Events

Events are an advanced feature of Supervisor introduced in version 3.0. You don’t need to understand events if you simply want to use Supervisor as a mechanism to restart crashed processes or as a system to manually control process state. You do need to understand events if you want to use Supervisor as part of a process monitoring/notification framework.

Event Listeners and Event Notifications

Supervisor provides a way for a specially written program (which it runs as a subprocess) called an “event listener” to subscribe to “event notifications”. An event notification implies that something happened related to a subprocess controlled by supervisord or to supervisord itself. Event notifications are grouped into types in order to make it possible for event listeners to subscribe to a limited subset of event notifications. Supervisor continually emits event notifications as its running even if there are no listeners configured. If a listener is configured and subscribed to an event type that is emitted during a supervisord lifetime, that listener will be notified.

The purpose of the event notification/subscription system is to provide a mechanism for arbitrary code to be run (e.g. send an email, make an HTTP request, etc) when some condition is met. That condition usually has to do with subprocess state. For instance, you may want to notify someone via email when a process crashes and is restarted by Supervisor.

The event notification protocol is based on communication via a subprocess’ stdin and stdout. Supervisor sends specially-formatted input to an event listener process’ stdin and expects specially-formatted output from an event listener’s stdout, forming a request-response cycle. A protocol agreed upon between supervisor and the listener’s implementer allows listeners to process event notifications. Event listeners can be written in any language supported by the platform you’re using to run Supervisor. Although event listeners may be written in any language, there is special library support for Python in the form of a supervisor.childutils module, which makes creating event listeners in Python slightly easier than in other languages.

Configuring an Event Listener

A supervisor event listener is specified via a [eventlistener:x] section in the configuration file. Supervisor [eventlistener:x] sections are treated almost exactly like supervisor [program:x] section with the respect to the keys allowed in their configuration except that Supervisor does not respect “capture mode” output from event listener processes (ie. event listeners cannot be PROCESS_COMMUNICATIONS_EVENT event generators). Therefore it is an error to specify stdout_capture_maxbytes or stderr_capture_maxbytes in the configuration of an eventlistener. There is no artificial constraint on the number of eventlistener sections that can be placed into the configuration file.

When an [eventlistener:x] section is defined, it actually defines a “pool”, where the number of event listeners in the pool is determined by the numprocs value within the section.

The events parameter of the [eventlistener:x] section specifies the events that will be sent to a listener pool. A well-written event listener will ignore events that it cannot process, but there is no guarantee that a specific event listener won’t crash as a result of receiving an event type it cannot handle. Therefore, depending on the listener implementation, it may be important to specify in the configuration that it may receive only certain types of events. The implementor of the event listener is the only person who can tell you what these are (and therefore what value to put in the <code>events</code> configuration). Examples of eventlistener configurations that can be placed in supervisord.conf are as follows.

[eventlistener:memmon]
command=memmon -a 200MB -m bob@example.com
events=TICK_60
[eventlistener:mylistener]
command=my_custom_listener.py
events=PROCESS_STATE,TICK_60

Note

An advanced feature, specifying an alternate “result handler” for a pool, can be specified via the result_handler parameter of an [eventlistener:x] section in the form of a pkg_resources “entry point” string. The default result handler is supervisord.dispatchers:default_handler. Creating an alternate result handler is not currently documented.

When an event notification is sent by supervisor, all event listener pools which are subscribed to receive events for the event’s type (filtered by the events value in the eventlistener section) will be found. One of the listeners in each listener pool will receive the event notification (any “available” listener).

Every process in an event listener pool is treated equally by supervisor. If a process in the pool is unavailable (because it is already processing an event, because it has crashed, or because it has elected to removed itself from the pool), supervisor will choose another process from the pool. If the event cannot be sent because all listeners in the pool are “busy”, the event will be buffered and notification will be retried later. “Later” is defined as “the next time that the supervisord select loop executes”. For satisfactory event processing performance, you should configure a pool with as many event listener processes as appropriate to handle your event load. This can only be determined empirically for any given workload, there is no “magic number” but to help you determine the optimal number of listeners in a given pool, Supervisor will emit warning messages to its activity log when an event cannot be sent immediately due to pool congestion. There is no artificial constraint placed on the number of processes that can be in a pool, it is limited only by your platform constraints.

