Review: "Instant RabbitMQ" by Andrew Keig

This is a review of the book “Instant RabbitMQ Messaging Application Development How-to” by Andrew Keig, in the “Instant” series (“Short, Fast, Focussed”) by Packt Pubiishing.

Disclaimer: I was given this book for review by Packt Publishing. My opinions are, however, my own.

Currently on offer at £5.09, usual price £5.99 (Jun 2013)

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The book starts with “What can RabbitMQ do for you?”, moves on to installation, and then runs through an example usage of an e-commerce shop, adding in more complexity through various examples.

All the code is written in Node.js; if you don’t already know this, you may find getting your head round the event-driven model used by Node.js to be a distraction from learning about RabbitMQ.

The installation section talks through setting up both RabbitMQ and the Node.js systems; also mentions the RabbitMQ CLI and web UI tools.

The examples run through the usages of all the various AMQP concepts of brokers, exchanges, queues and bindings. These concepts are the most complicated aspect of programming RabbitMQ in your system; I’d have appreciated more detail about when and why you would choose one kind of exchange over another; why you would use one kind of binding. But I appreciate that within the space constraints of the book, this may not have been possible.

The author finishes with an interesting last chapter “Go Forth and Multiply” of further topics for consideration, including a useful last section on architecture and performance choices.

In summary, I thought the book was good value for its price. I would read more by this author, and I would especially be interested in a larger or followup book containing more detail on the “why” part of using RabbitMQ, rather than the “how”; I think he would have a lot of useful material to share.


  • A concise run-through setting up and designing for a reliable, distributed system which used the RabbitMQ messaging system
  • As an existing RabbitMQ developer, I found it interesting and I learnt from it
  • It’s well written
  • Good value


  • The title is a bit of a mouthful, especially for a book in the “Instant” series (“Short, Fast, Focussed”)
  • The book description should mention its reliance on Node.js for all code examples
  • More detail needed on AMQP principles: exchanges, bindings, queues. When to choose which sort?