Using Payara Micro as a JMS Client

Since Payara 4.1.172

Payara Micro can use JCA connectors and MDBs to connect to external systems. For instance, as client for an Apache ActiveMQ server. ActiveMQ is an open source messaging server (also known as message broker) and supports the JMS 1.1 API. As a client Payara Micro supports both sending messages to ActiveMQ as well as receiving them.

Setting up Apache ActiveMQ

The following is a short overview of how to install and start ActiveMQ on most environments (Linux/Unix/macOS). See the ActiveMQ documentation for additional details.

Download apache-activemq-5.14.5-bin.tar from the ActiveMQ 5.14.5 release page and use a terminal to extract:

tar xvf apache-activemq-5.14.5-bin.tar

Next, change to the extracted directory and start ActiveMQ up in the foreground:

cd apache-activemq-5.14.5
bin/activemq console

Download the driver / connector

In order for Payara Micro to be able to connect to ActiveMQ a driver (connector) is needed, which comes in the form of a JCA (Java Connecter Architecture) rar (resource archive). Note that the version of the driver should match the version of the ActiveMQ installation as much as possible. Following the above example, the driver is activemq-rar-5.14.5.rar and can be downloaded from:

Installing the driver

A JCA rar is installed by deploying it to Payara Micro in the same way as an application archive (e.g. a .war) is deployed. The following shows an example:

java -jar payara-micro.jar --deploy activemq-rar-5.14.5.rar

The connector is subsequently available to all other applications deployed to Payara Micro. An application using a connector and the connector itself can be deployed simultaneously:

java -jar payara-micro.jar --deploy activemq-rar-5.14.5.rar --deploy myapp.war

Sending messages

Sending messages to ActiveMQ can be done via the JMS API. At the moment, ActiveMQ 5.x only supports the JMS 1.1 API, so even though Payara Micro supports JMS 2.0, this can not be used in this example. Attempting to use JMS 2.0 anyway would result in exceptions like shown below:

java.lang.AbstractMethodError: org.apache.activemq.ra.ActiveMQConnectionFactory.createContext(I)Ljavax/jms/JMSContext;
   at org.glassfish.jms.injection.AbstractJMSContextManager.createContext(
   at org.glassfish.jms.injection.AbstractJMSContextManager.getContext(

In order to start using the JMS API to send messages, two resources have to be defined via the JCA API; a connection factory and a destination.

The connection factory has to be given a name, which can be any name that is valid for JNDI. The java:app namespace is typically recommended to be used. The type of the connection factory to be used for JMS is "javax.jms.ConnectionFactory", and we have to specify the resource adapter name which is here "activemq-rar-5.14.5".

Finally the network address/port and username/password to reach the external ActiveMQ server have to be specified. For the default installation that we used above this is "" and "admin/admin" respectively.

The following gives an example:

@ConnectionFactoryDefinition (
    name = "java:app/activemq/factory",
    interfaceName = "javax.jms.ConnectionFactory",
    resourceAdapter = "activemq-rar-5.14.5",
    properties = { "ServerUrl=tcp://", "UserName=admin", "Password=admin" }

Just like the connection factory shown above, the destination has to be named. The destination also has to have the type javax.jms.Queue or java.jms.Topic and we’ll have to specify the same resource adapter name again.

The vendor specific implementation of our required type also has to be specified; for a queue implementation provided by ActiveMQ this is org.apache.activemq.command.ActiveMQQueue. Finally the name of the queue we’re sending to on the ActiveMQ server has to be given (if the queue doesn’t exist, ActiveMQ wil create it automatically, so we are not required to configure the broker).

@AdministeredObjectDefinition (
    name = "java:app/activemq/queue",
    interfaceName = "javax.jms.Queue",
    resourceAdapter = "activemq-rar-5.14.5",
    className = "org.apache.activemq.command.ActiveMQQueue",
    properties = "PhysicalName=MyQueue")

Note the difference between the client name of the queue (java:app/activemq/queue), which is used by Payara Micro, and the server name of the queue (MyQueue), which is used by ActiveMQ.

With the above shown definitions in place the following code shows an example of sending a message:

public class SendJMSMessage {

    private static final Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(SendJMSMessage.class.getName());

    @Resource(lookup = "java:app/activemq/factory")
    private ConnectionFactory factory;

    @Resource(lookup = "java:app/activemq/queue")
    private Queue queue;
    public void myTimer() {
        sendMessage(s -> createTextMessage(s, "Hello, world!"));

    public void sendMessage(Function<Session, Message> message) {
        try (Connection connection = factory.createConnection()) {
            Session session = connection.createSession(true, AUTO_ACKNOWLEDGE);
        } catch (JMSException ex) {
            logger.log(SEVERE, "Exception sending msg", ex);

    public TextMessage createTextMessage(Session session, String message) {
        try {
            return session.createTextMessage(message);
        } catch(JMSException e) {
            throw new IllegalStateException(e);

Receiving messages

Messages can be received from ActiveMQ by creating an MDB (Message Driven Bean) that implements the javax.jms.MessageListener interface and its activation config specifies as "resourceAdapter" the name of connector, which here is "activemq-rar-5.14.5".

The destination and destinationType properties are mandatory, and specify the name of the destination we are listening to, and the type of the destination, which is for JMS either javax.jms.Queue or javax.jms.Topic (MDBs are not just for JMS, but support other systems as well).

The following gives an example:

@MessageDriven(activationConfig = {
    @ActivationConfigProperty(propertyName = "destination", propertyValue = "MyQueue"),
    @ActivationConfigProperty(propertyName = "destinationType", propertyValue = "javax.jms.Queue"),
    @ActivationConfigProperty(propertyName = "resourceAdapter", propertyValue = "activemq-rar-5.14.5")
public class MyMessageListener implements MessageListener {

    public void onMessage(Message message) {
        // handle message

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