Brooce is a language-agnostic job queue with a redis backend. It was written in Go.
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Hey Hackers! Brooce is a language-agnostic job queue I made in Go. I built it because I like to work on personal projects in a variety of languages, and I want to be able to use the same job queue regardless of what language I'm writing in. I like a lot about Resque, but it has the same flaw as many others: you're all-but-forced to write jobs in its preferred language, Ruby.

Therefore, I built a job queue system where the jobs themselves are just shell commands. It's really simple to get started: you just grab the brooce binary and run it on any Linux system. You then use redis to LPUSH some shell commands to a queue, and then brooce will run them in sequence.

That's really all you need to know to use it, but there are some advanced features under the hood. There's a resque-inspired web interface, multi-threaded job execution, locking, and automatically scheduled cron-like jobs. All features are baked into a single binary that runs on any Linux platform, and can be deployed on an unlimited number of servers. If they can all access the same redis database, they'll all coordinate amongst themselves to work on jobs.

I've been personally relying on brooce with great results! If you try it out, I would welcome your feedback!


  • Single Executable -- Brooce comes as a single executable that runs on any Linux system.
  • Redis Backend -- Redis can be accessed from any programming language, or the command line. Schedule jobs from anywhere.
  • Language-Agnostic -- Jobs are just shell commands. Write jobs in any language.
  • Scalable -- Deploy instances on one server, or many. Each instance can run multiple jobs simultaneously. All instances coordinate amongst themselves.
  • Crash Recovery -- If you run multiple instances of brooce on different servers, they'll monitor each other. All features can survive instances failures, and any jobs being worked on by crashed instances will be marked as failed.
  • Web Interface -- Brooce runs its own password-protected web server. You can access it to monitor currently running jobs across all instances, and list jobs that are pending, delayed, done, or failed. You can look at the stdout/stderr output of jobs while they're running, or after they're done.
  • Job Logging -- Job stdout/stderr output can be logged to redis or log files, for later review through the web interface or your favorite text editor.
  • Timeouts -- To prevent jobs from getting stuck, brooce automatically kills any jobs that don't finish in an hour. You can change this default timeout in brooce.conf, or set per-job timeouts.
  • Locking -- Jobs can use brooce's lock system, or implement their own. A job that can't grab a lock it needs will be delayed and put back on the queue a minute later.
  • Cron Jobs -- Schedule tasks to run on a schedule.
  • Suicide Mode -- Instruct brooce to run a shell command after it's been idle for a pre-set period. Perfect for having unneeded EC2 workers terminate themselves.

Learn Redis First

Brooce uses redis as its database. Redis can be accessed from any programming language, but how to do it for each one is beyond the scope of this documentation. All of our examples will use the redis-cli shell commands, and it's up to you to substitute the equavalents in your language of choice! If you're a programmer and you haven't learned redis yet, you owe it to yourself to do so!

Quick Start

Just a few commands will download brooce and get it running:

sudo apt-get install redis-server
wget -O brooce
chmod 755 brooce

You'll see the output shown below:

Unable to read config file /home/sergey/.brooce/brooce.conf so using defaults!
You didn't specify a web username/password, so we generated these: admin/uxuavdia
We wrote a default config file to /home/sergey/.brooce/brooce.conf
Starting HTTP server on :8080
Started with queues: common (x1)

It's telling you that since it couldn't find your config file, it created a default one, and started the web server on port 8080. Since you haven't specified login credentials for the web interface yet, it generated some for you.

Let's run a job!

Now open up another terminal window, and schedule your first command:

redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:common:pending 'ls -l ~ | tee ~/files.txt'

Give it a sec to run, and see that it actually ran:

cat ~/files.txt

Check out the web interface!

Type http://<yourIP>:8080 into your browser and you should see the brooce web interface come up. At the top, you'll see the "common" queue with 1 done job. Click on the hyperlinked 1 in the Done column, and you'll see some options to reschedule or delete the job. For now, just click on Show Log and see a listing of the files in your home directory.

What about running jobs in parallel?

