[rabbitmq-discuss] Orchestration vs. Choreography

Ciprian Dorin Craciun ciprian.craciun at gmail.com
Sun Jan 8 14:02:54 GMT 2012

On Sat, Jan 7, 2012 at 22:38, Isaias Barroso <isaias.barroso at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear all,
> I'm design a process that is splitted on some tasks (one queue for each
> piece of process). To a sample, suppose I have a message that can treated
> for many steps: Retrieve Information, enrich information, Save on Database,
> but each step can occurs or not, so I've thought about on two approaches :
> 1 - Orchestration: In this case a central component will receive the message
> and decide for each step, after execution of each step this component will
> decide the next step.
> 2 - Choreography: In this case each step must to know the next step and send
> message for next queue
> Does anybody has some opinion about the better approach? Does anybody knows
> some tool/framework that works top of Rabbit that manage it (Java if
> possible) ?
> Best regards
> --
> Isaías Barroso

    I've also pondered about the same topic a while ago... (Though I
haven't tried it in practice.) As such my options were the following:

    a) (the easiest one) Go with the choreography approach, but
instead of naming the queue of the next service (and send to a direct
exchange), just send it to an exchange named by the next step's
purpose (like "enrich", "validate", etc.). Maybe make this a topic
exchange and put enough information in the routing key to allow
"debugging" by being able to register another queue and "capture" the

    b) (the "declarative" approach) Why not have the orchestration
approach (in a declarative flavor) combined with choreography:
    * let's assume that you have a task which goes through a set of
processes (transformations or just validations, etc.) which can be
described as decision tree (a binary tree of actions, where each node
is a process and the two children (one for success and one for
failure) are the next process to be executed);
    * now you just put this decision tree inside the "envelope" of
each message, send it to the root process;
    * this process executes its logic and based on the outcome
(success or failure), extracts one of it's subtrees, puts that in the
new envelope and together with the new message sends it to the root of
the new tree; (evidently at some point the new tree would be empty,
which means it should stop sending it further;)
    * (you could again use "purpose" names for exchanges instead of
direct queues;)
    * you could extend this to a graph (maybe containing cycles, thus
obtaining loops), by saying that each node has two links to other
    * of course yet another extension would be to allow "labeled" node
links, i.e. each process outputs two things: a next-step string label,
and the new message, and now you select from the labeled links the one
matching the label; (maybe have something as a default link);

    Thus with option b) you obtain both the advantages of choreography
(i.e. no middle man to become a single point of failure or
bottleneck), but also the advantages of orchestration (i.e. each
message having it's own "route" through the processes). At the same
time you keep the processors "dumb", none knowing of another.

    Hope this helps.

    P.S.: If you like this approach (b), you could go even further and
instead of using a static decision tree (or graph) you could
substitute that with an embedded language or machine which allows
generic operations on both the old and new message to decide the next
actions. (I could expand on this if someone is interested.)

    A practical (not very elegant) Java approach:
    * define a Java interface with a method like `public AmqpTarget
decide (MyMessage old, MyMessage new)` (or something similar), where
`AmqpTarget` has two fields for exchange and routing key;
    a) if all the processes share the same code and are upgraded at
the same time, just instantiate a serializable object implementing
that interface and put that in the envelope instead of the decision
    b) if you don't have shared code or you want to keep your options opened:
    * for each different "workflow" define a new public "top" class
(i.e. not nested or anonymous) implementing that interface with as few
dependencies as possible;
    * in the envelope instead of the decision tree put the byte-code
of this class (you can use the
and the canonical name; (be careful to use caching or you'll get
`PermGenError` or similar;)
    * to instantiate the class on the receiver just create a custom
classloader which when asked for the bytecode of that known class just
returns the bytes previously stored;

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