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CLI tool for managing RabbitMQ schema instances




Dependency Status devDependency Status Downloads Licence Known Vulnerabilities


This is a command line tool that manages RabbitMQ schema instances.


There are 3 main goals of the tool:

  1. creating prefixed instances of given RabbitMQ schema (yes, prefixed, so that you can create multiple instances of the same schema),
  2. removing schema instances that are no longer used,
  3. managing routing rules for existing schema instances.

To start with, you need a RabbitMQ schema definition file. It is a JSON file that follows the format described below. You can use this tool to create an instance of this schema, all names there will be prefixed with specified prefix.

Once new schema instance is added, you can specify routing rules for your main entry exchange. We assume that at the beginning (or near the beginning) of your processing pipeline, there is an exchange that routes the messages to existing schema instances (e.g. according to stable, next, latest message routing keys). That is useful for (beta-) testing and for draining messages from existing schema instances when switching to newer processing pipelines with zero down-time.

When you are done with existing processing pipeline (i.e. RabbitMQ schema instance), and there are no managed routing rules defined for it, you can safely remove it from Rabbit.


$ npm i bunny-migrate

Installing this module adds a runnable file into your node_modules/.bin directory. If installed globally (with the -g option), you can run bunny-migrate, otherwise you can run ./node_modules/.bin/bunny-migrate.


The tool supports the following commands; for detailed explanation see the sections below:

  • init: inits the structures to keep run-info in RabbitMQ,
  • list: lists managed schema instances and rules,
  • add: adds new schema instance,
  • remove: removes existing schema instance,
  • add-rule: adds new managed rule,
  • remove-rule: removes existing managed rule,
  • update-rule: removes existing managed rule and adds a new one in turn,
  • version: prints version and terminates,
  • help: prints short help and terminates.


Parameter values are taken either from configuration file (either default one, which is bunny-migrate.cfg file looked up in current working directory, or file explicitly provided with --config option from command line), or they need to be provided on command line. If a parameter is provided in both the config file and on the command line, the one from command line is used. If any mandatory value (needed for given command) is missing, the tool terminates. Mandatory and [optional] parameters for each command are listed in respective sections below.

Information about added schema instances and associated routing rules are stored in RabbitMQ instance itself. There is a special exchange / queue that holds run-time information about the system.

Format of configuration file

  // RabbitMQ instance to connect to
  "uri": "amqp://user:password@localhost:5672/vhost",

  // name of exchange / queue holding the run-time information
  "bunny-x": "bunny-migrate",

  // prefix of schema to be added / removed, or for which a managed rule is added / removed
  "prefix": "12345",

  // path to schema file
  "schema": "./schema.json",

  // whether or not to update managed rule when adding a new schema instance
  "update-rule": true,

  // name of the schema "entry-point" exchange when adding a managed rule
  "destination": "channel-router",

  // name of the exchange that serves as the source exchange of a managed rule
  "source": "prefix-router",

  // routing key of a managed rule
  "key": "latest",

  // optional arguments object when creating a managed rule
  "args": { }

Note: the comments in the above example must be stripped, they make the JSON invalid.

Even though you can specify all parameters in the configuration file like shown above, it makes better sense to store there only the ones commonly used (uri, bunny-x, and perhaps source), and provide the remaining parameters on the command line when invoking the tool.

Command line parameters

All of the above configuration file parameters can be provided on command line as well. The names are the same, just prefixed with double dashes. The name of the parameter on command line is then followed either with an equal sign or a space and then with the value of the parameter (in case a string value is expected). For boolean parameters: if you specify the parameter name, it is considered to have true value, if it is missing, it is considered to have false value.

Example (string value): you can pass uri string on command line either as --uri="..." or as --uri "...".

Example (boolean value): the equivalent of configuration setting "debug": true on command line is --debug.

The only exception to the above rules is args parameter, since it is of object type in config file. To pass this value from command line, you need to provide stringified equivalent of that object value. I.e. to pass equivalent of

  "args": {
    "test": true

from configuration file, you need to provide on the command line either --args='{"test":true}' or --args '{"test":true}'.

Output and exit codes

There are 4 levels of output, all printed to standard output by default:

  • debug
  • info
  • warning
  • error

Info level is the default one, so without changing the output level, you will see info, warning and error output messages.

To see the debug messages as well, you need to pass --debug or -d command line parameter (or config file equivalent).

On the other hand, when passing --quiet or -q parameter, all output messages but errors are suppressed.