Go back to your first terminal window and hit Ctrl+C to kill brooce. Open up its config file, ~/.brooce/brooce.conf. We have a whole separate page about all the various options, but for now, let's add another queue with 5 threads. Change the "queues" section to look like this:

  "queues": [
      "name": "common",
      "workers": 1
      "name": "parallel",
      "workers": 5

Now save and re-launch brooce, and in a separate shell window, run a bunch of slow commands in our new parallel queue:

redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:parallel:pending 'sleep 30'

Now go back to the web interface, and note that 5 of your jobs are running, with others waiting to run. Go ahead and kill brooce again -- any jobs that are running when it dies will fail.

Send it to the background!

Now that you're convinced that brooce is working, send it to the background:

./brooce --daemonize

It'll run until you kill it from the command line. Alternatively, you can use your operating system's launcher to have it run on boot.


The first time brooce runs, it will create a ~/.brooce dir in your home directory with a default ~/.brooce/brooce.conf config file.

View brooce.conf Documentation

Job Options

So far, we've treated jobs as strings, but they can also be json hashes with additional parameters. Here are all possible parameters, along with their json data type and the default value if omitted.

  • timeout (int, default 3600) - Number of seconds that a job will be allowed to run for before it is killed. The timeout can't be disabled, but can be set to a very large number.
  • maxtries (int, default 1) - If set to a number greater than 1, the job will be automatically retried on failure that many times.
  • killondelay (bool, default false) - If true, jobs that can't acquire a lock they need will be killed off rather than delayed and retried.
  • noredislog (bool, default false) - Don't log job stdout/stderr to redis.
  • noredislogonsuccess (bool, default false) - Log the job stdout/stderr output, but delete it if the job exits successfully.
  • noredislogonfail (bool, default false) - Log the job stdout/stderr output, but delete it if the job exits with a non-zero exit code.
  • redislogexpireafter (bool, default false) - How many seconds to retain job stdout/stderr output in redis for. Defaults to 1 week if omitted.
  • drop (bool, default false) - Don't send the job to the done or failed list after it finishes. Jobs that finish running will just vanish.
  • droponsuccess (bool, default false) - If the job exits successfully, don't send it to the done list. Instead, it will just vanish.
  • droponfail (bool, default false) - If the job exits with a non-zero exit code, don't send it to the failed list. Instead, it will just vanish.

Job options can be specified in these places: the global_job_options section of brooce.conf; the per-queue job_options sections of brooce.conf; individual jobs, as in the example below. Options in a more specific location (like the job itself) can override more general ones (like the global job options).

Job Option: Timeout

This job will only run for 10 seconds before it is automatically killed:

redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:common:pending '{"command":"sleep 11 && touch ~/done.txt","timeout":10}'

In this example, the done.txt file will never be created because the job will be killed too soon. If you go into the web interface, you'll be able to see it under failed jobs.

Job Option: Maxtries

If a job fails, you sometimes want it to be retried a few times before you give up and put it in the failed column. If you add maxtries to your job and set it to a value above 1, the job will be tried that many times in total. If they have any retries left, failed jobs will be divered to the delayed column instead and then requeued one minute later. This is helpful if a temporary error (like a network glitch) was causing the failure, because the problem will hopefully be gone a minute later.

redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:common:pending '{"command":"ls -l /doesnotexist","maxtries":3}'


Multiple Threads

Brooce is multi-threaded, and can run many jobs at once from multiple queues. To set up multiple queues, edit the queues section of brooce.conf.

Multiple VPSes/Servers

You can deploy brooce on multiple servers. Make sure they all connect to the same redis server, and have the same cluster_name set in brooce.conf. They can all work on jobs from the same queues, if desired.


Locks can prevent multiple concurrent jobs from breaking things by touching the same resource at the same time. Let's say you have several kinds of jobs that touch a single account, and you don't want them to interfere with each other by running at the same time. You might schedule:

redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:common:pending '{"command":"~/bin/ 671","locks":["account:671"]}'
redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:common:pending '{"command":"~/bin/ 671","locks":["account:671"]}'

Even if there are multiple workers available, only one of these jobs will run at a time. The other will get pushed into the delayed queue, which you can see in the web interface. Once per minute, the contents of the delayed queue are dumped back into the pending queue, where it'll get the chance to run again if it can grab the needed lock.

