Getting Started

Sending messages

Component: NServiceBus
NuGet Package: NServiceBus (7.x)

NServiceBus supports sending different types of messages (see Messages, Events, and Commands) to any endpoint. Messages can be sent either directly from the endpoint or as part of handling an incoming message. When a message arrives at an endpoint, it goes through a pipeline of processing steps.

Outside a message handler

In some cases, messages that need to be sent may not be related to an incoming message. Some examples are:

  • Sending a command when an HTML form is submitted in an ASP.NET application.
  • Publishing an event when the user clicks a button on a GUI application (see Publish and Handle an Event).

To send a message directly from the endpoint:

var endpointInstance = await Endpoint.Start(endpointConfiguration);
var message = new MyMessage();
await endpointInstance.Send(message);

Unit testing the process of sending a message is supported by the NServiceBus.Testing library.

Inside the incoming message processing pipeline

Messages are often sent as part of handling an incoming message. When running in a transaction mode that supports it, these send operations take part in the same transaction as that of the message handler, thereby ensuring that the send operation rolls back if the handling of the message fails at any stage of the message processing pipeline.

To send a message from inside a message handler:

public class MyMessageHandler :
    public Task Handle(MyMessage message, IMessageHandlerContext context)
        var otherMessage = new OtherMessage();
        return context.Send(otherMessage);

Overriding the default routing

The SendOptions object can be used to override the default routing.

Using the destination address:

var options = new SendOptions();
await endpoint.Send(new MyMessage(), options);

Using the ID of the target instance:

var options = new SendOptions();
var message = new MyMessage();
await endpoint.Send(message, options);

Sending to self

Sending a message to the same endpoint, i.e. sending to self, can be done in two ways.

An endpoint can send a message to any of its own instances:

var options = new SendOptions();
await endpoint.Send(new MyMessage(), options);
// or
await endpoint.SendLocal(new MyMessage());

Or, it can request a message to be routed to itself, i.e. the same instance.

Messages are sent via the queueing infrastructure just like a regular Send. This means that it will use batched dispatch and - if configured - outbox.

var options = new SendOptions();
var message = new MyMessage();
await endpoint.Send(message, options);

Influencing the reply behavior

When a receiving endpoint replies to a message, the reply message will be routed to any instance of the sending endpoint by default. The sender of the message can also control how reply messages are received.

To send the reply message to the specific instance that sent the initial message:

var options = new SendOptions();
var message = new MyMessage();
await endpoint.Send(message, options);

To send the reply message to any instance of the endpoint:

var options = new SendOptions();
var message = new MyMessage();
await endpoint.Send(message, options);

The sender can also request the reply to be routed to a specific transport address

var options = new SendOptions();
var message = new MyMessage();
await endpoint.Send(message, options);

Dispatching a message immediately

While it's usually best to let NServiceBus handle all exceptions, there are some scenarios where messages might need to be sent regardless of whether the message handler succeeds or not, for example, to send a reply notifying that there was a problem with processing the message.


This can be done by using the immediate dispatch API:

var options = new SendOptions();
var message = new MyMessage();
await context.Send(message, options);

More-than-once side effects

Side effects can occur when failures happen after sending the message. The messages could be retried meaning duplicate messages are created if this code is executed more than once.

When messages are sent via immediate disaptch:

  1. Ensure that the same message identifier gets assigned to them when invoked more than once.
  2. Due to failures it could happen that messages are sent that contain state which is inconsistent because of failing operations like a storage modification that didn't occur.

Bypasses outbox and batching

By specifying immediate dispatch, outgoing messages will not be batched or enlisted in the current receive transaction, even if the transport supports transactions or batching. Similarly, when the outbox feature is enabled, messages sent using immediate dispatch won't go through the outbox.

Related Articles