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A couple of modules to ease the creation of background processors or any kind of delegated task or tasks for which you want flow control and error reporting.


sudo gem install ismasan-proto_processor



You start by defining a strategy. A strategy defines the sequence of tasks your program will carry out.

require 'rubygems'
require 'proto_processor'

class ImageStrategy
  include ProtoProcessor::Strategy
  # :process runs you strategy
  def process
    options = {:width => 300, :height => 200}

    # set the initial input

    # Run the file though a resize task
    run_task ResizeTask, options

    # store the modified file
    run_task StoreFileTask

Run it:

strategy =
report =
puts report.inspect

The Strategy module just adds a few methods to run your tasks in a declarative manner. The :process method sets an input to be used as a starting point with with_input, and declares the sequence of tasks to be run on that input with run_task, which takes the task class and an options hash as arguments.

Strategy#run captures the output of tasks and gives you a Report object, with information about the tasks run, their output and possible errors.

Apart from the process method, Strategies are normal Ruby classes so you can go ahead and add whatever functionality you want to them, including, for example, an initialize method, or a factory.


Tasks do the real work. They also implement a process method where you can put you image resizing, file storing, email sending or whatever code you want.

require 'mini_magick'
class ResizeTask
  include ProtoProcessor::Task
  expects_options_with :width
  expects_options_with :height

  def process
    image =
    image.resize "#{options[:width]}x#{options[:height]}"

That's pretty much it. Any exceptions raised within process will be captured, logged and stored in the task report which will be available as part of the Strategy-wide Report object.

Every task has an options hash available.

Validating task options

The previous example shows a simple way of checking that a task was passed required parameters as part of the options hash.

expects_options_with :width

If parameters declared in this way are not present in the options, a ProtoProcessor::MissingParametersError exception will be raised and logged in the task report (your task won't blow up though). The process method won't be run.

You can also raise manually in the process method.

def process
  raise ArgumentError, ":width option must be > 0" if options[:width] < 1

Tasks also have before_process and after_process callbacks that will run if defined. You can guess what they do :)

Lastly, you can define your own validate method which will be run before processing. If validate returns false, the task won't process and I ProtoProcessor::TaskInvalidError will be logged in the error report

def validate
  (1..500).include? options[:width]

Chaining tasks in strategies

run_task [CropTask, ResizeTask, ZipTask, EmailTask], options

Tasks can be chained and run sequentially as a unit. The input, options and report will be passed down the chain to the last task. The final, composed output and report is then returned to the main strategy and available in the strategy Report.

You can use task chains to process elements in a collection:

BIG = {:width => 500, :height => 500}
MEDIUM = {:width => 200, :height => 200}
SMALL = {:width => 100, :height => 100}

with_input some_file_here

# Crop the original
run_task CropTask, {:square => true}

# Produce resized versions and store them somewhere
[BIG, MEDIUM, SMALL].each do |dimensions|
  run_task [ResizeTask, ZipTask, StorageTask], dimensions

If any task in the chain fails the error will be logged. The following tasks will not be processed.

Stand alone tasks

Tasks are quite simple objects. They expect an array with an input, an options hash and a report hash as an argument and return the same.

resize =[some_file, {:width => 100, :height => 100}, {}]) # => [input, options, report]

The task report (just a hash) is populated by tasks and passed along to the next task in the chain, if any. This is a good place to put data resulting from your processing that you want to make available for the next task. You do this with the report! shortcut within the process method or any other method you define in your task.

# ... do some processing
report! :some_key, 'Some value'

If a task expects a certain key in the report passed from a previous task in a chain, you can make it explicit just like with options:

expects_report_with :some_key

If :some_key doesn't exist in the passed report, the task will not process and halt any chain it is in.


Default to STDOUT. Just add your own logger and logger level.

ProtoProcessor.logger ='my_processor.log')
ProtoProcessor.logger.level = Logger::ERROR


  • Improve DSL in strategies
  • Better log formatting?


Copyright (c) 2009 Ismael Celis. See LICENSE for details.