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Re^3: Design question: handling hundreds of state machines in a Web context

by Corion (Pope)
on Jan 02, 2013 at 16:56 UTC ( #1011316=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^2: Design question: handling hundreds of state machines in a Web context
in thread Design question: handling hundreds of state machines in a Web context

Sure, but at what point do you accept the legal responsibility for the transition with regards to your customer, and how will you handle recovery? Is it OK to replay (a series of) transitions if you keep the state in memory and write the state to disk every five minutes, while keeping a transition log? Do you want/need two-phase commit, where you send a confirmation for each processed transition?

How consistent needs the overall state of the system to be? Is it OK if all transitions for client A were processed but only the first half of the transitions for client B were processed? What if A and B own ultiple machines? What is the processing order of the transitions? Is it OK to process transitions in parallel across different threads? Is it OK to reorder transitions for a single state machine? Can a transition be cancelled or can it time out?

Most of these guarantees should be answered by a proper messaging system, like IBM MQSeries or maybe ZeroMQ nowadays, or alternatively by having all clients write directly to a database. I think you will need one, but I don't have much experience with the advantages or disadvantages of such queue systems.

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Re^4: Design question: handling hundreds of state machines in a Web context
by Anonymous Monk on Jan 02, 2013 at 17:06 UTC

    There is no legal responsibility, but our reputation is at stake. Each "client" is a Web browser, so it doesn't matter if they have multiple machines as we handle the transitions on the server side. The clients won't be logged in multiple times on different machines for the same user context and if they do, they understand there are no guarantees and that they're not supposed to do that. In other words, each user's context can be considered a single-threaded process and each transition happens sequentially, but the state is maintained across HTTP requests.

    A transition, once it is triggered, should not be cancelleable or timed out.

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[choroba]: Why don't they use tire chains?
[perldigious]: First snow, probably not prepared right away choroba.
[stevieb]: it's Quebec... they do weird stuff there :) In the mountains, it is *mandatory* for trucks to use tire chains. Many passenger vehicles do as well (but it's not mandatory for them)
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[perldigious]: Well, that and dodging the people who forget how ice works right away. :-)

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