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Ruby
Latest commit d758509 Nov 13, 2012 @tadman tadman Markdownifying documentation

README.md

await

This implements the await/defer pattern in Ruby using fibers within the EventMachine environment.

In general terms, await is used to define a group of operations that must be completed before processing can continue, and defer is used to define these individual operations.

This can be used to simplify otherwise complicated callback structures where a number of operations can be performed in parallel. Further complexity arises when some of these operations have optional steps.

Examples

In order to execute properly, an await call must be created within a fiber that can yield. Since the root fiber cannot yield, a secondary fiber must be created.

A very simple example shows how a number of timers can be set to simulate some long-running asynchronous operations:

require 'await'
require 'eventmachine'

EventMachine.run do
  Fiber.new do
    include Await

    now = Time.now
    await do
      EventMachine::Timer.new(5, &defer)
      EventMachine::Timer.new(2, &defer)
      EventMachine::Timer.new(3, &defer)
    end

    puts "Took %.1fs to complete" % (Time.now - now).to_f

    EventMachine.stop_event_loop
  end.resume
end

In the end you should see that it took only as long as the longest timer.

In its default state, defer is simply used as a trigger. It can also wrap around a callback block to add additional functionality:

require 'await'
require 'eventmachine'

EventMachine.run do
  Fiber.new do
    include Await
    
    now = Time.now
    await do
      trigger = defer do |x, y|
        puts "Received arguments: #{[ x, y ].inspect}"
      end
      
      EventMachine::Timer.new(4) do
        trigger.call(1, '2')
      end
      
      EventMachine::Timer.new(
        3,
        &defer do
          EventMachine::Timer.new(
            2,
            &defer
          )
        end
      )
    end

    puts "Took %.1fs to complete" % (Time.now - now).to_f

    EventMachine.stop_event_loop
  end.resume
end

Since the defer method returns a standard Proc callback, it is possible to pass it through as a callback method or to trigger it at an arbitrary time with call.

More examples of callback structures are available in the various unit tests.

Troubleshooting

If the secondary fiber has not been created you will see errors like:

FiberError: can't yield from root fiber

Keep in mind that unless a defer call is made within a callback then the operation is considered completed. If an additional asynchronous operation must be performed before it is complete, be sure to wrap any and all of these calls with defer as well to tag and track them properly.

Copyright

Copyright (c) 2012 Scott Tadman, The Working Group Inc. See LICENSE.txt for further details.