The Java EE 5 Tutorial

JMS Message Consumers

A message consumer is an object that is created by a session and used for receiving messages sent to a destination. It implements the MessageConsumer interface.

A message consumer allows a JMS client to register interest in a destination with a JMS provider. The JMS provider manages the delivery of messages from a destination to the registered consumers of the destination.

For example, you could use a Session to create a MessageConsumer for a Destination object, a Queue object, or a Topic object:

MessageConsumer consumer = session.createConsumer(dest);
MessageConsumer consumer = session.createConsumer(queue);
MessageConsumer consumer = session.createConsumer(topic);

You use the Session.createDurableSubscriber method to create a durable topic subscriber. This method is valid only if you are using a topic. For details, see Creating Durable Subscriptions.

After you have created a message consumer, it becomes active, and you can use it to receive messages. You can use the close method for a MessageConsumer to make the message consumer inactive. Message delivery does not begin until you start the connection you created by calling its start method. (Remember always to call the start method; forgetting to start the connection is one of the most common JMS programming errors.)

You use the receive method to consume a message synchronously. You can use this method at any time after you call the start method:

Message m = consumer.receive();
Message m = consumer.receive(1000); // time out after a second

To consume a message asynchronously, you use a message listener, described in the next section.

JMS Message Listeners

A message listener is an object that acts as an asynchronous event handler for messages. This object implements the MessageListener interface, which contains one method, onMessage. In the onMessage method, you define the actions to be taken when a message arrives.

You register the message listener with a specific MessageConsumer by using the setMessageListener method. For example, if you define a class named Listener that implements the MessageListener interface, you can register the message listener as follows:

Listener myListener = new Listener();

After you register the message listener, you call the start method on the Connection to begin message delivery. (If you call start before you register the message listener, you are likely to miss messages.)

When message delivery begins, the JMS provider automatically calls the message listener’s onMessage method whenever a message is delivered. The onMessage method takes one argument of type Message, which your implementation of the method can cast to any of the other message types (see Message Bodies).

A message listener is not specific to a particular destination type. The same listener can obtain messages from either a queue or a topic, depending on the type of destination for which the message consumer was created. A message listener does, however, usually expect a specific message type and format.

Your onMessage method should handle all exceptions. It must not throw checked exceptions, and throwing a RuntimeException is considered a programming error.

The session used to create the message consumer serializes the execution of all message listeners registered with the session. At any time, only one of the session’s message listeners is running.

In the Java EE platform, a message-driven bean is a special kind of message listener. For details, see Using Message-Driven Beans to Receive Messages Asynchronously.

JMS Message Selectors

If your messaging application needs to filter the messages it receives, you can use a JMS API message selector, which allows a message consumer to specify the messages it is interested in. Message selectors assign the work of filtering messages to the JMS provider rather than to the application. For an example of an application that uses a message selector, see A Java EE Application That Uses the JMS API with a Session Bean.

A message selector is a String that contains an expression. The syntax of the expression is based on a subset of the SQL92 conditional expression syntax. The message selector in the example selects any message that has a NewsType property that is set to the value 'Sports' or 'Opinion':

NewsType = ’Sports’ OR NewsType = ’Opinion’

The createConsumer, createDurableSubscriber methods allow you to specify a message selector as an argument when you create a message consumer.

The message consumer then receives only messages whose headers and properties match the selector. (See Message Headers, and Message Properties.) A message selector cannot select messages on the basis of the content of the message body.