Background Workers

Introduction

Background workers are simple independent threads in the application running in the background. Generally, they run periodically to perform some tasks. Examples;

  • A background worker can run periodically to delete old logs.
  • A background worker can run periodically to determine inactive users and send emails to get users to return to your application.

Create a Background Worker

A background worker should directly or indirectly implement the IBackgroundWorker interface.

A background worker is inherently singleton. So, only a single instance of your worker class is instantiated and run.

BackgroundWorkerBase

BackgroundWorkerBase is an easy way to create a background worker.

public class MyWorker : BackgroundWorkerBase
{
    public override Task StartAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken = default)
    {
        //...
    }

    public override Task StopAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken = default)
    {
        //...
    }
}

Start your worker in the StartAsync (which is called when the application begins) and stop in the StopAsync (which is called when the application shuts down).

You can directly implement the IBackgroundWorker, but BackgroundWorkerBase provides some useful properties like Logger.

AsyncPeriodicBackgroundWorkerBase

Assume that we want to make a user passive, if the user has not logged in to the application in last 30 days. AsyncPeriodicBackgroundWorkerBase class simplifies to create periodic workers, so we will use it for the example below:

public class PassiveUserCheckerWorker : AsyncPeriodicBackgroundWorkerBase
{
    public PassiveUserCheckerWorker(
            AbpTimer timer,
            IServiceScopeFactory serviceScopeFactory
        ) : base(
            timer, 
            serviceScopeFactory)
    {
        Timer.Period = 600000; //10 minutes
    }

    protected override async Task DoWorkAsync(
        PeriodicBackgroundWorkerContext workerContext)
    {
        Logger.LogInformation("Starting: Setting status of inactive users...");

        //Resolve dependencies
        var userRepository = workerContext
            .ServiceProvider
            .GetRequiredService<IUserRepository>();

        //Do the work
        await userRepository.UpdateInactiveUserStatusesAsync();

        Logger.LogInformation("Completed: Setting status of inactive users...");
    }
}
  • AsyncPeriodicBackgroundWorkerBase uses the AbpTimer (a thread-safe timer) object to determine the period. We can set its Period property in the constructor.
  • It required to implement the DoWorkAsync method to execute the periodic work.
  • It is a good practice to resolve dependencies from the PeriodicBackgroundWorkerContext instead of constructor injection. Because AsyncPeriodicBackgroundWorkerBase uses a IServiceScope that is disposed when your work finishes.
  • AsyncPeriodicBackgroundWorkerBase catches and logs exceptions thrown by the DoWorkAsync method.

Register Background Worker

After creating a background worker class, you should to add it to the IBackgroundWorkerManager. The most common place is the OnApplicationInitialization method of your module class:

[DependsOn(typeof(AbpBackgroundWorkersModule))]
public class MyModule : AbpModule
{
    public override void OnApplicationInitialization(
        ApplicationInitializationContext context)
    {
        context.AddBackgroundWorker<PassiveUserCheckerWorker>();
    }
}

context.AddBackgroundWorker(...) is a shortcut extension method for the expression below:

context.ServiceProvider
    .GetRequiredService<IBackgroundWorkerManager>()
    .Add(
        context
            .ServiceProvider
            .GetRequiredService<PassiveUserCheckerWorker>()
    );

So, it resolves the given background worker and adds to the IBackgroundWorkerManager.

While we generally add workers in OnApplicationInitialization, there are no restrictions on that. You can inject IBackgroundWorkerManager anywhere and add workers at runtime. Background worker manager will stop and release all the registered workers when your application is being shut down.

Options

AbpBackgroundWorkerOptions class is used to set options for the background workers. Currently, there is only one option:

  • IsEnabled (default: true): Used to enable/disable the background worker system for your application.

See the Options document to learn how to set options.

Making Your Application Always Run

Background workers only work if your application is running. If you host the background job execution in your web application (this is the default behavior), you should ensure that your web application is configured to always be running. Otherwise, background jobs only work while your application is in use.

Running On a Cluster

Be careful if you run multiple instances of your application simultaneously in a clustered environment. In that case, every application runs the same worker which may create conflicts if your workers are running on the same resources (processing the same data, for example).

If that's a problem for your workers, you have two options;

  • Disable the background worker system using the AbpBackgroundWorkerOptions described above, for all the application instances, except one of them.
  • Disable the background worker system for all the application instances and create another special application that runs on a single server and execute the workers.

Quartz Integration

ABP Framework's background worker system is good to implement periodic tasks. However, you may want to use an advanced task scheduler like Quartz. See the community contributed quartz integration for the background workers.

See Also

In this document