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Transaction::Simple for Ruby

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Readme.md

Transaction::Simple for Ruby

Transaction::Simple provides a generic way to add active transaction support to objects. The transaction methods added by this module will work with most objects, excluding those that cannot be Marshal-ed (bindings, procedure objects, IO instances, or singleton objects).

The transactions supported by Transaction::Simple are not associated with any sort of data store. They are "live" transactions occurring in memory on the object itself. This is to allow "test" changes to be made to an object before making the changes permanent.

Transaction::Simple can handle an "infinite" number of transaction levels (limited only by memory). If I open two transactions, commit the second, but abort the first, the object will revert to the original version.

Transaction::Simple supports "named" transactions, so that multiple levels of transactions can be committed, aborted, or rewound by referring to the appropriate name of the transaction. Names may be any object except nil.

Transaction groups are also supported. A transaction group is an object wrapper that manages a group of objects as if they were a single object for the purpose of transaction management. All transactions for this group of objects should be performed against the transaction group object, not against individual objects in the group.

Version 1.4.0 of Transaction::Simple adds a new post-rewind hook so that complex graph objects of the type in tests/tc_broken_graph.rb can correct themselves.

Version 1.4.0.1 just fixes a simple bug with #transaction method handling during the deprecation warning.

Copyright:: Copyright (c) 2003 - 2012 by Austin Ziegler
Homepage:: http://rubyforge.org/projects/trans-simple/
Licence:: MIT-Style; see Licence.txt

Thanks to David Black, Mauricio Fernandez, Patrick Hurley, Pit Capitain, and Matz for their assistance with this library.

Usage

  include 'transaction/simple'

  v = "Hello, you."               # -> "Hello, you."
  v.extend(Transaction::Simple)   # -> "Hello, you."

  v.start_transaction             # -> ... (a Marshal string)
  v.transaction_open?             # -> true
  v.gsub!(/you/, "world")         # -> "Hello, world."

  v.rewind_transaction            # -> "Hello, you."
  v.transaction_open?             # -> true

  v.gsub!(/you/, "HAL")           # -> "Hello, HAL."
  v.abort_transaction             # -> "Hello, you."
  v.transaction_open?             # -> false

  v.start_transaction             # -> ... (a Marshal string)
  v.start_transaction             # -> ... (a Marshal string)

  v.transaction_open?             # -> true
  v.gsub!(/you/, "HAL")           # -> "Hello, HAL."

  v.commit_transaction            # -> "Hello, HAL."
  v.transaction_open?             # -> true
  v.abort_transaction             # -> "Hello, you."
  v.transaction_open?             # -> false

Named Transaction Usage

  v = "Hello, you."               # -> "Hello, you."
  v.extend(Transaction::Simple)   # -> "Hello, you."

  v.start_transaction(:first)     # -> ... (a Marshal string)
  v.transaction_open?             # -> true
  v.transaction_open?(:first)     # -> true
  v.transaction_open?(:second)    # -> false
  v.gsub!(/you/, "world")         # -> "Hello, world."

  v.start_transaction(:second)    # -> ... (a Marshal string)
  v.gsub!(/world/, "HAL")         # -> "Hello, HAL."
  v.rewind_transaction(:first)    # -> "Hello, you."
  v.transaction_open?             # -> true
  v.transaction_open?(:first)     # -> true
  v.transaction_open?(:second)    # -> false

  v.gsub!(/you/, "world")         # -> "Hello, world."
  v.start_transaction(:second)    # -> ... (a Marshal string)
  v.gsub!(/world/, "HAL")         # -> "Hello, HAL."
  v.transaction_name              # -> :second
  v.abort_transaction(:first)     # -> "Hello, you."
  v.transaction_open?             # -> false

  v.start_transaction(:first)     # -> ... (a Marshal string)
  v.gsub!(/you/, "world")         # -> "Hello, world."
  v.start_transaction(:second)    # -> ... (a Marshal string)
  v.gsub!(/world/, "HAL")         # -> "Hello, HAL."

  v.commit_transaction(:first)    # -> "Hello, HAL."
  v.transaction_open?             # -> false

