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okq is a redis-backed queueing server with a focus on simplicity, both in code and interface.

  • At-least-once by default. At-most-once is supported by setting EX the parameter to 0 when consuming events. Once successfully submitted events interacted with atomically in redis; okq crashing will never result in loss of data.

  • Clients talk to okq using the redis protocol. So if your language has a redis driver you already have an okq driver as well.

  • Binary safe

  • Supports a single redis instance, redis sentinel or a redis cluster

  • Multiple okq instances can run on the same redis instance/cluster without knowing about each other, easing deployment

Table of contents


From within the okq project root:

go get ./...
go build

You'll now have an okq binary. To get started you can do okq -h to see available options


okq can take in options on the command line, through environment variables, or from a config file. All configuration parameters are available through any of the three. The three methods can be mixed an matched, with environment variables taking precedence over a config file, and command line arguments taking precedence over environment variables.

# See command line parameters and descriptions
okq -h

# Create a configuration file with default values pre-populated
okq --example > okq.conf

# Use configuration file
okq --config okq.conf

# Set --listen-addr argument in an environment variable (as opposed to on
# the command line or the configuration file

# Mix all three
okq --config okq.conf --redis-cluster --redis-addr=


By default okq listens on port 4777. You can connect to it using any existing redis client, and all okq commands look very similar to redis commands. For example, to peek at the next event on the foo queue:

redis-cli -p 4777
> QLPEEK foo
< 1) "1"
  2) "testevent"

See the next section for all available commands.


okq is modeled as a left-to-right queue. Clients submit events on the left side of the queue (with QLPUSH), and consumers read off the right side (with QRPOP).

     QLPUSH                QRPOP
client -> [event event event event] -> consumer

It is not necessary to instantiate a queue. Simply pushing an event onto it or creating a consumer for it implicitly creates it. Deleting a queue is also not necessary, once a queue has no events and no consumers it no longer exists.


QLPUSH queue eventID contents [NOBLOCK]

Add an event as the new left-most event in the queue.

eventID must be a unique string identifying the event. If an event with the same eventID already exists in the queue an error will be returned. In most cases a UUID will suffice.

This will not return with success until the event has been successfully stored in redis. Set NOBLOCK if you want the server to return success as soon as possible, even if the event can't be successfully added.

Returns OK on success

Returns an error if NOBLOCK is set and the okq instance is too overloaded to handle the event in the background. Increasing bg-push-pool-size will increase the number of available routines which can handle unblocked push commands.


QRPUSH queue eventId contents [NOBLOCK]

Behaves the same as QLPUSH, except it pushes the event onto the right side of the queue (the front). The event will be the next one consumed, making this useful for one-off high priority events. However for a true high priority queue it often makes more sense to have a second queue with its own set of consumers than to use this.


QLPEEK queue

Look at the left-most event in the queue, without actually consuming it.

Returns an array-reply with the eventID and contents of the left-most event, or nil if the queue is empty.

> QLPEEK foo
< 1) "d7601248-ea90-4abc-a6e2-ff259f1205d1"
  2) "event contents"

> QLPEEK empty-queue
< (nil)


QLPEEK queue

Behaves the same as QLPEEK, except it looks at the right-most event on the queue (the one which will be consumed next).


QRPOP queue [EX seconds]

Pop the right-most event off the queue.

EX seconds determines how long the consumer has to QACK the event before it is put back onto the right side of the queue (so it will be consumed next) and made available to other consumers again. If not set, defaults to 30 seconds. If set to 0 the event will automatically be acknowledged.

Furthermore, when sending EX 0 it is not necessary for the consumer to send a corresponding QACK. Setting this option allows you to make a particular queue at-most-once (rather than at-least-once).

Returns an array-reply with the eventID and contents of the right-most event, or nil if the queue is empty.

> QRPOP foo
< 1) "9919b6ba-298a-44ee-9127-7176e91fd7d7"
  2) "event contents to be consumed"

> QRPOP empty-queue
< (nil)


QACK queue eventID [REDO]

Acknowledges that it is safe for okq to forget about this event for this queue.

If this is not called within some amount of time after popping the event off the queue (see QRPOP for more on configuring that timeout) then the event will be placed back onto the right side of the queue (so it will be consumed next).

