Message Disposition

Messenger disposition operations allow a receiver to accept or reject specific messages, or ranges of messages. Senders can then detect the disposition of their messages.

Message States

Messages have one of four different states:

Windows and Trackers

Messenger does not track the disposition of every message that it sends or receives. To set (or get) the disposition of a message, that message must be within your incoming (or outgoing) window.

( I will use the incoming direction as the example. The outgoing direction works similarly. )

When you call

    pn_messenger_set_incoming_window(messenger, window_size);

you have only declared the window size. The window is not yet created. The window will be created when you issue your first call to

    pn_messenger_get(messenger, msg);

And the window will be further populated only by further calls to pn_messenger_get().


To explicitly set or get message dispositions, your messenger must set a positive size for its incoming window:

    pn_messenger_set_incoming_window(messenger, N);

You can implicity accept messages by simply letting enough new messages arrive. As older messages pass beyond the threshold of your incoming window size, they will be automatically accepted. Thus, if you want to automatically accept all messages as they arrive, you can set your incoming window size to 0.

To exercise explicit control over particular messages or ranges of messages, the receiver can use trackers. The call


will return a tracker for the message most recently returned by a call to

    pn_messenger_get(messenger, message);

With a message that is being tracked, the messenger can accept (or reject) that individual message:

    pn_messenger_accept(messenger, tracker, 0);
    pn_messenger_reject(messenger, tracker, 0);

Or it can accept (or reject) the tracked message as well as all older messages back to the limit of the incoming window:

    pn_messenger_accept(messenger, tracker, PN_CUMULATIVE);
    pn_messenger_reject(messenger, tracker, PN_CUMULATIVE);

Once a message is accepted or rejected, its status can no longer be changed, even if you have a separate tracker associated with it.

###When to Accept###

Although you can accept messages implicitly by letting them fall off the edge of your incoming window, you shouldn't. Message disposition is an important form of communication to the sender. The best practice is to let the sender know your response, by explicit acceptance or rejection, as soon as you can. Implicitly accepting messages by allowing them to fall off the edge of the incoming window could delay your response to the sender for an unpredictable amount of time.

A nonzero window size places a limit on how much state your Messenger needs to track.

###Accepting by Accident####

If you allow a message to “fall off the edge” of your incoming window before you have explicitly accepted or rejected it, then it will be accepted automatically.

But since your incoming window is only filled by calls to

    pn_messenger_get(messenger, msg);

messages cannot be forced to fall over the edge by simply receiving more messages. Messages will not be forced over the edge of the incoming window unless you make too many calls to pn_messenger_get() without explicitly accepting or rejecting the messages.

Your application should accept or reject each message as soon as practical after getting and processing it.


A sender can learn how an individual message has been received if it has a positive outgoing window size:

    pn_messenger_set_outgoing_window(messenger, N);

and if a tracker has been associated with that message in question.
This call:


will return a tracker for the message most recently given to:

    pn_messenger_put(messenger, message);

To later find the status of the individual tracked message, you can call:

    pn_messenger_status(messenger, tracker);

The returned value will be one of

  • PN_STATUS_PENDING - If the receiver has not disposed the message yet.

If either the sender or the receiver simply declares the message (or range of messages) to be settled, with one of these calls:

    pn_messenger_settle(messenger, tracker, 0);
    pn_messenger_settle(messenger, tracker, PN_CUMULATIVE);

then the sender will see PN_STATUS_PENDING as the status of any settled messages.

Message Rejection

If a message is rejected by the receiver, it does not mean that the message was malformed. Malformed messages cannot be sent. Even messages with no content are valid messages. Rejection by a receiver should be understood as the receiver saying “I don't want this.” or possibly “I don't want this yet.” depending on your application. The sender could decide to try sending the same message again later, or to send the message to another receiver, or to discard it.

The AMQP 1.0 specification permits a distinction between rejecting the message, and releasing the message, but the Proton library does not expose the releasing disposition.