asyncio question

Frank Millman frank at
Tue Dec 13 08:15:55 EST 2016

Hi all

I had a problem with asyncio - not a programming problem, but one with 
organising my code to achieve a given result.

I have come up with a solution, but thought I would mention it here to see 
if there is a better approach.

I am using asyncio.start_server() to run a simple HTTP server. Each request 
is passed to a handler. I strive to complete each request as quickly as 
possible, but I use 'await' where necessary to prevent blocking. It all 
works well.

HTTP does not keep the connection open, it sends a message, waits for a 
response, and closes the connection. In order to maintain 'state' for 
concurrent users, I have a Session class, and each message contains a 
session id so that I can pass the message to the correct session instance. 
Again, it all works well.

The client uses AJAX to send messages to the server. It sends the message 
and continues processing, while a background task waits for the response and 
handles it appropriately. As a result, the client can send a second message 
before receiving a response to the first one. The server can detect this, 
but it cannot wait for the first message to complete, otherwise it will 
block other clients. I have not noticed any problems with processing 2 
requests from the same client concurrently, but I don't like it, so I want 
to process them sequentially.

Here is my solution. As I create each Session instance, I set up a 
background task, using asyncio.ensure_future, which sets up an 
asyncio.Queue. The request handler identifies the session that the request 
belongs to, and 'puts' the request onto that session's Queue. The background 
task runs a 'while True' loop waiting for requests. As they come in it 
'gets' them and processes them. It seems to work.

This means that I have a background task running for each concurrent user. 
Each one will be idle most of the time. My gut-feel says that this will not 
cause a problem, even if there are hundreds of them, but any comments will 
be welcome.


Frank Millman

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