View Source Ash.Engine (ash v1.53.3)

The Ash engine handles the parallelization/running of requests to Ash.

Much of the complexity of this doesn't come into play for simple requests. The way it works is that it accepts a list of Ash.Engine.Request structs. Some of values on those structs will be instances of Ash.Engine.Request.UnresolvedField. These unresolved fields can express a dependence on the field values from other requests. This allows the engine to wait on executing some code until it has its required inputs, or if all of its dependencies are met, it can execute it immediately. The engine's job is to resolve its unresolved fields in the proper order, potentially in parallel. It also has knowledge baked in about certain special fields, like data which is the field we are ultimately trying to resolve, and query which is the field that drives authorization for read requests. Authorization is done on a per engine request basis.

As the complexity of a system grows, it becomes very difficult to write code that is both imperative and performant. This is especially true of a framework that is designed to be configurable. What exactly is done, as well as the order it is done in, and whether or not is can be parallelized, varies wildly based on factors like how the resources are configured and what capabilities the data layer has. By implementing a generic "parallel engine", we can let the engine solve that problem. We simply have to express the various operations that must happen, and what other pieces of data they need in order to happen, and the engine handles the rest.

There are various tradeoffs in the current design. The original version of the engine started a process for each request. While this had the least constrained performance characteristics of all the designs, it was problematic for various reasons. The primary reason being that it could deadlock without any reasonable way to debug said deadlock because the various states were distributed. The second version of the engine introduced a central Engine process that helped with some of these issues, but ultimately had the same problem. The third (and current) version of the engine is reworked instead to be drastically simpler, potentially at the expense of performance for some requests. Instead of starting a process per request, it opts to only parallelize the data field resolution of fields that are marked as async?: true, (unlike the previous versions which started a process for the whole request.) Although it does its best to prioritize starting any async tasks, it is possible that if some mix of async/sync requests are passed in a potentially long running sync task could prevent it from starting an async task, giving this potentially worse performance characteristics. In practice, this doesn't really matter because the robust data layers support running asynchronously, unless they are in a transaction in which case everything runs serially anyway.

The current version of the engine can be seen as an event loop that will async some events and yield them. It also has support for a concurrency limit (per engine invocation, not globally, although that could now be added much more easily). This limit defaults to 2 * schedulers_online.

Check out the docs for Ash.Engine.Request for some more information. This is a private interface at the moment, though, so this documentation is just here to explain how it works it is not intended to give you enough information to use the engine directly.

Link to this section Summary

Link to this section Functions

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add_requests(state, requests)

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do_run(requests, opts \\ [])

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put_nested_key(state, key, value)

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run(requests, opts \\ [])

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