In case both --quiet and --debug parameters are passed, --debug takes precedence.

The tool returns zero exit code upon success, non-zero exit code on errors. The tools terminates its execution when running into the first unexpected problem. To keep the RabbitMQ state as healthy and consistent, we check as much as possible in advance to minimize the risk of something going wrong (e.g. the tool verifies that none of the exchanges and queues exists before it tries creating them, or that all of the exchanges and queues do exist before removing them).

But sometimes, you know, life is tough and you have some leftovers in RabbitMQ. For this case we have introduced the --force or -f command line option (or its config file equivalent), that skips all the tests and the tool does not terminate when running into unexpected issues. Warning: use with caution! There are still some cases (e.g. RabbitMQ connection error) in which even the --force parameter will not help you.

Run-time initialization

When you have your RabbitMQ installed and want to start using this tool, you need to create the exchange / queue that manages run-time information for this tool inside the RabbitMQ instance.

$ bunny-migrate init


  • uri
  • bunny-x

The above command will connect to your RabbitMQ instance as specified using the uri parameter, will create new bunny-x exchange and queue, and will store run-time information for future usage there.

bunny-x exchange and queue must not exist prior to running this command (in case either of them does, the tool terminates). Also, you should never manipulate message in bunny-x queue by hand or other tools than bunny-migrate.

Information about running system

$ bunny-migrate list


  • uri
  • bunny-x

This will give you information about all schema instances added, and all routing rules managed by this tool. Note: this command will NOT give you information about any other exchanges, queues, ... in your RabbitMQ instance, you need to use other tools to get that.

Schema definition file format

Schema definition file is a JSON file. The schema JSON has 4 root keys:

  • [exchanges]: array of exchanges to create,
  • [queues]: array of queues to create,
  • [queueBindings]: array of queue-to-exchange bindings to define,
  • [exchangeBindings]: array of exchange-to-exchange bindings to define,
  • [messages]: array of messages to push into newly created exchanges and/or queues.


Each exchange in the exchanges array of the schema JSON is described with an object with following keys:

  • name: the name of exchange to create,
  • type: the type of exchange to create (direct, fanout, topic, or headers),
  • [options]: object passed to assertExchange() if provided (see docs).

Each exchange name must be unique (can appear in the list of exchanges just once).


Each queue in the queues array of the schema JSON is described with an object with the following keys:

  • name: the name of queue to create,
  • [options]: object passed to assertQueue() if provided (see docs).

Each queue name must be unique (can appear in the list of queues just once).

Queue-to-exchange bindings

Each queue-to-exchange binding from queueBindings array of the schema JSON asserts a routing path from an exchange to a queue. The binding is described with an object with the following keys:

  • queue: the name of queue to which to route the messages,
  • exchange: the name of exchange from which to route the messages,
  • pattern: the routing pattern,
  • [args]: an object containing extra arguments that may be required for the particular exchange type (see docs).

You are allowed to bind only queues to exchanges that are defined as part of the same schema file.

Exchange-to-exchange bindings

Each exchange-to-exchange binding from exchangeBindings array of the schema JSON asserts a routing path from one exchange to another one based on provided pattern. The binding is described with an object with the following keys:

  • destination: the name of exchange where to route messages to,
  • source: the name of exchange where to route messages from,
  • pattern: the routing pattern,
  • [args]: an object containing extra arguments that may be required for the particular exchange type.

You are allowed to bind only exchanges that are defined as part of the same schema file.


Each message from messages array of the schema JSON describes a message (or multiple of messages) that will be pushed to newly created exchange or queue. The message is described with an object with the following keys:

  • exchange or queue: name of the exchange or the queue to push the message to (only one of them must be used),
  • key: in case the message goes to an exchange, routing key must be specified,
  • content: string or object that will be pushed as content of the message; if object is provided, it is converted to string,
  • [count]: how many copies of the message to push to the exchange / the queue (default value: 1),
  • [options]: additional options passed to the publish() or sendToQueue() methods (see the docs for more details).

You are allowed to push messages only to exchanges and/or queues that are defined as part of the same schema file.

Creating new schema instance

$ bunny-migrate add


  • uri
  • bunny-x
  • schema
  • prefix
  • [update-rule]

This will add new RabbitMQ schema instance, as described in schema JSON file.

All exchanges and queues will be prefixed with prefix-string and a dot (.). For example: if there is a queue tasks described in the schema file, and the provided prefix is prefix, then the name of the resulting queue created in RabbitMQ will be prefix.tasks. If the prefix is empty string, the dot is NOT prepended.

