A Sneak Peek at Four Reactive Frameworks for Kafka

In a talk at the GIDS Architecture Live 2020 series, Grace Jansen and Kate Stanley explore how Kafka and Reactive application architecture can be combined in applications to better handle our modern data needs. Watch a clip and read a transcript from the presentation.

Here are four of the sort of most commonly used Kafka clients for reactive frameworks. They include Reactor Kafka, MicroProfile Reactive Messaging with connectors to Kafka, Alpakka Kafka Connector and the Vert.x Kafka Client. So, all of them are based on different frameworks and so work in slightly different ways. So, we'll go through them just quickly now for you to take a look at.

So, Reactor Kafka is essentially a thin layer of reactive streams over the Kafka client. It helps to hide some of the complexity of Kafka, and it provides that built-in back pressure support. It was produced by some of the Spring developers, although it is an open source project. So, if you're already using a Spring architecture, this might be a great framework for you to try because it fits quite nicely in with the Spring architecture framework.

There are loads of open source frameworks that you can use when you're getting started, if you want to build a Kafka reactive application. Four common ones worth looking into: Reactor Kafka, MicroProfile Reactive Messaging, Alpakka Kafka Connector, Vert.x Kafka Client.

So then, we've got MicroProfile Reactive Messaging. This is part of the MicroProfile specification, which is an opensource specification built by multiple different vendors in the Java EE ecosystem, and the reactive messaging specifically is an API that provides asynchronous messaging support based on that reactive stream specification that we mentioned earlier.

The third option we had was Alpakka Kafka Connector. Now, if you guys have ever used some of the Lightbend open source stack, so Play, Akka, Lagom, this is based off the same actor-based system, so it fits really nicely into Akka streams and sort of the Akka framework.

Then the last option we talked about was Vert.x Kafka Connector. So, Vert.x is an Eclipse project. Again, open source. It's polyglot, so you can use it on Java, but you can also use it on Scala, Groovy and a bunch of other languages.

In the full video, watch Grace and Kate delve in to how we can architect our applications to be more reactive and resilient to fluctuating loads and better manage our thirst for data.

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