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Workerholic: background job processor


Workerholic is a multi-threaded, multi-process background job processing manager. It is an experimental project and as such is not meant to replace other stable engines like Sidekiq or Resque. In fact, Workerholic is inspired in large part by these projects.

In general, background job managers are great for asynchronous processing of time-consuming tasks like calling third party APIs and performing long calculations. What we are building aims to cover all those use cases.



Here's a brief overview of Workerholic's data flow:

  • enqueue a job
  • job is serialized and added to queue in Redis
  • workers pick jobs from Redis queues, deserialize and process them
  • on completion (or failure), relevant statistics are added to Redis
  • web-ui monitors application metrics and outputs the result

Job retry

Workerholic will retry every unsuccessfully performed job up to 5 times before placing it into a failed jobs queue

Multiple queues

It is possible to specify your own queues for each job your application needs to perform. This way every job has its own namespace and can be easily distinguished between multiple jobs.

Job scheduler

You can schedule a job to be performed at certain time

Job persistence in Redis

Every job (both active and completed) is stored in a Redis database. This way you will not lose any jobs even if your application crashes

Graceful shutdown

Workerholic will finish all currently processing jobs before shutting down

Web UI with statistics

Detailed statistics for processed jobs, queues sizes, overall performance and memory usage

Workers provisioning

Each worker is treated as a separate entity with its state changing dynamically based on the current number of jobs to perform


By default, each job queue will get a fair number of workers assigned to it. With provided optional argument, Workerholic can dynamically reassign workers to different queues depending on the number of jobs in each queue

Multi-process execution

Workerholic can be executed in multiple processes to utilize different CPU cores (MRI)


Installing the gem

Install the gem with the following command:

$ gem install workerholic

Or, add the following line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'workerholic', '~> 0.1'

And then make sure to execute the following command:

$ bundle install

Starting Redis

In order to start Redis, execute the following:


By default, Workerholic will try to connect to Redis via localhost:6379.

For a production environment, make sure to set a REDIS_URL environment variable to the address of your redis server.


Including Workerholic

In order to perform your jobs asynchronously you will need to include Workerholic in your job classes:

class MyJob
  include Workerholic::Job

  def perform(args)
    # job logic goes here

It is important to follow this pattern:

  • include Workerholic::Job in your job class
  • define a perform method holding your job's logic

Job Options

Specifying a Queue

Workerholic allows you to specify a name for the queue that your job will be enqueued in:

class MyJob
  include Workerholic::Job

  job_options queue_name: 'my_queue'

  def perform(args)
    # job logic goes here

Performing a Job Asynchronously

You can perform a job asynchronously:

my_job =
my_job.perform_async(arg1, arg2)

This will ensure that your job is performed in the background, asynchronously, as soon as possible.

Scheduling the Job

You can schedule a job to be executed at a later time:

my_job =
my_job.peform_delayed(100, arg1, arg2)

The above example ensures that my_job will be performed in 100 seconds.


Loading Application's Files

For a Rails Application

When using Workerholic with a Rails application, as long as you make sure to start Workerholic from the root directory of your Rails application, it will automatically detect your Rails application and eager load your application's files.

For Another Application

For Workerholic to execute the jobs you enqueue properly it needs to have access to the job classes.

Make sure to require all classes/dependencies needed with a single file:

workerholic -r my_app/all_dependencies_needed.rb

Setting Number of Workers

When starting Workerholic you can specify the number of workers you want running and performing jobs:

workerholic -w 25

Setting Number of Redis Connections

Internally, Workerholic uses a connection pool. By default, Workerholic will create a connection pool with a number of workers_count + 5 Redis connections.

In a production environment, you might be limited by the number of concurrent connections to Redis you are allowed to have. Make sure to check what the limit is and you can then start Workerholic by specifying a number of connections:

workerholic -c 10

Setting Number of Processes to Boot

Workerholic allows you to start multiple processes in parallel by forking children processes from the main process. This can be achieved with the following option:

workerholic -p 3

This will allow you to run 3 processes in parallel, with each process having its own workers and connection pool to Redis.

Enabling Workers Auto-Balancing Option

By default, Workerholic will evenly provision workers between job queues. Use the following option if you want to have workers provisioned based on the load for each queue:

workerholic -a

This will ensure that each queue will be provisioned with a number of workers based on its relative load compared to the aggregated load for all job queues.

Optimize by specifying IO-blocking jobs

IO blocking jobs include, any type of jobs that will require the machine to spend some time on IO, such as performing requests over the wire, opening a file, sleeping, etc.

You can specify that your job is IO blocking by adding -io at the end of the queue name you specified in your job class, like the following:

class MyJob < ApplicationJob
  queue_as: 'my_queue-io'

  def perform(args)
    # job logic goes here

In this case, the auto-balancing algorithm will assume that all other queues contain CPU blocking jobs and will assign only 1 worker to each of these queues, saving the rest of the workers for queues containing IO blocking jobs.



Workerholic integrates with ActiveJob. Add the following line to your application.rb file:

class Application < Rails::Application
  # ...

  config.active_job.queue_adapter = :workerholic

  # ...

After that line is added, you can use ActiveJob's API to execute your jobs asynchronously:

class MyJob < ApplicationJob
  queue_as: 'my_queue'

  def perform(args)
    # job logic goes here


Web UI

Workerholic comes with a Web UI tracking various statistics about the jobs that are being performed.

For a Rails Application

For a Rails application you will need to mount the Web UI on a specific route. In your routes.rb file make sure to add the following:

require 'workerholic/web/application'

Rails.application.routes.draw do
  # ...

  mount WorkerholicWeb => '/workerholic'

  # ...

For Another Application

If you are using another kind of application, you can start the Web UI using the following command:


You can then view the the app at: localhost:4567


An efficient and scalable Background Job Processor




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