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tascalate-concurrent

The library provides an implementation of the CompletionStage interface and related classes these are designed to support long-running blocking tasks (typically, I/O bound). This functionality augments the sole Java 8 built-in implementation, CompletableFuture, that is primarily supports computational tasks. Also, the library helps with numerous asynchronous programing challenges like handling timeouts, retry/poll functionality, orchestrating results of multiple concurrent computations and similar.

Since the version 0.7.0 the library is shipped as a multi-release JAR and may be used both with Java 8 as a classpath library or with Java 9+ as a module.

IMPORTANT!

In the version 0.8.0 the artifact was renamed: New name:

<dependency>
    <groupId>net.tascalate</groupId>
    <artifactId>net.tascalate.concurrent</artifactId>
    <version>0.8.4</version>
</dependency>

Old Name

<dependency>
    <groupId>net.tascalate.concurrent</groupId>
    <artifactId>net.tascalate.concurrent.lib</artifactId>
    <version>0.7.1</version>
</dependency>

Why a CompletableFuture is not enough?

There are several shortcomings associated with CompletableFuture implementation that complicate its usage for real-life asynchronous programming, especially when you have to work with I/O-bound interruptible tasks:

  1. CompletableFuture.cancel() method does not interrupt underlying thread; it merely puts future to exceptionally completed state. So even if you use any blocking calls inside functions passed to thenApplyAsync / thenAcceptAsync / etc - these functions will run till the end and never will be interrupted. Please see CompletableFuture can't be interrupted by Tomasz Nurkiewicz.
  2. By default, all *Async composition methods of CompletableFutrure use ForkJoinPool.commonPool() (see here) unless explicit Executor is specified. This thread pool is shared between all CompletableFuture-s and all parallel streams across all applications deployed on the same JVM. This hard-coded, unconfigurable thread pool is completely outside of application developers' control, hard to monitor and scale. Therefore, in robust real-life applications you should always specify your own Executor. With API enhancements in Java 9+, you can fix this drawback, but it will require some custom coding.
  3. Additionally, built-in Java 8 concurrency classes provides pretty inconvenient API to combine several CompletionStage-s. CompletableFuture.allOf / CompletableFuture.anyOf methods accept only CompletableFuture as arguments; you have no mechanism to combine arbitrary CompletionStage-s without converting them to CompletableFuture first. Also, the return type of the aforementioned CompletableFuture.allOf is declared as CompletableFuture<Void> - hence you are unable to extract conveniently individual results of the each future supplied. CompletableFuture.anyOf is even worse in this regard; for more details please read on here: CompletableFuture in Action (see Shortcomings) by Tomasz Nurkiewicz.
  4. Support for timeouts/delays was introduced to CompletableFuture only in Java 9, so still widely supported applications running on Java 8 are left out without this important functionality. Plus, some design decisions like using delayed executors instead of 'delay' operator, are somewhat questionable.

There are numerous free open-source libraries that address some of the aforementioned shortcomings. However, none of them provides implementation of interruptible CompletionStage and no one solves all of the issues coherently.

How to use?

To use a library you have to add a single Maven dependency

<dependency>
    <groupId>net.tascalate</groupId>
    <artifactId>net.tascalate.concurrent</artifactId>
    <version>0.8.4</version>
</dependency>

What is inside?

1. Promise interface

This is the core interface of the Tascalate Concurrent library. It may be best described by the formula:

Promise == CompletionStage + Future

I.e., it combines both blocking Future’s API, including cancel(boolean mayInterruptIfRunning) method, AND composition capabilities of CompletionStage’s API. Importantly, all composition methods of CompletionStage API (thenAccept, thenCombine, whenComplete etc.) are re-declared to return Promise as well.

The decision to introduce an interface that merges CompletionStage and Future is aligned with the design of CompletableFuture API. In addition, several useful methods of CompletableFuture API are added as well:

T getNow(T valueIfAbsent) throws CancellationException, CompletionException;
T getNow(Supplier<? extends T> valueIfAbsent) throws CancellationException, CompletionException;
T join() throws CancellationException, CompletionException;

So it should be pretty straightforward to use the Promise as a drop-in replacement for the CompletableFuture in many cases.

Besides this, there are numerous operators in the Promise API to work with timeouts and delays, to override default asynchronous executor and similar. All of them will be discussed later.

When discussing Promise interface, it's mandatory to mention the accompanying class Promises that provides several useful methods to adapt third-party CompletionStage (including the standard CompletableFuture) to the Promise API. First, there are two unit operations to create successfully/faulty settled Promise-es:

static <T> Promise<T> success(T value)
static <T> Promise<T> failure(Throwable exception)

Second, there is an adapter method from:

static <T> Promise<T> from(CompletionStage<T> stage)

It behaves as the following:

  1. If the supplied stage is already a Promise then it is returned unchanged
  2. If stage is a CompletableFuture then a specially-tailored wrapper is returned.
  3. If stage additionally implements Future then specialized wrapper is returned that delegates all the blocking methods defined in Future API
  4. Otherwise generic wrapper is created with good-enough implementation of blocking Future API atop of asynchronous CompletionStage API.

