Archive for May, 2014

AMQP 1.0 becomes ISO 19464

May 1, 2014
A guest post by John O’Hara, Originator of AMQP

I’d like to thank Steve for inviting me to write a few words on his blog.

I remember using Steve’s ACE framework on a banking project back in the 90’s before I got to know him through his contributions to AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol).

I’ve taken to posting a rare blog entry because today AMQP becomes ISO 19464.

ISO standardization is a high bar requiring international consensus to achieve and as a result it confers an associated sense of stability and longevity.  I think this milestone will establish AMQP as the backbone of business computing; the unseen, essential networks that hold the world together.

What does this mean?

It means that for the first time, we have standardized connectivity that is portable between businesses and which combines security, event subscription and the enactment of transacted reliable messages. With AMQP / ISO 19464, we can be reliably enact ecommerce without depending on third-party exchanges or requiring proprietary software and this removes many of the technical barriers to dealing with new business partners.

This portability makes AMQP an important technology for switching workloads between Cloud providers, where it is already widely adopted.

AMQP also enhances the potential of other ISO standards including ISO 20022 (Unifi) the standard for financial messaging by combining the means to perform financial transactions with a secure reliable transport.

How might this affect me?

If you are in business or government computing, you should take a look at how AMQP / ISO 19464 can connect your internal systems and your business partners in an open, secure, agile manner.  Take a look too if you’re writing mobile apps, multiplayer games, computer animations, social networks, departmental applications or if you are building out the Internet of Things.  An AMQP implementation will get you to market faster.

How did this happen?

I’m the father of AMQP, the guy with a vision who invited those first bold firms to join the AMQP Working Group.  There, a dozen or so middleware experts and users from leading firms worked together to realize a shared vision to make messaging better. We transitioned to OASIS as part of a deliberate journey towards openness and today’s ISO recognition.  We wanted to get to ISO to ensure AMQP could be relied upon for the long term by the largest consumers of middleware; government, healthcare, finance, etc.  We wanted it to be dependable for decades, an industrial level of stability that is necessary when connecting between independent entities.

What next?

As we developed AMQP we gained profound insights in to the nature of messaging.  When you work long enough with it you discover that the patterns in messaging are axiomatic truths of nature to be discovered rather than invented.  Early iterations of AMQP embody useful innovations but also contain issues that made it difficult to use at global scale or to admit existing products.  More recent editions corrected these and also reduced the scope slightly to broaden its applicability. What we have today in AMQP / ISO 19464 delivers the essential core of messaging and opens the door to future innovations in intelligent networking. I’m excited about what people will do with it.

What is this in layman’s terms?

Take social networks as an example. These are based on the idea of creating queues of events (they call them timelines) and notifying subscribers (they call them friends) of interesting developments.  AMQP brings the basic machinery for doing that to every software developer.  But it also adds security and performance optimizations, and it adds the ability to perform transactions.  AMQP sets a high bar for the lowest common denominator of capability and then makes that pervasive.

AMQP has been a long time in the making since it was conceived in 2003.  Achieving consensus in something as complex as messaging and working it through the rigorous processes that lead to standardization takes time.

I want to express again my thanks and sincere appreciation for the commitment, the intellect, the passion and the good humor of all the people who have helped make AMQP.  These are people I am proud to count among my friends and mentors.


John O’Hara
Originator of AMQP


For more views and news on today’s ISO announcement concerning AMQP, please see blog posts from Ram Jeyaraman and Brian Benz of Microsoft, and David Ingham of Red Hat.