Before any exchanges and queues are created, the tool checks (from run-time information stored in Rabbit <bunny-x> queue) if provided prefix is not in use yet.

If the prefix can be used, an array of prefixed exchange and queue names is compiled and in turn the tool verifies that none of the exchanges or queues with given names already exist in RabbitMQ.

Then the tool creates all the entities in the following order:

  1. exchanges (as per exchanges schema array),
  2. queues (as per queues schema array),
  3. queue-to-exchange bindings (as per queueBindings schema array), and
  4. exchange-to-exchange bindings (as per exchangeBindings schema array).

Whenever options or args object is to be passed, it is traversed (recursively) and all string values that match name of exchange or queue (not prefixed) are replaced with string values of prefixed equivalent.

Once all the entities are created and bound properly, the tool pushes messages to exchanges and/or to queues according to the messages schema array. In this case the optional options object is NOT traversed and no prefixing of exchange / queue names takes place, as none of the keys of the options object should reference an exchange or a queue.

After that the run-time information in <bunny-x> queue is updated with information about this schema instance.

If update-rule is set to true, the mandatory and optional parameters of the command are extended with the ones for update-rule command (that is effectively with parameters for add-rule command). If this parameter is provided, the managed rule for provided routing key (e.g. with value latest) is updated to point to the just-added schema instance. For more details see the update-rule command below.

Removing existing schema instance

$ bunny-migrate remove


  • uri
  • bunny-x
  • prefix

This will remove existing RabbitMQ schema (i.e. queues and exchanges) for specified prefix.

Before anything gets removed from RabbitMQ, the tool first checks if there is a corresponding record for given prefix stored in its run-time information, and if this prefix is NOT referenced from any of the managed rules (see below).

If all checks pass, the queues are removed first, then the exchanges. All associated bindings are removed along with the entities.

Adding a managed rule

$ bunny-migrate add-rule


  • uri
  • bunny-x
  • prefix
  • destination
  • source
  • key
  • [args]

A managed rule is an exchange-to-exchange binding, specifying routing rule between existing exchange source (that might or might not be created as part of managed schema) and exchange destination (that must be part of a managed schema). The name of destination exchange is provided unprefixed.

Parameter key is used to for creating the routing pattern between the exchanges. The value of key is taken and appended with a dot (.) and a hash-sign (#) to form the routing pattern. E.g. from key value of latest, the routing pattern latest.# is created. The original value of key must not contain dot (.), space ( ), asterisk (*) and hash (#) characters.

First of all, the tool checks that:

  • the routing key is not used in any of the existing managed rules,
  • the destination exchange was created as part of prefix schema instance,
  • the prefixed destination exchange is still present in RabbitMQ,
  • the source exchange exists in RabbitMQ.

If all of above is met, the tool creates the expected binding and remembers it in its run-time information.


  • Multiple routing keys can be used to bind to the same "entry-point" exchange with the same prefix. After you add a new schema instance, you might create single rule for latest routing key, but after testing you may consider it stable and you can route the other traffic there under different routing key (e.g. called stable). Then you can recycle the routing key latest to a newer version of the schema (with another prefix) in the future and use it again for initial testing.
  • You might create the initial part of your RabbitMQ schema using this tool as well. Use appropriate corresponding prefix, e.g. main or master for it (or you can even use empty string). When referencing the source exchange, you need to include that prefix into the name (as it should be different prefix from what you are using to add the managed rule). So say you created exchange router as part of schema instance main. So here, as destination parameter, you need to pass name main.router.

Removing existing managed rule

$ bunny-migrate remove-rule


  • uri
  • bunny-x
  • key

This command removes the exchange-to-exchange binding created previously with add-rule command for given routing key. It verifies that both (remembered) exchanges (source and prefixed destination) still exist, and if so, it removes the binding for given routing key. It removes only this one binding, other bindings (if there are any) are not affected.

Updating existing managed rule

$ bunny-migrate update-rule

Parameters: see add-rule command.

This command (for given existing routing key) first removes existing managed rule (if there is one) and adds another in turn based on provided parameters.

The result is equal to the sequence of remove-rule and add-rule commands for the same routing key. The only difference is that in case there is no existing rule for given routing key before envoking this command, the update-rule command does not fail, but creates the new rule. In such case the update-rule command is equivalent to add-rule command only.


