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php-resque: PHP Resque Worker (and Enqueue)

Resque is a Redis-backed library for creating background jobs, placing those jobs on multiple queues, and processing them later.

Resque was pioneered and is developed by the fine folks at GitHub (yes, I am a kiss-ass), and written in Ruby.

What you're seeing here is an almost direct port of the Resque worker and enqueue system to PHP, which I've thrown together because I'm sure my PHP developers would have a fit if they had to write a line of Ruby.

For more information on Resque, visit the official GitHub project:

And for background information, the launch post on the GitHub blog:

The PHP port does NOT include its own web interface for viewing queue stats, as the data is stored in the exact same expected format as the Ruby version of Resque.

The PHP port allows for much the same as the Ruby version of Rescue:

  • Workers can be distributed between multiple machines
  • Includes support for priorities (queues)
  • Resilient to memory leaks (fork)
  • Expects failure

In addition, it also:

  • Has the ability to track the status of jobs
  • Will mark a job as failed, if a forked child running a job does not exit with a status code as 0
  • Has built in support for setUp and tearDown methods, called pre and post jobs


Queueing Jobs

Jobs are queued as follows:

require_once 'lib/Resque.php';

// Required if redis is located elsewhere
Resque::setBackend('localhost', 6379);

$args = array(
    'name' => 'Chris'
Resque::enqueue('default', 'My_Job', $args);

Defining Jobs

Each job should be in it's own class, and include a perform method.

class My_Job
    public function perform()
        // Work work work
        echo $this->args['name'];

When the job is run, the class will be instantiated and any arguments will be set as an array on the instantiated object, and are accessible via $this->args.

Any exception thrown by a job will result in the job failing - be careful here and make sure you handle the exceptions that shouldn't result in a job failing.

Jobs can also have setUp and tearDown methods. If a setUp method is defined, it will be called before the perform method is run. The tearDown method if defined, will be called after the job finishes.

class My_Job
    public function setUp()
        // ... Set up environment for this job

    public function perform()
        // .. Run job

    public function tearDown()
        // ... Remove environment for this job

Tracking Job Statuses

php-resque has the ability to perform basic status tracking of a queued job. The status information will allow you to check if a job is in the queue, currently being run, has finished, or failed.

To track the status of a job, pass true as the fourth argument to Resque::enqueue. A token used for tracking the job status will be returned:

$token = Resque::enqueue('default', 'My_Job', $args, true);
echo $token;

To fetch the status of a job:

$status = new Resque_Job_Status($token);
echo $status->get(); // Outputs the status

Job statuses are defined as constants in the Resque_Job_Status class. Valid statuses include:

  • Resque_Job_Status::STATUS_WAITING - Job is still queued
  • Resque_Job_Status::STATUS_RUNNING - Job is currently running
  • Resque_Job_Status::STATUS_FAILED - Job has failed
  • Resque_Job_Status::STATUS_COMPLETE - Job is complete
  • false - Failed to fetch the status - is the token valid?

Statuses are available for up to 24 hours after a job has completed or failed, and are then automatically expired. A status can also forcefully be expired by calling the stop() method on a status class.


Workers work in the exact same way as the Ruby workers. For complete documentation on workers, see the original documentation.

A basic "up-and-running" resque.php file is included that sets up a running worker environment is included in the root directory.

The exception to the similarities with the Ruby version of resque is how a worker is initially setup. To work under all environments, not having a single environment such as with Ruby, the PHP port makes no assumptions about your setup.

To start a worker, it's very similar to the Ruby version:

$ QUEUE=file_serve php resque.php

It's your responsibility to tell the worker which file to include to get your application underway. You do so by setting the APP_INCLUDE environment variable:

$ QUEUE=file_serve APP_INCLUDE=../application/init.php php resque.php

Getting your application underway also includes telling the worker your job classes, by means of either an autoloader or including them.


The port supports the same environment variables for logging to STDOUT. Setting VERBOSE will print basic debugging information and VVERBOSE will print detailed information.

$ VERBOSE QUEUE=file_serve php resque.php
$ VVERBOSE QUEUE=file_serve php resque.php

Priorities and Queue Lists

Similarly, priority and queue list functionality works exactly the same as the Ruby workers. Multiple queues should be separated with a comma, and the order that they're supplied in is the order that they're checked in.

As per the original example:

$ QUEUE=file_serve,warm_cache php resque.php

The file_serve queue will always be checked for new jobs on each iteration before the warm_cache queue is checked.

Running All Queues

All queues are supported in the same manner and processed in alphabetical order:

$ QUEUE=* php resque.php

Running Multiple Workers

Multiple workers ca be launched and automatically worked by supplying the COUNT environment variable:

$ COUNT=5 php resque.php


Similarly to the Ruby versions, supported platforms will immediately fork after picking up a job. The forked child will exit as soon as the job finishes.

The difference with php-resque is that if a forked child does not exit nicely (PHP error or such), php-resque will automatically fail the job.


Signals also work on supported platforms exactly as in the Ruby version of Resque:

  • QUIT - Wait for child to finish processing then exit
  • TERM / INT - Immediately kill child then exit
  • USR1 - Immediately kill child but don't exit
  • USR2 - Pause worker, no new jobs will be processed
  • CONT - Resume worker.

Process Titles/Statuses

The Ruby version of Resque has a nifty feature whereby the process title of the worker is updated to indicate what the worker is doing, and any forked children also set their process title with the job being run. This helps identify running processes on the server and their resque status.

PHP does not have this functionality by default.

A PECL module ( exists that adds this funcitonality to PHP, so if you'd like process titles updated, install the PECL module as well. php-resque will detect and use it.

Errors and troubleshooting

php.ini settings

If you don't have E in variables_order you can specify @-c ./@ as an option to the PHP cli program. This reverts values to the defaults which include E.

$ QUEUE=file_serve php -c ./ resque.php
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