Pattern: Messaging

pattern   inter-service communication   service api   service design  


You have applied the Microservice architecture pattern. Services must handle requests from the application’s clients. Furthermore, services often collaborate to handle those requests. Consequently, they must use an inter-process communication protocol.


  • Services often need to collaborate
  • Synchronous communicate results in tight runtime coupling, both the client and service must be available for the duration of the request


How do services in a microservice architecture communicate?


Use asynchronous messaging for inter-service communication. Services communicating by exchanging messages over messaging channels.

There are several different styles of asynchronous communication:

  • Request/response - a service sends a request message to a recipient and expects to receive a reply message promptly
  • Notifications - a sender sends a message a recipient but does not expect a reply. Nor is one sent.
  • Request/asynchronous response - a service sends a request message to a recipient and expects to receive a reply message eventually
  • Publish/subscribe - a service publishes a message to zero or more recipients
  • Publish/asynchronous response - a service publishes a request to one or recipients, some of whom send back a reply


There are numerous examples of asynchronous messaging technologies

OrderService from the FTGO Example application publishes an Order Created event when it creates an Order.

public class OrderService {


  public Order createOrder(long consumerId, long restaurantId,
                           List<MenuItemIdAndQuantity> lineItems) {
    Restaurant restaurant = restaurantRepository.findById(restaurantId)
            .orElseThrow(() -> new RestaurantNotFoundException(restaurantId));

    List<OrderLineItem> orderLineItems = makeOrderLineItems(lineItems, restaurant);

    ResultWithDomainEvents<Order, OrderDomainEvent> orderAndEvents =
            Order.createOrder(consumerId, restaurant, orderLineItems);

    Order order = orderAndEvents.result;;


    OrderDetails orderDetails = new OrderDetails(consumerId, restaurantId, orderLineItems, order.getOrderTotal());

    CreateOrderSagaState data = new CreateOrderSagaState(order.getId(), orderDetails);
    createOrderSagaManager.create(data, Order.class, order.getId());

    meterRegistry.ifPresent(mr -> mr.counter("placed_orders").increment());

    return order;

Resulting context

This pattern has the following benefits:

  • Loose runtime coupling since it decouples the message sender from the consumer
  • Improved availability since the message broker buffers messages until the consumer is able to process them
  • Supports a variety of communication patterns including request/reply, notifications, request/async response, publish/subscribe, publish/async response etc

This pattern has the following drawbacks:

  • Additional complexity of message broker, which must be highly available

This pattern has the following issues:

  • Request/reply-style communication is more complex

See also

pattern   inter-service communication   service api   service design  

Copyright © 2024 Chris Richardson • All rights reserved • Supported by Kong.

About is brought to you by Chris Richardson. Experienced software architect, author of POJOs in Action, the creator of the original, and the author of Microservices patterns.

New workshop: Architecting for fast, sustainable flow

Enabling DevOps and Team Topologies thru architecture

DevOps and Team topologies are vital for delivering the fast flow of changes that modern businesses need.

But they are insufficient. You also need an application architecture that supports fast, sustainable flow.

Learn more and register for my September 2024 online workshops....


I help organizations improve agility and competitiveness through better software architecture.

Learn more about my consulting engagements, and training workshops.

LEARN about microservices

Chris offers numerous other resources for learning the microservice architecture.

Get the book: Microservices Patterns

Read Chris Richardson's book:

Example microservices applications

Want to see an example? Check out Chris Richardson's example applications. See code

Virtual bootcamp: Distributed data patterns in a microservice architecture

My virtual bootcamp, distributed data patterns in a microservice architecture, is now open for enrollment!

It covers the key distributed data management patterns including Saga, API Composition, and CQRS.

It consists of video lectures, code labs, and a weekly ask-me-anything video conference repeated in multiple timezones.

The regular price is $395/person but use coupon WURMXAJV to sign up for $95 (valid until July 19th, 2024). There are deeper discounts for buying multiple seats.

Learn more

Learn how to create a service template and microservice chassis

Take a look at my Manning LiveProject that teaches you how to develop a service template and microservice chassis.

Signup for the newsletter

BUILD microservices

Ready to start using the microservice architecture?

Consulting services

Engage Chris to create a microservices adoption roadmap and help you define your microservice architecture,

The Eventuate platform

Use the platform to tackle distributed data management challenges in your microservices architecture.

Eventuate is Chris's latest startup. It makes it easy to use the Saga pattern to manage transactions and the CQRS pattern to implement queries.

Join the microservices google group