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plumber is a CLI devtool for inspecting, piping, massaging and redirecting data in message systems like Kafka, RabbitMQ , GCP PubSub and many more. [1]

The tool enables you to:

  • See what's passing through your message systems
  • Pipe data from one place to another
  • Decode protobuf data in real-time
  • Capture and relay data to Batch platform

[1] It's like curl for messaging systems.

Why do you need it?

Messaging systems are black boxes - gaining visibility into what is passing through them is an involved process that requires you to write consumer code that you will likely throw away.

plumber enables you to stop wasting time writing throw-away code - use it to look into your queues, use it to connect disparate systems together or use it for debugging your event driven systems.


Brief Demo


Via brew

$ brew tap batchcorp/public
$ brew install plumber


Plumber is a single binary, to install you simply need to download it, give it executable permissions and call it from your shell. Here's an example set of commands to do this:

$ curl -L -o plumber
$ chmod +x plumber
$ mv plumber /usr/local/bin/plumber


Keep it simple: Read & write messages

$ plumber read kafka --topic orders --address="" --line-numbers --follow
1: {"sample" : "message 1"}
2: {"sample" : "message 2"}
3: {"sample" : "message 3"}
4: {"sample" : "message 4"}
5: {"sample" : "message 5"}
6: {"sample" : "message 6"}
7: {"sample" : "message 7"}
8: {"sample" : "message 8"}
9: {"sample" : "message 9"}
10: {"sample" : "message 10"}
11: {"sample" : "message 11"}

$ plumber write kafka --address="" --topic orders --input-data "plain text"
Success! Wrote '1' message(s) to 'localhost:9092'.

NOTE: If you want to write JSON either surround the input-data in single quotes or use input-file.

See for more usage examples

See for list of supported environment variables

Getting Help

A full list of available flags can be displayed by using the --help flag after different parts of the command:

$ plumber read message rabbit --help
$ plumber read message mqtt --help
$ plumber write message kafka --help
$ plumber relay --help


  • Dynamic protobuf & avro encode & decode
  • Gzip compress & decompress
  • --follow support (ie. tail -f)
  • Observe, relay and archive messaging data
  • Support for most messaging systems
  • Single-binary, zero-config, easy-install

Hmm, what is this Batch thing?

We are distributed system enthusiasts that started a company called Batch. We focus on improving workflows that involve messaging systems - specifically, we enable message observability, backups and outage recovery via message replays.

While working on our company, we built a tool for reading and writing messages from our message systems and realized that there is a serious lack of tooling in this space.

We wanted a swiss army knife type of tool for working with messaging systems (we use Kafka and RabbitMQ internally), so we created plumber.

Why the name plumber?

We consider ourselves "internet plumbers" of sort - so the name seemed to fit :)

Supported Messaging Systems

  • Kafka
  • RabbitMQ
  • Google Cloud Platform PubSub
  • MQTT
  • Amazon SQS
  • Amazon SNS (Publishing)
  • ActiveMQ
  • Azure Service Bus
  • NATS
  • Redis

NOTE: If your messaging tech is not supported - submit an issue and we'll do our best to make it happen!

High Availability

When running plumber in relay mode in production, you will want to run at least 2 instances of plumber - that way updates, maintenances or unexpected problems will not interfere with data collection.

You can achieve H/A by launching 2+ instances of plumber with identical configurations.


You need to ensure that you are using the same consumer group on all plumber instances.


Make sure that all instances of plumber are pointed to the same queue.

Note on boolean flags

In order to flip a boolean flag to false, prepend --no to the flag.

ie. --queue-declare is true by default. To make it false, use --no-queue-declare.


Huge shoutout to jhump and for his excellent protoreflect library, without which plumber would not be anywhere near as easy to implement. Thank you!


We love contributions! Prior to sending us a PR, open an issue to discuss what you intend to work on. When ready to open PR - add good tests and let's get this thing merged!

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