How to Run Symfony Processes Asynchronously

This post was updated on December 2018
Updated with Symfony 4.2.

It takes quite a long time to split Symplify monorepo packages: exactly 420 s for 8 packages of Symplify.

Could we go 200 % faster by putting processes from serial to parallel?

Process Run One by One

This is our code now. Each process waits on each other - one is finished, then next starts.

foreach ($splitConfiguration as $directory => $repository) {
    $process = new Process(['git', 'subsplit', $directory . ':' . $repository]);
    $process->run();

    // here the process is finished
    if (! $process->isSuccessful()) {
        throw new PackageToRepositorySplitException($process->getErrorOutput());
    }

    // report exactly what happened, so it's easier to know result and debug
    $symfonyStyle->success(sprintf(
        'Split from "%s" to "%s" is done',
        $directory,
        $repository
    ));
}

How to Go Async in PHP?

We tried spatie/async which has very nice README at first sight and works probably very well for simple functions. But it turned out to be rather magic by passing service as serialized string to CLI that desirializes it and runs on own thread. It also caused other process commands fail on success message. It is probably good enought for Laravel, but not for my SOLID standards.

What are the Other options?

We could go amp or reactphp, but wouldn't that be an overkill?

There is also faster way like splitsh/lite, but we aim on PHP + Git combination so PHP developers could extend the code.

Luckily, Symfony Process already allows standalone process without waiting on each other.

What We Actually Need?

Picking the right tool is important, since it vendor locks our code to package, but lets step back a little.

What is the exact goal we need?

  1. Run all processes at once
  2. Wait until they're finished
  3. Report their success/error status

1. To run all Processes at Once

$runningProccesses = [];

foreach ($splitConfiguration as $directory => $repository) {
    $process = new Process(['git', 'subsplit', $directory . ':' . $repository]);
    // start() doesn't wait until the process is finished, oppose to run()
    $process->start();

    // store process for later, so we evaluate it's finished
    $runningProccesses[] = $process;
}

This foreach starts all processes in parallel. Without knowing they're finished or not.

Don't forget to check that your CPU is not burned by running many processes at once by limiting concurrency. In our case it's only 8, so we survive this.

2. Wait Until They're Finished

while (count($activeProcesses)) {
    foreach ($activeProcesses as $i => $runningProcess) {
        // specific process is finished, so we remove it
        if (! $runningProcess->isRunning()) {
            unset($activeProcesses[$i]);
        }

        // check every second
        sleep(1);
    }
}

// here we know that all are finished

3. Report their Success/Error Status

$symfonyStyle->success('Split was successful');

But how useful is this message compared to previous one?

$symfonyStyle->success(sprintf(
    'Split from "%s" to "%s" is done',
    $directory,
    $repository
));

And what if any processes failed?

Let's improve this

 $runningProccesses = [];
+$allProcessInfos = [];

 foreach ($splitConfiguration as $directory => $repository) {
     $process = new Process(['git', 'subsplit', $directory . ':' . $repository]);
     $process->start();

     $runningProccesses[] = $process;
+    // value object with types would be better and faster here, this is just example
+    $allProcessInfos[] = [
+        'process' => $process,
+        'directory' => $subdirectory,
+        'repository' => $repository
+    ];
 }

So final reporting would look like this:

foreach ($allProcessInfos as $processInfo) {
    /** @var Process $process */
    $process = $processInfo['process'];
    if (! $process->isSuccessful()) {
        throw new PackageToRepositorySplitException($process->getErrorOutput());
    }

    $symfonyStyle->success(sprintf(
        'Push of "%s" directory to "%s" repository was successful',
        $processInfo['directory'],
        $processInfo['repository']
    ));
}

Speed up From 420 to 139 s

Symplify has 8 packages to build at the moment. Putting split commands to async had amazing improvement!

See pull-request #620

That's it!



pyHpa ansyc rusn!


  Travis Knowns the Code Works

The code used in this post is tested daily with Travis CI. You can see tests on Github.

Thanks to tests this post:

  • always run against the most recent dependencies
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