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A Clojure durable queue implementation on top of postgresql using postgresql's advisory locks to provide non-blocking take, such that concurrent workers do not block each other.


Leiningen dependency information:

[com.layerware/pgqueue "0.5.1"]

Recent Changes

  • 0.5.1 dependency updates
  • 0.5.0 is the same API as 0.4.1, but has dependency version bumps with potentially-breaking changes:
    • 0.6.x Ensure that your app is otherwise compatible with 0.6.x breaking changes. See the CHANGELOG.
    • nippy encoding updates require that you remove/empty your pgqueue queues before upgrading and re-queue these items after upgrading. If you do not need to save your current queues, you can simple delete the pgqueues table for the same effect.
  • 0.4.1 fix (harmless) warning about rollback w/ autocommit on
  • 0.4.0 pgqueue namespace moved to pgqueue.core per Clojure style guidelines
  • 0.3.4 Fixes reconnect bug
  • 0.3.3 Added :analyze-threshold option to pgqueue.core/queue


(require '[pgqueue.core :as pgq])

; Define a queue config
(def q-config {:db {:subprotocol "postgresql"
                    :subname "//"
                    :user "pgtest"
                    :password "pgtest"}})

;; Create a queue with a name and config
(def q (pgq/queue :my-queue q-config))

;; Put items on the queue
(pgq/put q :a) ;=> true
(pgq/put q :b) ;=> true

;; Put nil is a no-op
(pgq/put q nil) ;=> nil

;; How many?
(pgq/count q) ;=> 2

;; Take items off the queue
(pgq/take q) ;=> :a
(pgq/take q) ;=> :b
(pgq/take q) ;=> nil

;; Safely take item from queue using pgqueue/take-with.
;; If the work in the body crashes, the item is
;; unlocked for other workers to take it instead.

;; Successful case
(pgq/put q :success)
(pgq/take-with [item q]
  ; item is locked
  ; do work here
  (Thread/sleep 20))
  ; item is unlocked/deleted

;; Failure case
(pgq/put q :failme)
(pgq/take-with [item q]
  ; item is locked
  (throw (ex-info "FAIL!" {}))) ;=> ExceptionInfo FAIL!
;; it's OK, item is safe for the next taker:
(pgq/take q) ;=> :failme

;; pgqueue is also a priority queue
;; For put with arity of 2, a default priority of 100 is used.
;;   (see pgqueue/queue docs to set a default priority for a queue)
;; For put with arity of 3, the second argument is a priority integer
;; where a lower value = higher priority; negative integers are ok
(pgq/put q 500 "least")
(pgq/put q 200 "low")
(pgq/put q 100 "medium")
(pgq/put q 1   "high")
(pgq/put q -10 "urgent")

(pgq/take q) ;=> "urgent"
(pgq/take q) ;=> "high"
(pgq/take q) ;=> "medium"
(pgq/take q) ;=> "low"
(pgq/take q) ;=> "least"

;; Put a batch
(pgq/put-batch q [1 2 3]) ;=> true

;; Take a batch
(pgq/take-batch q 3) ;=> [1 2 3]


[API Docs] (

Why use pgqueue?

pgqueue is a middle-ground queueing solution between file-based durable queues and larger queue/messaging servers.

If you are already using postgresql for your database and don't need a heavy-load queueing solution, pgqueue might be the right fit.

Benefits of pgqueue include:

  • concurrent, non-blocking take across multiple processes and across multiple JVM threads
  • safely take an item for work (pgqueue/take-with) and ensure that item is unlocked in the event of a crash/exception
  • backing up your postgresql database backs up your queues, too!


Obviously, a queue implementation on a relational database is going to perform more slowly than a dedicated queuing server. That said, pgqueue's use of postgresql's advisory locks is likely faster than a strategy that locks a row for update.

See the perf project in this repository to run a performance test on your hardware.

Here are the results from a Linode 2048 (2GB RAM, SSD, 2 x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2680 v3 @ 2.50GHz) using the following JVM options in project.clj:

jvm-opts ^:replace ["-Xmx1g" "-Xms1g" "-server"]
PGQUEUE_CONFIG=./perf.config.edn lein run -m pgqueue.perf
pgqueue perf test

       put     100 integers...    483ms duration   0.207/ms (   207/s) avg rate
      take     100 integers...    495ms duration   0.202/ms (   202/s) avg rate
 put-batch     100 integers...     51ms duration   1.961/ms (  1961/s) avg rate
take-batch     100 integers...    192ms duration   0.521/ms (   521/s) avg rate

       put    1000 integers...   1265ms duration   0.791/ms (   791/s) avg rate
      take    1000 integers...   3171ms duration   0.315/ms (   315/s) avg rate
 put-batch    1000 integers...    428ms duration   2.336/ms (  2336/s) avg rate
take-batch    1000 integers...   1779ms duration   0.562/ms (   562/s) avg rate

       put   10000 integers...   9312ms duration   1.074/ms (  1074/s) avg rate
      take   10000 integers...  33683ms duration   0.297/ms (   297/s) avg rate
 put-batch   10000 integers...   2419ms duration   4.134/ms (  4134/s) avg rate
take-batch   10000 integers...  20792ms duration   0.481/ms (   481/s) avg rate


Copyright © 2018 Layerware, Inc.

Distributed under the [Apache License, Version 2.0] (

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