Timer Based Scheduling

Simple tasks in the workers can be scheduled using add_timer and add_periodic_timer methods. For example:

class HelloWorker < BackgrounDRb::MetaWorker
  set_worker_name :hello_worker

  def create(args = nil)
    # time argument is in seconds
    add_periodic_timer(10) { expire_sessions }

  def expire_sessions
    # expire user sessions

Similar one can use add_timer to fire oneshot task execution.

Unix Scheduler

BackgrounDRb supports normal unix styled schedules which can be configured from backgroundrb.yml file. A sample configuration looks like:

  :port: 11006
          :start: <%= Time.now + 5.seconds %>
          :end: <%= Time.now + 10.minutes %>
          :repeat_interval: <%= 1.minute %> 

Above scheduler option schedules method foobar defined inside foo_worker to start executing by 5 seconds delay and stop after 10 minutes. Method should periodically execute every 1 minute between that time period. Never in any scheduling option, you should schedule create method/task

Cron Scheduling

BackgrounDRb also supports Cron based ccheduling. You can use a configuration file for cron scheduling of workers. The method specified in the configuration file would be called periodically. You should accommodate for the fact that the time gap between periodic invocation of a method should be more than the time that is actually required to execute the method. If a method takes longer time than the time window specified, your method invocations will lag perpetually.

A Sample Configuration file for Cron based Scheduling looks like:

      :trigger_args: */10 * * * * *
      :data: Hello World 

Above scheduler will schedule invocation of barbar method inside foo_worker at every 10 seconds.

A Word about Cron Scheduler

Note that the initial field in the BackgrounDRb cron trigger specifies seconds, not minutes as with Unix-cron.

The fields (which can be an asterisk, meaning all valid patterns) are:

sec[0,59] min[0,59], hour[0,23], day[1,31], month[1,12], weekday[0,6], year

The syntax pretty much follows Unix-cron. The following will trigger on the first hour and the thirtieth minute every day:

0 30 1 * * * *

The following will trigger the specified method every 10 seconds:

*/10 * * * * * *

The following will trigger the specified method every 1 hour:

0 0 * * * * *

For each field you can use a comma-separated list. The following would trigger on the 5th, 16th and 23rd minute every hour:

 5,16,23 * * * * *

Fields also support ranges, using a dash between values. The following triggers from 8th through the 17th hour, at five past the hour:

 5 8-17 * * * *

Finally, fields support repeat interval syntax. The following triggers every five minutes, every other hour after the sixth hour:

 */5 6/2 * * * *

Here is a more complex example: months 0,2,4,5,6,8,10,12, every day and hour, minutes 1,2,3,4,6,20, seconds: every 5th second counting from the 28th second plus the 59th second:

28/5,59 1-4,6,20 */1 * 5,0/2 * *

Note that if you specify an asterisk in the first field (seconds) it will trigger every second for the subsequent match.

Loading Workers on demand

Usually when your worker is scheduled to execute at longer intervals, it doesn’t make sense to have worker around, when its doing nothing. Since, scheduling via configuration file requires that your worker must be loaded when BackgrounDRb starts, your worker is always around, even when doing nothing.

You can reuse worker in processing requests from rails, but if its not possible and you rather want worker to start afresh each time, scheduler detects a firetime, you can use following syntax to autostart workers on scheduled time:

class HelloWorker < BackgrounDRb::MetaWorker
  set_worker_name :hello_worker
  reload_on_schedule true

  def create(args = nil)
    # this method is called, when worker is loaded for the first time

In above worker reload_on_schedule true makes sure that your worker is reloaded on scheduled time. This feature is only available in version 1.0.3 onwards.