Multiple technological developments over the last century have transformed people’s lives. Instead of going to the library to look for a book about home repair, you can use smartphones or computers to go online and look up the information you need. You don’t even have to go to the bank to deposit money. Instead, you can photograph both sides of a check and use mobile banking to deposit your check from your workplace or home.

Technological developments make it faster and easier to perform many tasks, fueling demand for more apps and computer programs. App Annie’s research determined that users downloaded more than 90 billion apps in 2016, with the average person in America spending more than 90 minutes per day using apps. Between apps, emails, social media messages, and other input sources, individuals and businesses may receive communications from multiple platforms every day, prompting the need for message brokers.

Message Brokers

What is a message broker? A message broker’s a type of middleware software. This software extends the uses of typical software, enabling apps and programs to perform additional functions. Message brokers apply the formal messaging protocol of the sender and receiver while exchanging and translating messages.

Message brokers enable electronic sources to transfer data. One type of system allows multiple subscribers to submit messages. Anyone subscribed to specific topics receives all messages the publisher publishes about those topics. This is a popular message broker system for discussion forums.

A simple message system facilitates communication between a single producer and consumer. Messages to the consumer fill a queue. When the receivers process a message, they send a single communication to that producer. Software developers create sophisticated message brokers that allow multiple producers to send messages. They also allow multiple consumers to access the message queue. One distinction is that the consumers may only access different parts of the message. These message brokers allow concurrent processing, which can expedite response times and increase efficiency.

Rabbitmq is a commonly used open-source message broker software that uses plugins to implement Streaming Text Oriented Messaging Protocols and other message broker protocols. Other message brokers include Java Message Service (JMS). JMS is not open-source, which means you have to purchase that broker to use it.

Illustrating Functions

To understand how message brokers function, consider the human body. The human body has multiple input sources. Information receivers include your skin, nose, mouth, eyes, and ears. You use your senses to identify needs or threats or acquire information. You can form conclusions from that information, such as whether you need to wear a sweater or buy more bread.

Once you’ve received information, you can convey that information to others through multiple means. Suppose someone asked their family what they need to pick up from the grocery store. They may receive varying answers from different family members based on the information they have available and their preferences. A person receiving different inputs from different people or senses is comparable to a program receiving inputs from different platforms, senders, or programs.

Suppose that a family member only asked one person what to buy. They’d receive input from one source comparable to a point-to-point broker with only one producer and consumer. When the person asks all the family members what to buy, they’re receiving input from multiple producers. Suppose two spouses go shopping. One may process all the requests for fruits and vegetables, while the other may identify the meats and snacks.

Software developers integrate business logic into their message brokers with features such as queue managers. Queue managers prioritize and manage messages received. Message brokers can also store messages. This means companies can transfer or access data even if the sender or receiver isn’t operating at that time, enabling senders in one location to transmit messages when the receivers aren’t available. Similarly, the receivers can process messages when the senders aren’t available.

Message brokers let different programs and systems communicate. Message brokers can use queue managers to create a schedule, ensuring recipients process crucial tasks first. Message brokers can also organize communications from multiple sources and distribute data to multiple subscribers.