10.8. Idempotent Consumer

Overview

The idempotent consumer pattern is used to filter out duplicate messages. For example, consider a scenario where the connection between a messaging system and a consumer endpoint is abruptly lost due to some fault in the system. If the messaging system was in the middle of transmitting a message, it might be unclear whether or not the consumer received the last message. To improve delivery reliability, the messaging system might decide to redeliver such messages as soon as the connection is re-established. Unfortunately, this entails the risk that the consumer might receive duplicate messages and, in some cases, the effect of duplicating a message may have undesirable consequences (such as debiting a sum of money twice from your account). In this scenario, an idempotent consumer could be used to weed out undesired duplicates from the message stream.
Camel provides the following Idempotent Consumer implementations:

Idempotent consumer with in-memory cache

In Apache Camel, the idempotent consumer pattern is implemented by the idempotentConsumer() processor, which takes two arguments:
  • messageIdExpression — An expression that returns a message ID string for the current message.
  • messageIdRepository — A reference to a message ID repository, which stores the IDs of all the messages received.
As each message comes in, the idempotent consumer processor looks up the current message ID in the repository to see if this message has been seen before. If yes, the message is discarded; if no, the message is allowed to pass and its ID is added to the repository.
The code shown in Example 10.1, “Filtering Duplicate Messages with an In-memory Cache” uses the TransactionID header to filter out duplicates.

Example 10.1. Filtering Duplicate Messages with an In-memory Cache

import static org.apache.camel.processor.idempotent.MemoryMessageIdRepository.memoryMessageIdRepository;
...
RouteBuilder builder = new RouteBuilder() {
    public void configure() {
        from("seda:a")
          .idempotentConsumer(
             header("TransactionID"),
             memoryMessageIdRepository(200)
          ).to("seda:b");
    }
};
Where the call to memoryMessageIdRepository(200) creates an in-memory cache that can hold up to 200 message IDs.
You can also define an idempotent consumer using XML configuration. For example, you can define the preceding route in XML, as follows:
<camelContext id="buildIdempotentConsumer" xmlns="http://camel.apache.org/schema/spring">
  <route>
    <from uri="seda:a"/>
    <idempotentConsumer messageIdRepositoryRef="MsgIDRepos">
      <simple>header.TransactionID</simple>
      <to uri="seda:b"/>
    </idempotentConsumer>
  </route>
</camelContext>

<bean id="MsgIDRepos" class="org.apache.camel.processor.idempotent.MemoryMessageIdRepository">
    <!-- Specify the in-memory cache size. -->
    <constructor-arg type="int" value="200"/>
</bean>
Note
From Camel 2.17, Idempotent Repository supports optional serialized headers.

Idempotent consumer with JPA repository

The in-memory cache suffers from the disadvantages of easily running out of memory and not working in a clustered environment. To overcome these disadvantages, you can use a Java Persistent API (JPA) based repository instead. The JPA message ID repository uses an object-oriented database to store the message IDs. For example, you can define a route that uses a JPA repository for the idempotent consumer, as follows:
import org.springframework.orm.jpa.JpaTemplate;

import org.apache.camel.spring.SpringRouteBuilder;
import static org.apache.camel.processor.idempotent.jpa.JpaMessageIdRepository.jpaMessageIdRepository;
...
RouteBuilder builder = new SpringRouteBuilder() {
    public void configure() {
        from("seda:a").idempotentConsumer(
          header("TransactionID"),
          jpaMessageIdRepository(bean(JpaTemplate.class), "myProcessorName")
        ).to("seda:b");
    }
};
The JPA message ID repository is initialized with two arguments:
  • JpaTemplate instance—Provides the handle for the JPA database.
  • processor name—Identifies the current idempotent consumer processor.
The SpringRouteBuilder.bean() method is a shortcut that references a bean defined in the Spring XML file. The JpaTemplate bean provides a handle to the underlying JPA database. See the JPA documentation for details of how to configure this bean.
For more details about setting up a JPA repository, see JPA Component documentation, the Spring JPA documentation, and the sample code in the Camel JPA unit test.

Spring XML example

The following example uses the myMessageId header to filter out duplicates:
<!-- repository for the idempotent consumer -->
<bean id="myRepo" class="org.apache.camel.processor.idempotent.MemoryIdempotentRepository"/>

<camelContext xmlns="http://camel.apache.org/schema/spring">
    <route>
        <from uri="direct:start"/>
        <idempotentConsumer messageIdRepositoryRef="myRepo">
            <!-- use the messageId header as key for identifying duplicate messages -->
            <header>messageId</header>
            <!-- if not a duplicate send it to this mock endpoint -->
            <to uri="mock:result"/>
        </idempotentConsumer>
    </route>
</camelContext>

Idempotent consumer with JDBC repository

A JDBC repository is also supported for storing message IDs in the idempotent consumer pattern. The implementation of the JDBC repository is provided by the SQL component, so if you are using the Maven build system, add a dependency on the camel-sql artifact.
You can use the SingleConnectionDataSource JDBC wrapper class from the Spring persistence API in order to instantiate the connection to a SQL database. For example, to instantiate a JDBC connection to a HyperSQL database instance, you could define the following JDBC data source:
<bean id="dataSource" class="org.springframework.jdbc.datasource.SingleConnectionDataSource">
    <property name="driverClassName" value="org.hsqldb.jdbcDriver"/>
    <property name="url" value="jdbc:hsqldb:mem:camel_jdbc"/>
    <property name="username" value="sa"/>
    <property name="password" value=""/>
</bean>
Note
The preceding JDBC data source uses the HyperSQL mem protocol, which creates a memory-only database instance. This is a toy implementation of the HyperSQL database which is not actually persistent.
Using the preceding data source, you can define an idempotent consumer pattern that uses the JDBC message ID repository, as follows:
<bean id="messageIdRepository" class="org.apache.camel.processor.idempotent.jdbc.JdbcMessageIdRepository">
	<constructor-arg ref="dataSource" />
	<constructor-arg value="myProcessorName" />
</bean>

