backoff

Fibonacci and exponential backoffs.

Backoff for Node.js

Fibonacci and exponential backoffs for Node.js.

npm install backoff
npm test

The usual way to instantiate a new Backoff object is to use one predefined factory method: backoff.fibonacci([options]), backoff.exponential([options]).

Backoff inherits from EventEmitter. When a backoff starts, a backoff event is emitted and, when a backoff ends, a ready event is emitted. Handlers for these two events are called with the current backoff number and delay.

var backoff = require('backoff');
 
var fibonacciBackoff = backoff.fibonacci({
    randomisationFactor: 0,
    initialDelay: 10,
    maxDelay: 300
});
 
fibonacciBackoff.failAfter(10);
 
fibonacciBackoff.on('backoff', function(numberdelay) {
    // Do something when backoff starts, e.g. show to the 
    // user the delay before next reconnection attempt. 
    console.log(number + ' ' + delay + 'ms');
});
 
fibonacciBackoff.on('ready', function(numberdelay) {
    // Do something when backoff ends, e.g. retry a failed 
    // operation (DNS lookup, API call, etc.). If it fails 
    // again then backoff, otherwise reset the backoff 
    // instance. 
    fibonacciBackoff.backoff();
});
 
fibonacciBackoff.on('fail', function() {
    // Do something when the maximum number of backoffs is 
    // reached, e.g. ask the user to check its connection. 
    console.log('fail');
});
 
fibonacciBackoff.backoff();

The previous example would print the following.

0 10ms
1 10ms
2 20ms
3 30ms
4 50ms
5 80ms
6 130ms
7 210ms
8 300ms
9 300ms
fail

Note that Backoff objects are meant to be instantiated once and reused several times by calling reset after a successful "retry".

It's also possible to avoid some boilerplate code when invoking an asynchronous function in a backoff loop by using backoff.call(fn, [args, ...], callback).

Typical usage looks like the following.

var call = backoff.call(get, 'https://duplika.ca/', function(errres) {
    console.log('Num retries: ' + call.getNumRetries());
 
    if (err) {
        console.log('Error: ' + err.message);
    } else {
        console.log('Status: ' + res.statusCode);
    }
});
 
call.setStrategy(new backoff.ExponentialStrategy());
call.failAfter(10);
call.start();

Constructs a Fibonacci backoff (10, 10, 20, 30, 50, etc.).

The options are the following.

  • randomisationFactor: defaults to 0, must be between 0 and 1
  • initialDelay: defaults to 100 ms
  • maxDelay: defaults to 10000 ms

With these values, the backoff delay will increase from 100 ms to 10000 ms. The randomisation factor controls the range of randomness and must be between 0 and 1. By default, no randomisation is applied on the backoff delay.

Constructs an exponential backoff (10, 20, 40, 80, etc.).

The options are the following.

  • randomisationFactor: defaults to 0, must be between 0 and 1
  • initialDelay: defaults to 100 ms
  • maxDelay: defaults to 10000 ms
  • factor: defaults to 2, must be greater than 1

With these values, the backoff delay will increase from 100 ms to 10000 ms. The randomisation factor controls the range of randomness and must be between 0 and 1. By default, no randomisation is applied on the backoff delay.

  • fn: function to call in a backoff handler, i.e. the wrapped function
  • args: function's arguments
  • callback: function's callback accepting an error as its first argument

Constructs a FunctionCall instance for the given function. The wrapped function will get retried until it succeds or reaches the maximum number of backoffs. In both cases, the callback function will be invoked with the last result returned by the wrapped function.

It is the caller's responsability to initiate the call by invoking the start method on the returned FunctionCall instance.

  • strategy: the backoff strategy to use

Constructs a new backoff object from a specific backoff strategy. The backoff strategy must implement the BackoffStrategyinterface defined bellow.

  • numberOfBackoffs: maximum number of backoffs before the fail event gets emitted, must be greater than 0

Sets a limit on the maximum number of backoffs that can be performed before a fail event gets emitted and the backoff instance is reset. By default, there is no limit on the number of backoffs that can be performed.