To summarize, the returned wrapper delegates as much as possible functionality to the supplied stage and never resorts to CompletionStage.toCompletableFuture because in Java 8 API it's an optional method. From documentation: "A CompletionStage implementation that does not choose to interoperate with others may throw UnsupportedOperationException." (this text was dropped in Java 9+). In general, Tascalate Concurrent library does not depend on this method and should be interoperable with any minimal (but valid) CompletionStage implementation.

It's important to emphasize, that Promise-s returned from Promises.success, Promises.failure and Promises.from methods are cancellable in the same way as CompletableFuture, but are not interruptible in general, while interruption depends on a concrete implementation. Next we discuss the concrete implementation of an interruptible Promise provided by the Tascalate Concurrent library -- the CompletableTask class.

2. CompletableTask

This is why this project was ever started. CompletableTask is the implementation of the Promise API for long-running blocking tasks. Typically, to create a CompletableTask, you should submit Supplier / Runnable to the Executor right away, in a similar way as with CompletableFuture:

Promise<SomeValue> p1 = CompletableTask.supplyAsync(() -> {
  return blockingCalculationOfSomeValue();
}, myExecutor);

Promise<Void> p2 = CompletableTask.runAsync(this::someIoBoundMethod, myExecutor);

blockingCalculationOfSomeValue and someIoBoundMethod in the example above can have I/O code, work with blocking queues, do blocking get on regular Java-s Future-s and alike. If at later time you decide to cancel either of the returned promises then corresponding blockingCalculationOfSomeValue and someIoBoundMethod will be interrupted (if not completed yet).

In the realm of I/O-related functionality, failures like connection time-outs, missing or locked files are pretty common, and checked exceptions mechanism is used frequently to signal failures. Therefore the library provides an entry point to the API that accepts Callable instead of Supplier:

// Notice the checked exception in the method signature
byte[] loadFile(File file) throws IOException {
    byte[] result = ... //load file content;
    return result;
}
...
ExecutorService executorService = Executors.newFixedThreadPool(6);
Promise<byte[]> contentPromise = CompletableTask.submit(
    () -> loadFile(new File("./myfile.dat")), 
    executorService
); 

Additionally, there are 2 unit operations to create a CompletableTask:

a. CompletableTask.asyncOn(Executor executor) Returns an already-completed null-valued Promise that is "bound" to the specified executor. I.e. any function passed to asynchronous composition methods of Promise (like thenApplyAsync / thenAcceptAsync / whenCompleteAsync etc.) will be executed using this executor unless executor is overridden via explicit composition method parameter. Moreover, any nested composition calls will use same executor, if it’s not redefined via explicit composition method parameter:

CompletableTask
  .asyncOn(myExecutor)
  .thenApplyAsync(myValueGenerator)
  .thenAcceptAsync(myConsumer)
  .thenRunAsync(myAction);

All of myValueGenerator, myConsumer, myAction will be executed using myExecutor.

b. CompletableTask.completed(T value, Executor executor) Same as above, but the starting point is a Promise completed with the specified value:

CompletableTask
   .completed("Hello!", myExecutor)
   .thenApplyAsync(myMapper)
   .thenApplyAsync(myTransformer)   
   .thenAcceptAsync(myConsumer)
   .thenRunAsync(myAction);

All of myMapper, myTransformer, myConsumer, myAction will be executed using myExecutor. WARNING Before release 0.9.0 this method was named CompletableTask.complete(...)

Crucially, all composed promises support true cancellation (incl. interrupting thread) for the functions supplied as arguments:

Promise<?> p1 = CompletableTask.asyncOn(myExecutor)
Promise<?> p2 = p1.thenApplyAsync(myValueGenerator)
Promise<?> p3 = p2.thenRunAsync(myAction);

...
p2.cancel(true);

In the example above myValueGenerator will be interrupted if already in progress. Both p2 and p3 will be settled with failure: p2 with a CancellationException and p3 with a CompletionException.

You may notice, that above the term "asynchronous composition methods" is used, as well as *Async calls in examples (like thenApplyAsync, thenRunAsync. This is not accidental: non-asynchronous methods of CompletionStage API are not interruptible. The grounding beneath the design decision is that invoking asynchronous methods involves inevitable overhead of putting command to the queue of the executor, starting new threads implicitly, etc. And for simple, non-blocking methods, like small calculations, trivial transformations and alike this overhead might outweigh method's execution time itself. So the guideline is: use asynchronous composition methods for heavy I/O-bound blocking tasks, and use non-asynchronous composition methods for (typically lightweight) calculations.

