering all kinds of topics. Guides related to this one are:

  • {file:docs/Exchanges.textile Working With Exchanges}
  • {file:docs/Bindings.textile Bindings}
  • {file:docs/ErrorHandling.textile Error handling and recovery}

RabbitMQ implements a number of extensions to AMQP v0.9.1 functionality that are covered in the
{file:docs/VendorSpecificExtensions.textile Vendor-specific Extensions guide}. At least one extension,
per-queue messages time-to-live (TTL), is related to this guide and can be used with the amqp gem v0.8.0 and later.

Authors

This guide was written by Michael Klishin and edited by Chris Duncan.

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Let us know what was unclear or what has not been covered. Maybe you do not like the guide style or grammar or discover spelling mistakes. Reader feedback is
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