Highlander v0.2.1 Highlander View Source

Highlander allows you to run a single globally unique process in a cluster.

Highlander uses erlang's :global module to ensure uniqueness, and uses child_spec.id as the uniqueness key.

Highlander will start its child process just once in a cluster. The first Highlander process will start its child, all other Highlander processes will monitor the first process and attempt to take over when it goes down.

Note: You can also use Highlander to start a globally unique supervision tree.


Simply wrap a child process with {Highlander, child}.


children = [

Supervisor.init(children, strategy: :one_for_one)


children = [
  {Highlander, child_spec}

Supervisor.init(children, strategy: :one_for_one)

See the documentation on Supervisor.child_spec/1 for more information.

child_spec.id is used to determine global uniqueness

Ensure that child_spec.id has the correct value! Check the debug logs if you are unsure what is being used.

Globally unique supervisors

You can also have Highlander run a supervisor:

children = [
  {Highlander, {MySupervisor, arg}},

Handling netsplits

If there is a netsplit in your cluster, then Highlander will think that the other process has died, and start a new one. When the split heals, :global will recognize that there is a naming conflict, and will take action to rectify that. To deal with this, Highlander simply terminates one of the two child processes with reason :shutdown.

To catch this, simply trap exits in your process and add a terminate/2 callback.

Note: The terminate/2 callback will also run when your application is terminating.

def init(arg) do
  Process.flag(:trap_exit, true)
  {:ok, initial_state(arg)}

def terminate(_reason, _state) do
  # this will run when the process receives an exit signal from its parent

Link to this section Summary


Returns a specification to start this module under a supervisor.

Link to this section Functions

Returns a specification to start this module under a supervisor.

See Supervisor.