forkfriend

dead simple worker child process manager. respawn children. load balance work amongst children.

npm install forkfriend
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forkfriend

dead simple worker process manager. respawn children. load balance work amongst children.

there are a some obvious use cases.

  • sending loads of data to a cluster of distinct worker processes. (event queue processing / subscribers)
  • keeping one or many kinds of worker process clusters running from a light managment process.

example

Process Send / Manager api. This is useful if you just need to keep a set of child processes running but do not need to send a high volume of data. You may send as much data as you want but know you should pause if send returns false.


var forkfriend = require('friend');
var friend = forkfriend();

// make 3 somefriend.js worker with arguments
friend.add('somefriend.js',['-a',1],3);

// workers for the same file get the same args as the first. 
// multiple calls to add add that many more to the pool
friend.add('somefriend.js')

// if send returns false you should wait for the drain event before sending more data.
friend.send('hey one of you work on this');

friend.on('message',function(message,workername,worker){
  // message is the data the child sent.
  // workername === 'somefriend.js'
  // worker instanceof ChildProcess
})

// when you are all done
friend.stop();

Stream api.

If you are going to do any meaningful amount of work you already have a stream. A stream abstraction is essential because the IPC channel WILL get backed up until the process is killed or you run out of memory and everything starts to suck. The manager is a Duplex Stream so just pipe in and pipe out the results. Workers need not send back results. But if they do those will be emitted as message/data events on the manager.

var fs = require('fs');
// you will need some sort of transform stream to change the buffers into distinct messages.
// the child process manager load balances "messages" ie calls to send()
// each data event sent to the manager must be a distinct message in this 
var lineStream = require('line-stream');

var forkfriend = require('forkfriend');

var manager = forkfriend();
// fork 4 processes of worker.js
// the messages will be distributed across all 4 processes in a round robin/first available scheme
manager.add('./worker.js',4);

fs.createReadStream('application.log')
.pipe(lineStream())
.pipe(manager)
.pipe(fs.createWriteStream('processed.log'));

api

forkfriend

forkfriend(options)

  • options {} [optional]
    • respawnInterval
      • defaults to 500 ms. this is the max speed that new children will be spawned to prevent pegging the cpu on broken workers
    • maxQueue
      • defaults to 100. this is the maximum number of pending messages for workers that should be held while waiting for a functional worker to spawn. after this messages will be dropped but a drop event will be emitted so you application can choose how to handle the issue.
  • returns "friend" an EventEmitter forkfriend.balance()
  • this method handles round robin for messages of a worker type
    • overload this method to implement sticky balancing etc.

friend

  • add(script,arguments [optional],num [optional])
  • add(script,num [optional])
    • script is the path to the javascript file you want to fork
    • arguments are passed to fork as argv of your child process
    • the number of children you want to add to the pool. this is the same as calling add multiple times.
  • remove(script)
  • remove(script, num [optional])
  • remove(script,cp ChildProcess [optional])
    • remove a worker from the pool for script
    • if cp is provided this specifc child is removed
    • if num is provided
  • get(script)
    • get an array of the child processes in the pool for script
  • send (message, script [optional])
    • the message to send to one worker of each pool
    • send the message to a worker spawned from "script"
  • stop ()
    • stops the show. kills all child processes so your script can exit cleanly.
  • refork (script, cp ChildProcess [optional])
    • kill and start a specific worker or any in the pool stream
  • write
  • pause
  • resume

friend events

stream

  • data
    • this is a result message from a worker.
  • pause
    • if the pipes got backed up this will be emitted. a drain will be issued when data is processing again.
  • drain
    • any pending events have been sent and the stream is ready for more writing. process
  • message (message,script,args,cp ChildProcess)
    • a worker has sent you a message
  • worker (script,args,cp ChildProcess)
    • a new worker has been forked for this script
  • worker-exit (code,script,args,cp ChildProcess)
    • a worker has exited. the friend will try to refork it
  • worker-disconnect (script,args,cp ChildProcess)
    • a child has closed its communication channel with this process. the friend will try to kill it.
  • worker-error (error,script,args,cp ChildProcess)
    • a worker has had an error event, the friend will try to refork it.
  • drop
    • too many messages could not be sent to the workers for this script.

what does a worker look like


process.on('message',function(data){
  // do somthing
  // tell friend about it
  process.send('hey i worked onn '+data);
});

woo hooo.

let me know if this is helpful or if you have any issues.

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