Sending message from Azure Functions to NServiceBus receiver

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NServiceBus is one of the most widely used service bus in .NET World. It offers features like high performance, scalability, automatic retries, auditing and so-on. NService has an out-of-box support for MSMQ, RabbitMQ, Sql Server, Azure Service Bus, etc.

Our organization uses NServiceBus for messaging and workflow. We use Azure Service Bus in test/production and RabbitMQ on docker while doing the development on local. NServiceBus provides a nice wrapper over two different message brokers and hides their underlying differences and complexities.

Azure Functions and NServiceBus

Recently, I had an opportunity to work on Azure Functions. My task was to create simple a Time-triggered Azure function which queues a message to Azure Service Bus. The Service Bus message would then be consumed by one of the workers to process the message. The worker was configured to use NServiceBus to get all the goodness that comes along with it.

Unfortunately, on the Azure function (publisher/sender) side I could not find an official support for NServiceBus. I did stumble on this proof-of-concept which demonstrated the integration between NServiceBus and Azure Function. But, since there was no official NuGet package, I decided to use native Azure Service Bus binding for Azure Functions. Here is the sample code of my initial implementation:

The Issue

My worker built upon NServiceBus was not able to subscribe to messages published via Azure Function. I could see message in the message queue, but for some reason my CommandHandler on the worker could not handle the message.

Root Cause of the issue

To invoke the correct message handler NServiceBus needs to map the transport message to a message type. In this scenario, the message queued on Azure Service Bus by the Azure Function did not carry the mapping information. As a result, the CommandHandler on the worker could not process the message. From the documentation:

In order to invoke the correct message handlers for incoming messages, NServiceBus must be able to map the incoming transport message to a message type.


The Fix

It turned out to be quite straight forward and simple fix. I needed to supply the mapping information with my publish Command. NServiceBus documentation defines the mapping rules as follows:

1. If the message contains the NServiceBus.EnclosedMessageTypes header, the header value is used to find the message type. The header value must contain at least the FullName of the message type but can also contain the AssemblyQualifiedName. NServiceBus uses the AssemblyQualifiedName when emitting messages.

2. If the header is missing, serializers can optionally infer the message type based on the message payload.


To fix the issue, I chose to simply serialize the Command and add the typing information along with the message. Here is the modified sample code:

That’s it! With this small change, CommandHandler on my worker was able to process the message from Azure Service Bus.

Note that this fix is not limited to Azure Functions. It can be applied to all the scenarios where we need to publish the message from a native sender to a NServiceBus receiver.

Happy coding 🙂

Photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash