Stoplight

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Stoplight is traffic control for code. It's an implementation of the circuit breaker pattern in Ruby.


Does your code use unreliable systems, like a flaky database or a spotty web service? Wrap calls to those up in stoplights to prevent them from affecting the rest of your application.

Check out stoplight-admin for controlling your stoplights.

Installation

Add it to your Gemfile:

gem 'stoplight'

Or install it manually:

$ gem install stoplight

Stoplight uses Semantic Versioning. Check out the change log for a detailed list of changes.

Stoplight works with all supported versions of Ruby (2.1 through 2.3).

Basic usage

To get started, create a stoplight:

light = Stoplight('example-pi') { 22.0 / 7 }
# => #<Stoplight::Light:...>

Then you can run it and it will return the result of calling the block. This is the green state. (The green state corresponds to the closed state for circuit breakers.)

light.run
# => 3.142857142857143
light.color
# => "green"

If everything goes well, you shouldn't even be able to tell that you're using a stoplight. That's not very interesting though, so let's create a failing stoplight:

light = Stoplight('example-zero') { 1 / 0 }
# => #<Stoplight::Light:...>

Now when you run it, the error will be recorded and passed through. After running it a few times, the stoplight will stop trying and fail fast. This is the red state. (The red state corresponds to the open state for circuit breakers.)

light.run
# ZeroDivisionError: divided by 0
light.run
# ZeroDivisionError: divided by 0
light.run
# Switching example-zero from green to red because ZeroDivisionError divided by 0
# ZeroDivisionError: divided by 0
light.run
# Stoplight::Error::RedLight: example-zero
light.color
# => "red"

When the stoplight changes from green to red, it will notify every configured notifier. See the notifiers section to learn more about notifiers.

The stoplight will move into the yellow state after being in the red state for a while. (The yellow state corresponds to the half open state for circuit breakers.) To configure how long it takes to switch into the yellow state, check out the cool off time section When stoplights are yellow, they will try to run their code. If it fails, they'll switch back to red. If it succeeds, they'll switch to green.

Custom errors

Some errors shouldn't cause your stoplight to move into the red state. Usually these are handled elsewhere in your stack and don't represent real failures. A good example is ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound.

To prevent some errors from changing the state of your stoplight, you can provide a custom block that will be called with the error and a handler Proc. It can do one of three things:

  1. Re-raise the error. This causes Stoplight to ignore the error. Do this for errors like ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound that don't represent real failures.

  2. Call the handler with the error. This is the default behavior. Stoplight will only ignore the error if it shouldn't have been caught in the first place. See Stoplight::Error::AVOID_RESCUING for a list of errors that will be ignored.

  3. Do nothing. This is not recommended. Doing nothing causes Stoplight to never ignore the error. That means a NoMemoryError could change the color of your stoplights.

light = Stoplight('example-not-found') { User.find(123) }
  .with_error_handler do |error, handle|
    raise error if error.is_a?(ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound)
    handle.call(error)
  end
# => #<Stoplight::Light:...>
light.run
# ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound: Couldn't find User with ID=123
light.run
# ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound: Couldn't find User with ID=123
light.run
# ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound: Couldn't find User with ID=123
light.color
# => "green"

Custom fallback

By default, stoplights will re-raise errors when they're green. When they're red, they'll raise a Stoplight::Error::RedLight error. You can provide a fallback that will be called in both of these cases. It will be passed the error if the light was green.

light = Stoplight('example-fallback') { 1 / 0 }
  .with_fallback { |e| p e; 'default' }
# => #<Stoplight::Light:..>
light.run
# #<ZeroDivisionError: divided by 0>
# => "default"
light.run
# #<ZeroDivisionError: divided by 0>
# => "default"
light.run
# Switching example-fallback from green to red because ZeroDivisionError divided by 0
# #<ZeroDivisionError: divided by 0>
# => "default"
light.run
# nil
# => "default"

Custom threshold

Some bits of code might be allowed to fail more or less frequently than others. You can configure this by setting a custom threshold.

light = Stoplight('example-threshold') { fail }
  .with_threshold(1)
# => #<Stoplight::Light:...>
light.run
# Switching example-threshold from green to red because RuntimeError
# RuntimeError:
light.run
# Stoplight::Error::RedLight: example-threshold

The default threshold is 3.

Custom cool off time

Stoplights will automatically attempt to recover after a certain amount of time. A light in the red state for longer than the cool of period will transition to the yellow state. This cool off time is customizable.

light = Stoplight('example-cool-off') { fail }
  .with_cool_off_time(1)
# => #<Stoplight::Light:...>
light.run
# RuntimeError:
light.run
# RuntimeError:
light.run
# Switching example-cool-off from green to red because RuntimeError
# RuntimeError:
sleep(1)
# => 1
light.color
# => "yellow"
light.run
# RuntimeError:

The default cool off time is 60 seconds. To disable automatic recovery, set the cool off to Float::INFINITY. To make automatic recovery instantaneous, set the cool off to 0 seconds. Note that this is not recommended, as it effectively replaces the red state with yellow.

Rails

Stoplight was designed to wrap Rails actions with minimal effort. Here's an example configuration:

class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  around_action :stoplight

  private

  def stoplight(&block)
    Stoplight("#{params[:controller]}##{params[:action]}", &block)
      .with_fallback do |error|
        Rails.logger.error(error)
        render(nothing: true, status: :service_unavailable)
      end
      .run
  end
end

Setup

Data store

Stoplight uses an in-memory data store out of the box.

require 'stoplight'
# => true
Stoplight::Light.default_data_store
# => #<Stoplight::DataStore::Memory:...>

If you want to use a persistent data store, you'll have to set it up. Currently the only supported persistent data store is Redis.

Redis

Make sure you have the Redis gem (~> 3.2) installed before configuring Stoplight.

require 'redis'
# => true
redis = Redis.new
# => #<Redis client ...>
data_store = Stoplight::DataStore::Redis.new(redis)
# => #<Stoplight::DataStore::Redis:...>
Stoplight::Light.default_data_store = data_store
# => #<Stoplight::DataStore::Redis:...>

Notifiers

Stoplight sends notifications to standard error by default.

Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers
# => [#<Stoplight::Notifier::IO:...>]

If you want to send notifications elsewhere, you'll have to set them up.

Bugsnag

Make sure you have the Bugsnag gem (~> 4.0) installed before configuring Stoplight.

require 'bugsnag'
# => true
notifier = Stoplight::Notifier::Bugsnag.new(Bugsnag)
# => #<Stoplight::Notifier::Bugsnag:...>
Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers += [notifier]
# => [#<Stoplight::Notifier::IO:...>, #<Stoplight::Notifier::Bugsnag:...>]

HipChat

Make sure you have the HipChat gem (~> 1.5) installed before configuring Stoplight.

require 'hipchat'
# => true
hip_chat = HipChat::Client.new('token')
# => #<HipChat::Client:...>
notifier = Stoplight::Notifier::HipChat.new(hip_chat, 'room')
# => #<Stoplight::Notifier::HipChat:...>
Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers += [notifier]
# => [#<Stoplight::Notifier::IO:...>, #<Stoplight::Notifier::HipChat:...>]

Honeybadger

Make sure you have the Honeybadger gem (~> 2.5) installed before configuring Stoplight.

require 'honeybadger'
# => true
notifier = Stoplight::Notifier::Honeybadger.new('api key')
# => #<Stoplight::Notifier::Honeybadger:...>
Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers += [notifier]
# => [#<Stoplight::Notifier::IO:...>, #<Stoplight::Notifier::Honeybadger:...>]

Logger

Stoplight can be configured to use the Logger class from the standard library.

require 'logger'
# => true
logger = Logger.new(STDERR)
# => #<Logger:...>
notifier = Stoplight::Notifier::Logger.new(logger)
# => #<Stoplight::Notifier::Logger:...>
Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers += [notifier]
# => [#<Stoplight::Notifier::IO:...>, #<Stoplight::Notifier::Logger:...>]

Sentry

Make sure you have the Sentry gem (~> 1.2) installed before configuring Stoplight.

require 'sentry-raven'
# => true
configuration = Raven::Configuration.new
# => #<Raven::Configuration:...>
notifier = Stoplight::Notifier::Raven.new(configuration)
# => #<Stoplight::Notifier::Raven:...>
Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers += [notifier]
# => [#<Stoplight::Notifier::IO:...>, #<Stoplight::Notifier::Raven:...>]

Slack

Make sure you have the Slack gem (~> 1.3) installed before configuring Stoplight.

require 'slack-notifier'
# => true
slack = Slack::Notifier.new('http://www.example.com/webhook-url')
# => #<Slack::Notifier:...>
notifier = Stoplight::Notifier::Slack.new(slack)
# => #<Stoplight::Notifier::Slack:...>
Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers += [notifier]
# => [#<Stoplight::Notifier::IO:...>, #<Stoplight::Notifier::Slack:...>]

Rails

Stoplight is designed to work seamlessly with Rails. If you want to use the in-memory data store, you don't need to do anything special. If you want to use a persistent data store, you'll need to configure it. Create an initializer for Stoplight:

# config/initializers/stoplight.rb
require 'stoplight'
Stoplight::Light.default_data_store = Stoplight::DataStore::Redis.new(...)
Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers += [Stoplight::Notifier::Logger.new(Rails.logger)]

Advanced usage

Locking

Although stoplights can operate on their own, occasionally you may want to override the default behavior. You can lock a light in either the green or red state using set_state.

light = Stoplight('example-locked') { true }
# => #<Stoplight::Light:..>
light.run
# => true
light.data_store.set_state(light, Stoplight::State::LOCKED_RED)
# => "locked_red"
light.run
# Stoplight::Error::RedLight: example-locked

Code in locked red lights may still run under certain conditions! If you have configured a custom data store and that data store fails, Stoplight will switch over to using a blank in-memory data store. That means you will lose the locked state of any stoplights.

You can go back to using the default behavior by unlocking the stoplight.

light.data_store.set_state(light, Stoplight::State::UNLOCKED)

Testing

Stoplights typically work as expected without modification in test suites. However there are a few things you can do to make them behave better. If your stoplights are spewing messages into your test output, you can silence them with a couple configuration changes.

Stoplight::Light.default_error_notifier = -> _ {}
Stoplight::Light.default_notifiers = []

If your tests mysteriously fail because stoplights are the wrong color, you can try resetting the data store before each test case. For example, this would give each test case a fresh data store with RSpec.

before(:each) do
  Stoplight::Light.default_data_store = Stoplight::DataStore::Memory.new
end

Sometimes you may want to test stoplights directly. You can avoid resetting the data store by giving each stoplight a unique name.

stoplight = Stoplight("test-#{rand}") { ... }

Credits

Stoplight is brought to you by @camdez and @tfausak from @OrgSync. A complete list of contributors is available on GitHub. We were inspired by Martin Fowler's CircuitBreaker article.

Stoplight is licensed under the MIT License.