Pub/Sub local emulator

Pub/Sub is a nice tool provided by GCP.  It is really handy and can help you with the messaging challenges you application might face. Actually if you work with GCP it is the managed messaging solution that you can use.

As expected working with the actual Pub/Sub solution comes with some quota, so for

development it is essential to use something which is not going to cost you.

In these cases you can use the Pub/Sub emulator. To get started with the emulator you need to install it

gcloud components install pubsub-emulator

It is indeed convenient however to have a docker image since it is way more portable. Unfortunately there is no official image for that from google cloud. In any case you can use one of the solutions available on Docker Hub.

Now let’s run it

gcloud beta emulators pubsub start --project=test-project

After that your application can connect to the pub/sub emulator. The default port is 8085

I will use a Java unit test as an example for this one.

package org.gkatzioura.pubsub;

import java.nio.charset.Charset;

import org.junit.After;
import org.junit.Assert;
import org.junit.Before;
import org.junit.Test;


import io.grpc.ManagedChannel;
import io.grpc.ManagedChannelBuilder;

public class LocalPubSubTest {

    private static final String PROJECT = "test-project";
    private static final String SUBSCRIPTION_NAME = "SUBSCRIBER";
    private static final String TOPIC_NAME = "test-topic-id";

    private static final String hostPort = "";

    private ManagedChannel channel;
    private TransportChannelProvider channelProvider;
    private TopicAdminClient topicAdmin;

    private Publisher publisher;
    private SubscriberStub subscriberStub;
    private SubscriptionAdminClient subscriptionAdminClient;

    private ProjectTopicName topicName = ProjectTopicName.of(PROJECT, TOPIC_NAME);
    private ProjectSubscriptionName subscriptionName = ProjectSubscriptionName.of(PROJECT, SUBSCRIPTION_NAME);

    private Subscription subscription;

    public void setUp() throws Exception {
        channel = ManagedChannelBuilder.forTarget(hostPort).usePlaintext().build();
        channelProvider = FixedTransportChannelProvider.create(GrpcTransportChannel.create(channel));

        CredentialsProvider credentialsProvider = NoCredentialsProvider.create();

        topicAdmin = createTopicAdmin(credentialsProvider);

        publisher = createPublisher(credentialsProvider);
        subscriberStub = createSubscriberStub(credentialsProvider);
        subscriptionAdminClient = createSubscriptionAdmin(credentialsProvider);
        subscription = subscriptionAdminClient.createSubscription(subscriptionName, topicName, PushConfig.getDefaultInstance(), 0);

    public void tearDown() throws Exception {

    public void testLocalPubSub() throws Exception {
        final String messageText = "text";
        PubsubMessage pubsubMessage = PubsubMessage.newBuilder()
                                                   .setData(ByteString.copyFrom(messageText, Charset.defaultCharset()))

        PullRequest pullRequest = PullRequest.newBuilder()
                                             .setReturnImmediately(true) // return immediately if messages are not available

        PullResponse pullResponse = subscriberStub.pullCallable().call(pullRequest);
        String receiveMessageText = pullResponse.getReceivedMessages(0).getMessage().getData().toStringUtf8();

        Assert.assertEquals(messageText, receiveMessageText);

    private TopicAdminClient createTopicAdmin(CredentialsProvider credentialsProvider) throws IOException {
        return TopicAdminClient.create(

    private SubscriptionAdminClient createSubscriptionAdmin(CredentialsProvider credentialsProvider) throws IOException {
        SubscriptionAdminSettings subscriptionAdminSettings = SubscriptionAdminSettings.newBuilder()
        return SubscriptionAdminClient.create(subscriptionAdminSettings);

    private Publisher createPublisher(CredentialsProvider credentialsProvider) throws IOException {
        return Publisher.newBuilder(topicName)

    private SubscriberStub createSubscriberStub(CredentialsProvider credentialsProvider) throws IOException {
        SubscriberStubSettings subscriberStubSettings = SubscriberStubSettings.newBuilder()
        return GrpcSubscriberStub.create(subscriberStubSettings);


That’s it. Now you can have some cost efficient unit tests!

Using Minikube on osx

Docker compose is making for me wonders when it comes to run some simple components on my workstation.

Spawning and simulating an infrastructure locally is fast and takes no time. Also it is lightweight.
However most teams nowadays use Kubernetes.
If you want to simulate a Kubernetes environment locally the tool to use is Minikube.

With Minikube you need to have a vm running on your workstation. This is normal, after all your workloads in a Kubernetes environment are running on multiple VMs.

So if you use OSX it’s very simple, provided you have a hypervisor installed (my default one is VirtualBox)
I just went for the local library option.

curl -Lo minikube \
  && chmod +x minikube
sudo mv minikube /usr/local/bin

Depending on your workstation your installation varies but is still an easy one.

So let’s get started

minikube start

Now you might face a challenge with Minikube on osx.

Progress state: NS_ERROR_FAILURE
VBoxManage: error: Failed to create the host-only adapter
VBoxManage: error: VBoxNetAdpCtl: Error while adding new interface: failed to open /dev/vboxnetctl: No such file or directory
VBoxManage: error: Details: code NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005), component HostNetworkInterfaceWrap, interface IHostNetworkInterface
VBoxManage: error: Context: "RTEXITCODE handleCreate(HandlerArg *)" at line 94 of file VBoxManageHostonly.cpp

As you can understand you need to reinstall VirtualBox. However you might face a challenge with the installation. I was getting the error ‘The installation failed’. As explained here you need to edit your osx security settings and allow ‘System software from Oracle’ to load.

At the end just do.

> minikube status
host: Running
kubelet: Running
apiserver: Running
kubectl: Correctly Configured: pointing to minikube-vm at

and you are ready to go.