J2EE Programming/Java Message Service
An asynchronous messaging system allows two or more applications to exchange information in the form of messages. A message, in this case, is a self-contained package of business data and network routing headers. The business data contained in a message can be anything—depending on the business scenario—and usually contains information about some business transaction. In enterprise systems, messages inform an application of some event or occurrence in another system.
Asynchronous messages may be transmitted from one application to another on a network using Message-Oriented Middleware (MOM). MOM products ensure that messages are properly distributed among applications. In addition, MOM usually provides fault-tolerance, load-balancing, scalability, and transactional support for enterprises that need to reliably exchange large quantities of messages. MOM vendors use different message formats and network protocols for exchanging messages, but the basic semantics are the same. An API is used to create a message, give it a payload (application data), assign it routing information, and then send the message. The same API is used to receive messages produced by other applications.
In modern enterprise-messaging systems, applications exchange messages through virtual channels called destinations. When you send a message, it's addressed to a destination, not to a specific application. Any application that subscribes or registers an interest in that destination may receive that message. In this way, the applications that receive messages and those that send messages are decoupled. Senders and receivers are not bound to each other in any way and may send and receive messages as they see fit.
Java Message Service
Each MOM vendor implements its own networking protocols, routing, and administration facilities, but the basic semantics of the developer API provided by different MOMs are the same. It's this similarity in APIs that makes the Java Message Service (JMS) possible.
JMS is a vendor-agnostic Java API that can be used with many different MOM vendors. JMS is very similar to JDBC in that an application developer can reuse the same API to access many different systems. If a vendor provides a compliant service provider for JMS, the JMS API can be used to send messages to and receive messages from that vendor. For example, you can use the same JMS API to send messages with Progress's SonicMQ as with IBM's MQSeries.