Gen_server and multiple processes

Sean Hinde <>
Fri Dec 20 10:31:13 CET 2002


> >>Yes. You have a message server that receives all messages 
> and spawns a 
> >>new server (Let us call it a message handler)
> >>
> >Just to check, you mean to actually spawn a new OTP 
> gen_server?  Is this
> >not slow since it has quite a bit of overhead.
> >The idea we had was to have one gen_server that spawns its own worker
> >threads in the handle_call.
> >
> I would first try with a dynamic child in a gen_server. Yes, 
> you do have 
> overheads, but at the same time, you have supervision, control, and 
> uniformity. 
> 

Or if you really don't think you need a full blown gen_server in each case,
you could create your short lived processes using proc_lib:spawn_link().
This provides nice crash reports if the worker crashes but is otherwise a
bit less overhead than using dynamic children/gen_servers.

For example our usual tcp server pattern has a new gen_server created for
each new socket conection but each new call creates a proc_lib:spawn_link().
I tend to keep an ets table holding the worker pids as the gen_server state,
and like to hold at least the transactionid/header information from the
incoming packet with the Pid so that if the worker crashes I can retrieve
this and return an appropriate error response to the client.

Sean



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