A listener pool has an event buffer queue. The queue is sized via the listener pool’s buffer_size config file option. If the queue is full and supervisor attempts to buffer an event, supervisor will throw away the oldest event in the buffer and log an error.

Writing an Event Listener

An event listener implementation is a program that is willing to accept structured input on its stdin stream and produce structured output on its stdout stream. An event listener implementation should operate in “unbuffered” mode or should flush its stdout every time it needs to communicate back to the supervisord process. Event listeners can be written to be long-running or may exit after a single request (depending on the implementation and the autorestart parameter in the eventlistener’s configuration).

An event listener can send arbitrary output to its stderr, which will be logged or ignored by supervisord depending on the stderr-related logfile configuration in its [eventlistener:x] section.

Event Notification Protocol

When supervisord sends a notification to an event listener process, the listener will first be sent a single “header” line on its stdin. The composition of the line is a set of colon-separated tokens (each of which represents a key-value pair) separated from each other by a single space. The line is terminated with a \n (linefeed) character. The tokens on the line are not guaranteed to be in any particular order. The types of tokens currently defined are in the table below.

Header Tokens
Key Description Example
ver The event system protocol version 3.0
server The identifier of the supervisord sending the event (see config file [supervisord] section identifier value.  
serial An integer assigned to each event. No two events generated during the lifetime of a supervisord process will have the same serial number. The value is useful for functional testing and detecting event ordering anomalies. 30
pool The name of the event listener pool which generated this event. myeventpool
pooolserial An integer assigned to each event by the eventlistener pool which it is being sent from. No two events generated by the same eventlister pool during the lifetime of a supervisord process will have the same poolserial number. This value can be used to detect event ordering anomalies. 30
eventname The specific event type name (see Event Types) TICK_5
len An integer indicating the number of bytes in the event payload, aka the PAYLOAD_LENGTH 22

An example of a complete header line is as follows.

ver:3.0 server:supervisor serial:21 pool:listener poolserial:10 eventname:PROCESS_COMMUNICATION_STDOUT len:54

Directly following the linefeed character in the header is the event payload. It consists of PAYLOAD_LENGTH bytes representing a serialization of the event data. See Event Types for the specific event data serialization definitions.

An example payload for a PROCESS_COMMUNICATION_STDOUT event notification is as follows.

processname:foo groupname:bar pid:123
This is the data that was sent between the tags

The payload structure of any given event is determined only by the event’s type.

Event Listener States

An event listener process has three possible states that are maintained by supervisord:

Name Description
ACKNOWLEDGED The event listener has acknowledged (accepted or rejected) an event send.
READY Event notificatons may be sent to this event listener
BUSY Event notifications may not be sent to this event listener.

When an event listener process first starts, supervisor automatically places it into the ACKNOWLEDGED state to allow for startup activities or guard against startup failures (hangs). Until the listener sends a READY\n string to its stdout, it will stay in this state.

When supervisor sends an event notification to a listener in the READY state, the listener will be placed into the BUSY state until it receives an OK or FAIL response from the listener, at which time, the listener will be transitioned back into the ACKNOWLEDGED state.

Event Listener Notification Protocol

Supervisor will notify an event listener in the READY state of an event by sending data to the stdin of the process. Supervisor will never send anything to the stdin of an event listener process while that process is in the BUSY or ACKNOWLEDGED state. Supervisor starts by sending the header.

Once it has processed the header, the event listener implementation should read PAYLOAD_LENGTH bytes from its stdin, perform an arbitrary action based on the values in the header and the data parsed out of the serialization. It is free to block for an arbitrary amount of time while doing this. Supervisor will continue processing normally as it waits for a response and it will send other events of the same type to other listener processes in the same pool as necessary.

After the event listener has processed the event serialization, in order to notify supervisord about the result, it should send back a result structure on its stdout. A result structure is the word “RESULT”, followed by a space, followed by the result length, followed by a carriage return, follwed by the result content. For example, RESULT 2\nOK is the result “OK”. Conventionally, an event listener will use either OK or FAIL as the result content. These strings have special meaning to the default result handler.

If the defaut result handler receives OK as result content, it will assume that the listener processed the event notification successfully. If it receives FAIL, it will assume that the listener has failed to process the event, and the event will be rebuffered and sent again at a later time. The event listener may reject the event for any reason by returning a FAIL result. This does not indicate a problem with the event data or the event listener. Once an OK or FAIL result is received by supervisord, the event listener is placed into the ACKNOWLEDGED state.

