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README.md

OtpDsl

A set of simple Elixir DSLs that wrap the common uses of OTP servers. For example, here's the code for a :gen_server that exports a function factorial!. When called, the actual factorial code is executed in its own process.

defmodule FactorialServer do
  use OtpDsl.Genserver

  defcall factorial!(n) do
    reply(Enum.reduce(1..n, 1, &(&1*&2)))
  end
end

You could start this from a supervisor, or manually with FactorialServer.start_link. You can then call the function in the server process using

FactorialServer.factorial!(20)

Similarly, here's a different DSL that simplifies the creation of :gen_fsm state machines.

defmodule Listen.NewFSM do

  use OtpDsl.Genfsm,  register: {:local, :listen_fsm},
                      initial_state: :start,
                      init_params: []

  @timeout 3*1000

  defrecord CallInfo, from: "", to: "", suspicious_segments: 0

  ####################
  #
  # Events → our external API

  events do
    call_initiated(from, to)
    suspicious_phrase_heard
    hang_up
  end

  ####################
  #
  # States → transitions we implement

  in_state(:start) do
    { :call_initiated, from, to } ->
      IO.puts "Initiating a call from #{from} to #{to}"
      next_state(:listening, CallInfo.new(from: from, to: to))
  end

  in_state(:listening) do
    { :hang_up } ->
      debug("Hangup", context)
      next_state(:start, nil)

    { :suspicious_phrase_heard } ->
      debug("Heard something suspicious", context)
      next_state(:transcribing, context.update_suspicious_segments(&1+1), @timeout)
  end

  in_state(:transcribing) do
    { :hang_up } ->
      debug("Report on call", context)
      next_state(:start, CallData.new)

    { :timeout } ->
      next_state(:listening, context)
  end

  # Helpers

  defp debug(msg, CallInfo[from: from, to: to, suspicious_segments: suspicious_segments]) do
    IO.puts("Call from #{from} to #{to}: #{msg}")
    if suspicious_segments > 0 do
      IO.puts("    (suspicious_segments: #{suspicious_segments})")
    end
  end
end

The intent behind these DSLs it to remove the boilerplate in server code. While Erlang has Emacs macros that generate it, Elixir has built-in macros that make it redundant.

Here's more in-depth documentation for each DSL

OtpDsl.Genserver

A simple DSL wrapper for GenServer modules. It reduces duplication by exploiting the fact that a GenServer module typically has an API function that calls a corresponding handle_call function that runs on the server process. We wrap those two functions into one macro. For example, the following module is a GenServer with a single API, factorial.

defmodule FactorialServer do
  use OtpDsl.Genserver

  defcall factorial!(n) do
    reply(Enum.reduce(1..n, 1, &(&1*&2)))
  end
end

You could start this from a supervisor, or manually with FactorialServer.start_link. You can then call the function in the server process using

FactorialServer.factorial!(10)

The use function takes the following options:

register The specification of the name under which to register the server. For example, if you wanted to register globally as :fred, do

  use OtpDsl.Genserver, register: { :global, :fred }

The option defaults to { :local, my_name }, where my_name is an atom derived from the module name.

initial_state A value representing an initial state for tbe server. Defaults to nil.

Example

Here's a server that implements a simple key/value store:

defmodule KvServer do
  use OtpDsl.Genserver, initial_state: HashDict.new

  defcall put(key, value), kv_store do
    reply(value, Dict.put(kv_store, key, value))
  end

  defcall get(key), kv_store do
    reply(Dict.get(kv_store, key))
  end
end

Note how both functions specify that the state should be stored in the variable kv_store. The first returns an updated state as the second argument to reply, and the second leaves the state unchanged.

OtpDsl.Gemfsm

A DSL wrapper for Elixir's GenFSM.Behaviour. For example:

defmodule Listen.NewFSM do

  use OtpDsl.Genfsm,  register: {:local, :listen_fsm},
                      initial_state: :start,
                      init_params: []

  @timeout 3*1000

  defrecord CallInfo, from: "", to: "", suspicious_segments: 0

  ####################
  #
  # Events → our external API

  events do
    call_initiated(from, to)
    suspicious_phrase_heard
    hang_up
  end

  ####################
  #
  # States → transitions we implement

  in_state(:start) do
    { :call_initiated, from, to } ->
      IO.puts "Initiating a call from #{from} to #{to}"
      next_state(:listening, CallInfo.new(from: from, to: to))
  end

  in_state(:listening) do
    { :hang_up } ->
      debug("Hangup", context)
      next_state(:start, nil)

    { :suspicious_phrase_heard } ->
      debug("Heard something suspicious", context)
      next_state(:transcribing, context.update_suspicious_segments(&1+1), @timeout)
  end

  in_state(:transcribing) do
    { :hang_up } ->
      debug("Report on call", context)
      next_state(:start, CallData.new)

    { :timeout } ->
      next_state(:listening, context)
  end

  # Helpers

  defp debug(msg, CallInfo[from: from, to: to, suspicious_segments: suspicious_segments]) do
    IO.puts("Call from #{from} to #{to}: #{msg}")
    if suspicious_segments > 0 do
      IO.puts("    (suspicious_segments: #{suspicious_segments})")
    end
  end
end

There are three sections in this code

  1. The use stanza.
  2. The event list
  3. The state definitions

context vs. state

In an Erlang server, state is passed between callbacks. However, it gets confusing talking about this server state when we also have the concept of state machine states. So, in this module, we use the convention that the server state is called the context.

The use stanza

As well as including the OptDel.Genfsm behaviour in your module, the use call lets you set various options:

Option Default Meaning
register {:local, :fsm } The first argument to start_link, used to register a name for this module
initial_state :state The name of the initial state of the FSM
context [] The initial context

The Event List

In GenFSM, events are triggered by calls to public functions. Each function then calls send_event to cause the appropriate callback to be invoked.

This code is pretty boilerplate, so we abstract it into an events stanza:

events do
  call_initiated(from, to)
 suspicious_phrase_heard
  hang_up
end

This block simply creates the following functions:

def call_initiated(from, to) do
  :gen_fsm.send_event(«servername», :call_initiated, from, to)
end
def suspicious_phrase_heard do
  :gen_fsm.send_event(«servername», :suspicious_phrase_heard)
end
def hang_up do
  :gen_fsm.send_event(«servername», hang_up)
end

You're free to write these functions by hand, too.

The States

We represent each state using in_state(«name»). Within the block, separate clauses match each incoming event (with optional parameters). The code corresponding with the match will end with a call to next_state, which takes the new state name, the new context, and an optional timeout (in mS).

in_state(:listening) do
  { :hang_up } ->
    debug("Hangup", context)
    next_state(:start, nil)

  { :suspicious_phrase_heard } ->
    debug("Heard something suspicious", context)
    next_state(:transcribing, context.update_suspicious_segments(&1+1), @timeout)
end

So, if we're in state listening and we get a hang_up event, we call debug to print a message, and then transition to the state state, with no context. If instead we get a suspicious_phrase_heard event, we transition to the transcribing state. We pass an updated context where we increment the number of suspicious segments, and we set a timeout.

If a timeout fires, it generates a timeout event in the next state (there's an example in the transcribing state of the sample app)

Add to your Project

Add the following to your list of dependencies in mix.exs:

{ :otp_dsl, github: "pragdave/otp_dsl }

Copyright

Copyright © 2013 Dave Thomas, The Pragmatic Programmers

Licensed for use under the same terms as Elixir

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