August 2010 Archives

Ubic - code reuse and customizations

In my previous post I showed most trivial example of ubic service.
Now it's time to talk about more interesting stuff :)

Every ubic service is simply a perl object which implements start/stop/status methods.
It is very similar to /etc/init.d shell scripts, but since perl is a real programming language, you don't have to copy-paste tons of boilerplate code every time (Dave Rolsky, if you're reading this - your silki init script is good, but "apache2-backend" line in comments means it was copy-pasted too; is there anyone who can actually write proper init script by hands?).

So, instead of copy-pasting, you can reuse any existing Ubic::Service::* module, or implement your own if it's necessary.
For example, there is the Ubic-Service-Plack distribution on CPAN which you can use to run any PSGI applications.
Quoting Ubic::Service::Plack synopsis:

use Ubic::Service::Plack;
return Ubic::Service::Plack->new({
server => "FCGI",
server_args => { listen => "/tmp/app.sock",
nproc => 5 },
app => "/var/www/app.psgi",
app_name => 'app',
status => sub { ... },
port => 4444,
ubic_log => '/var/log/app/ubic.log',
stdout => '/var/log/app/stdout.log',
stderr => '/var/log/app/stderr.log',
user => "ppb",

Notice the 'status' coderef. It is optional, but if provided, it can be used as custom status check:

status => sub {
use IO::Socket::UNIX;
use IO::Select;
use Ubic::Result qw(result);
my $socket = IO::Socket::UNIX->new(
Peer => $self->{socket},
Timeout => 5,
) or return 'broken';
$socket->send(pack("C*", 1,9,0,0 ,0,0,8,0 , 0,0,0,0, 0,0,0,0));
my $content = "";
my $select = IO::Select->new($socket);
unless ($select->can_read(5)) {
return result('broken', 'socket timeout');
$socket->recv($content, 8);
my @bytes = unpack("C8", $content);
if ($bytes[1] == 10) {
return 'running';
else {
return 'broken';

We ping FCGI socket using FCGI_GET_VALUES request (thanks to unknown stackoverflow guy for this method).
In case process responds properly, 'running' string is returned, and 'broken' string is returned in other cases.
We don't have to check if process is actually running and if pidfile is valid - Ubic::Service::Plack does this for us.

This check will be called several times with increasing time intervals until status will become 'running'. Time intervals and number of checks until ubic will give up are configurable too (actually, they are implemented in Ubic::Service::Common class, which can be base class for most ubic services unless you want to do something really complex).

Now, if you have tons of PSGI applications which you run as fastcgi servers, you can implement Ubic::Service::Plack::FCGI on top of Ubic::Service::Plack.
Or maybe you are running tons of HTTP servers which all implement http://.../ping http check.
Or you may wish to restart your service on some external conditions, like Steven Haryanto wants to.
All these things can be implemented using custom status checks and then encapsulated via ineritance or delegation.

Of course, 'start', 'stop' and 'reload' methods can be replaced as well.

One last bit of information (it should have been in first post but i forgot to mention it): any ubic service can be turned into SysV init script.
Simply put this line in /etc/init.d/ and you are done:

# cat >/etc/init.d/any-ubic-service
use Ubic::Run;

Yes, that's enough to get LSB-compliant init script corresponding to ubic service named 'any-ubic-service'. Isn't ubic just great? :)

Next time I'll talk about multiservices and custom commands.
Also, there are Ubic::Service::Memcached and Ubic::Service::Lighttpd I still have to upload.

Don't forget to join our mailing list if you are interested in ubic and service managing stuff!

Ubic - how to implement your first service

I had a hidden agenda when I asked on this blog about how do you run your daemons.

There is a tool I recently opensourced. It can be compared to classic SysV init script system or to daemontools, runit or upstart, but it already is better and more flexible at least in some of its properties (otherwise I wouldn't bother to implement it :) ).

It is called Ubic and it is a toolkit for describing daemons in pure perl.

Ubic service is simply a perl object of some class inherited from base Ubic::Service class.
Ubic loads service descriptions from /etc/ubic/service/ directory.
To create your first service, you have to write something like this:

# cat >/etc/ubic/service/test
use Ubic::Service::SimpleDaemon;
return Ubic::Service::SimpleDaemon->new({ bin => "sleep 1000" });

"ubic status" command can show you status of all or some services on host:

# ubic status
test off
ubic-ping running
# ubic status test
test off

Now, as you probably already guessed, to start service you simply have to say "ubic start":

# ubic start test
Starting test... started
# ubic status
test running

What are you getting for free with this simple example?

  • ubic-watchdog - generic program that runs every minute from cron and checks every service; when 1000 seconds of sleep will be over, this 'test' service will be restarted automatically;

  • LSB compliance (it is strange how many /etc/init.d/ services even on latest Ubuntu distributions can't handle double start correctly and don't implement status check);

  • Neat colors :) You can't see them in examples above, but they are there;

  • HTTP ping service:

    # wget -q -O - 'http://localhost:12345/status/service/test'

    If you don't need it, you can always turn it off with 'ubic stop'. Or you can try to read /etc/ubic/service/ubic-ping for spoilers about more complex ubic features :)

By this point in my story:
- init.d people should already think that ubic is cool ;)
- daemontools/runit users will probably require more persuading, so I'm going to continue tomorrow.

PS: Installation note: please read "installation" section in file before installing.

PPS: There is a mailing list, don't hesitate to join and ask your questions.

PPPS: This is my first opensource module which i'm trying to attract attention to, so any meta-advices from guys with tons of popular CPAN distributions about what i'm doing right/wrong or how else can I persuade anyone to try ubic are very welcome too :)

How do you run your daemons?

How do you start and daemonize your programs (PSGI apps, fastcgi apps, gearmand, several memcached instances, custom handcoded daemons)?

Do you write custom init scripts?
Use daemontools or upstart?
Do you simply invoke plackup in terminal? :)
Maybe you spawn your fcgi apps directly from your webserver?

Do you need watchdogs? Do you actually write them?

Can't choose CPAN namespace

So... I've got this set of modules I've been going to opensource for more than a year now. Strangely, main obstacle is a choice of namespace.

Internally, they are called Stream::*. It is multi-layered set of classes with common interfaces, from low-level Stream::File / Stream::Log / Stream::MemoryStorage, to more complex Stream::Queue (local file-based queue supporting multiple parallel clients). Also, there are functional-style filters, catalog which can construct stream objects by their name, pumpers connecting input and output streams, multiplexing, and a lot of abstractions, base classes and roles...
Together, they assist in implementing complex asyncrohous, realtime and possibly distributed data processing.
By now, i think the paradigm I'm trying to implement is called a Flow-based programming, but until recently, I've mostly been thinking in terms of this image:
Anyway. I'll have a chance to talk about it later when this code will become public.

Any hints about namespace?
I don't like Stream::* that much, and there is a Stream-Reader in that namespace already.

About Vyacheslav Matyukhin

user-pic I wrote Ubic. I worked at Yandex for many years, and now i'm building my own startup (formerly PlayPerl). I'm also working on Flux, streaming data processing framework. CPAN ID: MMCLERIC.