The ClojureWerkz Blog

News and updates about ClojureWerkz projects

Introducing Meltdown

Can You Please Pass Me a Message?

Last week we introduced a new project we’ve been working on for a few months, EEP.

To make event processing concurrent and parallel in EEP, there needs to be a way to transfer events (messages) from threads that produce them to threads that consume them. In addition, it is desirable to also be able to filter events consumers are interested in.

There are multiple message passing libraries available on the JVM. Some of them are stable and very mature but have very small contributor base, others are extremely actively used but less convenient to consume from Clojure, some do not offer the features we wanted. So we decided to wait and see, and not make the choice yet.

Enter Reactor

This move turned out to be the right one: a couple of months after the first EEP prototype was put up on GitHub to ask for some feedback from our friends (hi, Darach!), folks at Pivotal introduced Reactor, a “foundational framework for asynchronous programming on the JVM”.

Reactor core is an event (message) passing library that has several features that we found very handy for stream processing:

  • Consumer may consume events selectively (events have routing keys)
  • Message passing implementation is pluggable
  • It’s very easy to run multiple reactors in the same JVM
  • It can be backed by LMAX Disruptor, which offers very high throughput and really low stable latency thanks to smart false sharing elimination techniques

After seeing that it only took 2 hours to write a first Meltdown version with some tests, we were convinced Reactor is a great choice for our needs.

Meltdown Goes to School

Since Reactor was a really young project by the time we started using it (we may have been the first people outside of Pivotal who have built something on top of Reactor at that point), it took a few iterations and serious breaking API changes in both libraries until we’ve been confident enough to port EEP to it.

In the end it took Alex a few hours to make the switch, which again demonstrates how well Reactor and Meltdown fit EEP.

The Future of Meltdown

Meltdown still does not cover all of Reactor’s functionality and Reactor is under active development, so Meltdown will stay alpha for some time. Since we’ve announced it here, we will do our best with writing some initial documentation guides for it.

In the meantime, feel free to give Meltdown a try. Check it out in the REPL, try modeling a problem that needs message passing with it. It likely will already take you a long way (except for the really poor documentation).

You can watch our progress on GitHub and follow the news on Twitter @clojurewerkz.

Meltdown is a ClojureWerkz Project

Meltdown is part of the group of libraries known as ClojureWerkz, together with

  • Langohr, a Clojure client for RabbitMQ that embraces the AMQP 0.9.1 model
  • Cassaforte, a Clojure Cassandra client built around CQL
  • Elastisch, a minimalistic Clojure client for ElasticSearch
  • EEP, a Clojure event processing library
  • Monger, a Clojure MongoDB client for a more civilized age
  • Neocons, a client for the Neo4J REST API
  • Quartzite, a powerful scheduling library

and several others. If you like EEP, you may also like our other projects.

Let us know what you think on Twitter or on the Clojure mailing list.

@michaelklishin on behalf of the ClojureWerkz Team