Dead Letter Management With Azure Service Bus

Isn’t the whole point of durable, reliable messaging that we can re-queue a message for processing?

The Background

I recently got involved in a project using Azure Service Bus. The premise was simple, run service bus queue messages through a WebJob durably and reliably. For this project I ended up using the Topics feature for a publish/subscribe model. I got the project up and running fairly quickly thanks to the WebJobs SDK. By default the message will be attempted 10 times and then automatically sent to the DeadLetter queue. So to test this, I throw an exception during message processing and sure enough it goes as expected. I now have a message in the DeadLetter queue. In the Azure Management Portal I can see the message exists where it’s supposed to. As of the writing of this article the Azure Management Portal only supports changing the properties of Topics and not managing the messages in them.

Supplemental Software

What I need is a piece of software that will let me manage the messages in the queue. I could write it myself, but this seems like a task there would be a tool for.

My first round of searches dug up Service Bus Explorer. It’s a free Service Bus management tool. It looks like a great piece of well thought out management software, but I was unable to get the DeadLetter Repair and Resubmit Message to work properly for me.

Update: After a bit of digging about BrokeredMessage serialization I was able to find this article on StackOverflow explaining how to dictate how Azure Service Bus handles my message content. After implementing that Service Bus Explorer is working like a charm.

My next round of digging brought me to Azure Management Studio. This is a paid piece of management software that helps manage more than just your Service Bus. This tool was able to properly copy and re-submit the queue message back to it’s Topic of origin. Success!

Side Note

If Domain Driven Design and Message Queues are highly important to your system, you may want to check out NServiceBus. I just needed some bolt-on queues for middleware which is why I decided to just tackle queueing on my own.

Happy coding!