Akka Camel and ActiveMQ

Posted on 2013-08-24

I’ve been using Akka Camel and ActiveMQ recently, as part of a delayed worker-queue system. Given the lack of good googleable information about combining the two, I thought it would be useful if I explained briefly how to get Akka Camel and ActiveMQ to work together in the form of a quick example.

Producers and Consumers

Akka Camel uses the concept of producers and consumers, and makes it very easy to link them to ActiveMQ. Let’s try publishing a message to an ActiveMQ queue, and then using a consumer to read the messages back.

First, let’s implement Producer and Consumer actors. For an actor to produce messages, extend akka.camel.Producer and implement endpointUri. Likewise, to implement an actor to consume messages, extend akka.camel.Consumer and implement the same endpointUri. As the consumer will be receiving messages, you will also need to implement the standard actor receive method.

import akka.actor._
import akka.camel._

class SimpleProducer() extends Actor with Producer with OneWay {
  def endpointUri: String = "activemq:foo.bar"

class SimpleConsumer() extends Actor with Consumer {
  def endpointUri: String = "activemq:foo.bar"

  def receive = {
    case msg: CamelMessage => println(msg)

These actors will communicate using the ActiveMQ queue named foo.bar. The consumer will print any received messages to the console. As this is a publish-subscribe system, we also need to extend our SimpleProducer with the OneWay trait. This tells Camel that our producer won’t be participating in any request-reply messaging patterns.

Setting up Akka Camel

Now that we have a Producer and a Consumer, we need to wire a CamelExtension into an ActorSystem to tell it how to use ActiveMQ. In this example, ActiveMQ is running on localhost:61616. The component name needs to match the protocol specified in the producer and consumer endpoints.

import akka.actor._
import akka.camel._
import org.apache.activemq.camel.component.ActiveMQComponent
import org.apache.activemq.ScheduledMessage._

val actorSystem = ActorSystem("CamelTesting")
val system = CamelExtension(actorSystem)

val amqUrl = s"nio://localhost:61616"
system.context.addComponent("activemq", ActiveMQComponent.activeMQComponent(amqUrl))

// create consumer and producer
val simpleConsumer = actorSystem.actorOf(Props[SimpleConsumer])
val simpleProducer = actorSystem.actorOf(Props[SimpleProducer])

Now we have linked Akka to ActiveMQ, let’s send messages through it! As our producer is an akka-actor, we can send messages to it just like any other.

simpleProducer ! Message("first")
simpleProducer ! Message("second")
simpleProducer ! Message("third")

val delayedMessage = CamelMessage(Message("delayed fourth"), Map(AMQ_SCHEDULED_DELAY -> 3000))
simpleProducer ! delayedMessage

The fourth messages makes use of ActiveMQ’s scheduled delay feature. To do this, we had to send a CamelMessage with modified headers. All available CamelMessage options are available here. Unfortunately, this does leak knowledge of ActiveMQ outside of our SimpleProducer, but introducing a level of indirection would easily solve it.


We have sent messages through ActiveMQ using Akka-Camel, all in about 40 lines of code. A working example can be viewed on Github. As it is possible for our actors to hide their implementation from those around them, ActiveMQ can be worked into a system using Akka without much hassle at all.