Starts a backoff operation. If provided, the error parameter will be emitted as the last argument of the backoff and fail events to let the listeners know why the backoff operation was attempted.

An error will be thrown an error if a backoff operation is already in progress.

In practice, this method should be called after a failed attempt to perform a sensitive operation (connecting to a database, downloading a resource over the network, etc.).

Resets the backoff delay to the initial backoff delay and stop any backoff operation in progress. After reset, a backoff instance can and should be reused.

In practice, this method should be called after having successfully completed the sensitive operation guarded by the backoff instance or if the client code request to stop any reconnection attempt.

  • number: number of backoffs since last reset, starting at 0
  • delay: backoff delay in milliseconds
  • err: optional error parameter passed to backoff.backoff([err])

Emitted when a backoff operation is started. Signals to the client how long the next backoff delay will be.

  • number: number of backoffs since last reset, starting at 0
  • delay: backoff delay in milliseconds

Emitted when a backoff operation is done. Signals that the failing operation should be retried.

  • err: optional error parameter passed to backoff.backoff([err])

Emitted when the maximum number of backoffs is reached. This event will only be emitted if the client has set a limit on the number of backoffs by calling backoff.failAfter(numberOfBackoffs). The backoff instance is automatically reset after this event is emitted.

A backoff strategy must provide the following methods.

Computes and returns the next backoff delay.

Resets the backoff delay to its initial value.

Exponential (10, 20, 40, 80, etc.) backoff strategy implementation.

The options are the following.

  • randomisationFactor: defaults to 0, must be between 0 and 1
  • initialDelay: defaults to 100 ms
  • maxDelay: defaults to 10000 ms
  • factor: defaults to 2, must be greater than 1

Fibonnaci (10, 10, 20, 30, 50, etc.) backoff strategy implementation.

The options are the following.

  • randomisationFactor: defaults to 0, must be between 0 and 1
  • initialDelay: defaults to 100 ms
  • maxDelay: defaults to 10000 ms

This class manages the calling of an asynchronous function within a backoff loop.

This class should rarely be instantiated directly since the factory method backoff.call(fn, [args, ...], callback) offers a more convenient and safer way to create FunctionCall instances.

  • fn: asynchronous function to call
  • args: an array containing fn's args
  • callback: fn's callback

Constructs a function handler for the given asynchronous function.

Returns whether the call is pending, i.e. hasn't been started.

Returns whether the call is in progress.

Returns whether the call is completed.

Returns whether the call is aborted.

  • strategy: strategy instance to use, defaults to FibonacciStrategy.

Sets the backoff strategy to use. This method should be called before call.start() otherwise an exception will be thrown.

  • maxNumberOfBackoffs: maximum number of backoffs before the call is aborted

Sets the maximum number of backoffs before the call is aborted. By default, there is no limit on the number of backoffs that can be performed.

This method should be called before call.start() otherwise an exception will be thrown..

Retrieves the last intermediary result returned by the wrapped function. This method can be called at any point in time during the call life cycle, i.e. before, during and after the wrapped function invocation.

Returns an array containing the arguments passed to the completion callback of the wrapped function. For example, to get the error code returned by the last call, one would do the following.

var results = call.getLastResult();
// The error code is the first parameter of the callback. 
var error = results[0];

Returns the number of times the wrapped function call was retried. For a wrapped function that succeeded immediately, this would return 0. This method can be called at any point in time during the call life cycle, i.e. before, during and after the wrapped function invocation.

Initiates the call the wrapped function. This method should only be called once otherwise an exception will be thrown.

Aborts the call.

The last result can be retrieved using call.getLastResult(). This method can be called at any point in time during the call life cycle, i.e. before, during and after the wrapped function invocation.

  • args: wrapped function's arguments

Emitted each time the wrapped function is called.

  • results: wrapped function's return values

Emitted each time the wrapped function invokes its callback.

  • number: backoff number, starts at 0
  • delay: backoff delay in milliseconds
  • err: the error that triggered the backoff operation

Emitted each time a backoff operation is started.

The annotated source code can be found at mathieuturcotte.github.io/node-backoff/docs.

This code is free to use under the terms of the MIT license.