Plugin Life-Cycle

Plugin Life-Cycle

A plugin is always created from a PluginProvider. The PluginProvider may specify a JSON schema for the config options it accepts, and when instantiated it will be passed configuration options and various runtime environment resources such as log, garbage collector, and life-cycle tracker.

A plugin is usually only instantiated once during a worker process. For testing purposes it is, however, encouraged for plugins to be reentrant, though this requirement can be avoided when writing testings.

The methods on a plugin are called as part of the task-processing loop, this allows to the plugin to call affect the task processing as well as the worker life-cycle.

The general flow of how the Plugin abstractions are called when a task is processed is outlined in the diagram below: plugin-flow

Implementing Task features

As outlined in the diagram above Plugin.NewTaskPlugin() is called, whenever processing on a new tasks begins. This allows plugins to easily track context related to a specific tasks and hook into all the events related to that task.

When TaskPlugin.BuildSandbox(SandboxBuilder) is called the plugin may operate on the given SandboxBuilder this includes setting environment variables, attaching proxies, caches etc. Obviously, the plugin has no business calling SandboxBuilder.Discard() or SandboxBuilder.StartSandbox().

Similarly, in TaskPlugin.Started(Sandbox) the plugin is invited to interact with the Sandbox creating shells and displays, but clearly the plugin should not call Sandbox.WaitForResult() or Sandbox.Abort(). Granted, calling Sandbox.Kill() is a reasonable thing to do, for a plugin implements logic limiting the task execution time.

Controlling Worker Life-Cycle

When a plugin is created it is passed a life-cycle tracker as part of the runtime.Environment object. This allows the plugin to stop the worker either immediately or gracefully. Hence, plugins can limit the worker life-cycle.

To facilitate useful life-cycle logic in plugins each plugin is called when the worker is idle. The Plugin.ReportIdle(duration) method is given the duration of time that the worker has been idle. A plugin can use this initiate a graceful shutdown only if the machine is idle near the end of a billing cycle.

Additionally, each plugin is also called when a non-fatal internal error occurs. Most plugins will just ignore this event, and normally the worker would be configured with at-most one plugin that implements a shutdown heuristic based on non-fatal internal errors. But this serves to move the decision about what to do when there is a non-fatal internal error into plugins.