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Extending System Tasks

System tasks allow Conductor to run commonly run tasks on the Conductor server - removing the need to build (and deploy) workers for these basic tasks. This allows for automating more mundane tasks without building specific microservices for them.

However, sometimes it might be necessary to add additional parameters to a System Task to gain the behavior that is desired.

Example HTTP Task

{
"name": "get_weather_90210",
"version": 1,
"tasks": [
{
"name": "get_weather_90210",
"taskReferenceName": "get_weather_90210",
"inputParameters": {
"http_request": {
"uri": "https://weatherdbi.herokuapp.com/data/weather/90210",
"method": "GET",
"connectionTimeOut": 1300,
"readTimeOut": 1300
}
},
"type": "HTTP",
"decisionCases": {},
"defaultCase": [],
"forkTasks": [],
"startDelay": 0,
"joinOn": [],
"optional": false,
"defaultExclusiveJoinTask": [],
"asyncComplete": false,
"loopOver": []
}
],
"inputParameters": [],
"outputParameters": {
"data": "${get_weather_ref.output.response.body.currentConditions.comment}"
},
"schemaVersion": 2,
"restartable": true,
"workflowStatusListenerEnabled": false,
"ownerEmail": "doug.sillars@orkes.com",
"timeoutPolicy": "ALERT_ONLY",
"timeoutSeconds": 0,
"variables": {},
"inputTemplate": {}
}

This very simple workflow has a single HTTP Task inside. No parameters need to be passed, and when run, the HTTP task will return the weather in Beverly Hills, CA (Zip code = 90210).

This API has a very slow response time. In the HTTP task, the connection is set to time out after 1300ms, which is too short for this API, resulting in a timeout. This API will work if we allowed for a longer timeout, but in order to demonstrate adding retries to the HTTP Task, we will artificially force the API call to fail.

When this workflow is run - it fails, as expected.

exponential backoff

Now, sometimes an API call might fail due to an issue on the remote server, and retrying the call will result in a response. With many Conductor tasks, retryCount, retryDelaySeconds and retryLogic fields can be applied to retry the worker (with the desired parameters).

By default, the HTTP Task does not have retryCount, retryDelaySeconds or retryLogic built in. Attempting to add these parameters to a HTTP Task results in an error.

The Solution

We can create a task with the same name with the desired parameters. Defining the following task (note that the name is identical to the one in the workflow):

{

"createdBy": "",
"name": "get_weather_90210",
"description": "editing HTTP task",
"retryCount": 3,
"timeoutSeconds": 5,
"inputKeys": [],
"outputKeys": [],
"timeoutPolicy": "TIME_OUT_WF",
"retryLogic": "FIXED",
"retryDelaySeconds": 5,
"responseTimeoutSeconds": 5,
"inputTemplate": {},
"rateLimitPerFrequency": 0,
"rateLimitFrequencyInSeconds": 1
}

We've added the three parameters: retryCount: 3, retryDelaySeconds: 5, retryLogic: FIXED

The get_weather_90210 task will now run 4 times (it will fail once, and then retry 3 times), with a FIXED 5 second delay between attempts.

Re-running the task (and looking at the timeline view) shows that this is what occurs. There are 4 attempts, with a 5 second delay between them.

fixed backoff failure

If we change the retryLogic to EXPONENTIAL_BACKOFF, the delay between attempts grows exponentially:

  1. 5*2^0 = 5 seconds
  2. 5*2^1 = 10 seconds
  3. 5*2^2 = 20 seconds

exponential backoff