Catalyst Advent Day 14 - Job Queue

Running a job queue

What's a job queue?

A Job Queue enables you to run code at a fixed time interval (like cron does on Unix, launchd on Mac OS X and "Scheduled Tasks" on Windows). The job in this example runs as a HTTP request, so you can reuse your Catalyst application code.

Get Started

Export the Catalyst::Engine::JobQueue::POE source into a working directory:

  $ svn export

We use svn export instead of svn checkout so that you don't clutter up a working copy with the files created in the module build process.

Build and install the engine:

  $ cd Catalyst-Engine-JobQueue-POE
  $ perl Makefile.PL
  $ make test 
  $ sudo make install

You can now use the job queue in your application.

Setup and Configure a JobQueue

Generate a new Catalyst application in another directory:

  $ JobQueueApp
  <...lots of "created" messages>
  $ cd JobQueueApp
  $ script/ JobQueue::POE
  <... a few "created" messages>

Now you have all you need to run the job queue, let's configure it. Add the following configuration values to the jobqueueapp.yml configuration file:

    schedule_file: crontab
      to: [log]

This will make the job queue render the job responses to the application log.

Create your first job

It's time to create a job. Edit the crontab file in the application root and uncomment the last line (the one with the many "*"). Each uncommented line represents a job. The first 6 elements will determine how often the job will be run (it's in crontab syntax, file). The next one is unused for now, so you can ignore it. The last one represents the request that the job will send to the application: It's the path part of a URL. The job looks like this:

  *   *   *   *   *   *   root   /test/job

This means that every minute, the job queue will make a request for /test/job

Run the JobQueue

You can now run the job queue with:

  $ perl script/

You should see the typical Catalyst debug output. If you now wait for 60 seconds, you will see some more debug info (indicating that a request is being processed) along with the HTML source of the default Catalyst welcome page. It's the same output that your browser would receive if you'd start the Catalyst web server and point it at the server and the /test/job URL.

Getting mail

It's time to get some results by email. In the jobqueueapp.yml configuration file, change log to email and add these lines underneath:


Pay attention to the YAML alignment (email should be vertically aligned with to: [log]). Put your email address on the to line and the address that you want to see the mail report coming from on the from line. IMPORTANT For this feature, the development machine should be able to send emails by direct SMTP, if not add a line like this to the config: smtp:

Again smtp should be vertically aligned with to: Put your SMTP server on this line.

Re-run the job queue. This time, you should receive an email with the default Catalyst page shortly after the full minute). Don't forget to stop the job queue or else your inbox will fill up pretty quickly.

Write a useful job

Now let's actually do something useful with the job. We'll setup a controller which will tell us the system load. The URL for this info will be /system/load.

First create the controller:

  $ script/ controller System
  <... some "created"/"exists" messages>

Then edit lib/JobQueueApp/Controller/ and add this code:

  sub load : Local {
    my ( $self, $c ) = @_;
    my @output = `w`;
    $c->response->body("Load: $output[0]");

IMPORTANT This will only work if you have access to the w command line application. Under Windows or in restricted environment you might not get any information.

Now edit the crontab file so that the line you uncommented earlier looks like this:

  */5   *   *   *   *   *   root   /system/load

and in the application configuration file change the to: [email] line to to: [log, email].

Now start the job queue and every 5 minutes the uptime, user count and load averages will be logged as well as sent to you by mail.


As you have seen you can setup the job queue to run any action from the controllers and have the results logged and/or mailed to you.

Keep in mind though that the engine is not yet production quality and not recommended for running critical jobs. However expect a CPAN release for the job queue engine soon.


Gruen Christian-Rolf (kixx) <> (author of this article and the engine)