Block Transaction Usage

  v = "Hello, you."               # -> "Hello, you."
  Transaction::Simple.start(v) do |tv|
      # v has been extended with Transaction::Simple and an unnamed
      # transaction has been started.
    tv.transaction_open?          # -> true
    tv.gsub!(/you/, "world")      # -> "Hello, world."

    tv.rewind_transaction         # -> "Hello, you."
    tv.transaction_open?          # -> true

    tv.gsub!(/you/, "HAL")        # -> "Hello, HAL."
      # The following breaks out of the transaction block after
      # aborting the transaction.
    tv.abort_transaction          # -> "Hello, you."
  end
    # v still has Transaction::Simple applied from here on out.
  v.transaction_open?             # -> false

  Transaction::Simple.start(v) do |tv|
    tv.start_transaction          # -> ... (a Marshal string)

    tv.transaction_open?          # -> true
    tv.gsub!(/you/, "HAL")        # -> "Hello, HAL."

      # If #commit_transaction were called without having started a
      # second transaction, then it would break out of the transaction
      # block after committing the transaction.
    tv.commit_transaction         # -> "Hello, HAL."
    tv.transaction_open?          # -> true
    tv.abort_transaction          # -> "Hello, you."
  end
  v.transaction_open?             # -> false

Transaction Groups

  require 'transaction/simple/group'

  x = "Hello, you."
  y = "And you, too."

  g = Transaction::Simple::Group.new(x, y)
  g.start_transaction(:first)     # -> [ x, y ]
  g.transaction_open?(:first)     # -> true
  x.transaction_open?(:first)     # -> true
  y.transaction_open?(:first)     # -> true

  x.gsub!(/you/, "world")         # -> "Hello, world."
  y.gsub!(/you/, "me")            # -> "And me, too."

  g.start_transaction(:second)    # -> [ x, y ]
  x.gsub!(/world/, "HAL")         # -> "Hello, HAL."
  y.gsub!(/me/, "Dave")           # -> "And Dave, too."

  g.rewind_transaction(:second)   # -> [ x, y ]
  x                               # -> "Hello, world."
  y                               # -> "And me, too."

  x.gsub!(/world/, "HAL")         # -> "Hello, HAL."
  y.gsub!(/me/, "Dave")           # -> "And Dave, too."

  g.commit_transaction(:second)   # -> [ x, y ]
  x                               # -> "Hello, HAL."
  y                               # -> "And Dave, too."

  g.abort_transaction(:first)     # -> [ x, y ]
  x                               = -> "Hello, you."
  y                               = -> "And you, too."

Thread Safety

Threadsafe versions of Transaction::Simple and Transaction::Simple::Group exist; these are loaded from 'transaction/simple/threadsafe' and 'transaction/simple/threadsafe/group', respectively, and are represented in Ruby code as Transaction::Simple::ThreadSafe and Transaction::Simple::ThreadSafe::Group, respectively.

Contraindications

While Transaction::Simple is very useful, it has limitations that must be understood prior to using it. Transaction::Simple:

  • uses Marshal. Thus, any object which cannot be Marshal-ed cannot use Transaction::Simple. In my experience, this affects singleton objects more often than any other object.
  • does not manage external resources. Resources external to the object and its instance variables are not managed at all. However, all instance variables and objects "belonging" to those instance variables are managed. If there are object reference counts to be handled, Transaction::Simple will probably cause problems.
  • is not thread-safe. In the ACID ("atomic, consistent, isolated, durable") test, Transaction::Simple provides consistency and durability, but cannot itself provide isolation. Transactions should be considered "critical sections" in multi-threaded applications. Thread safety of the transaction acquisition and release process itself can be ensured with the thread-safe version, Transaction::Simple::ThreadSafe. With transaction groups, some level of atomicity is assured.
  • does not maintain Object#id values on rewind or abort. This only affects complex self-referential graphs. tests/tc_broken_graph.rb demonstrates this and its mitigation with the new post-rewind hook. #_post_transaction_rewind. Matz has implemented an experimental feature in Ruby 1.9 that may find its way into the released Ruby 1.9.1 and ultimately Ruby 2.0 that would obviate the need for #_post_transaction_rewind. Pit Capitain has also suggested a workaround that does not require changes to core Ruby, but does not work in all cases. A final resolution is still pending further discussion.
  • Can be a memory hog if you use many levels of transactions on many objects.
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