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Rebus is an experimental service bus implementation, similar in nature to NServiceBus, MassTransit, Rhino ESB, etc. It's mainly a personal research project, as I have a hard time understanding why the code base of NServiceBus spans 100s of projects and 10s of thousands of lines of code.
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Rebus is a lean service bus implementation, similar in nature to NServiceBus and MassTransit.

These are the goals - Rebus should have:

  • a simple and intuitive configuration story
  • a few well-selected options
  • no doodleware
  • dependency only on .NET 4 BCL
  • integration with external dependencies via small and dedicated projects
  • the best error messages
  • a frictionless getting-up-and-running-experience

and in doing this, I want Rebus to align very well with NServiceBus, allowing users (myself included) to easily migrate to NServiceBus at some point in a project's lifetime, if Rebus for some reason falls short.

Oh, and Rebus is free as in beer and speech.


I am a happy NServiceBus user, and I still am. It just puzzles me that

  • NServiceBus is 60 KLOC spread across 200+ projects - the code is hard to read
  • Errors are often hard to diagnose
  • Messing up during configuration yields weird errors at best, and no warnings or signs of things being wrong at worst
  • NServiceBus went from being absolutely free to be licensed

I realize that NServiceBus is pretty cheap when you think of all the good things it can do for you, but to many people I think the license fee is an annoyance that will hinder them in introducing NServiceBus in all of their awesome projects - Which is a shame!

Then why don't I just use MassTransit then? Well, I wanted to do that, but I had so much trouble figuring out the philosophy of the MassTransit project that I gave up learning how to use it. I don't like how it needs a central runtime service to manage subscriptions, and I had a hard time figuring out how to make it work. And then there's the option of using PGM over MSMQ, but it just didn't work how I wanted it to work. Long story short: Too hard to get started!

Therefore, I wanted to try building a simple alternative to NServiceBus. Mainly as a personal research project, but also for myself to use in projects so I don't have to worry about licensing.

More info coming soon at

One day, maybe I'll tweet something as well... @mookid8000


Pretty clunky at the moment, I'm sorry... haven't gotten into the configuration API story yet. Right now, this is how you get going with Rebus:

First, decide how you want to ISendMessages and IReceiveMessages - Rebus has something that can do both: MsmqMessageQueue - therefore:

var msmq = new MsmqMessageQueue("service_input_queue");

Then, decide how subscriptions and sagas are to be stored - let's be serious about this:

var connectionString = "data source=.;initial catalog=rebus_subscriptions;integrated security=sspi";
var subscriptionStorage = new SqlServerSubscriptionStorage(connectionString, "subscriptions");
var sagaPersister = new SqlServerSagaPersister(connectionString, "saga_index", "sagas");

Now, figure out how to go from TMessage to instances of something that implements IHandleMessages<TMessage>. This is where you'd probably insert your favorite IoC container. Let's pretend that I implemented IActivateHandlers in a CastleWindsorHandlerActivator (it's only two methods) - that would allow me to do this:

var container = GetWindsorContainerFromSomewhere();
var handlerActivator = new CastleWindsorHandlerActivator(container);

Now, figure out how a given message type should be mapped to the name of the endpoint that owns that message type - you do that by implementing IDetermineDestination (it's one single method that maps from Type to string) - if I'm OK with specifying it with the NServiceBus syntax (i.e. the <UnicastBusConfig> element from an NServiceBus app.config), I can use DetermineDestinationFromNServiceBusEndpointMappings:

var endpointMapper = new DetermineDestinationFromNServiceBusEndpointMappings();

Now, figure out how to ISerializeMessages - at the moment there's BinaryMessageSerializer and JsonMessageSerializer:

var serializer = new JsonMessageSerializer();

Lastly, think about whether some types of handlers should be invoked first as each handler pipeline gets executed... if that is not the case, just use

var inspector = new TrivialPipelineInspector();

and NOW we're ready to create the bus:

var bus = new RebusBus(handlerActivator, 
                       msmq, msmq, 
                       subscriptionStorage, sagaPersister, 
                       endpointMapper, serializer, inspector);

That created it. Let's make the bus start receiving messages:


If you've used NServiceBus, lots of things will immediately make sense with Rebus - everything about sending, publishing, subscribing, etc is the same. That also means that you can use all of your awesome NServiceBus skills with Rebus.

Well, that was a teaser. More stuff coming up some time in the future. I know that RebusBus has a pretty big constructor, but that's by design ;)


Rebus is licensed under Apache License, Version 2.0. Basically, this license grants you the right to use Rebus however you see fit.

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