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README.md

NAME

Luv - Thermonuclear battery pack for Lua

SYNOPSIS

local luv = require("luv")

FEATURES

  • scheduled fibers
  • [libuv] TCP sockets
  • [libuv] timers
  • [libuv] filesystem operations
  • [libuv] OS threads
  • [libuv] pipes
  • [libuv] idle watchers
  • [zmq] ØMQ 3.x for the rest
  • binary serialization

INSTALLATION

Run make and copy the luv.so to where you need it. In theory both ØMQ and libuv support WIN32, but I have no idea how that build system works there, so patches welcome.

DESCRIPTION

Luv is an attempt to do libuv bindings to Lua in a style more suited to a language with coroutines than edge-triggered event-loop style programming with callbacks.

So how is it different?

At the heart of Luv is a reasonably fast coroutine scheduler (20,000,000 context switches / second on my laptop).

Coroutines are wrapped as 'fibers' which add some extra bits which allow them to be suspended and resumed by the libuv event loop. This makes programming with them feel more like threads with a nice linear flow, but without the impressive crashes.

Here's the canonical TCP echo server:

local main = luv.fiber.create(function()
   local server = luv.net.tcp()
   server:bind("127.0.0.1", 8080)
   server:listen()

   while true do
      local client = luv.net.tcp()
      server:accept(client)

      local child = luv.fiber.create(function()
         while true do
            local got, str = client:read()
            if got then
               client:write("you said: "..str)
            else
               client:close()
               break
            end
         end
      end)

      -- put it in the ready queue
      child:ready()
   end
end)

main:join()

A key point is that fibers run at highest priority, so that a process under I/O load gets doesn't starve the tasks which actually process the data.

Once all pending fibers have been given a chance to run, the event loop kicks in and polls for events and the wakes up any suspended fibers waiting on events.

States

A state is an execution context which can be suspended or resumed. A state can be either a thread - including the main thread - or a fiber.

States are not resumed immediately when ready, but are fair queued to be resumed at the next possible time, after they are signalled as being ready, typically by a libuv callback.

The semantics of suspending a state depends on whether it is a thread or a fiber.

  • Suspending a fiber is equivalent to removing it from the scheduing queue.
  • Suspending a thread is equivalent to running the event loop and scheduler.
  • Readying a fiber is equivalent to inserting it into the scheduling queue.
  • Readying a thread is equivalent to interrupting the event loop.

Any objects (timers, tcp, idle, etc.) may also run from the main thread while not blocking active fibers.

Fibers

Fibers are cooperatively scheduled plain Lua coroutines with one important difference: when using I/O objects or timers, the scheduling is done for you so that you don't explicitly need to call coroutine.yield.

This makes fibers more like green threads, but without preemption. So most of the time, you just let them run and forget about the scheduling.

luv.fiber.create(func, [arg1, ..., argN])

Fibers are created by calling luv.fiber.create and passing it the function to be run inside the fiber, along with any additional arguments which are passed to the function in turn.

NOTE: The fiber is not run until it is put in the ready queue and the main thread is suspended. See fiber:ready and fiber:join below.

fiber:ready()

Insert the fiber into the scheduler's ready queue. The scheduler is run by the containing thread when it is suspended.

fiber:join()

Inserts the fiber into the thread's scheduler and suspend the current state until the fiber exits. Returns any values returned by the fiber.

Fiber example:

local f1 = luv.fiber.create(function(mesg)
    print("inside fiber, mesg: ", mesg)

    local f2 = luv.fiber.create(function()
        print("in child")
        return "answer", 42
    end)

    local k, v = f2:join()  -- join gets return values
    print(k, v)             -- prints: answer, 42

end, "Hello World!")

f1:join()

Timers

Timers allow you to suspend states for periods and wake them up again after the period has expired.

luv.timer.create()

Constructor. Takes no arguments. Returns a timer instance.

timer:start(delay, repeat)

Takes two parameters, delay and repeat are in milliseconds.

timer:wait()

Suspend the currently running state and resume when the timer fires.

timer:stop()

Stop the timer.

timer:again()

Stop the timer, and if it is repeating restart it using the repeat value as the timeout

Timer Example:

local luv = require("luv")

local timer = luv.timer.create()
-- start after 1 second and repeat after 100ms
timer:start(1000, 100)
for i=1, 10 do
   -- the call to wait blocks here, but would schedule any
   -- ready fibers (if there were any)
   timer:wait()
   print("tick")
end
timer:stop()

Idle watchers

Idle watchers run when there's nothing else to do. The object will rouse the waiting fibers repeatedly.

luv.idle.create()

Create an idle watcher.

idle:start()

Start the idle watcher.

idle:stop()

Stop the idle watcher.

idle:wait()

Suspend the current state until there's nothing else to do.

