Doctrine Transaction & Validation Middleware

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We're now using both a command bus pattern, where we create commands and command handlers, and the event bus pattern: we have our first event and event handler. The difference between a command and event... is a little subtle. Each command should have exactly one handler: we're commanding that something perform a specific action: AddPonkaToImage. But an event is something that's usually dispatched after that action is taken, and the purpose is to allow anyone else to take any secondary action - to react to the action.

Two Buses... Why?

Obviously, Messenger itself is a generic enough tool that it can be used for both of these use cases. Open up config/packages/messenger.yaml. We decided to register one bus service that we're using as our command bus and a separate bus service that we're using as our event bus. But... there's really almost no difference between these two buses! A bus is nothing more than a collection of middleware... so the only differences are that the first has AuditMiddleware... which we could also add to the second... and we told the HandleMessageMiddleware on the event bus to allow "no handlers" for a message: if an event has zero handlers, it won't throw an exception.

But really... this is so minor that if you wanted to use just one bus for everything, that would work great.

Validation, Doctrine Transaction, etc Middleware

However, there are some people that make their command and event buses a bit more different. Google for "Symfony Messenger multiple buses" to find an article that talks about how to manage multiple buses. In this example, the docs show three different buses: the command bus, a query bus - which we'll talk about in a minute - and an event bus. But each bus has slightly different middleware.

These two middleware - validation and doctrine_transaction - come automatically with Symfony but aren't enabled by default. If you add the validation middleware, when you dispatch a message, that middleware will validate the message object itself through Symfony's validator. If validation fails, it will throw a ValidationFailedException that you can catch in your code to read off the errors.

This is cool... but we're not using this because I prefer to validate my data before sending it into the bus. It just makes more sense to me and looks a bit simpler than a, somewhat, "invisible" layer doing validation for us. But, it's a totally valid thing to use.

The doctrine_transaction middleware is similar. If you activate this middleware, it will wrap your handler inside a Doctrine transaction. If the handler throws an exception, it will rollback the transaction. And if no exception is thrown, it will commit it. This means that your handler won't need to call flush() on the EntityManager: the middleware does that for you.

This is cool... but I'm ok with creating and managing Doctrine transactions myself if I need them. So, this is another nice middleware that I like, but don't use.

Anyways, if you do use more middleware than we're using, then your different buses might start to... actually be more different... and using multiple bus services would make more sense. Like with everything, if the simpler approach - using one bus for everything - is working for you, great! Do that. If you need flexibility to have different middleware on different buses, awesome. Configure multiple buses.

Since multiple buses is the more complex use-case... and we're deep-diving into Messenger, let's keep our multiple bus setup and get our code organized even better around this concept.

Messages Sent to Wrong Bus

Find your terminal and run:

php bin/console debug:messenger

Ah... Now that we have multiple buses, it breaks down the information on a bus-by-bus basis. It says that the following messages can be dispatched to our command bus and... huh... these same messages are allowed to be dispatched to the event bus.

That's... ok... but it's not really want we want. We know that certain messages are commands and will be sent to the command bus and others are events. But when we set up our handlers, we never told Messenger that this handler should only be used by this bus. So, Messenger makes sure that all buses are aware of all handlers. That's not a huge deal, but it means that if we accidentally took this command and dispatched it to the event bus, it would work! And if we took this event and sent it to the command bus, it would work. If we're relying on each bus to have quite different middleware, we probably don't want to make that mistake.

So... we're going to do something totally optional... but nice, when you're using events and commands. Look inside the Message and MessageHandler directories: we have a mixture of events and commands. Sure, I put the event into an Event/ subdirectory, but we haven't done the same for commands.

Let's do that next: let's organize our message & message handlers better. Once we do this, we can use a service configuration trick to make sure that the command bus only knows about the command handlers and the event bus only knows about the event handlers.

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