Anything to MQTT

In this blog post I would like to demonstrate the how easy it is to setup a Wishbone server which allows you to send data from bash to a MQTT broker.

To install Wishbone you can follow the instructions found in the project documentation.

Our setup

Have a server up and running with following properties:

  • Listens on 3 different named pipes.
  • Each named pipe has a certain routing key associated with it.
  • Data submitted into the named pipe is routed to a MQTT broker using the routing key associated with the named pipe.

The following bootstrap file starts a server with those properties:

          module: wishbone.input.namedpipe
              path: /tmp/wishbone_red

          module: wishbone.input.namedpipe
              path: /tmp/wishbone_green

          module: wishbone.input.namedpipe
              path: /tmp/wishbone_blue

          module: wishbone.builtin.function.header
              key: mqtt
                  topic: color/red

          module: wishbone.builtin.function.header
              key: mqtt
                  topic: color/green

          module: wishbone.builtin.function.header
              key: mqtt
                  topic: color/blue

          module: wishbone.builtin.flow.funnel

          module: wishbone.output.mqtt
              host: rabbitmq


      - input_red.outbox        -> header_red.inbox
      - header_red.outbox       ->

      - input_green.outbox      -> header_green.inbox
      - header_green.outbox     -> funnel.two

      - input_blue.outbox       -> header_blue.inbox
      - header_blue.outbox      -> funnel.three

      - funnel.outbox           -> mqtt.inbox


Let's break down the different parts of this bootstrap file and start with the modules section:

The named pipes are created by initializing 3 instances of the wishbone.input.namedpipe module (line 4, 9, 14). Each instance is assigned a name: input_red, input_green and input_blue respectively (line 3, 8, 13). The only argument defined for these instances is the path of the named pipe (line 6, 11, 16)

For each event submitted to the named pipe, we have to add the routing key to the header of the event. This is required at a later stage when the event enters the mqtt module. 3 instances of the header module are initiated named header_red, header_green, header_blue respectively (line 18, 25, 32). Depending on through which header module instance an event travels the information is stored under a key called mqtt (line 21, 28, 35). Each of these values contain a one element dictionary with the topic name (line 23, 30, 37) using the format the mqtt module expects.

In Wishbone you cannot connect multiple queues to 1 queue. This is by design. Queues always have a "one to one" relationship. Since all data submitted to the 3 named pipes has to go to 1 MQTT, we could in theory have 3 dedicated mqtt module instances but that would be a waste. Therefor we initialize the funnel module. The funnel module allows multiple input queues and merges those input queues into its output queue, which allows us to only having to define 1 output module.

Finally we have the MQTT output module which is initialized using the name mqtt (line 42). The mqtt submits incoming events towards an MQTT server. The only argument we require to initialize the module is the hostname or address of the server (line 45). The mqtt output module expects for each incoming event some data in the header of the event, so it knows which routing key to use when submitting the event.

The routing table

The routing table (line 47) defines which queues are connected towards each other which basically defines the flow of events throughout the different modules. If we would graphically represent the defined routing table it would look like this:


Each named pipe module instance is connected to its dedicated header module instance. Each header module instance is connected to the funnel module instance. The names of the incoming queues of the funnel can be chosen freely (line 50, 53, 56). The moment a connection is made, the queue is automatically created.

The output of the funnel module instance is then connected to the mqtt module instance, which submits the incoming events to the outside world (line 58).

Running the setup

Save the above bootstrap to a file. The start the Wishbone setup in the foreground using the bootstrap file by executing:

$ wishbone debug --config anything_to_mqtt.yaml

From CLI we can now submit data into the MQTT server by writing to one of the named pipes:

$  echo "ho ho ho, santa is here" > /tmp/wishbone_red

Final thoughts

While this setup as such does not have much practical use, I hope to have demonstrated flexibility of the Wishbone framework and what kind of solutions can be built with it. More input (and other) modules are available on Github offering more combinations and possibilities which might suit your specific needs.