Request-Reply Scope

The Request-Reply scope enables you to embed a pocket of asynchronous processing within a flow, so that you can receive a response from an asynchronous flow without hardcoding the destination of the response.
For example, you can use request-reply to convert a one-way VM or JMS connector flow to a request-response flow without having to change its configuration. The request-reply converts part of a synchronous process into an asynchronous one.


Request-Reply consists of two parts:

  • The request section.
    It wraps an outbound connector that submits an asynchronous request to another flow or an external resource.

  • The reply section.
    It wraps an inbound connector that receives an asynchronous response from another flow or an external resource

When the message reaches the processor inside the request section of the Request-Reply scope, Mule runtime engine (Mule) sends an asynchronous request to the outbound endpoint’s path, triggering the process of the remote resource.
After that processing is complete, Mule returns the response to the path defined in the processor’s inbound endpoint in the reply section of the scope.

request reply scope 1

Consider the following application:

<flow name="sampleFlow">

  <http:listener config-ref="HTTP_Listener_Configuration" path="/start"/>

  <request-reply doc:name="Request-Reply">
   <vm:outbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="request"/> (1)
   <vm:inbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="reply" /> (3)


<flow name="requestFlow">
  <vm:inbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="request"/> (2)
  <logger message="#[payload]" level="INFO"/>
1 After receiving an HTTP request, the <vm:outbound-endpoint> processor sends the message to the /request path.
2 The <vm:inbound-endpoint> processor with the /request path configured receives the message, triggering the requestFlow processing.
3 After requestFlow finishes processing, Mule automatically returns the message to the <vm:inbound-endpoint> processor in the reply section of the Request-Reply scope.

To achieve this behavior, Mule implicitly sets a MULE_REPLYTO message property to point to the processor in the reply section of the scope.
In this case, the <vm:inbound-endpoint> processor in the requestFlow source receives the message with the MULE_REPLYTO_REQUESTOR property set to "reply", so Mule returns the resulting message (or messages) to the requester.

Using VM Connectors in the Requested Flow

Consider a scenario in which you have a Request-Reply scope and the requested flow has a VM outbound endpoint at the end, pointing to a different flow.

In this case, the <vm:inbound-endpoint> processor inside the Request-Reply scope still receives the message or messages from the triggered flow.

To disable this behavior, set the MULE_REPLYTO_STOP variable to true:

<flow name="sampleFlow">
  <http:listener config-ref="HTTP_Listener_Configuration" path="/start"/>
  <request-reply doc:name="Request-Reply">
   <vm:outbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="slice"/>
   <vm:inbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="complete" />

<flow name="slicerFlow">
  <vm:inbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="slice" />
  <!-- Set Variable MULE_REPLYTO_STOP = true -->
  <set-variable variableName="MULE_REPLYTO_STOP" value="true" /> (1)
  <collection-splitter />
  <vm:outbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="enhance" />

<flow name="enhancerFlow">
  <vm:inbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="enhance" />
  <collection-aggregator failOnTimeout="true" />
  <vm:outbound-endpoint exchange-pattern="one-way" path="complete" />
1 Setting MULE_REPLYTO_STOP to true prevents Mule from configuring the MULE_REPLYTO_REQUESTOR property in the received message.


You can’t use transactions in VM and JMS connectors inside a Request-Reply scope. Transactions are not compatible with the way the Request-Reply scope works.

The Request-Reply scope does not send a request until a transaction is committed, and a transaction in turn is not committed until the entire flow executes, including the execution of the Request-Reply scope. This leads to a situation where both processes block each other.
Mule cannot execute the complete flow because it’s still waiting for the reply on the Request-reply scope, but this reply never arrives because the request is not sent until the transaction is committed.

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