Worth to mention, that CompletableTask-s and Promise-s composed out of it may be ever interruptible only if the Executor used is interruptible by nature. For example, ThreadPoolExecutor supports interruptible tasks, but ForkJoinPool does not!

3. Overriding default asynchronous executor

One of the pitfalls of the CompletableFuture implementation is how it works with default asynchronous executor. Consider the following example:

CompletionStage<String> p1 = CompletableFuture.supplyAsync(this::produceValue, executorInitial);
CompletionStage<String> p2 = p1.thenApplyAsync(this::transformValueA);
CompletionStage<String> p3 = p2.thenApplyAsync(this::transformValueB, executorNext);
CompletionStage<String> p4 = p3.thenApplyAsync(this::transformValueC);

The call to produceValue will be executed on the executorInitial - it is passed explicitly. However, the call to transformValueA will be excuted on... ForkJoinPool.commonPool()! Hmmmm... Probably this makes sense, but how to force using alternative executor by default? No way! Probably this is possible with deeper calls? The answer is "NO" again! The invocation to transformValueB ran on explicitly supplied executorNext. But next call, transformValueC will be executed on... you guess it... ForkJoinPool.commonPool()!

So, once you use CompletableFuture with JEE environment you must pass explicit instance of ManagedExecutorService to each and every method call. Not very convenient! To be fair, with Java 9+ API you can redefine this behavior via sub-classing CompletableFuture and overriding two methods: defaultExecutor and newIncompleteFuture. Plus, you will have to define your own "entry points" instead of the standard CompletableFuture.runAsync and CompletableFuture.supplyAsync.

With CompletableTask the situation is just the opposite. Let us rewrite the example above:

CompletionStage<String> p1 = CompletableTask.supplyAsync(this::produceValue, executorInitial);
CompletionStage<String> p2 = p1.thenApplyAsync(this::transformValueA);
CompletionStage<String> p3 = p2.thenApplyAsync(this::transformValueB, executorNext);
CompletionStage<String> p4 = p3.thenApplyAsync(this::transformValueC);

The call to produceValue will be executed on the executorInitial, obviously. But now, the call to transformValueA will be executed also on executorInitial! What's about deeper calls? The invocation to transformValueB ran on explicitly supplied executorNext. And next call, transformValueC will be executed on... check your intuition... executorNext. The logic behinds this is the following: the latest explicitly specified Executor is what will be used for all nested asynchronous composition methods without an explicit Executor parameter.

Obviously, it's rarely the case when one size fits all. Since release 0.6.6 there are two new options to specify default asynchronous executor:

  1. CompletableTask has an overloaded method:

    public static Promise<Void> asyncOn(Executor executor, boolean enforceDefaultAsync)

    When enforceDefaultAsync is true then all nested asynchronous composition methods without explicit Executor parameter will use the provided executor, even if previous composition methods use alternative Executor. This is somewhat similar to CompletableFuture but with the ability to explicitly set the default asynchronous executor initially.

  2. Promise interface has the following operation:

    Promise<T> defaultAsyncOn(Executor executor)

    The returned decorator will use the specified executor for all nested asynchronous composition methods without explicit Executor parameter. So, at any point, you are able to switch to the desired default asynchronous executor and keep using it for all nested composition call.

To summarize, with Tascalate Concurrent you have the following options to control what is the default asynchronous executor:

  1. The latest explicit Executor passed to *Async method is used for derived Promise-s - the default option.
  2. Single default Executor passed to the root CompletableTask.asyncOn(Executor executor, true) call is propagated through the whole chain. This is the only variant supported with CompletableFuture in Java 9+, though, with custom coding.
  3. Redefine Executor with defaultAsyncOn(Executor executor) for all derived Promise-s. Having the best of three(!) worlds, the only responsibility of the library user is to use these options consistently!

The last thing that should be mentioned is a typical task when you would like to start interruptible blocking method after completion of the standard CompletableFuture. The following utility method is defined in the CompletableTask:

public static <T> Promise<T> waitFor(CompletionStage<T> stage, Executor executor)

Roughly, this is a shortcut for the following:

CompletableTask.asyncOn(executor).thenCombine(stage, (u, v) -> v);

A typical usage of this method is:

TaskExecutorService executorService = TaskExecutors.newFixedThreadPool(3);
CompletableFuture<String> replyUrlPromise = sendRequestAsync();
Promise<byte[]> dataPromise = CompletableTask.waitFor(replyUrlPromise, executorService)
    .thenApplyAsync(url -> loadDataInterruptibly(url));

The dataPromise returned may be cancelled later and loadDataInterruptibly will be interrupted if not completed by that time.

4. Timeouts

Any robust application requires certain level of functionality, that handles situations when things go wrong. An ability to cancel a hanged operation existed in the library from the day one, but, obviously, it is not enough. Cancellation per se defines "what" to do in face of the problem, but the responsibility "when" to do was left to an application code. Starting from release 0.5.4 the library fills the gap in this functionality with timeout-related stuff.

