Timing out arbitrary functions

antti kervinen antti.kervinen at gmail.com
Wed Dec 28 09:09:50 CET 2005


AOP would be a quite elegant way set timeouts for functions, in my
opinion. The nice thing in it is that, in principle, you can write a
single timeout advice code and then wrap it over any function you want
to timeout.

I wrote timeout_advice.py to demonstrate this a couple of years ago
(see http://www.cs.tut.fi/~ask/aspects/aspects.html). It may not
directly solve the problem at hand because it is thought to be used
with a wrap_around implementation that  wraps methods in classes rather
than ordinary functions in modules. urllib.URLopener.open is used as an
example in the code. Unfortunately, I still have not implemented the
wrapping for ordinary functions, although it should be straight-forward
with the same idea that is explained in the web page.

Of course, in the real life, timeouts are tricky and dangerous. The
consequences of interrupting a function that is not designed to be
interrupted, or leaving it running in the background after the timeout
(which is what timeout_advice.py does) may be surprising.

-- Antti Kervinen




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