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Event-based draining of process output

Project description

drainers is an abstraction around subprocess.Popen to read and control process output event-wise. It also allows you to abort running processes either gracefully or forcefully without having to directly interact with the processes or threads themself.


Defining a process

A Drainer is a factory and controller wrapper around subprocess.Popen and therefore takes all of the (optional) parameters that subprocess.Popen’s initializer takes. For example, the minimal Drainer takes a command array:

from drainers import Drainer

def ignore_event(line, is_err):

my_drainer = Drainer(['ls', '-la'], read_event_cb=ignore_event)

But, extra arguments are allowed, too:

my_drainer = Drainer(['echo', '$JAVA_HOME'], shell=True, bufsize=64,

The only two arguments to Drainer that are reserved are stdout and stderr. Drainer requires them to be subprocess.PIPE explicitly, and sets them for you accordingly.

Defining a callback

Drainer’s strength lies in the fact that each line that is read from the process’ standard output or standard error streams leads to a callback function being invoked. This allows you to process virtually any process’ output, as long as it’s line-based.

The callback function can be specified using the read_event_cb parameter to the constructor, as seen in the example above. It is mandatory. The callback function specified needs to have a specific signature:

def my_callback(line, is_err):

It should take two parameters: line (a string) and is_err (a boolean). The latter indicates that the line is read from the standard error stream. There is nothing more to it. It does not need to return anything: it’s return value will be ignored. Your callback may be a class method, too, like in the following example. Notice that in those cases, you pass foo.my_method as the value for the read_event_cb parameter:

class MyClass(object):

        def my_method(self, line, is_err):

foo = MyClass()
my_drainer = Drainer(['ls'], read_event_cb=foo.my_method)

The granularity currently is a single line. If you want to read predefined chunks (lines) of data, use BufferedDrainer instead. See examples/ for an example.

Aborting processes

Drainer allows you to abort a running process in the middle of execution, forcefully sending the process a terminate() message (Python equivalent of a Unix SIGTERM message) when a certain condition arises. By default, the process will never be terminated abnormally. To specify termination criteria, implement a callback function that takes no parameters and returns True if abortion is desired and False otherwise. For example, for a long running process you might want to terminate it if the disk is getting (almost) full. But checking how much space is free can be a lengthy operation, so you might want to do it only sparingly:

def out_of_diskspace():
        left = handytools.check_disk_free()
        total = handytools.check_disk_total()
        return (left / total) < 0.03

# The following drainer executes the cruncher and checks whether the disk
# is (almost) full every 5 seconds.  It aborts if free disk space runs
# under 3%.
my_drainer = Drainer(['/bin/crunch', 'inputfile', 'outputfile'],
exitcode = my_drainer.start()

The example is pretty self-explaining. You can check the exitcode to see the result of the process.

More examples

See the examples directory for more detailed examples.

Project details

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