JCA Resource Adapters: outbound vs. inbound

In the ra.xml configuration file in the ActiveMQ resource adapter .rar file, I noticed these tags:

<outbound-resourceadapter>

<inbound-resourceadapter>

It seemed like most of the interesting-looking parts of the configuration were inside one or the other of these tags, but I wasn’t sure what they meant.  This helpful blog post clarifies it for me:

There’s quite a big difference in how a Resource Adapter is used to provide outbound connectivity versus inbound connectivity. With outbound connectivity, I mean a situation where an application obtains a connection to an external system and reads or writes data to it. With inbound I mean a situation where the Resource Adapter listens for events from the external system and calls into your application when such an event occurs.

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