4. Binders

Spring Cloud Stream provides a Binder abstraction for use in connecting to physical destinations at the external middleware. This section provides information about the main concepts behind the Binder SPI, its main components, and implementation-specific details.

4.1 Producers and Consumers

Figure 4.1. Producers and Consumers

producers consumers

A producer is any component that sends messages to a channel. The channel can be bound to an external message broker via a Binder implementation for that broker. When invoking the bindProducer() method, the first parameter is the name of the destination within the broker, the second parameter is the local channel instance to which the producer will send messages, and the third parameter contains properties (such as a partition key expression) to be used within the adapter that is created for that channel.

A consumer is any component that receives messages from a channel. As with a producer, the consumer’s channel can be bound to an external message broker. When invoking the bindConsumer() method, the first parameter is the destination name, and a second parameter provides the name of a logical group of consumers. Each group that is represented by consumer bindings for a given destination receives a copy of each message that a producer sends to that destination (i.e., publish-subscribe semantics). If there are multiple consumer instances bound using the same group name, then messages will be load-balanced across those consumer instances so that each message sent by a producer is consumed by only a single consumer instance within each group (i.e., queueing semantics).

4.2 Binder SPI

The Binder SPI consists of a number of interfaces, out-of-the box utility classes and discovery strategies that provide a pluggable mechanism for connecting to external middleware.

The key point of the SPI is the Binder interface which is a strategy for connecting inputs and outputs to external middleware.

public interface Binder<T, C extends ConsumerProperties, P extends ProducerProperties> {
	Binding<T> bindConsumer(String name, String group, T inboundBindTarget, C consumerProperties);

	Binding<T> bindProducer(String name, T outboundBindTarget, P producerProperties);

The interface is parameterized, offering a number of extension points:

  • input and output bind targets - as of version 1.0, only MessageChannel is supported, but this is intended to be used as an extension point in the future;
  • extended consumer and producer properties - allowing specific Binder implementations to add supplemental properties which can be supported in a type-safe manner.

A typical binder implementation consists of the following

  • a class that implements the Binder interface;
  • a Spring @Configuration class that creates a bean of the type above along with the middleware connection infrastructure;
  • a META-INF/spring.binders file found on the classpath containing one or more binder definitions, e.g.

4.3 Binder Detection

Spring Cloud Stream relies on implementations of the Binder SPI to perform the task of connecting channels to message brokers. Each Binder implementation typically connects to one type of messaging system.

4.3.1 Classpath Detection

By default, Spring Cloud Stream relies on Spring Boot’s auto-configuration to configure the binding process. If a single Binder implementation is found on the classpath, Spring Cloud Stream will use it automatically. For example, a Spring Cloud Stream project that aims to bind only to RabbitMQ can simply add the following dependency:


For the specific maven coordinates of other binder dependencies, please refer to the documentation of that binder implementation.

4.4 Multiple Binders on the Classpath

When multiple binders are present on the classpath, the application must indicate which binder is to be used for each channel binding. Each binder configuration contains a META-INF/spring.binders, which is a simple properties file:


Similar files exist for the other provided binder implementations (e.g., Kafka), and custom binder implementations are expected to provide them, as well. The key represents an identifying name for the binder implementation, whereas the value is a comma-separated list of configuration classes that each contain one and only one bean definition of type org.springframework.cloud.stream.binder.Binder.

Binder selection can either be performed globally, using the spring.cloud.stream.defaultBinder property (e.g., spring.cloud.stream.defaultBinder=rabbit) or individually, by configuring the binder on each channel binding. For instance, a processor application (that has channels with the names input and output for read/write respectively) which reads from Kafka and writes to RabbitMQ can specify the following configuration:


4.5 Connecting to Multiple Systems

By default, binders share the application’s Spring Boot auto-configuration, so that one instance of each binder found on the classpath will be created. If your application should connect to more than one broker of the same type, you can specify multiple binder configurations, each with different environment settings.


Turning on explicit binder configuration will disable the default binder configuration process altogether. If you do this, all binders in use must be included in the configuration. Frameworks that intend to use Spring Cloud Stream transparently may create binder configurations that can be referenced by name, but will not affect the default binder configuration. In order to do so, a binder configuration may have its defaultCandidate flag set to false, e.g. spring.cloud.stream.binders.<configurationName>.defaultCandidate=false. This denotes a configuration that will exist independently of the default binder configuration process.

For example, this is the typical configuration for a processor application which connects to two RabbitMQ broker instances:

          destination: foo
          binder: rabbit1
          destination: bar
          binder: rabbit2
          type: rabbit
                host: <host1>
          type: rabbit
                host: <host2>

4.6 Binder configuration properties

The following properties are available when creating custom binder configurations. They must be prefixed with spring.cloud.stream.binders.<configurationName>.


The binder type. It typically references one of the binders found on the classpath, in particular a key in a META-INF/spring.binders file.

By default, it has the same value as the configuration name.


Whether the configuration will inherit the environment of the application itself.

Default true.


Root for a set of properties that can be used to customize the environment of the binder. When this is configured, the context in which the binder is being created is not a child of the application context. This allows for complete separation between the binder components and the application components.

Default empty.


Whether the binder configuration is a candidate for being considered a default binder, or can be used only when explicitly referenced. This allows adding binder configurations without interfering with the default processing.

Default true.