Let's say you have a web application that manages (big) data for its users, and the user can request some (bulk) data updates in web interface. Let's say that the bulk update operation can take minutes or hours (e.g. there is some 3rd party service involved, perhaps with some API rate limiter), so you decided to have dedicated workers processing these updates. Each data bulk update can consist of hundreds or thousands of small operations, and you don't want to track them in workers' memory (as if something bad happen to them, the progress is lost completely), nor in your main DB (as you prefer subscribe / notify approach to constant DB polling). So you have RabbitMQ in place to store the operation progress there.

You have the DB with table with all information about the users, and all their data as well. Each user has a flag in the DB table indicating if they are regular user, beta-test user, or even alpha-test user. The request for data bulk update is pushed as a message from web-server to RabbitMQ exchange (let's call it requests). The message describes what user requested what data bulk update, and workers (subscribed to RabbitMQ queue requests, where the exchange passes the messages to) will take it from there. The end result is that the user's request for data bulk edit is processed and the data is updated accordingly in the DB (and pushed to 3rd party services as well).

Now let's assume you have RabbitMQ installed on your production machine machine, user user with password password created, with access to the RabbitMQ vhost vhost. (Also, you have bunny-migrate tool installed. ;-))

First of all, since we'll be using only the above described RabbitMQ installation in our example, let's create a config file with the following content:

  "uri": "amqp://user:password@machine:5672/vhost",
  "bunny-x": "bunny-admin"

The uri parameter is the RabbitMQ connection string, the second parameter is the name of exchange / queue to store the run-time information of the bunny-migrate tool.

Init run-time

$ bunny-migrate init

This created bunny-admin exchange and queue where run-time information about the added schema instances and managed rules will be stored.

Initial schema

At the beginning, we will need to create the exchange and queue for the messages pushed by web-server(s), we called them requests in the example above. Also, we want to have our entry point to the processing world, this will be another exchange that we'll call e.g. main.

There will be a worker process subscribed to requests queue that will take the message, check (in DB) for what type of user the message is, and push the same message to main exchange with routing key corresponding to the user type (let's say regular, beta, or alpha).

The initial schema file (stored in file schema-initial.json) will be something like this:

  "exchanges": [
    { "name": "requests", "type": "fanout" },
    { "name": "main", "type": "topic" }
  "queues": [
    { "name": "requests" }
  "queueBindings": [
    { "queue": "requests", "exchange": "requests", "pattern": "" }

To add the above queue and exchanges, run

$ bunny-migrate add --schema schema-initial.json --prefix ""

Data-processing schema

At this point, there is no queue bound to the main exchange. We said there would be a process pushing messages to this exchange with routing keys regular, beta, or alpha, based on the user types.

So let's say we want to have bulk-changes exchange bound to the main exchange. Then there would be a worker process reading messages from corresponding bulk-changes queue and figuring out what individual items are affected, pushing one message per item to items exchange / queue.

From there we'll for example need to push modified items to 3rd party API, but it has a rate limiter on server side, so we will get messages from the items queue and decide if we can push them to api exchange / queue directly, or if they need to be delayed (using dead-letter-queue). (Btw. we have dripping-bucket library for the API rate limiting with RabbitMQ, too!)

The worker getting messages from api queue performs the 3rd party communication and updates the DB based on the response it gets from 3rd party service. Also, it returns API token back to dripping-bucket rate limiter by pushing a message to responses exchange / queue (rate-limiter is subscribed to items queue as well as to responses queue).

Let's say that is your processing pipeline, and you constantly work on improvements and new versions and want to deploy new versions to production with zero downtime and to move slowly users (first alpha, then beta, and finally regular users) to newer versions.

The above example of schema can be coded as follows (and stored in schema.json file):

  "exchanges": [
    { "name": "bulk-changes", "type": "topic" },
    { "name": "items", "type": "topic" },
    { "name": "api", "type": "topic" },
    { "name": "api-wait", "type": "topic" },
    { "name": "responses", "type": "topic" }
  "queues": [
    { "name": "bulk-changes" },
    { "name": "items" },
    { "name": "api" },
    { "name": "api-wait", "options": { "arguments": { "x-dead-letter-exchange": "items" } } },
    { "name": "responses" }
  "queueBindings": [
    { "queue": "bulk-changes", "exchange": "bulk-changes", "pattern": "#" },
    { "queue": "items", "exchange": "items", "pattern": "#" },
    { "queue": "api", "exchange": "api", "pattern": "#" },
    { "queue": "api-wait", "exchange": "api-wait", "pattern": "#" },
    { "queue": "responses", "exchange": "responses", "pattern": "#" }
  "messages": [
    { "exchange": "bulk-changes", "key": "routing-key", "content": { "type": "via exchange" } },
    { "queue": "bulk-changes", "content": { "type": "direct push" }, "count": 7 }

