Tag Archives: Akka

Use case of Akka system’s event bus: Logging of unhandled messages

Use case of Akka system’s event bus: Logging of unhandled messages

Akka is a toolkit for building concurrent applications on the JVM using Actor model and relying on asynchronous message-passing.

An actor sends a message to another actor which handles the message by its receive method in case the message type is registered. Look at Akka API and Akka documentation for detailed information.

If the receiver has no matching message type the message cannot be handled i.e. the message is programmatically not expected. An unhandled message is published as an UnhandledMessage(msg, sender,  recipient) to the actor system’s event stream.
If the configuration parameter akka.actor.debug.unhandled = 'on' it is converted into a Debug message. Confer: UntypedActor API, in: Akka Documentation v2.3.7, URL: http://doc.akka.io/docs/akka/2.3.7/java/untyped-actors.html (visited: 2014/11/24).

That’s fine for the configuration akka.loglevel = "DEBUG". But on “INFO” level there is no warning.

To log unhandled messages and that means even to know about such unexpected occurrences of messages you can subscribe an actor to the system’s event stream for the channel akka.actor.UnhandledMessage. This is done e.g. by
system.eventStream.subscribe(system.actorOf(Logger.props()), classOf[UnhandledMessage])


object Logger {
  def props() = Props(new Logger)

  val name = "UnhandledMessageLogger"

class Logger extends Actor with ActorLogging {

  /** logs on warn level the message and the original recipient (sender is deadLetters) */
  override def receive = {
    case ua@UnhandledMessage(msg, _, recipient) =>
      log.warning(s"Unhandled: $msg to $recipient")


This logger actor bypasses the dependency of akka.loglevel = “DEBUG”. The information about unhandled messages is logged to the Akka build-in ActorLogging in the example ahead. But can be logged to the application specific logging component as well.

HolidayCheck’s Journey with Scala and Akka

I was asked by Heiko Seeberger to provide some more information about our work at HolidayCheck using Typesafe’s technologies Scala and Akka. As you may know, we came from a classical LAMP (MySQL, PHP) development stack and turned our company into one, which is using Java/Scala at backend and CoffeeScript/Node.js at frontend side. All this within 10 months (taking into account the 1st class of pages gone live end 2012). Not that bad…

So here is the Typesafe blogpost (or directly to the case study).