ack

XOR based ack tracking library for guaranteeing message processing

npm install ack
3 downloads in the last week
11 downloads in the last month

ack

Stability: 1 - Experimental

Ack is a tracker mechanism inspired by XOR tracking in Storm that guarantees message processing. It can track multitudes of messages/events in ack chains and report whether or not all of them have been processed.

Installation

npm install ack

Tests

npm test

Overview

Ack is a tracker mechanism inspired by XOR tracking in Storm that guarantees message processing. It can track multitudes of messages/events and report whether or not all of them have been processed.

How it works

Ack uses the XOR operation for all the magic. Here is a quick overview of the relevant aspects of XOR. The XOR (^) operation has the following properties:

A ^ A = 0

and

A ^ B ^ C = B ^ A ^ C, A ^ D ^ B ^ A ^ B ^ D = 0.

Ack chain

Let's say that you want to do a letter count, and you have a database containing text files that contain words.

database -> files -> words

Our approach will be event driven, so we will iterate through the database and emit a file event for each file we encounter.

          +-> 'file'
         /
database ---> 'file'
         \
          +-> 'file'

Another part of our computation will accept those file events and emit word events for each word encountered.

          +-> 'word'
         /
... file ---> 'word'
         \
          +-> 'word'

How do we track that a particular file has been fully processed when assuming that at each point the processing of any one of the words in that file could fail?

For every file, you can create a unique tag and a random xorStamp. We will then initialize an ack chain. In the below example, I will use a simple bit string in place of xorStamp for illustration purposes. In real use, you want to use a random Buffer, perhaps generated via:

var xorStamp = crypto.createHash('sha1').update('' + new Date().getTime() + process.hrtime()[1]).digest();

In our example, we generate tag and xorStamp.

WARNING: Pseudocode below.

var Ack = require('ack');
var ack = new Ack();

var tag = "unique-file-tag";
var fileStamp = '00101001'; // this is just for illustration (use a random Buffer)

ack.add(tag, fileStamp);

Next, each file is broken up into words. Here comes the tricky part. We are going to do a lot of things at once.

First, we already registered the start of file processing via ack.add(...), now, we will acknowledge finishing the processing of that file. To acknowledge, we will send the fileStamp again (remember A ^ A = 0).

Second, at the same time, we will acknowledge starting the processing of each word. Let's say we have word1, word2, word3. We will generate a stamp for each word, so word1Stamp, word2Stamp and word3Stamp. To acknowledge the starting of the processing we will send those word stamps to the acker.

Now, remember that A ^ A ^ B ^ C = 0 ^ B ^ C = B ^ C. More precisely:

var fileStamp  = '00101001'; // we mark completing file
var word1Stamp = '00100101'; // we mark start of computing word1
var word2Stamp = '10101001'; // we mark start of computing word2
var word3Stamp = '11101001'; // we mark start of computing word3

var xorOfAll   = '01001100'; // fileStamp XOR word1Stamp XOR word2Stamp XOR word3Stamp

ack.stamp(tag, xorOfAll); // we stamp with just one stamp for all ops above

At this point, what happened inside of Ack is the XOR of previous state with the newly stamped one.

var previousStamp =  '00101001'; // original fileStamp
var inboundStamp  =  '01001100'; // xorOfAll from above

var currentState  =  '01100101'; // previousStamp XOR inboundStamp

So, we've managed to acknowledge multiple operations all at once, and we are still storing only the currentState.

Next, notice what happens as we successfully process each word.

var currentState  = '01100101'; // currentState from above

var word1Stamp    = '00100101'; // we mark finishing of word1
ack.stamp(tag, word1Stamp);

currentState      = '01000000'; // currentState XOR word1Stamp

var word2Stamp    = '10101001'; // we mark finishing of word2
ack.stamp(tag, word2Stamp);

currentState      = '11101001'; // currentState XOR word2Stamp

var word3Stamp    = '11101001'; // we mark finishing of word3
ack.stamp(tag, word3Stamp);

currentState      = '00000000'; // currentState XOR word3Stamp
// emit 'acked' event, all words for file have been processed!

That's it. The XOR math works out really well for tracking these types of computation where one event generates multiple child events. This can keep going further down the chain as long as we acknowledge completing our parent processing together with initiation of any child processing. Despite all that activity, the amount of information we store is always one state per entire ack chain.

The above example used binary looking strings for illustrative purposes. The real implementation uses Buffers. Additionally, the stamps need to be sufficiently large and random to prevent erronous acked events. Storm implementation found a 64bit random integer to be sufficient in practice.

Documentation

Ack

Public API

Ack.eqv(first, second)

CAUTION: reserved for internal use

  • first: Buffer First buffer to compare.
  • second: Buffer Second buffer to compare.
  • Return: Boolean true if equal, false otherwise.

Ack.xor(first, second, [zeroCallback])

CAUTION: reserved for internal use

  • first: Buffer First buffer to compare.
  • second: Buffer Second buffer to compare.
  • zeroCallback: Function (Default: undefined) Optional callback to call if the result of XOR is 0.
  • Return: Buffer The result of first XOR second

The lengths of the buffers must be equal.

new Ack()

Creates a new Ack instance.

ack.add(tag, xorStamp)

  • tag: String A unique identifier to track this ack chain.
  • xorStamp: Buffer Initial stamp to start the ack chain for tag.

ack.fail(tag)

  • tag: String A unique identifier of a previously added tag.

Removes the tag and associated xorStamp from the acker and emits the failed event for the tag.

ack.stamp(tag, xorStamp)

  • tag: String A unique identifier to track this ack chain.
  • xorStamp: Buffer Initial stamp to start the ack chain for tag.

Event acked

  • tag: String A unique identifier of a previously added tag.

Emitted when the ack chain for a previously added tag succeeds. Success is defined as the cumulative XOR operation of initial add() xorStamp and any following stamp() xorStamps that results in xorStamp being all 0s.

Success removes the tag and associated xorStamp from the acker and emits the acked event for the tag.

Event failed

  • tag: String A unique identifier of a previously added tag.

Emitted when the ack chain for a previously added tag fails.

Sources

The implementation has been sourced from:

npm loves you