What is PubSub?

PubSub is a design pattern which mostly promotes a loose coupling between two kinds of entities - publishers and subscribers. Like their names suggest, in the pubsub world we have publishers who fire events, and subscribers who wish to be notified about those events when publishers push data. There might be several subscribers, several publishers, and even several channels (or nodes) where the events are sent.

Module Description

This module implements XEP-0060 (Publish-Subscribe). Due to the complexity of the protocol, the PubSub engine makes successive calls to the nodetree and node plugins in order to check the validity of requests, perform the corresponding action and return a result or appropriate error. Such an architecture makes it much easier to write custom pubsub plugins and add new storage backends. It's all about tailoring PubSub to your needs!


  • iqdisc (default: one_queue)
  • host (string, default: "pubsub.@HOST@"): Subdomain for Pubsub service to reside under. @HOST@ is replaced with each served domain.
  • access_create (atom, default: all): Who is allowed to create pubsub nodes.
  • max_items_node (integer, default: 10): Define the maximum number of items that can be stored in a node.
  • max_subscriptions_node (integer, default: undefined - no limitation): The maximum number of subscriptions managed by a node.
  • nodetree (binary, default: <<"tree">>): Specifies the storage and organisation of the pubsub nodes. See the section below.
  • ignore_pep_from_offline (boolean, default: true): specify whether or not we should get last published PEP items from users in our roster which are offline when we connect. The default option is true hence we will get only the last items from the online contacts.
  • last_item_cache (boolean, default false): specifies whether or not pubsub should cache the last items. Such an option provides the ability to send the last published item to a new subscriber. Such caching might speed up pubsub's performance and can increase the number of user connections but in price of memory usage.
  • plugins ([Plugin, ...], default: [<<"flat">>]): List of enabled pubsub plugins.
  • pep_mapping ([{Key, Value}, ...]): This permits creating a Key-Value list to define a custom node plugin on a given PEP namespace. E.g. pair {"urn:xmpp:microblog:0", "mb"} will use module node_mb instead of node_pep when the specified namespace is used.
  • default_node_config ([{Key, Value}, ...]): Overrides the default node configuration, regradless of the node plugin. Node configuration still uses the default configuration defined by the node plugin, and overrides any items by the value defined in this configurable list.
  • item_publisher (boolean, default: false): When enabled, a JID of the publisher will be saved in the item metadata. This effectively makes them an owner of this item.

Example Configuration

   {mod_pubsub, [{access_createnode, pubsub_createnode},
                 {ignore_pep_from_offline, false},
                 {last_item_cache, true},
                 {max_items_node, 1000},
                 {plugins, [<<"flat">>, <<"pep">>]}}


Called on get, create and delete node. Only one nodetree can be used per host and is shared by all node plugins.


Stores nodes in a database (only mnesia supported).


Does not store nodes in a database. This saves resources on systems when the number of nodes is large. When using the <<"virtual">> nodetree, you can only enable these node plugins: [<<“flat”>>,<<“pep”>>] or [<<“flat”>>]; any other plugin configuration will not work. Also, all nodes will have the defaut configuration, and this can not be changed.

Using the <<“virtual”>> nodetree requires the pubsub module to be started with a clean database, it will not work if you used the default <<“tree”>> nodetree before.


Provides experimental support for XEP-0248 (PubSub Collection Nodes). In this case you should also add the <<"dag">> node plugin as default, for example: {plugins, [<<"dag">>,<<"flat">>,<<"hometree">>,<<"pep">>]}


They handle affiliations, subscriptions and items and also provide default node configuration and features. PubSub clients can define which plugin to use when creating a node by adding type='plugin-name' attribute to the create stanza element. If such an attribute is not specified, the default plugin will be the first on the plugin list.


No node hierarchy. It handles the standard PubSub case.


Uses the exact same features as the flat plugin but additionally organises nodes in a tree. Basically it follows a scheme similar to the filesystem's structure. Every user can create nodes in their own home root: e.g /home/user. Each node can contain items and/or sub-nodes.


Implementation of XEP-0060 (Personal Eventing Protocol). In this case, items are not persisted but kept in an in-memory cache. When the pep plugin is enabled, a user can have their own node (exposed as their bare jid) with a common namespace. Requires module mod_caps to be enabled.


Implementation of XEP-0248 (PubSub Collection Nodes). Every node takes a place in a tree and is either a collection node (and have only sub-nodes) or a leaf node (contains only items).


Special node type that may be used as a target node for XEP-0357 (Push Notifications) capable services (e.g. mod_event_pusher_push). For each published notification, a hook push_notification is run. You may enable as many modules that support this hook (all module with mod_push_service_* name prefix) as you like (see for example mod_push_service_mongoosepush). This node type requires publish-options with at least device_id and service fields supplied.