Once the listener is in the ACKNOWLEDGED state, it may either exit (and subsequently may be restarted by supervisor if its autorestart config parameter is true), or it may continue running. If it continues to run, in order to be placed back into the READY state by supervisord, it must send a READY token followed immediately by a carriage return to its stdout.

Example Event Listener Implementation

A Python implementation of a “long-running” event listener which accepts an event notification, prints the header and payload to its stderr, and responds with an OK result, and then subsequently a READY is as follows.

import sys

def write_stdout(s):
    sys.stdout.write(s)
    sys.stdout.flush()

def write_stderr(s):
    sys.stderr.write(s)
    sys.stderr.flush()

def main():
    while 1:
        write_stdout('READY\n') # transition from ACKNOWLEDGED to READY
        line = sys.stdin.readline()  # read header line from stdin
        write_stderr(line) # print it out to stderr
        headers = dict([ x.split(':') for x in line.split() ])
        data = sys.stdin.read(int(headers['len'])) # read the event payload
        write_stderr(data) # print the event payload to stderr
        write_stdout('RESULT 2\nOK') # transition from READY to ACKNOWLEDGED

if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()
    import sys

Other sample event listeners are present within the superlance package, including one which can monitor supervisor subprocesses and restart a process if it is using “too much” memory.

Event Listener Error Conditions

If the event listener process dies while the event is being transmitted to its stdin, or if it dies before sending an result structure back to supervisord, the event is assumed to not be processed and will be rebuffered by supervisord and sent again later.

If an event listener sends data to its stdout which supervisor does not recognize as an appropriate response based on the state that the event listener is in, the event listener will be placed into the UNKNOWN state, and no further event notifications will be sent to it. If an event was being processed by the listener during this time, it will be rebuffered and sent again later.

Miscellaneous

Event listeners may use the Supervisor XML-RPC interface to call “back in” to Supervisor. As such, event listeners can impact the state of a Supervisor subprocess as a result of receiving an event notification. For example, you may want to generate an event every few minutes related to process usage of Supervisor-controlled subprocesses, and if any of those processes exceed some memory threshhold, you would like to restart it. You would write a program that caused supervisor to generate PROCESS_COMMUNICATION events every so often with memory information in them, and an event listener to perform an action based on processing the data it receives from these events.

Event Types

The event types are a controlled set, defined by Supervisor itself. There is no way to add an event type without changing supervisord itself. This is typically not a problem, though, because metadata is attached to events that can be used by event listeners as additional filter criterion, in conjunction with its type.

Event types that may be subscribed to by event listeners are predefined by supervisor and fall into several major categories, including “process state change”, “process communication”, and “supervisor state change” events. Below are tables describing these event types.

In the below list, we indicate that some event types have a “body” which is a a token set. A token set consists of a set of charaters with space-separated tokens. Each token represents a key-value pair. The key and value are separated by a colon. For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:STOPPED

Token sets do not have a linefeed or carriage return character at their end.

EVENT Event Type

The base event type. This event type is abstract. It will never be sent directly. Subscribing to this event type will cause a subscriber to receive all event notifications emitted by Supervisor.

Name: EVENT

Subtype Of: N/A

Body Description: N/A

PROCESS_STATE Event Type

This process type indicates a process has moved from one state to another. See Process States for a description of the states that a process moves through during its lifetime. This event type is abstract, it will never be sent directly. Subscribing to this event type will cause a subscriber to receive event notifications of all the event types that are subtypes of PROCESS_STATE.

Name: PROCESS_STATE

Subtype Of: EVENT

Body Description

All subtypes of PROCESS_STATE have a body which is a token set. Additionally, each PROCESS_STATE subtype’s token set has a default set of key/value pairs: processname, groupname, and from_state. processname represents the process name which supervisor knows this process as. groupname represents the name of the supervisord group which this process is in. from_state is the name of the state from which this process is transitioning (the new state is implied by the concrete event type). Concrete subtypes may include additional key/value pairs in the token set.

PROCESS_STATE_STARTING Event Type

Indicates a process has moved from a state to the STARTING state.

