Both multi-messenger astronomy and new high-throughput wide-field surveys require flexible tools for the selection and analysis of astrophysical transients. We here introduce the Alert Management, Photometry and Evaluation of Lightcurves (AMPEL) system, an analysis framework designed for high-throughput surveys and suited for streamed data. AMPEL combines the functionality of an alert broker with a generic framework capable of hosting user-contributed code, that encourages provenance and keeps track of the varying information states that a transient displays. The latter concept includes information gathered over time and data policies such as access or calibration levels. We describe a novel ongoing real-time multi-messenger analysis using AMPEL to combine IceCube neutrino data with the alert streams of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). We also reprocess the first four months of ZTF public alerts, and compare the yields of more than 200 different transient selection functions to quantify efficiencies for selecting Type Ia supernovae that were reported to the Transient Name Server (TNS). We highlight three channels suitable for (1) the collection of a complete sample of extragalactic transients, (2) immediate follow-up of nearby transients and (3) follow-up campaigns targeting young, extragalactic transients. We confirm ZTF completeness in that all TNS supernovae positioned on active CCD regions were detected. AMPEL can assist in filtering transients in real time, running alert reaction simulations, the reprocessing of full datasets as well as in the final scientific analysis of transient data. This text introduces how users can design their own channels for inclusion in the AMPEL live instance that parses the ZTF stream and the real-time submission of high quality extragalactic supernova candidates to the TNS.