Idle Example

This is from the examples. During the timer pauses, the idle watcher unblocks the call to idle:wait().

local luv = require('luv')

local idle = luv.idle.create()
idle:start()

local idle_count = 0
local f1 = luv.fiber.create(function()
   while true do
      idle:wait()
      idle_count = idle_count + 1
   end
end)

f1:ready()

local timer = luv.timer.create()
timer:start(10, 10)

local f2 = luv.fiber.create(function()
   for i=1, 10 do
      print("TIMER NEXT:", timer:wait())
   end
   timer:stop()
end)

f2:join()
idle:stop()
print("IDLE COUNT:", idle_count)

Filesystem operations

In general, file system operations return an integer on success (usually 0) and false along with an error message on failure.

luv.fs.open(path, mode, perm)

Open a file.

  • path is the path of the file to open.
  • mode is one of w, w+, r, r+, a, a+
  • perm is a string representation of an octal number: i.e. 644

Returns a file object. See below for file object methods.

luv.fs.unlink(path)

Delete a file.

luv.fs.mkdir(path)

Create a directory.

luv.fs.rmdir(path)

Delete a directory.

luv.fs.readdir(path)

Reads the entries of a directory. On sucess returns a table including the entry names.

luv.fs.stat(path)

Stats the supplied path and returns a table of key, value pairs.

luv.fs.rename(path, newpath)

Renames a file or directory.

luv.fs.sendfile(outfile, infile)

Efficiently copy data from infile to outfile.

luv.fs.chmod(path, mode)

Change file or directory mode. The mode argument is a string representation of an octal number: i.e. '644'

luv.fs.chown(path, uid, gid)

Change the ownership of a path to the supplied uid and gid. Both uid and gid are integers.

luv.fs.utime(path, atime, mtime)

Change the access and modification time of a path

luv.fs.lstat(path)

Stat a link.

luv.fs.link(srcpath, dstpath)

Create a hard link from srcpath to dstpath

luv.fs.symlink(srcpath, dstpath, mode)

Create a symbolic link from srcpath to dstpath with mode flags. The mode argument takes the same values as for luv.fs.open.

luv.fs.readlink(path)

Dereference a symbolic link and return the target.

luv.fs.cwd()

Returns the current working directory of the running process.

luv.fs.chdir(path)

Change directory to path.

luv.fs.exepath()

Returns the path of the executable.

file:read(len[, offset])

Attempts to read len number of bytes from the file and returns the number of bytes actually read followed by the data. If the optional offset is given, then start reading there.

file:write(data[, offset])

Write data to the file. If the optional offset argument is given, then write start at that offset. Otherwise write from the start of the file.

file:close()

Close the file.

file:stat()

Stat the file. Same return value as for luv.fs.stat

file:sync()

Sync all pending data and metadata changes to disk.

file:datasync()

Sync data to disk.

file:utime(atime, mtime)

Like luv.fs.utime but uses the current file object.

file:chmod(mode)

Like luv.fs.chmod but uses the current file object.

file:chown(uid, gid)

Like luv.fs.chown but uses the current file object.

file:truncate()

Truncate the file.

TCP Streams

luv.net.tcp()

Creates and returns a new unbound and disconnected TCP socket.

tcp:bind(host, port)

Bind to the given host and port

tcp:listen([backlog])

Start listening for incoming connections. If backlog is given then that sets the maximum backlog for pending connections. If no backlog is given, then it defaults to 128.

tcp:accept(tcp2)

Calls accept with tcp2 becoming the client socket. Used as follows:

local server = luv.net.tcp()
server:bind(host, port)
while true do
   local client = luv.net.tcp()
   server:accept(client)
   -- do something with the client, then close
   client:close()
end

tcp:connect(host, port)

Connect to a given host on port. Note that host must be a dotted quad. To resolve a domain name to IP address, use getaddrinfo

tcp:getsockname()