An application developer now has the following options to control execution time of the Promise (declared in Promise interface itself):

<T> Promise<T> orTimeout(long timeout, TimeUnit unit[, boolean cancelOnTimeout = true])
<T> Promise<T> orTimeout(Duration duration[, boolean cancelOnTimeout = true])

These methods creates a new Promise that is either settled successfully/exceptionally when original promise is completed within a timeout given; or it is settled exceptionally with a TimeoutException when time expired. In any case, handling code is executed on the default asynchronous Executor of the original Promise.

Executor myExecutor = ...; // Get an executor
Promise<String> callPromise = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod(), myExecutor )
    .orTimeout( Duration.ofSeconds(3) );

Promise<?> nextPromiseSync = callPromise.whenComplete((v, e) -> processResultSync(v, e));
Promise<?> nextPromiseAsync = callPromise.whenCompleteAsync((v,e) -> processResultAsync(v, e));

In the example above callPromise will be settled within 3 seconds either successfully/exceptionally as a result of the someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod execution, or exceptionally with a TimeoutException.

It's worth to mention, that both processResultSync and processResultAsync will be executed with myExecutor, if timeout is triggered - this rule is true for all timeout-related methods.

The optional cancelOnTimeout parameter defines whether or not to cancel the original Promise when time is expired; it is implicitly true when omitted. So in example above the someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod will be interrupted if it takes more than 3 seconds to complete. Pay attention: any Promise is cancellable on timeout, even wrappers created via Promises.from(stage), but only CompletableTask is interruptible!

Cancelling original promise on timeout is a desired behavior in most cases but not always. In reality, "Warn-first-Cancel-next" scenarios are not rare, where "warn" may be logging, sending notification emails, showing messages to user on UI etc. The library provides an option to set several non-cancelling timeouts like in the example below:

Executor myExecutor = ...; // Get an executor
Promise<String> resultPromise = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod(), executor );

// Show UI message to user to let him/her know that everything is under control
Promise<?> t1 = resultPromise
    .orTimeout( Duration.ofSeconds(2), false )
    .exceptionally( e -> {
      if (e instanceof TimeoutException) {
        UI.showMessage("The operation takes longer than expected, please wait...");
      }
      return null;
    }, false); 

// Show UI confirmation to user to let him/her cancel operation explicitly
Promise<?> t2 = resultPromise
    .orTimeout( Duration.ofSeconds(5), false )
    .exceptionally( e -> {
      if (e instanceof TimeoutException) {
        UI.clearMessages();
        UI.showConfirmation("Service does not respond. Do you whant to cancel (Y/N)?");
      }
      return null;
    }, false); 

// Cancel in 10 seconds
resultPromise.orTimeout( Duration.ofSeconds(10), true );

Please note that the timeout is started from the call to the orTimeout method. Hence, if you have a chain of unresolved promises ending with the orTimeout call then the whole chain should be completed within the time given:

Executor myExecutor = ...; // Get an executor
Promise<String> parallelPromise = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningDbCall(), executor );
Promise<List<String>> resultPromise = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod(), executor )
    .thenApplyAsync( v -> converterMethod(v) )
    .thenCombineAsync(parallelPromise, (u, v) -> Arrays.asList(u, v))
    .orTimeout( Duration.ofSeconds(5) );

In the latest example resultPromise will be resolved successfully if and only if all of someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod, converterMethod and even someLongRunningDbCall are completed within 5 seconds. If it's necessary to restrict execution time of the single step, please use standard CompletionStage.thenCompose method. Say, that in the previous example we have to restrict execution time of the converterMethod only. Then the modified chain will look like:

Promise<List<String>> resultPromise = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod(), executor )
    // Restict only execution time of converterMethod
    // -- start of changes
    .thenCompose( v -> 
        CompletableTask.completed(v, executor)
                       .thenApplyAsync(vv -> converterMethod(vv))
                       .orTimeout( Duration.ofSeconds(5) )
    )
    // -- end of changes
    .thenCombineAsync(parallelPromise, (u, v) -> Arrays.asList(u, v))
    ;

Moreover, in the original example only the call to the thenCombineAsync will be cancelled on timeout (the last in the chain), to cancel the whole chain please use the functionality of the DependentPromise interface (will be discussed later):

Executor myExecutor = ...; // Get an executor
Promise<String> parallelPromise = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningDbCall(), executor );
Promise<List<String>> resultPromise = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod(), executor )
    .dependent()
    // enlist promise of someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod for cancellation
    .thenApplyAsync( v -> converterMethod(), true )  
    // enlist result of thenApplyAsync and parallelPromise for cancellation
    .thenCombineAsync(parallelPromise, (u, v) -> Arrays.asList(u, v), PromiseOrigin.ALL)
    .orTimeout( Duration.ofSeconds(5) ); // now timeout will cancel the whole chain

Another useful timeout-related methods declared in Promise interface are:

