Asynchronous Send and Forget Messaging

Asynchronous messaging occurs when the sender sends a message and then continues processing. In the send and forget model of asynchronous messaging, the sender’s messages don’t contain any response information. Message listeners therefore can’t reply to them. Think of it this way–if you got a letter in the mail without any kind of return address or other information telling you who sent it, how could you send a reply? This tutorial shows you how to implement messaging in this fashion between one sending and two receiving portlets. You can find the code for this example plugin project here: Insults Portlet.

Even though there are many cases where you want to include some sort of response information in your messages, there are times where leaving out a response location is preferable. Such is the case with a prolific yet distinguished writer of insults. An insult writer definitely doesn’t want a reply from anyone on the receiving end of their insults. This insult writer has three portlets–one for writing the insults, one for logging them, and one for displaying them to the insulted. The Message Bus is used to send an insult to the logging and insulted portlets as soon as the insult writer writes it. It also makes sense for each message to be dispatched in parallel instead of in series. This way, both messages go out at the same time. Without further ado, it’s time to load up the Message Bus with insults!

Figure 1: Asynchronous messaging with parallel dispatching

Figure 1: Asynchronous messaging with *parallel* dispatching

Deciding on Destination Keys

As with other types of messaging in the Message Bus, the first thing you need to do is specify where you’ll send messages. To do so, you specify destination keys. Destination keys are the locations where messages are sent. You can think of them as the mailing addresses of the Message Bus system. The destination keys must be included with the message and registered as destinations in WEB-INF/src/META-INF/messaging-spring.xml. In this example, there’s just one destination key: insults/users. Both of the receiving portlets are configured to listen on this destination key, and no response is required.

Now that you know what your destination keys are, you can use them when writing the code that sends the messages.

Implementing the Message Sender

Writing the message sender is a fairly straightforward task. Place your message sending code in the method of your application in which it should be called. There’s also not much code involved. In this example, the message sender is placed in the Insult Writer portlet’s _updateInsultWriter method. A message is sent out each time a new insult is written, which is precisely what the insult writer wants to happen. You can find this code here:

A sender for an asynchronous send and forget message does the following things:

  1. Creates a JSONObject to serve as the message:

     JSONObject jsonObject = JSONFactoryUtil.createJSONObject();
  2. Uses the put method to stuff the message with key/value pairs. In this example, some key/value pairs of an insult are added:

     jsonObject.put("insult", insult);
     jsonObject.put("rating", rating);
  3. Sends the message to the destination:

     MessageBusUtil.sendMessage("insults/users", jsonObject.toString());

Make sure that you add the following imports:

    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.messaging.MessageBusUtil;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.json.JSONFactoryUtil;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.json.JSONObject;

Now that you’ve implemented your sender, you can implement any listeners that you need.

Implementing Message Listeners

You need to have one or more message listeners implemented to receive messages from your sender. Each listener is a class that implements Liferay’s MessageListener interface. In this example there are two listeners, one for each receiving portlet. You can find the example listeners here: Listeners.

Asynchronous listeners for send and forget messages do the following things:

  1. Implement the receive(Message message) method of the com.liferay.portal.kernel.messaging.MessageListener interface.

  2. Get the message payload and cast it to a String.

     String payload = (String)message.getPayload();
  3. Create a JSONObject from the payload string.

     JSONObject jsonObject = JSONFactoryUtil.createJSONObject(payload);
  4. Get values from the JSONObject using its getter methods. This example gets the values that were added by the sender.

     String insult = (String) jsonObject.getString("insult");
     String rating = (String) jsonObject.getString("rating");

Make sure that you add the following imports to your listener classes:

    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.messaging.Message;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.messaging.MessageListener;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.json.JSONObject;
    import com.liferay.portal.kernel.json.JSONFactoryUtil;

Any other listeners you need can be implemented using the same steps. Next, you’ll configure your listeners and destinations for use with the Message Bus.

Configuring the Message Bus

Now that you’ve implemented your message senders and listeners, you need to configure them in your plugin’s WEB-INF/src/META-INF/messaging-spring.xml file. Create this file if it doesn’t yet exist.

For example, here’s the configuration file for the insult writer, insult log, and insulted portlets:

<?xml version="1.0"?>


    <!-- Listeners -->

    <bean id="messageListener.insultlog_listener" class="com.insults.portlet.insults.messaging.impl.InsultLogMessagingImpl" />
    <bean id="messageListener.insulted_listener" class="com.insults.portlet.insults.messaging.impl.InsultedMessagingImpl" />

    <!-- Destinations -->

    <bean id="insults.users" class="com.liferay.portal.kernel.messaging.ParallelDestination">
        <property name="name" value="insults/users" />

    <!-- Configurator -->

    <bean id="messagingConfigurator" class="com.liferay.portal.kernel.messaging.config.PluginMessagingConfigurator">
        <property name="messageListeners">
            <map key-type="java.lang.String" value-type="java.util.List">
                <entry key="insults/users">
                    <list value-type="com.liferay.portal.kernel.messaging.MessageListener">
                        <ref bean="messageListener.insultlog_listener" /> 
                        <ref bean="messageListener.insulted_listener" />
        <property name="destinations">
                <ref bean="insults.users"/>

This configuration specifies the following beans:

  • Listener beans: Specify the listener classes to handle messages.
  • Destination beans: Specify the class type and key names of the destinations.
  • Configurator bean: Maps listeners to their destinations.

Now you just need to register this messaging-spring.xml file in your docroot/WEB-INF/web.xml file. To do so, place the following code just above the closing </web-app> tag in the web.xml file:



Save and redeploy your portlet. Your plugin should now send and receive messages according to its configuration. In the case of the insult writer, the insult log and insulted portlets now show each insult.

Figure 2: Message Bus carries the insult to the receiving portlets.

Figure 2: Message Bus carries the insult to the receiving portlets.

Great! Now you know how to use Message Bus to send asynchronous send and forget messages.

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