Multiple Locks

You can pass multiple locks. Your job must grab all the locks to run:

redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:common:pending '{"command":"~/bin/ 671","locks":["account:671","server:5"]}'

Locks That Multiple Jobs Can Hold

A lock that begins with a number followed by a colon can be held by that many jobs at once. For example, let's say each server can tolerate no more than 3 jobs acting on it at once. You might run:

redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:common:pending '{"command":"~/bin/ 671","locks":["account:671","3:server:5"]}'

The account:671 lock must be exclusively held by this job, but the 3:server:5 lock means that up to 3 jobs can act on server 5 at the same time.

Delete Instead Of Delaying

Instead of delaying a job that can't acquire the locks it needs, you can just have it deleted by adding the killondelay option. This is useful if you have a job that gets scheduled very frequently and will take an unpredictable amount of time -- any extra instances of it that get scheduled can just be deleted instead.

redis-cli LPUSH brooce:queue:common:pending '{"command":"~/bin/ 671","locks":["account:671","3:server:5"],"killondelay":true}'

Locking Things Yourself

Sometimes you don't know which locks a job will need until after it starts running -- maybe you have a script called ~/bin/ and you want it to lock all accounts that it's about to bill. In that case, your script will need to implement its own locking system. If it determines that it can't grab the locks it needs, it should return exit code 75 (temp failure). All other non-0 exit codes cause your job to be marked as failed, but 75 causes it to be pushed to the delayed queue and later re-tried.

Cron Jobs

Cron jobs work much the same way they do on Linux, except you're setting them up as a redis hash and specifying a queue to run in. Let's say you want to bill all your users every day at midnight. You might do this:

redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "daily-biller" "0 0 * * * queue:common ~/bin/"

Cron job times are always UTC, regardless of your local time zone! This was unavoidable since brooce instances could be running on multiple servers in different time zones.

You can see any pending cron jobs on the Cron Jobs page in the web interface.

Timeouts, Locking, Max Tries, and KillOnDelay in Cron Jobs

All non-standard job features are available in cron jobs, too.

redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "daily-biller" "0 0 * * * queue:common timeout:600 locks:server:5,server:8 ~/bin/"

We want ~/bin/ to run daily, finish in under 10 minutes, and hold locks on server:5 and server:8.

redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "daily-biller" "0 0 * * * queue:common locks:server:5,server:8 killondelay:true ~/bin/"

If the job can't get the locks it needs (perhaps because another instance of it is running), don't delay and requeue it -- just delete it instead.

redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "daily-biller" "0 0 * * * queue:common locks:server:5,server:8 killondelay:true maxtries:5 ~/bin/"

In addition to the rules in the previous example, try the job as many as 5 times if it fails.

Fancy Cron Jobs

Most of the standard cron features are implemented. Here are some examples.

# Bill accounts twice a day
redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "daily-biller" "0 */12 * * * queue:common ~/bin/"

# Rotate logs 4 times an hour, but only during the night
redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "log-rotate" "0,15,30,45 0-8 * * * queue:common ~/bin/"

# I have no idea why you'd want to do this
redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "delete-data" "0-15,45-59 */3,*/4 * * * queue:common ~/bin/"

Storing Cron Jobs in your Git Repo

We store cron jobs in redis rather than a config file because multiple brooce instances might be running on separate machines. If there was a cron.conf file, there is a risk that different versions of it might end up on the different machines.

However, nothing prevents you from creating a shell script called that clears out and resets your cron jobs. You can then commit that script to your Git repo, and run it as part of your deploy process. It might look like this:

redis-cli DEL "brooce:cron:jobs"
redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "daily-biller" "0 0 * * * queue:common ~/bin/"
redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "hourly-log-rotater" "0 * * * * queue:common ~/bin/"
redis-cli HSET "brooce:cron:jobs" "twice-daily-error-checker" "0 */12 * * * queue:common ~/bin/"

Hacking on brooce

For most users, it should be enough to download our binaries. If you want to hack on the project, you should install Go and the Gb build tool. Then check out the repo into its own folder, and use gb to build it.