<T> Promise<T> onTimeout(T value, long timeout, TimeUnit unit[, boolean cancelOnTimeout = true])
<T> Promise<T> onTimeout(T value, Duration duration[, boolean cancelOnTimeout = true])
<T> Promise<T> onTimeout(Supplier<? extends T>, long timeout, TimeUnit unit[, boolean cancelOnTimeout = true])
<T> Promise<T> onTimeout(Supplier<? extends T>, Duration duration[, boolean cancelOnTimeout = true])

The onTimeout family of methods are similar in all regards to the orTimeout methods with the single obvious difference - instead of completing resulting Promise exceptionally with the TimeoutException when time is expired, they are settled successfully with the alternative value supplied (either directly or via Supplier):

Executor myExecutor = ...; // Get an executor
Promise<String> callPromise = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod(), executor )
    .onTimeout( "Timed-out!", Duration.ofSeconds(3) );

The example shows, that callPromise will be settled within 3 seconds either successfully/exceptionally as a result of the someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod execution, or with a default value "Timed-out!" when time exceeded.

It's important to mention the crucial difference between Promise.orTimeot / onTimeout and CompletableFuture.orTimeout / completeOnTimeout in Java 9+. In Tascalate Concurrent both operations return a new Promise, that is may be canceled individually, without cancelling the original Promise. Moreover, the original Promise will not be completed with TimeoutException when time expired but rather with the CancellationException (in the case of orTimeout([duration], true) or orTimeout([duration])). The behavior of CompletableFuture in Java 9+ is radically different: timeout-related operations are just "side-effects", and the returned value is the original CompletableFuture itself. So the call to completableFuture.orTimeout(100, TimeUnit.MILLIS).cancel() will cancel the completableFuture itself, and there is no way to revert the timeout once it's set. Correspondingly, when time expired the original completableFuture will be completed exceptionally with TimeoutException.

Finally, the Promise interface provides an option to insert delays into the call chain:

<T> Promise<T> delay(long timeout, TimeUnit unit[, boolean delayOnError = true])
<T> Promise<T> delay(Duration duration[, boolean delayOnError = true])

The delay is started only after the original Promise is completed either successfully or exceptionally (unlike orTimeout / onTimeout methods where timeout is started immediately). The resulting delay Promise is resolved after the timeout specified with the same result as the original Promise. The latest methods' argument - delayOnError - specifies whether or not we should delay if original Promise is resolved exceptionally, by default this argument is true. If false, then delay Promise is completed immediately after the failed original Promise.

Executor myExecutor = ...; // Get an executor
Promise<String> callPromise1 = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> someLongRunningIoBoundMehtod(), executor )
    .delay( Duration.ofSeconds(1) ) // Give a second for CPU to calm down :)
    .thenApply(v -> convertValue(v));

Promise<String> callPromise2 = CompletableTask
    .supplyAsync( () -> aletrnativeLongRunningIoBoundMehtod(), executor )
    .delay( Duration.ofSeconds(1), false ) // Give a second for CPU to calm down ONLY on success :)
    .thenApply(v -> convertValue(v));

Like with other timeout-related methods, convertValue is invoked on the default asynchronous Executor of the original Promise.

You may notice, that delay may be introduced only in the middle of the chain, but what to do if you'd like to back-off the whole chain execution? Just start with a resolved promise!

// Option 1
// Interruptible tasks chain on the executor supplied
CompletableTask.asyncOn(executor)
    .delay( Duration.ofSeconds(5) )
    .thenApplyAsync(ignore -> produceValue());

// Option2
// Computational tasks on ForkJoinPool.commonPool()
Promises.from(CompletableFuture.completedFuture(""))
    .delay( Duration.ofSeconds(5) )
    .thenApplyAsync(ignore -> produceValue());

As long as back-off execution is not a very rare case, the library provides the following convenient shortcuts in the CompletableTask class:

static Promise<Duration> delay(long timeout, TimeUnit unit, Executor executor);
static Promise<Duration> delay(Duration duration, Executor executor);

Notice, that in Java 9+ a different approach is chosen to implement delays - there is no corresponding operation defined for the CompletableFuture object and you should use delayed Executor. Please read documentation on the CompletableFuture.delayedExecutor method for details.

5. Combining several CompletionStage-s.

The utility class Promises provides a rich set of methods to combine several CompletionStage-s, that lefts limited functionality of CompletableFuter.allOf / anyOf far behind:

  1. The library works with any CompletionStage implementation without resorting to converting arguments to CompletableFuture first (and CompletionStage.toCompletableFuture is an optional operation, at least it's documented so in Java 8).
  2. It's possible to pass either an array or a List of CompletionStage-s as arguments.
  3. The resulting Promise let access individual results of the settled CompletionStage-s passed.
  4. There is an option to cancel non-settled CompletionStage-s passed once the result of the operation is known.
  5. Optionally you can specify whether or not to tolerate individual failures as long as they don't affect the final result.
  6. General M completed successfully out of N passed promises scenario is possible.