If the event is awaiting a QACK and REDO is given then the event will be put back onto the right side of the queue (so it will be consumed next) and made available to other consumers again.

Returns an integer 1 if the event was acknowledged successfully, or 0 if not (implying the event timed out or it was acknowledged by another consumer).


QREGISTER [queue ...]

Register a client to zero or more queues. Used in conjunction with QNOTIFY.

Subsequent QREGISTER calls on the same client connection overwrites the queue list from previous calls. Calling QREGISTER with no queues de-registers the client from all queues. The client disconnecting also deregisters it from all queues.

Once registered a client is considered a consumer and can call QNOTIFY to block until an event is available on one of its registered queues. The client being a consumer for these queues will also be reflected in calls to QSTATUS and QINFO.

Returns OK


QNOTIFY timeout

Block for timeout seconds until an event is available on any registered queue.

Returns a queue's name, or nil if no new events became available within the timeout.

NOTE This feature is supported using an internal redis pubsub channel. Consequently, if an event is pushed to a queue on one instance of okq, another instance of okq pointed at the same redis instance/cluster as the first will still send the queue name to all relevant clients calling QNOTIFY.


QFLUSH queue

Removes all events from the given queue.

Effictively makes it as if the given queue never existed. Any events in the process of being consumed from the given queue may still complete, but if they do not complete succesfully (no QACK is received) they will not be added back to the queue.

Returns OK on success


QSTATUS [queue ...]

Get information about the given queues (or all active queues, if none are given) on the system.

An array of arrays will be returned, for example:

> QSTATUS foo bar
< 1) 1) "foo"
     2) (integer) 2
     3) (integer) 1
     4) (integer) 3
  2) 1) "bar"
     2) (integer) 43
     3) (integer) 0
     4) (integer) 0

The integer values returned indicate (respectively):

  • total - The number of events currently held by okq for the queue, both those that are awaiting a consumer and those which are actively held by a consumer

  • processing - The number of events for the queue which are being actively held by a consumer

  • consumers - The number of consumers currently registered for the queue

The returned order will match the order of the queues given in the call. If no queues are given (and so information on all active queues is being returned) they will be returned in ascending alphabetical order

NOTE that there may in the future be more information returned in the sub-arrays returned by this call; do not assume that they will always be of length 4


QINFO [queue ...]

Get human readable information about the given queues (or all active queues, if none are given) on the system in a human readable format.

This command effectively calls QSTATUS with the given arguments and returns its output in a nicely formatted way. The returned value will be an array of strings, one per queue, each formatted like so:

> QINFO foo bar
< 1) "foo  total: 2   processing: 1  consumers: 3"
  2) "bar  total: 43  processing: 0  consumers: 0"

See QSTATUS for the meaning of total, processing, and consumers

NOTE that this output is intended to be read by humans and its format may change slightly everytime the command is called. For easily machine readable output of the same data see the QSTATUS command


Writing okq clients (those which only submit events) is easy: A redis driver and a call to QLPUSH are all that are needed.

The logic for consumer clients (those which are retrieving events and processing them) is, however, slightly more involved (although not nearly as much as for some other queue servers).

Here is the general order of events for a consumer for the foo, bar, and baz queues:

  1. Call QREGISTER foo bar baz. The client is now considered a consumer for these queues.

  2. Call QNOTIFY 30. This will block until an event is pushed onto one of the three queues by some other client or the 30 second timeout is reached. If the timeout is reached nil will be returned and the consumer can start this step over. If an event was pushed then the name of the queue it was pushed onto will be returned from this call.

  3. Call QRPOP <queue from last step>. If it returns nil then another consumer nabbed the event before we could; go back to step 2. Otherwise this will return the eventID and its contents.

  4. At this point any application specific logic for the event should be run. a) If QRPOP was called with EX 0 nothing else is required. b) If the event was successfully processed call QACK <queue name> <eventID> to mark it as successfully completed c) If the event was not successfully processed then call QACK <queue name> <eventID> REDO to place it back in the queue to be re-attempted.

  5. Go back to step 2

It's likely that you'll want to write some generic wrapper code for this in your language, if someone else hasnt written it already.


a simple event queue system built on redis and the redis serialization protocol




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