Operations Workflow in Ruby. This implements a workflow/process flow using multiple task nodes that each have their own queues and execution thread.


gem install oflow


Documentation: http://www.ohler.com/oflow


GitHub repo: https://github.com/ohler55/oflow

RubyGems repo: https://rubygems.org/gems/oflow

Follow @peterohler on Twitter for announcements and news about the OFlow gem.

Build Status

Build Status

Release Notes

Release 1.1.0

  • Changed the gemchart example to use a new Recorder actor.

Release 1.0.2

  • Updated GemChart sample to handle poor connections better.

Release 1.0.1

  • Fixed the set option command line feature.

  • Changed the URL on the GemChart example since RubyGems starting using https.

Release 1.0

  • Add an Actors/Task that starts a application and exchanges data using stdout and stdin.

  • Add an Actors/Task that callout to a remote application and exchange data using JSON over stdin and stdout.

Release 0.8

  • A somewhat non trivial example. GemChart collects statistics on my gems and stores those statistics. It also provides a web interface to view the statistics as a graph.

Release 0.7

  • Simplified the APIs and structure.

  • Added OmniGraffle support. Diagrams can now be executed.

Release 0.6

  • Added HTTP Server Actor that acts as a simple HTTP server.

Release 0.5

  • Added Persister Actor that acts as a simple local store database.

Release 0.4

  • Added support for dynamic Timer options updates.

  • Added Balancer Actor for load balancing of processing across multiple tasks.

  • Added Merger Actor that merges two or more processing paths.

Release 0.3

  • Initial release with minimal features.


Workflow or more accurately, process flow is associated with processing data based on a diagram of what the processing steps are. OFlow-Ruby implements that in Ruby. Each node in a flow diagram is processing unit with it's own thread. This allows highly parallel processing of data or at least as much as Ruby allows. The future C version will exploit parallel processing to a greater extent with much higher performance.

One of the problem in any system that processes data in parallel is determing what is going on in the system. OFlow provides a run time inspector that can monitor and control the system and individual nodes in a flow.

How to Use / Example

Flows are composed of individual building blocks referred to as Tasks. A Task wraps an Actor that is the custom portion of a Task. Once the individual Actors have been written they are assembled by linking Tasks together to define the process flow. The process flow can be defined in Ruby or in the near future with a drawing application such as OmniGraffle.

The approach of using diagrams to define what is effectively a program allows less experience developers to assmeble pieces build by more experienced developers. It also make is much easier to describe a process to non-developers.

OFlow uses a design pattern of queues and encapsulated processing units in the form of Tasks. It also forces isolation by freezing data that is passed from one Task to another to assure data that is sent to more than one Task is not modified by another Task.

Putting it all together in a simple hello world flow with timmer triggers starts with defining a hello world Actor in a file called helloworld.rb.

require 'oflow'

class HelloWorld < ::OFlow::Actor
  def initialize(task, options)

  def perform(op, box)
    puts 'Hello World!'

Next build the flow using Ruby code.

env = ::OFlow::Env.new('')

def hello_flow(period)
  env.flow('hello_world') { |f|
    f.task(:repeater, ::OFlow::Actors::Timer, repeat: 3, period: period) { |t|
      t.link(nil, :hello, nil)
    f.task(:hello, HelloWorld)


if $0 == __FILE__

Running the helloworld.rb results in this output.

> helloworld.rb
Hello World!
Hello World!
Hello World!

Future Features

  • High performance C version. Proof of concept puts the performance range at around 10M operations per second where an operation is one task execution per thread.

  • HTTP/Websockets based inpector.

  • .svg file input for configuration.

  • Visio file input for configuration.


Fast XML parser and marshaller on RubyGems: https://rubygems.org/gems/ox

Fast XML parser and marshaller on GitHub: https://github.com/ohler55/ox

Oj Object Encoding Format describes the OJ Object JSON encoding format.

Need for Speed for an overview of how Oj::Doc was designed.

Oj Strict Mode Performance compares Oj strict mode parser performance to other JSON parsers.

Oj Compat Mode Performance compares Oj compat mode parser performance to other JSON parsers.

Oj Object Mode Performance compares Oj object mode parser performance to other marshallers.

Oj Callback Performance compares Oj callback parser performance to other JSON parsers.