Let us review the relevant methods, from the simplest ones to the most advance.

static <T> Promise<List<T>> all([boolean cancelRemaining=true,] CompletionStage<? extends T>... promises)
static <T> Promise<List<T>> all([boolean cancelRemaining=true,] 
                                List<? extends CompletionStage<? extends T>> promises)

Returns a promise that is completed normally when all CompletionStage-s passed as parameters are completed normally; if any promise completed exceptionally, then resulting promise is completed exceptionally as well.

static <T> Promise<T> any([boolean cancelRemaining=true,] CompletionStage<? extends T>... promises)
static <T> Promise<T> any([boolean cancelRemaining=true,] 
                          List<? extends CompletionStage<? extends T>> promises)

Returns a promise that is completed normally when any CompletionStage passed as parameters is completed normally (race is possible); if all promises completed exceptionally, then resulting promise is completed exceptionally as well.

static <T> Promise<T> anyStrict([boolean cancelRemaining=true,] CompletionStage<? extends T>... promises)
static <T> Promise<T> anyStrict([boolean cancelRemaining=true,] 
                                List<? extends CompletionStage<? extends T>> promises)

Returns a promise that is completed normally when any CompletionStage passed as parameters is completed normally (race is possible); if any promise completed exceptionally before the first result is available, then resulting promise is completed exceptionally as well (unlike non-Strict variant, where exceptions are ignored if any result is available at all).

static <T> Promise<List<T>> atLeast(int minResultsCount, [boolean cancelRemaining=true,] 
                                    CompletionStage<? extends T>... promises)
static <T> Promise<List<T>> atLeast(int minResultsCount, [boolean cancelRemaining=true,] 
                                    List<? extends CompletionStage<? extends T>> promises)

Generalization of the any method. Returns a promise that is completed normally when at least minResultCount of CompletionStage-s passed as parameters are completed normally (race is possible); if less than minResultCount of promises completed normally, then resulting promise is completed exceptionally.

static <T> Promise<List<T>> atLeastStrict(int minResultsCount, [boolean cancelRemaining=true,] 
                                          CompletionStage<? extends T>... promises)
static <T> Promise<List<T>> atLeastStrict(int minResultsCount, [boolean cancelRemaining=true,] 
                                          List<? extends CompletionStage<? extends T>> promises)

Generalization of the anyStrict method. Returns a promise that is completed normally when at least minResultCount of CompletionStage-s passed as parameters are completed normally (race is possible); if any promise completed exceptionally before minResultCount of results are available, then resulting promise is completed exceptionally as well (unlike non-Strict variant, where exceptions are ignored if minResultsCount of successful results are available).

All methods above have an optional parameter cancelRemaining (since library's version 0.5.3). When omitted, it means implicitly cancelRemaining = true. The cancelRemaining parameter defines whether or not to eagerly cancel remaining promises once the result of the operation is known, i.e. enough promises passed are settled successfully or some CompletionStage completed exceptionally in strict version.

Each operation to combine CompletionStage-s has overloaded versions that accept either a List of CompletionStage-s (since version 0.5.4 of the library) or varagr array of CompletionStage-s.

Besides any/anyStrict methods that return single-valued promise, all other combinator methods return a list of values per every successfully completed promise, at the same indexed position. If the promise at the given position was not settled at all, or failed (in non-strict version), then corresponding item in the result list is null. If necessary number or promises was not completed successfully, or any one completed exceptionally in strict version, then resulting Promise is settled with a failure of the type MultitargetException. Application developer may examine MultitargetException.getExceptions() to check what is the exact failure per concrete CompletionStage passed.

The Promise returned has the following characteristics:

  1. Cancelling resulting Promise will cancel all the CompletionStage-s passed as arguments.
  2. Default asynchronous executor of the resulting Promise is undefined, i.e. it could be either ForkJoin.commonPool or whatever Executor is used by any of the CompletionStage passed as argument. To ensure that necessary default Executor is used for subsequent asynchronous operations, please apply defaultAsyncOn(myExecutor) on the result.

6. DependentPromise

As it mentioned above, once you cancel Promise, all Promise-s that depends on this promise are completed with CompletionException wrapping CancellationException. This is a standard behavior, and CompletableFuture works just like this.

