'after' in gen_server

Rick Pettit rpettit@REDACTED
Thu Mar 23 17:04:03 CET 2006

On Thu, Mar 23, 2006 at 10:42:04AM -0500, orbitz@REDACTED wrote:
> I am reworking a bit of code into gen_server pattern.  In this code I 
> have a typical loop construct.  In this I want to perform an action if 
> no messages have been receive in a certain amount of time, to do this I 
> simply have after sometimeout ->.  Is there any equivalence of this in 
> gen_server?

If I understand you correctly, all you need to do is set a timeout when 
returning from one of the gen_server callback functions.

For example, instead of returning {ok,State} from Module:init/1, return
{ok,State,TimeoutMs}. You can do this for all the gen_server callback
routines (at least handle_call/handle_cast, etc).

This effectively sets a timer which will expire if no message is received
by the gen_server before TimeoutMs has elapsed. If/when the timer does 
expire, you receive a 'timeout' message in Module:handle_info/2.


P.S. Since gen_server abstracts the server receive loop, I (as a general rule
     of thumb) *never* call receive in a gen_server callback module.

> It has been suggested that I use a timer and record when the last 
> message has come in and when the timer signals check against that 
> message.  This seems a poor solution.  Another suggestions was to use a 
> gen_fsm with a timeout, but this seem a bit much just to get an 'after' 
> mechanism. Any other suggestions?  Perhaps my disregard of gen_fsm is a 
> bit hasty?

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