Name: PROCESS_STATE_STARTING

Subtype Of: PROCESS_STATE

Body Description

This body is a token set. It has the default set of key/value pairs plus an additional tries key. tries represents the number of times this process has entered this state before transitioning to RUNNING or FATAL (it will never be larger than the “startretries” parameter of the process). For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:STOPPED tries:0

PROCESS_STATE_RUNNING Event Type

Indicates a process has moved from the STARTING state to the RUNNING state. This means that the process has successfully started as far as Supervisor is concerned.

Name: PROCESS_STATE_RUNNING

Subtype Of: PROCESS_STATE

Body Description

This body is a token set. It has the default set of key/value pairs plus an additional pid key. <code>pid</code> represents the UNIX process id of the process that was started. For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:STARTING pid:2766

PROCESS_STATE_BACKOFF Event Type

Indicates a process has moved from the STARTING state to the BACKOFF state. This means that the process did not successfully enter the RUNNING state, and Supervisor is going to try to restart it unless it has exceeded its “startretries” configuration limit.

Name: PROCESS_STATE_BACKOFF

Subtype Of: PROCESS_STATE

Body Description

This body is a token set. It has the default set of key/value pairs plus an additional tries key. tries represents the number of times this process has entered this state before transitioning to RUNNING or FATAL (it will never be larger than the “startretries” parameter of the process). For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:STOPPED tries:0

PROCESS_STATE_STOPPING Event Type

Indicates a process has moved from either the RUNNING state or the STARTING state to the STOPPING state.

Name: PROCESS_STATE_STOPPING

Subtype Of: PROCESS_STATE

Body Description

This body is a token set. It has the default set of key/value pairs plus an additional pid key. pid represents the UNIX process id of the process that was started. For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:STARTING pid:2766

PROCESS_STATE_EXITED Event Type

Indicates a process has moved from the RUNNING state to the EXITED state.

Name: PROCESS_STATE_EXITED

Subtype Of: PROCESS_STATE

Body Description

This body is a token set. It has the default set of key/value pairs plus two additional keys: pid and expected. pid represents the UNIX process id of the process that exited. expected represents whether the process exited with an expected exit code or not. It will be 0 if the exit code was unexpected, or 1 if the exit code was expected. For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:RUNNING expected:0 pid:2766

PROCESS_STATE_STOPPED Event Type

Indicates a process has moved from the STOPPING state to the STOPPED state.

Name: PROCESS_STATE_STOPPED

Subtype Of: PROCESS_STATE

Body Description

This body is a token set. It has the default set of key/value pairs plus an additional pid key. pid represents the UNIX process id of the process that was started. For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:STOPPING pid:2766

PROCESS_STATE_FATAL Event Type

Indicates a process has moved from the BACKOFF state to the FATAL state. This means that Supervisor tried startretries number of times unsuccessfully to start the process, and gave up attempting to restart it.

Name: PROCESS_STATE_FATAL

Subtype Of: PROCESS_STATE

Body Description

This event type is a token set with the default key/value pairs. For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:BACKOFF

PROCESS_STATE_UNKNOWN Event Type

Indicates a process has moved from any state to the UNKNOWN state (indicates an error in supervisord). This state transition will only happen if supervisord itself has a programming error.

Name: PROCESS_STATE_UNKNOWN

Subtype Of: PROCESS_STATE

Body Description

This event type is a token set with the default key/value pairs. For example:

processname:cat groupname:cat from_state:BACKOFF

REMOTE_COMMUNICATION Event Type

An event type raised when the supervisor.sendRemoteCommEvent() method is called on Supervisor’s RPC interface. The type and data are arguments of the RPC method.

Name: REMOTE_COMMUNICATION

Subtype Of: EVENT

Body Description

type:type
data

PROCESS_LOG Event Type

An event type emitted when a process writes to stdout or stderr. The event will only be emitted if the file descriptor is not in capture mode and if stdout_events_enabled or stderr_events_enabled config options are set to true. This event type is abstract, it will never be sent directly. Subscribing to this event type will cause a subscriber to receive event notifications for all subtypes of PROCESS_LOG.

Name: PROCESS_LOG

Subtype Of: EVENT

Body Description: N/A

PROCESS_LOG_STDOUT Event Type

Indicates a process has written to its stdout file descriptor. The event will only be emitted if the file descriptor is not in capture mode and if the stdout_events_enabled config option is set to true.

