Turn any Ruby object into a daemon controlling an army of sponges.
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When I build workers, I want them to be much like an army of Sponge Bobs: always stressed, and eager to work. sponges helps you with building this army of sponges, controlling them, and well, eventually killing them gracefully. Hum, making them stressed and eager to work would still be your job. :)

Basically, Sponges is a ruby supervisor that forks processes and controls their execution and termination. For example, the following will start a supervision daemon and 8 processes of "a_worker":

ruby a_worker.rb start -d -s 8

If you kill the supervisor, it will cleanly terminate its child processes.

Internally, sponges strongly relies on Unix signals.


Requires Ruby 1.9.2 or newer.

Install it with rubygems:

gem install sponges

You may use bundler. In this case, add it to your Gemfile:

gem "sponges"

Then, run bundle install.


In a file called example.rb:

# The worker class is the one you want to daemonize.
require 'sponges'

class Worker
  def initialize
    # Trap the HUP signal, set a boolean to true.
    trap(:HUP) {
      Sponges.logger.info "HUP signal trapped, clean stop."
      @hup = true

  def run
    Sponges.logger.info Process.pid
    if @hup # is true, we need to shutdown this worker
      Sponges.logger.info "HUP signal trapped, shutdown..."
      exit 0 # everything's fine, we can exit
    else # this worker can continue its work
      sleep rand(20)

Sponges.configure do |config|
  config.logger            = MyCustomLogger.new   # optionnal
  config.size              = 3                    # optionnal, default to cpu's size
  config.daemonize         = true                 # optionnal, default to false
  config.port              = 5032                 # optionnal, default to 5032
  config.env               = :production          # optionnal, default to nil
  # polling on supervisor, this is use to shutdown children in case supervisor
  # receive a `SIGKILL` signal.
  config.polling           = 60                   # optionnal, default to 60
  config.after_fork do
    puts "Execute code when a child process is created"
  config.on_chld do
    puts "Execute code when a child process is killed"

# Register a pool named "worker_name".
Sponges.start "worker_name" do
  Worker.new({some: args}).run

See the help message :

ruby example.rb

Start workers :

ruby example.rb start

Start workers and daemonize them:

ruby example.rb start -d

Start 8 instances of the worker and daemonize them:

ruby example.rb start -d -s 8 # By default, size equals cpu core's size.

Restart gracefully 4 instances of the worker, with a timeout of 3 seconds, and daemonize them:

ruby example.rb restart -g -s 4 -t 3

Stop workers with a QUIT signal :

ruby example.rb stop

Stop workers with a KILL signal :

ruby example.rb kill

Stop workers with a HUP signal :

ruby example.rb stop -g -t 5

In this case, you will have to trap the HUP signal, and handle a clean stop from each workers. The point is to wait for a task to be done before quitting. A timeout can be specified with the -t option. When this timeout is hit, the process is killed.

Increment worker's pool size :

ruby example.rb increment # will add a worker from the pool.

Decrement worker's pool size :

ruby example.rb decrement # will remove a worker from the pool.

HTTP supervision

Sponges provides an HTTP interface to supervise the pool's activity, and expose pids. HTTP supervision can be enabled in the configuration:

Sponges.configure do |config|
  config.port = 3333

By default, Sponges listens on port 5032, and responds with JSON. Here is a sample:

    "created_at":"2013-03-05 15:21:04 +0100"
      "created_at":"2013-03-05 15:21:04 +0100"
      "created_at":"2013-03-05 15:21:04 +0100"
      "created_at":"2013-03-05 15:21:04 +0100"
      "created_at":"2013-03-05 15:21:04 +0100"



Sponges would not have been the same without Jesse Storimer and his awesome book about Unix.


MIT. See LICENSE for further details.