Crate pallet_message_queue

source ·
Expand description

§Generalized Message Queue Pallet

Provides generalized message queuing and processing capabilities on a per-queue basis for arbitrary use-cases.

§Design Goals

  1. Minimal assumptions about Messages and MessageOrigins. Both should be MEL bounded blobs. This ensures the generality and reusability of the pallet.
  2. Well known and tightly limited pre-dispatch PoV weights, especially for message execution. This is paramount for the success of the pallet since message execution is done in on_initialize which must never under-estimate its PoV weight. It also needs a frugal PoV footprint since PoV is scarce and this is (possibly) done in every block. This must also hold in the presence of unpredictable message size distributions.
  3. Usable as XCMP, DMP and UMP message/dispatch queue - possibly through adapter types.


The pallet has means to enqueue, store and process messages. This is implemented by having queues which store enqueued messages and can be served to process said messages. A queue is identified by its origin in the BookStateFor. Each message has an origin which defines into which queue it will be stored. Messages are stored by being appended to the last Page of a book. Each book keeps track of its pages by indexing Pages. The ReadyRing contains all queues which hold at least one unprocessed message and are thereby ready to be serviced. The ServiceHead indicates which ready queue is the next to be serviced. The pallet implements frame_support::traits::EnqueueMessage, frame_support::traits::ServiceQueues and has frame_support::traits::ProcessMessage and OnQueueChanged hooks to communicate with the outside world.

NOTE: The storage items are not linked since they are not public.

Message Execution

Executing a message is offloaded to the Config::MessageProcessor which contains the actual logic of how to handle the message since they are blobs. Storage changes are not rolled back on error.

A failed message can be temporarily or permanently overweight. The pallet will perpetually try to execute a temporarily overweight message. A permanently overweight message is skipped and must be executed manually.


This pallet has two entry points for executing (possibly recursive) logic; Pallet::service_queues and Pallet::execute_overweight. Both entry points are guarded by the same mutex to error on reentrancy. The only functions that are explicitly allowed to be called by a message processor are: Pallet::enqueue_message and Pallet::enqueue_messages. All other functions are forbidden and error with Error::RecursiveDisallowed.


Queues are stored in a paged manner by splitting their messages into Pages. This results in a lot of complexity when implementing the pallet but is completely necessary to achieve the second #Design Goal. The problem comes from the fact a message can possibly be quite large, lets say 64KiB. This then results in a MEL of at least 64KiB which results in a PoV of at least 64KiB. Now we have the assumption that most messages are much shorter than their maximum allowed length. This would result in most messages having a pre-dispatch PoV size which is much larger than their post-dispatch PoV size, possibly by a factor of thousand. Disregarding this observation would cripple the processing power of the pallet since it cannot straighten out this discrepancy at runtime. Conceptually, the implementation is packing as many messages into a single bounded vec, as actually fit into the bounds. This reduces the wasted PoV.

Page Data Layout

A Page contains a heap which holds all its messages. The heap is built by concatenating (ItemHeader, Message) pairs. The ItemHeader contains the length of the message which is needed for retrieving it. This layout allows for constant access time of the next message and linear access time for any message in the page. The header must remain minimal to reduce its PoV impact.

Weight Metering

The pallet utilizes the sp_weights::WeightMeter to manually track its consumption to always stay within the required limit. This implies that the message processor hook can calculate the weight of a message without executing it. This restricts the possible use-cases but is necessary since the pallet runs in on_initialize which has a hard weight limit. The weight meter is used in a way that can_accrue and check_accrue are always used to check the remaining weight of an operation before committing to it. The process of exiting due to insufficient weight is termed “bailing”.

§Scenario: Message enqueuing

A message m is enqueued for origin o into queue Q[o] through frame_support::traits::EnqueueMessage::enqueue_message(m, o).

First the queue is either loaded if it exists or otherwise created with empty default values. The message is then inserted to the queue by appended it into its last Page or by creating a new Page just for m if it does not fit in there. The number of messages in the Book is incremented.