Now you have a release with build number 1234 with all the message handlers ready. The handlers know the name of the main entry exchange (i.e. main), and know the schema above they need to work with. Also, they know (e.g. through their config file) that the build number is 1234 and that all exchanges and queues that are part of data-processing pipeline will be prefixed with this build number in RabbitMQ.

Now you add your data-processing RabbitMQ pipeline, prefixed with the build number like this:

$ bunny-migrate add --schema schema.json --prefix 1234

You can verify what you have just added to RabbitMQ with

$ bunny-migrate list

The messages section of the above schema illustrates how to populate queues with messages (with token messages, for testing, ...). In our example we push one message to bulk-changes exchange with routing key routing-key and with given content (payload). Taking into account the first binding defined in the queueBindings array (esp. routing pattern #), this message ends up in the bulk-changes queue.

The second record in messages array demonstrates direct message push to specified queue (to bulk-changes queue again). This time we added count option set to 7, so in the end you end up with 8 messages in total in that queue.

Managed rules

As you can see from the list command output above, the rules section is now still empty. I.e. there is no routing defined from your main exchange into the starting exchange of your data-processing pipeline.

Since we installed just one instance of the schema for now, let's define rules that will route all regular, beta, and alpha users to this schema instance:

$ bunny-migrate add-rule --prefix 1234 --source main --destination bulk-changes --key regular

We will be using source exchange main and destination exchange bulk-changes in the future as well, so no need to specify that each time on the command line, let's extend our bunny-migrate.cfg file with these items, so the file now becomes:

  "uri": "amqp://user:password@machine:5672/vhost",
  "bunny-x": "bunny-admin",
  "source": "main",
  "destination": "bulk-changes"

Adding routing rules for beta and alpha users is then easier:

$ bunny-migrate add-rule --prefix 1234 --key beta
$ bunny-migrate add-rule --prefix 1234 --key alpha

Now you can start all your workers and web-server(s) and everything will be routed / processed as expected, all user traffic will be routed through the schema with prefix 1234 and processed by corresponding message handlers.

Deploying new releases with zero downtime

Later on you have a new release, 2345, with updated message handlers and perhaps even the RabbitMQ schema (but still the entry point to the data-processing part is the bulk-changes exchange).

You keep the existing infrastructure running as is (that is release 1234 and its workers / message handlers), as it can take hours for all the messages there to be processed / drained.

So in parallel to release 1234 we can add RabbitMQ schema instance for release 2345:

$ bunny-migrate add --schema schema.json --prefix 2345

Assuming you have also new worker(s) / message handlers deployed in parallel, you can start them now. Again, there is no traffic routed to new pipeline 2345, since all of it is still routed to previous pipeline 1234.

You want to test with your alpha users first that the new pipeline is working fine, so let's route only alpha users to the new pipeline:

$ bunny-migrate update-rule --prefix 2345 --key alpha

Later on you might route beta and regular users to new pipeline, too:

$ bunny-migrate update-rule --prefix 2345 --key beta
$ bunny-migrate update-rule --prefix 2345 --key regular

Then eventually (with some delay) all the messages in pipeline 1234 are processed / drained, so you don't need the workers / message handlers associated to it (so can turn them off and possibly release the boxes), and also you can remove the corresponding RabbitMQ schema instance:

$ bunny-migrate remove --prefix 1234

Building from code

$ git clone [email protected]:salsita/bunny-migrate.git
$ cd bunny-migrate
$ npm i
$ npm run build

package.json npm scripts

$ npm run build

Generate version file, lint the ES6 source code, transpile the ES6 source code into dist directory, and verify the (transpiled) tests pass on the (transpiled) code.

$ npm run babel

Transpile (using babel with .babelrc configuration file) the ES6 source code file into dist directory, that is referenced from binary bin/bunny-migrate.

$ npm run gen-ver

Generate version.js file exporting the current name and version of the tool, as taken from package.json itself.

$ npm run lint

Lint the (ES6) source code, using .eslintrc.json configuration file.


MIT License

Copyright (c) 2017 -- 2019 Salsita Software

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.