However, when you cancel derived Promise, the original Promise is not cancelled:

Promise<?> original = CompletableTask.supplyAsync(() -> someIoBoundMethod(), myExecutor);
Promise<?> derivedA = original.thenRunAsync(() -> someMethodA() );
Promise<?> derivedB = original.thenRunAsync(() -> someMethodB() );
...
derivedB.cancel(true);

So if you cancel derivedB above it's Runnable method, wrapping someMethod, is interrupted. However the original promise is not cancelled and someIoBoundMethod keeps running. Also, derivedA is not cancelled, and such behavior is expected. However, sometimes we have a linear chain of the promises and have a requirement to cancel the whole chain from a tail to the head. Consider the following method:

public Promise<DataStructure> loadData(String url) {
   return CompletableTask.supplyAsync( () -> loadXml(url) ).thenApplyAsync( xml -> parseXml(xml) ); 
}

...
Promise<DataStructure> p = loadData("http://someserver.com/rest/ds");
...
if (someCondition()) {
  // Only second promise is canceled, parseXml.
  p.cancel(true);
}

Clients of this method see only derived promise, and once they decide to cancel it, it is expected that any of loadXml and parseXml will be interrupted if not completed yet. To address this issue the library provides DependentPromise class:

public Promise<DataStructure> loadData(String url) {
   return DependentPromise
          .from(CompletableTask.supplyAsync( () -> loadXml(url) ))
          .thenApplyAsync( xml -> parseXml(xml), true ); 
}

...
Promise<DataStructure> p = loadData("http://someserver.com/rest/ds");
...
if (someCondition()) {
  // Now the whole chain is canceled.
  p.cancel(true);
}

DependentPromise overloads methods like thenApply / thenRun / thenAccept / thenCombine etc with additional argument:

public Promise<DataStructure> loadData(String url) {
   return DependentPromise
          .from(CompletableTask.supplyAsync( () -> loadXml(url + "/source1") ))
          .thenCombine( 
              CompletableTask.supplyAsync( () -> loadXml(url + "/source2") ), 
              (xml1, xml2) -> Arrays.asList(xml1, xml2),
              PromiseOrigin.ALL
          )          .
          .thenApplyAsync( xmls -> parseXmlsList(xmls), true ); 
}

Please note, then in release 0.5.4 there is a new default method dependent in interface Promise that serves the same purpose and allows to write chained calls:

public Promise<DataStructure> loadData(String url) {
   return CompletableTask
          .supplyAsync( () -> loadXml(url) )
          .dependent()
          .thenApplyAsync( xml -> parseXml(xml), true ); 
}

7. Polling and asynchronous retry functionality

Once you departure from the pure algebraic calculations to the unreliable terrain of the I/O-related functionality you have to deal with failures. Network outage, insuffcient disk space, overloaded third-party servers, exhausted database connection pools - these and many similar infrastructure failures is what application have to cope with flawlessly. And many of the aforementioned issues are temporal by the nature, so it makes sense to re-try after small delay and keep fingers crossed that this time everything will run smoothly. So this is the primary use-case for the retry functionality, or better yet -- asynchronous retry functionality, while all we want our applications be as scalable as possible.

Another related area is polling functionality - unlike infrastructure failures these are sporadic, polling is built-in in certain asynchronous protocol communications. Say, an application sends an HTTP request to generate a report and waits for the known file on FTP server. There is no "asynchronous reply" expected from the third-party server, and the application has to poll periodically till the file will be available.

Both use-case are fully supported by the Tascalate Concurrent library. The library provides an API that is both unobtrusive and rich for a wide range of tasks. The following retry* methods are available in the Promises class:

Provided by utility class Promises but stands on its own

static Promise<Void> retry(Runnable codeBlock, Executor executor, 
                           RetryPolicy<? super Void> retryPolicy);
static Promise<Void> retry(RetryRunnable codeBlock, Executor executor, 
                           RetryPolicy<? super Void> retryPolicy);

static <T> Promise<T> retry(Callable<T> codeBlock, Executor executor, 
                            RetryPolicy<? super T> retryPolicy);
static <T> Promise<T> retry(RetryCallable<T, T> codeBlock, Executor executor, 
                            RetryPolicy<? super T> retryPolicy);

static <T> Promise<T> retryOptional(Callable<Optional<T>> codeBlock, Executor executor, 
                                    RetryPolicy<? super T> retryPolicy);
static <T> Promise<T> retryOptional(RetryCallable<Optional<T>, T> codeBlock, Executor executor, 
                                    RetryPolicy<? super T> retryPolicy);

static <T> Promise<T> retryFuture(Callable<? extends CompletionStage<T>> invoker, 
                                  RetryPolicy<? super T> retryPolicy);
static <T> Promise<T> retryFuture(RetryCallable<? extends CompletionStage<T>, T> invoker, 
                                  RetryPolicy<? super T> retryPolicy);

All the methods from retry family share the same pattern. First, there is a block of code that is executed per every attempt. It could be either a full block of the asynchronous code (retry and retryOptional) or a method that returns a CompletionStage from third-party API like Async Http library (retryFuture). Next, if we retry custom code block, then it's necessary to provide an Executor it should be run on. For retryFuture there is no explicit Executor, and it's up to the third-party library to provide scalable and robust Executor as a default asynchronous executor of the returned CompletionStage. Finally, RetryPolicy should be specified that provides a lot of customization options:

  1. How much attempts should be made?
  2. What is a time interval between attempts? Should it be fixed or dynamic?
  3. What is a timeout before a single attempted is considered "hanged"? Should it be dynamic?
  4. What exceptions are re-trieable and what are not?
  5. What result is expected to be valid? Is a null result valid? Is any non-null result valid or some returned object properties should be examined?

