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Using Queues

The Deno runtime includes a queueing API that supports offloading larger workloads for async processing, with guaranteed at-least-once delivery of queued messages. Queues can be used to offload tasks in a web application, or to schedule units of work for a time in the future.

The primary APIs you'll use with queues are in the Deno.Kv namespace as enqueue and listenQueue.

Enqueue a message Jump to heading

To enqueue a message for processing, use the enqueue method on an instance of Deno.Kv. In the example below, we show what it might look like to enqueue a notification for delivery.

// Describe the shape of your message object (optional)
interface Notification {
  forUser: string;
  body: string;

// Get a reference to a KV instance
const kv = await Deno.openKv();

// Create a notification object
const message: Notification = {
  forUser: "alovelace",
  body: "You've got mail!",

// Enqueue the message for immediate delivery
await kv.enqueue(message);

You can enqueue a message for later delivery by specifying a delay option in milliseconds.

// Enqueue the message for delivery in 3 days
const delay = 1000 * 60 * 60 * 24 * 3;
await kv.enqueue(message, { delay });

You can also specify a key in Deno KV where your message value will be stored if your message isn't delivered for any reason.

// Configure a key where a failed message would be sent
const backupKey = ["failed_notifications", "alovelace", Date.now()];
await kv.enqueue(message, { keysIfUndelivered: [backupKey] });

// ... disaster strikes ...

// Get the unsent message
const r = await kv.get<Notification>(backupKey);
// This is the message that didn't get sent:
console.log("Found failed notification for:", r.value?.forUser);

Listening for messages Jump to heading

You can configure a JavaScript function that will process items added to your queue with the listenQueue method on an instance of Deno.Kv.

// Define the shape of the object we expect as a message in the queue
interface Notification {
  forUser: string;
  body: string;

// Create a type guard to check the type of the incoming message
function isNotification(o: unknown): o is Notification {
  return (
    ((o as Notification)?.forUser !== undefined &&
      typeof (o as Notification).forUser === "string") &&
    ((o as Notification)?.body !== undefined &&
      typeof (o as Notification).body === "string")

// Get a reference to a KV database
const kv = await Deno.openKv();

// Register a handler function to listen for values - this example shows
// how you might send a notification
kv.listenQueue((msg: unknown) => {
  // Use type guard - then TypeScript compiler knows msg is a Notification
  if (isNotification(msg)) {
    console.log("Sending notification to user:", msg.forUser);
    // ... do something to actually send the notification!
  } else {
    // If the message is of an unknown type, it might be an error
    console.error("Unknown message received:", msg);

Queue API with KV atomic transactions Jump to heading

You can combine the queue API with KV atomic transactions to atomically enqueue messages and modify keys in the same transaction.

const kv = await Deno.openKv();

kv.listenQueue(async (msg: unknown) => {
  const nonce = await kv.get(["nonces", msg.nonce]);
  if (nonce.value === null) {
    // This messaged was already processed

  const change = msg.change;
  const bob = await kv.get(["balance", "bob"]);
  const liz = await kv.get(["balance", "liz"]);

  const success = await kv.atomic()
    // Ensure this message was not yet processed
    .check({ key: nonce.key, versionstamp: nonce.versionstamp })
    .sum(["processed_count"], 1n)
    .check(bob, liz) // balances did not change
    .set(["balance", "bob"], bob.value - change)
    .set(["balance", "liz"], liz.value + change)

// Modify keys and enqueue messages in the same KV transaction!
const nonce = crypto.randomUUID();
await kv
  .check({ key: ["nonces", nonce], versionstamp: null })
  .enqueue({ nonce: nonce, change: 10 })
  .set(["nonces", nonce], true)
  .sum(["enqueued_count"], 1n)

Queue behavior Jump to heading

Message delivery guarantees Jump to heading

The runtime guarantees at-least-once delivery. This means that for majority of enqueued messages, the listenQueue handler will be invoked once for each message. In some failure scenarios, the handler may be invoked multiple times for the same message to ensure delivery. It's important to design your applications such that duplicate messages are handled correctly.

You may use queues in combination with KV atomic transactions primitives to ensure that your queue handler KV updates are performed exactly once per message. See Queue API with KV atomic transactions.

Automatic retries Jump to heading

listenQueue handler is invoked to process your queued messages when they're ready for delivery. If your handler throws an exception the runtime will automatically retry to call the handler again until it succeeds or until maximum retry attempts are reached. The message is considered to be succesfully processed once the listenQueue handler invocation completes succesfully. The message will be dropped if the handler consistently fails on retries.

Message delivery order Jump to heading

The runtime makes best effort to deliver messages in the order they were enqueued. However, there is not strict order guarantee. Occasionally, messages may be delivered out of order to ensure maximum throughput.

Queues on Deno Deploy Jump to heading

Deno Deploy offers global, serverless, distributed implementation of the queueing API, designed for high availability and throughput. You can use it to build applications that scale to handle large workloads.

Just-in-time isolate spin-up Jump to heading

When using queues with Deno Deploy, isolates are automatically spun up on demand to invoke your listenQueue handler when a message becomes available for processing. Defining listenQueue handler is the only requirement to enable queue processing in your Deno Deploy application, no additional configuration is needed.

Queue size limit Jump to heading

The maximum number of undelivered queue messages is limited to 100,000. enqueue method will fail with an error if the queue is full.

Pricing details and limits Jump to heading

  • enqueue is treated just like other Deno.Kv write operations. Enqueued messages consume KV storage and write units.
  • Messages delivered through listenQueue consume requests and KV write units.
  • See Pricing details for more information.

Use cases Jump to heading

Queues can be useful in many different scenarios, but there are a few use cases you might see a lot when building web applications.

Offloading async processes Jump to heading

Sometimes a task that's initiated by a client (like sending a notification or API request), may take long enough where you don't want to make clients wait for that task to be completed before returning a response. Other times, clients don't actually need a response at all, such as when a client is sending your application a webhook request, so there's no need to wait for the underlying task to be completed before returning a response.

In these cases, you can offload work to a queue to keep your web application responsive and send immediate feedback to clients. To see an example of this use case in action, check out our webhook processing example.

Scheduling work for the future Jump to heading

Another helpful application of queues (and queue APIs like this one), is to schedule work to happen at an appropriate time in the future. Maybe you'd like to send a notification to a new customer a day after they have placed an order to send them a satisfaction survey. You can schedule a queue message to be delivered 24 hours into the future, and set up a listener to send out the notification at that time.

To see an example of scheduling a notification to go out in the future, check out our notification example.