Name: PROCESS_LOG_STDOUT

Subtype Of: PROCESS_LOG

Body Description

processname:name groupname:name pid:pid
data

PROCESS_LOG_STDERR Event Type

Indicates a process has written to its stderr file descriptor. The event will only be emitted if the file descriptor is not in capture mode and if the stderr_events_enabled config option is set to true.

Name: PROCESS_LOG_STDERR

Subtype Of: PROCESS_LOG

Body Description

processname:name groupname:name pid:pid
data

PROCESS_COMMUNICATION Event Type

An event type raised when any process attempts to send information between <!--XSUPERVISOR:BEGIN--> and <!--XSUPERVISOR:END--> tags in its output. This event type is abstract, it will never be sent directly. Subscribing to this event type will cause a subscriber to receive event notifications for all subtypes of PROCESS_COMMUNICATION.

Name: PROCESS_COMMUNICATION

Subtype Of: EVENT

Body Description: N/A

PROCESS_COMMUNICATION_STDOUT Event Type

Indicates a process has sent a message to Supervisor on its stdout file descriptor.

Name: PROCESS_COMMUNICATION_STDOUT

Subtype Of: PROCESS_COMMUNICATION

Body Description

processname:name groupname:name pid:pid
data

PROCESS_COMMUNICATION_STDERR Event Type

Indicates a process has sent a message to Supervisor on its stderr file descriptor.

Name: PROCESS_COMMUNICATION_STDERR

Subtype Of: PROCESS_COMMUNICATION

Body Description

processname:name groupname:name pid:pid
data

SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE Event Type

An event type raised when the state of the supervisord process changes. This type is abstract, it will never be sent directly. Subscribing to this event type will cause a subscriber to receive event notifications of all the subtypes of SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE.

Name: SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE

Subtype Of: EVENT

Body Description: N/A

SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE_RUNNING Event Type

Indicates that supervisord has started.

Name: SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE_RUNNING

Subtype Of: SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE

Body Description: Empty string

SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE_STOPPING Event Type

Indicates that supervisord is stopping.

Name: SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE_STOPPING

Subtype Of: SUPERVISOR_STATE_CHANGE

Body Description: Empty string

TICK Event Type

An event type that may be subscribed to for event listeners to receive “wake-up” notifications every N seconds. This event type is abstract, it will never be sent directly. Subscribing to this event type will cause a subscriber to receive event notifications for all subtypes of TICK.

Note that the only TICK events available are the ones listed below. You cannot subscribe to an arbitrary TICK interval. If you need an interval not provided below, you can subscribe to one of the shorter intervals given below and keep track of the time between runs in your event listener.

Name: TICK

Subtype Of: EVENT

Body Description: N/A

TICK_5 Event Type

An event type that may be subscribed to for event listeners to receive “wake-up” notifications every 5 seconds.

Name: TICK_5

Subtype Of: TICK

Body Description

This event type is a token set with a single key: “when”, which indicates the epoch time for which the tick was sent.

when:1201063880

TICK_60 Event Type

An event type that may be subscribed to for event listeners to receive “wake-up” notifications every 60 seconds.

Name: TICK_60

Subtype Of: TICK

Body Description

This event type is a token set with a single key: “when”, which indicates the epoch time for which the tick was sent.

when:1201063880

TICK_3600 Event Type

An event type that may be subscribed to for event listeners to receive “wake-up” notifications every 3600 seconds (1 hour).

Name: TICK_3600

Subtype Of: TICK

Body Description

This event type is a token set with a single key: “when”, which indicates the epoch time for which the tick was sent.

when:1201063880

PROCESS_GROUP Event Type

An event type raised when a process group is added to or removed from Supervisor. This type is abstract, it will never be sent directly. Subscribing to this event type will cause a subscriber to receive event notifications of all the subtypes of PROCESS_GROUP.

Name: PROCESS_GROUP

Subtype Of: EVENT

Body Description: N/A

PROCESS_GROUP_ADDED Event Type

Indicates that a process group has been added to Supervisor’s configuration.

Name: PROCESS_GROUP_ADDED

Subtype Of: PROCESS_GROUP

Body Description: This body is a token set with just a groupname key/value.

groupname:cat

PROCESS_GROUP_REMOVED Event Type

Indicates that a process group has been removed from Supervisor’s configuration.

Name: PROCESS_GROUP_REMOVED

Subtype Of: PROCESS_GROUP

Body Description: This body is a token set with just a groupname key/value.

groupname:cat