<camel:camelContext>
	<camel:errorHandler id="deadLetterChannel" type="DeadLetterChannel" deadLetterUri="mock:error">
		<camel:redeliveryPolicy maximumRedeliveries="0" maximumRedeliveryDelay="0" logStackTrace="false" />
	</camel:errorHandler>
	
	<camel:route id="JdbcMessageIdRepositoryTest" errorHandlerRef="deadLetterChannel">
		<camel:from uri="direct:start" />
		<camel:idempotentConsumer messageIdRepositoryRef="messageIdRepository">
			<camel:header>messageId</camel:header>
			<camel:to uri="mock:result" />
		</camel:idempotentConsumer>
	</camel:route>
	</camel:camelContext>

How to handle duplicate messages in the route

Available as of Camel 2.8
You can now set the skipDuplicate option to false which instructs the idempotent consumer to route duplicate messages as well. However the duplicate message has been marked as duplicate by having a property on the Exchange set to true. We can leverage this fact by using a Content-Based Router or Message Filter to detect this and handle duplicate messages.
For example in the following example we use the Message Filter to send the message to a duplicate endpoint, and then stop continue routing that message.
from("direct:start")
     // instruct idempotent consumer to not skip duplicates as we will filter then our self
     .idempotentConsumer(header("messageId")).messageIdRepository(repo).skipDuplicate(false)
     .filter(property(Exchange.DUPLICATE_MESSAGE).isEqualTo(true))
         // filter out duplicate messages by sending them to someplace else and then stop
         .to("mock:duplicate")
         .stop()
     .end()
     // and here we process only new messages (no duplicates)
     .to("mock:result");
The sample example in XML DSL would be:
 <!-- idempotent repository, just use a memory based for testing -->
 <bean id="myRepo" class="org.apache.camel.processor.idempotent.MemoryIdempotentRepository"/>
 
 <camelContext xmlns="http://camel.apache.org/schema/spring">
     <route>
         <from uri="direct:start"/>
         <!-- we do not want to skip any duplicate messages -->
         <idempotentConsumer messageIdRepositoryRef="myRepo" skipDuplicate="false">
             <!-- use the messageId header as key for identifying duplicate messages -->
             <header>messageId</header>
             <!-- we will to handle duplicate messages using a filter -->
             <filter>
                 <!-- the filter will only react on duplicate messages, if this property is set on the Exchange -->
                 <exchangeProperty>CamelDuplicateMessage</exchangeProperty>
                 <!-- and send the message to this mock, due its part of an unit test -->
                 <!-- but you can of course do anything as its part of the route -->
                 <to uri="mock:duplicate"/>
                 <!-- and then stop -->
                 <stop/>
             </filter>
             <!-- here we route only new messages -->
             <to uri="mock:result"/>
         </idempotentConsumer>
     </route>
 </camelContext>

How to handle duplicate message in a clustered environment with a data grid

If you have running Camel in a clustered environment, a in memory idempotent repository doesn't work (see above). You can setup either a central database or use the idempotent consumer implementation based on the Hazelcast data grid. Hazelcast finds the nodes over multicast (which is default - configure Hazelcast for tcp-ip) and creates automatically a map based repository:
HazelcastIdempotentRepository idempotentRepo = new HazelcastIdempotentRepository("myrepo");
 
from("direct:in").idempotentConsumer(header("messageId"), idempotentRepo).to("mock:out");
You have to define how long the repository should hold each message id (default is to delete it never). To avoid that you run out of memory you should create an eviction strategy based on the Hazelcast configuration. For additional information see camel-hazelcast.
See this Idempotent Repository tutorial to learn more about how to setup such an idempotent repository on two cluster nodes using Apache Karaf.

Options

The Idempotent Consumer has the following options:
Option Default Description
eager true Camel 2.0: Eager controls whether Camel adds the message to the repository before or after the exchange has been processed. If enabled before then Camel will be able to detect duplicate messages even when messages are currently in progress. By disabling Camel will only detect duplicates when a message has successfully been processed.
messageIdRepositoryRef null A reference to a IdempotentRepository to lookup in the registry. This option is mandatory when using XML DSL.
skipDuplicate true Camel 2.8: Sets whether to skip duplicate messages. If set to false then the message will be continued. However the Exchange has been marked as a duplicate by having the Exchange.DUPLICATE_MESSAG exchange property set to a Boolean.TRUE value.
completionEager false Camel 2.16: Sets whether to complete the Idempotent consumer eager, when the exchange is done. If you set the completeEager option true, then the Idempotent Consumer triggers its completion when the exchange reaches till the end of the idempotent consumer pattern block. However, if the exchange continues to route even after the end block, then it does not affect the state of the idempotent consumer. If you set the completeEager option false, then the Idempotent Consumer triggers its completion after the exchange is done and is being routed. However, if the exchange continues to route even after the block ends, then it also affects the state of the idempotent consumer. For example, due to an exception if the exchange fails, then the state of the idempotent consumer will be a rollback.