Returns a table with fields family, port and address filled of the current socket. Can be called on both connected and bound sockets.

tcp:getpeername()

Returns a table with fields family, port and address filled of the peer socket. Can only be called on connected sockets.

tcp:keepalive(enable, seconds)

Enable or disable TCP keepalive. The first arugment is a boolean. If true then sets the keepalive time to the number of seconds. If false then disables and seconds is ignored.

tcp:nodelay(enable)

Enable or disable nagle's algorithm for this socket. The enable argument must be a boolean.

tcp:read([length])

Reads data from the socket. Returns the number of bytes read followed by the data itself. If the optional length argument is provided then that is the size, in bytes, of the buffer used internally. Defaults to the value of LUV_BUF_SIZE defined in luv.h (4096, currently).

tcp:readable()

Does a non-blocking check to see if the socket is readable.

tcp:write(data)

Writes data to the socket.

tcp:writable()

Does a non-blocking check to see if the socket is writable.

tcp:shutdown()

Shutdown the socket (inform the peer that we've finished with it)

tcp:close()

Close the socket.

tcp:start()

Start reading from the socket. Called automatically during read.

tcp:stop()

Stop reading from a socket. Called automatically during libuv's read callback if there are no fibers waiting to be roused.

Processes

See ./examples/proc.lua for now.

Pipes

TODO : add docs - their use is similar to TCP streams

luv.pipe.create()

pipe:open()

pipe:bind()

pipe:connect()

pipe:listen()

pipe:accept()

pipe:read()

pipe:write(data)

pipe:close()

Threads

Threads are real OS threads and run concurrently (so no global locks) in distinct global Lua states. This means that sharing data between threads should be done with ØMQ sockets. However, functions passed to luv.thread.spawn are ordinary Lua functions and may contain upvalues.

These upvalues are serialized as best as possible automatically and deserialized during thread entry. The same rules apply as for luv.codec.encode (see below).

Return values passed back via thread:join() pass through the same serialize/deserialize process, with the same caveats. So bear in mind that there's no true shared address space when using threads. This is A Good Thing (tm), I'm told.

Some of Luv's own objects and library tables are handled transparently.

In particular ØMQ context objects can be passed to threads or referenced as upvalues. ØMQ sockets and other libuv objects cannot.

Each thread has it's own libuv event loop, with the main thread running libuv's default loop. Threads may spawn other threads as well as fibers.

luv.thread.spawn(func, arg1, ..., argN)

Spawn a thread, using the Lua function func as the entry, and serialize the rest of the arguments and pass them deserialized back to func inside the new thread's global state.

Threads are spawned immediately during a call to luv.thread.spawn, so they differ to fibers in that there's no call to ready them first.

Returns a thread object.

thread:join()

Wait for the thread to finish. Returns the values returned by the thread if any.

Threads may join on threads or fibers. I have no idea what happens if a fiber joins on a thread. Bad Things probably. Haven't tried it yet.

Utilities

luv.self()

Returns the currently running state, which can be either a thread or a fiber.

luv.stdin, luv.stdout and luv.stderr

Fiber friendly stream versions of the standard file descriptors

luv.sleep(seconds)

Fiber friendly version of sleep(). The seconds argument may be fractional with millisecond resolution.

luv.hrtime()

Returns the current high-resolution time expressed in nanoseconds since some arbitrary time in the past. May not have nanosecond resolution though.

luv.mem_total()

Returns the total memory in bytes.

luv.mem_free()

Returns the free memory in bytes.

luv.cpu_info()

Returns a table containing an entry for each logical cpu. The entries have the following fields:

  • model - string containing the model name
  • speed - number in mhz
  • times - table with the following fields:
    • user
    • nice
    • sys
    • idle
    • irq

luv.interface_addresses()

Returns a table containing an entry for each interface address. The entries have the following fields:

  • name - string
  • is_internal - boolean
  • address - string (ip4 or ip6 address)

Serialization

Luv ships with a binary serializer which can serialize and deserialize Lua tuples. Tuples can contain tables (with cycles), Lua functions (with upvalues) any scalar value. Function upvalues must themselves be of a type which can be serialized. Coroutines and C functions can not be serialized.

luv.codec.encode(arg1, ..., argN)

Serializes tuple arg1 through argN and returns a string which can be passed to luv.codec.decode.

luv.codec.decode(string)

Deserializes string previously serialized with a call to luv.codec.encode

Returns the decoded tuple.

