Provides a management system for background processes

2.0.3 2023-05-08 07:55 UTC


This library allows you to create async background processes, that can be accessed later from anywhere, to check the progress and retrieve output. When you start the process it will be enqueue, and wait for the processRunner to execute it.


Process works based on steps provided to it, it will execute steps sequentialy, passing output data from one step as an input for the next, until the end. Last step will return its output as the output of the whole process.

Steps are defined as ObjectFactory specs. Object produced from such specs must be instance of MWStake\MediaWiki\Component\ProcessManager\IProcessStep.

Sample step

class Foo implements IProcessStep {

	/** @var ILoadBalancer */
	private $lb;
	/** @var string */
	private $name;

	public function __construct( ILoadBalancer $lb, $name ) {
		$this->lb = $lb;
		$this->name = $name;

	public function execute( $data = [] ): array  {
	// Add "_bar" to the name passed as the argument in the spec and return it
		$name = $this->name . '_bar';

		// some lenghty code

		return [ 'modifiedName' => $name ];

Creating process

// Create process that has a single step, Foo, defined above
// new ManagerProcess( array $steps, int $timeout );
$process = new ManagedProcess( [
	'foo-step' => [
		'class' => Foo::class,
		'args' => [ 'Bar-name' ],
		'services' => [ 'DBLoadBalancer' ]
], 300 );

$processManager = MediaWikiServices::getInstance()->getService( 'ProcessManager' );

// ProcessManager::startProcess() returns unique process ID that is required
// later on to check on the process state
echo $processManager->startProcess( $process );
// 1211a33123aae2baa6ed1d9a1846da9d

Checking process status

Once the process is started using the procedure above, and we obtain the process id, we can check on its status anytime, from anywhere, even from different process then the one that started the process

$processManager = MediaWikiServices::getInstance()->getService( 'ProcessManager' );
echo $processManager->getProcessInfo( $pid );
// Returns JSON
	"pid": "1211a33123aae2baa6ed1d9a1846da9d",
	"started_at": "20220209125814",
	"status": "finished",
	"output": { /*JSON-encoded string of whatever the last step returned as output*/ }

In case of an error, response will contain status error, and show Exception message and callstack.

Interrupting processes

Sometimes, we want to pause between steps, and re-evaluate data returned.

This can be achieved if step implements MWStake\MediaWiki\Component\ProcessManager\InterruptingProcessStep instead of MWStake\MediaWiki\Component\ProcessManager\IProcessStep. In case process comes across an instance of this interface, it will pause the processing and report back data that was returned from the step.

To continue the process, you must call $processManager->proceed( $pid, $data ). In this case, $pid is the ID of the paused process, and $data is any modified data to be passed to the next step. This data will be merged with data returned from previous step (the one that paused the process). This call will return the PID of the process, which should be the same as the one passed (same process continues).

Executing steps synchronously

This is a spin-off of this component functionality. It allows you to execute steps synchronously, without the need to start a process.

$executor = new \MWStake\MediaWiki\Component\ProcessManager\StepExecutor(
// Optional, if all necessary data is passed in the spec, omit this
$data = [
    'input' => 'data for the first step'

$executor->execute( [
    'foo-step' => [
        'class' => Foo::class,
        'args' => [
    'bar-step' => [
        'class' => Bar::class,
        'args' => [
], $data );


  • This component requires an DB table, so update.php will be necessary


This mechanism has the following main parts:

  • ProcessManager - a service that manages processes, and allows to start processes, check on their status
  • processRunner.php - script that retrieves processes from the queue and executes them. This is a long-running script that should be started as a background process
  • processExecution.php - script that actually runs individual processes. This is a short-lived script and is alive only for the durarion of single process execution

Setting up processRunner.php

Script processRunner.php should be started by a crontab. There are two modes of operation:

  • executing processes that are currently in the queue
  • always running and waiting for new processes to be added to the queue This is the same operation as runJobs.php in MediaWiki core.


  • first param should be the full path to the Mainetenance.php file in MediaWiki core. This is due to this being a component, which does not have a dedicated place in the codebase structure, and can be installed anywhere.
  • --wait - wait for new processes to be added to the queue. In this mode, script will create a lock file, that will prevent other runners to be started. This is useful when you want to have only one runner running at a time. In case it crashes or is otherwise killed, the lock file will be removed and other runners will be able to start.
  • --max-jobs - maximum number of processes to execute in one run. This is useful when you want to limit the number of processes. In --wait mode script will exit once this number is reached. In non-wait mode, script will exit once this number is reached, or there are no more processes in the queue.
  • --script-args - arguments to be passed to processExecution.php script. This is useful when you want to pass some arguments, namely important for the farming setup, passing --script-args='--sfr={wiki}'

Crontab example: Should be executed as either the webserver user or root.

* * * * * /usr/bin/php /var/www/html/mw/vendor/mwstake/mediawiki-component-processmanager/maintenance/processRunner.php /var/www/html/mw/maintenance/Maintenance.php --wait --max-processes=10 --script-args='--sfr={wiki}'

Only use --script-args='--sfr={wiki}' when in a farming setup. In a farm, set up one cron per instance and replace {wiki} with actual wiki name you want to run the cront for.

If using --max-processes together with --wait, make sure to set number of processes to a fairly high number, since we dont want to reset the runner frequently


Normally, runner logs into ProcessRunner channel of debug log mechanism, but it might also be useful to capture output of the script directly (in crontab line) and pipe that into some log, so we can catch any errors in the runner itself.

Consirederations that were taken in implementation

This is not an idea way to set up background processing, but we have taken following considerations into account:

  • we want to have a parent for all processes, so they dont end up as zombies, and we can capture any output of them
  • we do NOT want to need to setup any separate services on machines, like Redis, RabbitMQ, etc. Ideally, no additional setup would be required, but crontab line is necessary.
  • we do NOT want to wait for crontab to execute the process, we want to be able to start it immediately, therefore we have the --wait parameter
  • it has to work on both Linux and Windows