Message driven beans are the latest addition to the family of component bean types defined by the EJB specification. The original bean types include session beans, which contain business logic and maintain a state associated with client sessions, and entity beans, which map objects to persistent data. Message driven beans will provide asynchrony to EJB based applications by acting as JMS message consumers.
A message bean is associated with a JMS topic or queue and receives JMS messages sent by EJB clients or other beans. Unlike entity beans and session beans, message beans do not have home or remote interfaces. Instead, message driven beans are instantiated by the container as required. Like stateless session beans, message beans maintain no client-specific state, allowing the container to optimally manage a pool of message-bean instances. Clients send JMS messages to message beans in exactly the same manner as they would send messages to any other JMS destination. This similarity is a fundamental design goal of the JMS capabilities of the new specification.
To receive JMS messages, message driven beans implement the javax.jms.MessageListener interface, which defines a single “onMessage()” method. When a message arrives, the container ensures that a message bean corresponding to the message topic/queue exists (instantiating it if necessary), and calls its onMessage method passing the client’s message as the single argument. The message bean’s implementation of this method contains the business logic required to process the message. Note that session beans and entity beans are not allowed to function as message beans.