Getting on the Bus

Distributed Systems, MassTransit

The kinda, sorta message broker we’ve built at work over the last few years works just fine for what we are doing today. I’m actually rather proud of some of the things we’ve done with it. But the primitive pub/sub implementation I bolted on it isn’t going to do the trick going forward, as we want to have distinct services for different functional concerns. We also want to be able to use CQRS where is makes sense, but at the very least operate in an event driven manner. The current code base won’t allow that to work without a lot of change.

The world has changed since we started on the project. There are at least two solid ESB projects out there for .Net (a third depending upon what you think of the state of Ayende’s Rhino Service Bus, but I don’t think it would be responsible to depend upon a single maintainer project for something so business critical). NServiceBus is the gold standard, and rightly so – Udi Dahan is the go-to guy for all things distributed in the .Net space (and beyond). MassTransit is also a very viable project.

The problem with NServiceBus for me, at this time, is that I can’t risk having the load on the system exceed the free community version. We have entirely too many customers, and our products are sold as an on-premise solutions. We could build in the cost, no doubt, but at the moment that’s not attractive. Especially since MassTransit is proving to be just what we need. So, I’m going forward with heavily evaluating MassTransit and figuring out how to make it work for us.

One of the biggest problems with MassTransit is an absolute dearth of documentation. Some of the samples are even out of date. This seems like a good place for someone to help out, and I’ve wanted to help out on an OSS project for a long time, but couldn’t find my niche. It seems like trying to help with the documentation problem is a good use of my time, and hopefully will help me better understand how MassTransit works. So, we interrupt our previously scheduled exploration of Ruby and Rails to bring you this series on MassTransit.