The Java EE 5 Tutorial

Messaging Domains

Before the JMS API existed, most messaging products supported either the point-to-point or the publish/subscribe approach to messaging. The JMS specification provides a separate domain for each approach and defines compliance for each domain. A stand-alone JMS provider can implement one or both domains. A Java EE provider must implement both domains.

In fact, most implementations of the JMS API support both the point-to-point and the publish/subscribe domains, and some JMS clients combine the use of both domains in a single application. In this way, the JMS API has extended the power and flexibility of messaging products.

The JMS 1.1 specification goes one step further: It provides common interfaces that enable you to use the JMS API in a way that is not specific to either domain. The following subsections describe the two messaging domains and then describe the use of the common interfaces.

Point-to-Point Messaging Domain

A point-to-point (PTP) product or application is built on the concept of message queues, senders, and receivers. Each message is addressed to a specific queue, and receiving clients extract messages from the queues established to hold their messages. Queues retain all messages sent to them until the messages are consumed or until the messages expire.

PTP messaging has the following characteristics and is illustrated in Figure 31–3.

Figure 31–3 Point-to-Point Messaging

Diagram of point-to-point messaging, showing Client 1
sending a message to a queue, and Client 2 consuming and acknowledging the

Use PTP messaging when every message you send must be processed successfully by one consumer.

Publish/Subscribe Messaging Domain

In a publish/subscribe (pub/sub) product or application, clients address messages to a topic, which functions somewhat like a bulletin board. Publishers and subscribers are generally anonymous and can dynamically publish or subscribe to the content hierarchy. The system takes care of distributing the messages arriving from a topic’s multiple publishers to its multiple subscribers. Topics retain messages only as long as it takes to distribute them to current subscribers.

Pub/sub messaging has the following characteristics.

The JMS API relaxes this timing dependency to some extent by allowing subscribers to create durable subscriptions, which receive messages sent while the subscribers are not active. Durable subscriptions provide the flexibility and reliability of queues but still allow clients to send messages to many recipients. For more information about durable subscriptions, see Creating Durable Subscriptions.

Use pub/sub messaging when each message can be processed by zero, one, or many consumers. Figure 31–4 illustrates pub/sub messaging.

Figure 31–4 Publish/Subscribe Messaging

Diagram of pub/sub messaging, showing Client 1 publishing
a message to a topic, and the message being delivered to two subscribers to
the topic

Programming with the Common Interfaces

Version 1.1 of the JMS API allows you to use the same code to send and receive messages under either the PTP or the pub/sub domain. The destinations that you use remain domain-specific, and the behavior of the application will depend in part on whether you are using a queue or a topic. However, the code itself can be common to both domains, making your applications flexible and reusable. This tutorial describes and illustrates these common interfaces.