Sun Java System Message Queue 4.3 Technical Overview

Programming Objects

The objects used to implement JMS messaging remain essentially the same across programming domains: connection factories, connections, sessions, producers, consumers, messages, and destinations. These objects are shown in Figure 2–5. The figure shows, from the top down, how objects are derived, starting with the connection factory object.

Two of the objects, connection factories and destinations, are shown to reside in an object store. This is to underline the fact that these objects are normally created, configured, and managed as administered objects. We assume that connection factories and destinations are created administratively (rather than programmatically) throughout this chapter.

Figure 2–5 JMS Programming Objects

Figure shows relationship between connection factory,
connection, session, producer, consumer, message, and destination. Figure
described in text.

Table 2–2 summarizes the steps required to send and receive messages. Note that steps 1 through 6 are the same for senders and receivers.

Table 2–2 Producing and Consuming Messages.

Producing a Message 

Consuming a Message 

1. The administrator creates a connection factory administered object. 

2. The administrator creates a physical destination and the administered object that corresponds to it. 

3. The client obtains a connection factory object through a JNDI lookup. 

4. The client obtains a destination object through a JNDI lookup. 

5. The client creates a connection. 

5. The client sets the ClientID, as necessary. 

6. The client creates a session and sets the properties that govern messaging reliability. 

7. The client creates a message producer for a specified destination. 

The client creates a message consumer for a specified destination. 

8. The client starts the connection. 

9. The client sends a message. 

The client consumes a message. 

The following sections describe the objects used by producers and consumers: connections, sessions, messages, and destinations. We will then complete the discussion of JMS objects by describing the production and consumption of messages.

Connection Factories and Connections

A client uses a connection factory object (ConnectionFactory) to create a connection. A connection object ( Connection) represents a client’s active connection to the broker. It uses the underlying Message Queue connection service that is either started by default or is explicitly started by the administrator for this client.

Both allocation of communication resources and authentication of the client take place when a connection is created. It is a relatively heavyweight object, and most clients do all their messaging with a single connection. Connections support concurrent use: any number of producers and consumers can share a connection.

When you create a connection factory, you can configure the behavior of all connections derived from it by setting its properties. For Message Queue, these specify the following information:

It is possible to override connection factory properties from the command line used to start the client application. It is also possible to override properties for any given connection by explicitly setting properties for that connection.

You can use a connection object to create session objects, to set up an exception listener, or to obtain JMS version and JMS provider information.


If the connection represents a communication channel between the client and the broker, a session marks a single conversation between them. Mainly, you use a session object to create messages, message producers, and message consumers. When you create a session, you configure reliable delivery through a number of acknowledgement options or through transactions. For more information, see Reliable Message Delivery.

According to the JMS specification, a session is a single-threaded context for producing and consuming messages. You can create multiple message producers and consumers for a single session, but you are restricted to using them serially. The threading implementation varies slightly for Java and C clients. Consult the appropriate developer’s guide for additional information about threading implementation and restrictions.

You can also use a session object to do the following:


A message is composed of three parts: a header, properties, and a body. You must understand this structure in order to compose a message properly and to configure certain messaging behaviors.

Message Header

A header is required of every JMS message. The header contains ten predefined fields, which are listed and described in Table 2–3.

Table 2–3 JMS-Defined Message Header

Header Field 


Set By 


Specifies the name of the destination to which the message is sent.

JMS provider 


Specifies whether the message is persistent.

Client, per producer or per individual message produced. 


Specifies the time when the message will expire.

Client, per producer or per individual message produced.. 


Specifies the priority of the message within a 0 (low) to 9 (high) range.

Client, per producer or per individual message produced. 


Specifies a unique ID for the message within the context of a JMS provider installation.

JMS provider 


Specifies whether the message has already been delivered but not acknowledged.

JMS provider 


Specifies the time when the JMS provider received the message.

JMS provider 


A value that allows a client to define a correspondence between two messages.

Client, if needed 


Specifies a destination where the consumer should send a reply.

Client, if needed 


A value that can be evaluated by a message selector.

Client, if needed 

As you can see from reading through this table, message header fields serve a variety of purposes: identifying a message, configuring the routing of messages, providing information about message handling, and so on.

One of the most important fields, JMSDeliveryMode, determines the reliability of message delivery. This field indicates whether a message is persistent.

Some message header fields are set by the JMS provider (the Message Queue broker and/or client runtime) and others are set by the client. Message producers may need to configure header values to obtain certain messaging behaviors; message consumers may need to read header values in order to understand how the message was routed and what further processing it might need.

Three of the header fields (JMSDeliveryMode, JMSExpiration, and JMSPriority) can be set at two different levels:

If these fields are set at more than one level, values set when producing a message override those set for the message’s producer.

Names of constant used for message header fields vary with the language implementation. See Sun Java System Message Queue 4.3 Developer’s Guide for Java Clients or Sun Java System Message Queue 4.3 Developer’s Guide for C Clients for more information.

Message Properties

A message can also include optional header fields, called properties, specified as property name and property value pairs. Properties allow clients and providers to extend the message header and can contain any information that the client or the JMS provider finds useful to identify and process a message. Message properties allow a consuming client to ask that only those messages be delivered which fit a given criteria. For instance, a consuming client might indicate an interest for payroll messages concerning part-time employees located in New Jersey. The JMS provider will not deliver messages that do not meet the specified criteria.

The JMS specification defines nine standard properties. Some of these are set by the client and some by the JMS provider. Their names begin with the reserved characters “JMSX.” The client or the JMS provider can use these properties to determine who sent a message, the identity of the application sending a message, the state of the message, how often and when it was delivered, tansaction identification, and so forth. These properties are useful to the JMS provider in routing messages and in providing diagnostic information.

Message Queue defines a number of additional message properties. These properties are used to identify compressed messages and how messages should be handled if they cannot be delivered. For more information see Managing Message Size in Sun Java System Message Queue 4.3 Developer’s Guide for Java Clients.

Message Body

The message body contains the data that clients want to exchange.

The JMS message body type determines what the body may contain and how it should be processed by the consumer, as specified in Table 2–4. The Session object includes a create method for each type of message body.

Table 2–4 Message Body Types

Message Body Type 



A message whose body contains a stream of Java primitive values. It is filled and read sequentially. 


A message whose body contains a set of name-value pairs. The order of entries is not defined. 


A message whose body contains a Java string, for example an XML message. 


A message whose body contains a serialized Java object. 


A message whose body contains a stream of uninterpreted bytes. 


A message that contains a header and properties but no body. 

Java clients can set a property to have the client runtime compress the body of a message being produced. The Message Queue runtime on the consumer side decompresses the message before delivering it.