Serialization hook

For userdata and tables, a special hook is provided. If the metatable has a __codec method defined, then that is called. The __codec hook is called with the object as argument and is expected to return two values.

The first return value may be either a serializable function or a string. The second value may be any serializable value.

If the first return value is a function, then it is called during deserialization with the second return value as parameter.

If the first return value is a string, then the deserializer looks for a function keyed on that string inside Lua's registry table, and then in the global table, in that order. If no function is found, then an error is raised. If a function is found, then this function is called with the second return value is argument.

For example:

local luv = require("luv")

module("my.module", package.seeall)

Point = { } 
Point.__index = Point
Point.new = function()
   return setmetatable({ }, Point)
end
Point.move = function(self, x, y)
   self.x = x 
   self.y = y 
end
Point.__codec = function(self)
   return function(spec)
      local Point = require('my.module').Point
      return setmetatable(spec, Point)
   end, { x = self.x, y = self.y }
end


module("main", package.seeall)

local Point = require("my.module").Point
local obj = Point.new()
obj:move(1, 2)

local str = luv.codec.encode(obj)
local dec = luv.codec.decode(str)

assert(dec.x == 1 and dec.y == 2)
assert(type(dec.move) == 'function')

ØMQ

Luv provides bindings to ØMQ. The primary motivation for all this is that I really wanted threads. And ØMQ and threads fit together like a fist in the eye socket. ØMQ is tied into libuv's polling mechanism and has the same suspend/resume states behaviour as other I/O watchers.

You can, of course, use ØMQ from fibers as well.

luv.zmq.create(nthreads)

Creates a new ØMQ context object. Context objects can be shared across different threads and may be referenced as upvalues, or passed as arguments and return values (they survive serialization).

The nthreads argument controls the number of worker threads spawned by ØMQ's internals, and defaults to 1.

zmq:socket(type)

Called on the ØMQ context object to create a socket of type type. Socket types are described by constants defined in the luv.zmq table and map to the standard ØMQ socket types with prefix removed. They are:

  • REQ
  • REP
  • DEALER
  • ROUTER
  • PUB
  • SUB
  • PUSH
  • PULL
  • PAIR

The ØMQ docs explain what they all mean: http://zguide.zeromq.org/

The socket returned may not be shared between threads.

socket:bind(addr)

Bind this ØMQ socket to the address provided by addr. The addr string is the same as documented by ØMQ (i.e. "tcp://127.0.0.1:8080", etc.)

socket:connect(addr)

Connect this ØMQ socket to the address provided by addr. The addr string is the same as documented by ØMQ (i.e. "tcp://127.0.0.1:8080", etc.)

socket:send(mesg)

Send a message on the ØMQ socket.

socket:recv()

Receive a message from the ØMQ socket.

socket:close()

Close the ØMQ socket.

socket:getsockopt(opt)

Get a socket option named opt. Note that opt is a string, not a numeric constant as with the socket constructor. I'm still undecided which is better.

See the ØMQ docs.

socket:setsockopt(opt, val)

Set a socket option named opt. Note that opt is a string, not a numeric constant as with the socket constructor. I'm still undecided which is better.

See the ØMQ docs.

ØMQ Example

local zmq = luv.zmq.create(1)
local prod = luv.thread.create(function()
   local pub = zmq:socket(luv.zmq.PAIR)
   pub:bind('inproc://#1')

   print("enter prod:")
   for i=1, 10 do
      pub:send("tick: "..i)
   end
   pub:send("STOP")
   assert(pub:recv() == "OK")
   pub:close()
end)

local cons = luv.thread.create(function()
   local sub = zmq:socket(luv.zmq.PAIR)
   sub:connect('inproc://#1')

   print("enter cons")
   while true do
      local msg = sub:recv()
      if msg == "STOP" then
         sub:send("OK")
         break
      end
   end
   sub:close()
end)

cons:join()

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  • Tim Caswell (creationix) and the Luvit authors
  • Aleksandar Kordic
  • Vladimir Dronnikov (dvv)

LICENSE

Parts Copyright The Luvit Authors

Copyright 2012 Richard Hundt

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

   http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

TODO

  • uv_poll_t wrapper
  • test UDP stuff
  • ØMQ devices and utils
  • unify ØMQ constants (either strings or numbers)
  • finish docs