All in all, RetryPolicy is provides an API with endless customizations per every imaginable use-case. But before discussing it, it's necessary to explain a difference in each pair of methods. Why there are overloads with Runnable vs RetryRunnable and Callable vs RetryCallable? The reason is the following:

  1. Contextless retriable operations are captured as Runnable or Callable lambdas - they behaves the same for every iteration, and hence do not need a context.
  2. Methods with RetryRunnable and RetryCallable are contextual and may dynamically alter their behavior for the given iteration depending on the context passed. The RetryContext provides provides all necessary iteration-specific information.

8. Context variables & contextual Promises

WARNING This part of API will be refactored in the upcoming release 0.9.0.

Ah, those dreaded TreadLocal-s we all hate, love to hate, but, neveretheless, use everywhere. It's quite common to store some contextual data (like authenticated user and current locale) inside ThreadLocal variables. Sometimes it's a custom code, sometimes the code from third-party library we can't alter.

Typically, we spawn asynchronous code from some thread with well-known characteristics, like HTTP request thread. Here we can easly access contextual information from thread-local variables. However, using thread-local variables from asynchronous code block is hard while it's impossible to predict what thread from the pool will execute the code. It's necessary to capture the context of the one thread and propagate it to threads executing asynchronous code.

To solve this issue, there Tascalate Concurrent provides ContextVar class (since version 0.8.1), that serves as a proxy over thread-local variable for multi-threaded code. Typical usage scenario is the following:

  1. Define ContextualPromiseFactory holding ContextVar-s from existing thread-local variables.
  2. Capture a context of the thread that spawns asynchronous operations.
  3. Convert a Promise to context-aware promise.
    class MyService {
    // Tread-local variables; they are configured by some custom code (irrelevant for Tascalate Concurrent)
    static final ThreadLocal<Principal> CURRENT_PRINCIPAL = new ThreadLocal<Principal>();
    static final ThreadLocal<Locale> CURRENT_LOCALE = new ThreadLocal<Locale>();
    }
    ...
    // [1] -- Define `ContextualPromiseFactory`, it's immutable, thread-safe and may be shared in any manner
    ContextualPromiseFactory cpf = ContextVar.relay(MyService.CURRENT_PRINCIPAL, MyService.CURRENT_LOCALE);
    ...
    // [2] -- In the invoker thread (like HTTP request thread), 
    // where MyService.CURRENT_PRINCIPAL, MyService.CURRENT_LOCALE are available:
    Function<Promise<String>, Promise<String>> newContextualPromise = cpf.captureContext();
    ...
    // [3] -- Convert a Promise to context-aware promise with 'newContextualPromise' factory:
    Promise<Void> httpRequest = 
    CompletableTask.supplyAsync(() -> getDownloadUrlTemplate(), myExecutor)
               .as(newContextualPromise) // <--- HERE the conversion is set 
               .thenApply(url -> 
                   url + 
                   "?user=" + MyService.CURRENT_PRINCIPAL.getName() + 
                   "&locale=" + MyService.CURRENT_LOCALE.toString()   
               )
               .thenAccept(url -> {
                 log.info("Get data for user " + MyService.CURRENT_PRINCIPAL.getName());
                 executeHttpRequest(url);
               });

    In the example above, after the call to Promise.as(newContextualPromise) all of the derrived promises (i.e. code blocks in thenApply / thenAccept) may access contextual information captured in the originated thread.

Worth to mention, that copying contextual variables has certain performance penalty. To stop it at the certain level, just use Promise.raw() to undecorate derrived promises (as with any other decorator):

Promise<Void> afterHttpRequest =
httpRequest.raw()
           .thenRun(() -> {
             // MyService.CURRENT_PRINCIPAL, MyService.CURRENT_LOCALE are not available here
           });

9. Decorators for CompletionStage / CompletableFuture / Promise

10. Extensions to ExecutorService API

It’s not mandatory to use any specific subclasses of Executor with CompletableTask – you may use any implementation. However, someone may find beneficial to have a Promise-aware ExecutorService API. Below is a list of related classes/interfaces:

a. Interface TaskExecutorService

Specialization of ExecutorService that uses Promise as a result of submit(...) methods.

b. Class ThreadPoolTaskExecutor A subclass of the standard ThreadPoolExecutor that implements TaskExecutorService interface.

c. Class TaskExecutors

A drop-in replacement for Executors utility class that returns various useful implementations of TaskExecutorService instead of the standard ExecutorService.

Acknowledgements

Internal implementation details are greatly inspired by the work done by Lukáš Křečan. The part of the polling / asynchronous retry functionality is adopted from the async-retry library by Tomasz Nurkiewicz