[Python-ideas] Async API

Itamar Turner-Trauring itamar at futurefoundries.com
Fri Oct 26 18:57:16 CEST 2012

On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 12:36 PM, Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org> wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 8:52 AM, Laurens Van Houtven <_ at lvh.cc> wrote:
> > err, I suppose the missing bit there is that you'll probably want to:
> >
> > reactor.callLater(timeout, d.cancel)
> >
> > As opposed to calling d.cancel() directly. (That snippet was in
> > bpython-urwid with the reactor running in the background, but I doubt
> it'd
> > work well anywhere else outside of manholes :))
> So I think that Yuri's original problem statement, transformed to
> Twisted+Deferred, might still apply, depending on how you implement
> it. Yuri essentially did this:
> def foobar():  # a task
>     try:
>         yield <blocking action>
>     finally:
>         # must clean up regardless of whether action succeeded or failed:
>         yield <blocking cleanup>
> He then calls this with a timeout, with the semantics that if the
> generator is blocked in a yield when the timeout arrives, that yield
> raises a Timeout exception (and at no other time is Timeout raised).
> The problem with this is that if the action succeeds within the
> timeout, but barely, there's a chance that the cleanup of a
> *successful* action receives the Timeout exception. Apparently this
> bit Yuri. I'm not sure how you'd model that using just Deferreds, but
> using inlineCallbacks it seems the same thing might happen. Using
> Deferreds, I assume there's a common pattern to implement this that
> doesn't have this problem. Of course, using coroutines, there is too
> -- spawn the cleanup as an independent task.

If you call cancel() on a Deferred that already has a result, nothing
happens. So you don't get a TimeoutError if the operation has succeeded (or
failed some other way). This would also be true when using inlineCallbacks,
so there's no issue.

In general I'm not clear why this is a problem: in a single-threaded
program only one thing happens at a time. Your code for triggering a
timeout always has the option to check if the operation has succeeded,
without worrying about race conditions.
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