Q[o] is now ready which will eventually result in m being processed.

§Scenario: Message processing

The pallet runs each block in on_initialize or when being manually called through frame_support::traits::ServiceQueues::service_queues.

First it tries to “rotate” the ReadyRing by one through advancing the ServiceHead to the next ready queue. It then starts to service this queue by servicing as many pages of it as possible. Servicing a page means to execute as many message of it as possible. Each executed message is marked as processed if the Config::MessageProcessor return Ok. An event Event::Processed is emitted afterwards. It is possible that the weight limit of the pallet will never allow a specific message to be executed. In this case it remains as unprocessed and is skipped. This process stops if either there are no more messages in the queue or the remaining weight became insufficient to service this queue. If there is enough weight it tries to advance to the next ready queue and service it. This continues until there are no more queues on which it can make progress or not enough weight to check that.

§Scenario: Overweight execution

A permanently over-weight message which was skipped by the message processing will never be executed automatically through on_initialize nor by calling frame_support::traits::ServiceQueues::service_queues.

Manual intervention in the form of frame_support::traits::ServiceQueues::execute_overweight is necessary. Overweight messages emit an Event::OverweightEnqueued event which can be used to extract the arguments for manual execution. This only works on permanently overweight messages. There is no guarantee that this will work since the message could be part of a stale page and be reaped before execution commences.


  • Message: A blob of data into which the pallet has no introspection, defined as BoundedSlice<u8, MaxMessageLenOf<T>>. The message length is limited by MaxMessageLenOf which is calculated from Config::HeapSize and ItemHeader::max_encoded_len().
  • MessageOrigin: A generic origin of a message, defined as MessageOriginOf. The requirements for it are kept minimal to remain as generic as possible. The type is defined in frame_support::traits::ProcessMessage::Origin.
  • Page: An array of Messages, see Page. Can never be empty.
  • Book: A list of Pages, see BookState. Can be empty.
  • Queue: A Book together with an MessageOrigin which can be part of the ReadyRing. Can be empty.
  • ReadyRing: A double-linked list which contains all ready Queues. It chains together the queues via their ready_neighbours fields. A Queue is ready if it contains at least one Message which can be processed. Can be empty.
  • ServiceHead: A pointer into the ReadyRing to the next Queue to be serviced.
  • (un)processed: A message is marked as processed after it was executed by the pallet. A message which was either: not yet executed or could not be executed remains as unprocessed which is the default state for a message after being enqueued.
  • knitting/unknitting: The means of adding or removing a Queue from the ReadyRing.
  • MEL: The Max Encoded Length of a type, see codec::MaxEncodedLen.
  • Reentrance: To enter an execution context again before it has completed.


Liveness - Enqueueing

It is always possible to enqueue any message for any MessageOrigin.

Liveness - Processing

on_initialize always respects its finite weight-limit.

Progress - Enqueueing

An enqueued message immediately becomes unprocessed and thereby eligible for execution.

Progress - Processing

The pallet will execute at least one unprocessed message per block, if there is any. Ensuring this property needs careful consideration of the concrete weights, since it is possible that the weight limit of on_initialize never allows for the execution of even one message; trivially if the limit is set to zero. integrity_test can be used to ensure that this property holds.

Fairness - Enqueuing

Enqueueing a message for a specific MessageOrigin does not influence the ability to enqueue a message for the same of any other MessageOrigin; guaranteed by Liveness - Enqueueing.

Fairness - Processing

The average amount of weight available for message processing is the same for each queue if the number of queues is constant. Creating a new queue must therefore be, possibly economically, expensive. Currently this is archived by having one queue per para-chain/thread, which keeps the number of queues within O(n) and should be “good enough”.



  • Std setup helpers for testing and benchmarking.
  • The pallet module in each FRAME pallet hosts the most important items needed to construct this pallet.
  • Autogenerated weights for pallet_message_queue



Type Aliases§