Any web application that reaches some critical mass eventually discovers that separation of services, where possible, is a great strategy for scaling the service. In fact, oftentimes a user action can be offloaded into a background task, which can be handled asynchronously while the user continues to explore the site. However, coordinating this workflow does require some infrastructure: a message queue, or a work queue. The distinction between the two is subtle and blurry, but it does carry important architectural implications. Should you pick a messaging bus such as AMQP or XMPP, roll your own database backed system such as BJ, go with Resque .....
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