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A cancellable concurrent pattern for Go programming language

Go routine and channels facilitate developers to do concurrent programming. However, it is not easy for a beginner to write bug-free fan-out/fan-in go-routines. Especially when dealing with a complex flow net, make it cancellable is not that straightforward. Consider following situations:

There are 5 ways to exit from a go routine job:

  1. Successful return void or result(s)
  2. Expected error return
  3. Unexpected panic / error
  4. Job is timeout
  5. Job is cancelled from another go routine

There are 2 actions to deal with panic / error :

  1. quit the whole process whenever there is a panic
  2. only cancel the problematic go-routine branch (includes its sub-go-routines)

This package is aim to abstract the flow net, and give a panic-free solution.


  • User defines the flow net
  • It completes the whole task or fail in all
  • User should get notify whether there is a panic, or error, or job succeed
  • User could define the timeout for the whole task


Note: this package requires go version 1.7+. Or you need import "" package manually if using a lower version of golang.

<1> define a flow net, together with a timeout duration

flow := NewFlowNet(1 * time.Millisecond)

<2> define a super start node (must-have), a super sink node (must-have), and several internal nodes (optional) Note that, all nodes must have a unique name tag. They are used by the flow control.

start := flow.InitStart("Start")
A := flow.InitNode("A")
B := flow.InitNode("B")
C := flow.InitSink("C")

<3> define actions for each node. The function signature is func() error. And each node could have multiple input and output channels, where all channels' signature is chan interface{}. User could identify input channel by using node.From(nodeName) function, and output channel by using node.To(nodeName)

start.Tk = func() error {
		start.To("A") <- 1
		start.To("B") <- "2"
		return nil
A.Tk = func() error {
		a := <-A.From("Start")
		A.To("C") <- a
		return nil
B.Tk = func() error {
		bStr := <-B.From("Start")
		switch bStr := bStr.(type) { 
		case string:
			B.To("C") <- b
		return nil
C.Tk = func() error {
		a := <-C.From("A")
		b := <-C.From("B")
		// do something with a and b
		C.ToSink() <- true // indicate job is done
		return nil

<4> connect the dots

flow.Connect(start, A)
flow.Connect(start, B)
flow.Connect(A, C)
flow.Connect(B, C)

<5> run the flow


<6> cleanup the flow after use it (optional)



Cancellable flow-net (a concurrent pattern) for Go programming language




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