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An evented, actor-based server for Ruby. This project is heavily based on Brubeck. The goal was to make it really easy to make an evented server that acted quick and scaled infinitely. This is accomplished by using Mongrel2, ZeroMQ and Rubinius. Rubinius has the actor gem included already so it makes it really convenient to just use rubinius. Also, the 2.0.0dev branch has super nice thread handling, allowing for true Ruby concurrency that MRI just can't offer with its GIL.

Mongrel2 and ZeroMQ

Although it seems like a strange direction to start writing servers in, eventually most companies end up in the realm of evented servers. This is because it offers nearly infinite scalability for free.

This is possible because of Mongrel2 and ZeroMQ. Mongrel2 acts as your server and parses requests. It then sends out ZeroMQ messages to your handlers and proxies and then returns their responses. Because it uses ZeroMQ messages, Mongrel2 can send messages anywhere and to any language. Conversely, it sends messages in a round-robin style, so scalability is achieved by just starting up another instance of your server.



rvm install rbx
rvm use rbx


Go grab the zip from zeromq/zeromq2-1, unzip it, and in the directory run:

./; ./configure; make; sudo make install

Angstrom as a gem

gem install angstrom

ZMQ and other gems

gem install ffi-rzmq -v=0.9.0
gem install lazy

it should also install ffi and ffi-rzmq which are to dynamically load libs and call functions from them. Interesting stuff, but out of the scope of this measly README.


Finally, go grab a copy of mongrel2 (1.7.5 tested) from the Mongrel2 website.

There's a sample mongrel2.conf and config.sqlite in the demo folder, feel free to use those. Otherwise, load the mongrel2.conf into m2sh and then start the server.

m2sh load -config mongrel2.conf -db config.sqlite
m2sh start -host localhost

minimal example

require 'angstrom'

get "/" do
	"hello world"

Just like in Sinatra, we state the verb we want to use, the path, and give it a block with the relevant code to execute. So far only 'GET' requests are supported but more will come out in later builds.

Now you should run ruby angstrom_test.rb and then visit localhost:6767 and relish in the 'Hello World'.

more functionality


commit e86c74aed added functionality for parameters in your path. These are simply demonstrated in the demo/angstrom_test.rb file. For instance, you can extract the id of a certain part of your path like so:

require 'angstrom'

get "/:id" do |env|
	"id: #{env[:params]["id"]}"

The params are always going to be stored in env, naturally.

You can also return other codes and custom headers by returning an array with the signature: [code, headers, response]


Recent versions of Angstrom (v0.5.2+) can now handle POST methods effectively. It's also really easy to use! For example:

require 'angstrom'

post "/" do |env|
	puts "post: ", env[:post].inspect
	"hello POST world"

all of the params passed in by POST will be available in env[:post]. In the case that multiple arguments with the same name are passed in, only the last one will be used.

POST only handles key=value&another_key=another_value&etc … kind of POST messages. So if you're getting in JSON, you'll need to parse it yourself.


Versions 0.5.2+ can now set certain setting in Angstrom. As of 0.5.2 only receivers and request_handlers settings can be set.

require 'angstrom'

# these settings are only limited by your RAM and number of cores
set("request_handlers", 8)
set("receivers", 10) 

get "/" do
  "hello world"

request_handlers are actors which will receive a path and request body and find the appropriate method to give them to. More request_handlers will result in more actors to handle your messages.

receivers are the actors which receive messages from Mongrel2. Once Mongrel2 starts sending out more messages, you might want to crank this number up in order to fetch more messages. As one receiver packs and sends off a message, another can pick up an incoming request and start working on it. This lets you churn through requests much faster than a single-threaded, blocking app ever will.


Nucleus is an interface to your web server. It allows you to scale your server up and down. So into your terminal you can type:

> add 1 receivers
> add 12 handlers
> remove 4 receivers
> remove 1 handlers

and angstrom will fire up a receiver, 12 handlers, kill 4 receivers and kill 1 handler. It's pretty nifty and allows you to scale on the fly! Just type into your terminal.



$ siege -d 1 -c 150 -t 10s localhost:6767/
** SIEGE 2.70
** Preparing 150 concurrent users for battle.
The server is now under siege...
Lifting the server siege...      done.
Transactions:		        	5029 hits
Availability:		      		100.00 %
Elapsed time:		        	9.06 secs
Data transferred:	        	0.05 MB
Response time:		        	0.26 secs
Transaction rate:	      		555.08 trans/sec
Throughput:		        		0.01 MB/sec
Concurrency:		      		146.56
Successful transactions:        5029
Failed transactions:	           0
Longest transaction:	        0.67
Shortest transaction:	        0.02


These benchmarks were done using Rubinius as the Ruby interpreter. You will get much better results for sinatra with MRI 1.9.2 but the concurrency will still plateau at about 110. I could not start up more than 110 concurrent users without sinatra closing all connections and blowing up.

$ siege -d1 -c 110 -t 10s localhost:4567/
** SIEGE 2.70
** Preparing 20 concurrent users for battle.
The server is now under siege...
Lifting the server siege...      done.
Transactions:		        	1192 hits
Availability:		       		97.23 %
Elapsed time:		        	9.39 secs
Data transferred:	        	0.01 MB
Response time:		        	0.70 secs
Transaction rate:	      		126.94 trans/sec
Throughput:		        		0.00 MB/sec
Concurrency:		       		88.98
Successful transactions:        1192
Failed transactions:	          34
Longest transaction:	        1.39
Shortest transaction:	        0.20


A Mongrel2 fronted, actor-based server for Ruby. We deserve nice things.



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