Subscription Workflow Tutorial Part 4: Implementing the Activities Task Poller - Amazon Simple Workflow Service
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Subscription Workflow Tutorial Part 4: Implementing the Activities Task Poller

In Amazon SWF, activity tasks for a running workflow execution appear on the activity task list, which is provided when you schedule an activity in the workflow.

We'll implement a basic activity poller to handle these tasks for our workflow, and use it to launch our activities when Amazon SWF places a task on the activity task list to start the activity.

To begin, create a new file called swf_sns_activities.rb. We'll use it to:

  • Instantiate the activity classes that we created.

  • Register each activity with Amazon SWF.

  • Poll for activities and call do_activity for each activity when its name appears on the activity task list.

In swf_sns_activities.rb, add the following statements to require each of the activity classes we defined.

require_relative 'get_contact_activity.rb' require_relative 'subscribe_topic_activity.rb' require_relative 'wait_for_confirmation_activity.rb' require_relative 'send_result_activity.rb'

Now, we'll create the class and provide some initialization code.

class ActivitiesPoller def initialize(domain, workflowId) @domain = domain @workflowId = workflowId @activities = {} # These are the activities we'll run activity_list = [ GetContactActivity, SubscribeTopicActivity, WaitForConfirmationActivity, SendResultActivity ] activity_list.each do | activity_class | activity_obj = puts "** initialized and registered activity: #{}" # add it to the hash @activities[] = activity_obj end end

In addition to saving the passed in domain and task list, this code instantiates each of the activity classes we created. Because each class registers its associated activity (refer to basic_activity.rb if you need to review that code), this is enough to let Amazon SWF know about all of the activities we'll be running.

For each activity instantiated, we store it on a map using the activity name (such as get_contact_activity) as the key, so we can easily look these up in the activity poller code, which we'll define next.

Create a new method called poll_for_activities and call poll on the activity_tasks held by the domain to get activity tasks.

def poll_for_activities @domain.activity_tasks.poll(@workflowId) do | task | activity_name =

We can get the activity name from the task's activity_type member. Next, we'll use the activity name associated with this task to look up the class to run do_activity on, passing it the task (which includes any input data that should be transferred to the activity).

# find the task on the activities list, and run it. if @activities.key?(activity_name.to_sym) activity = @activities[activity_name.to_sym] puts "** Starting activity task: #{activity_name}" if activity.do_activity(task) puts "++ Activity task completed: #{activity_name}" task.complete!({ :result => activity.results }) # if this is the final activity, stop polling. if activity_name == 'send_result_activity' return true end else puts "-- Activity task failed: #{activity_name}"!( { :reason => activity.results[:reason], :details => activity.results[:detail] } ) end else puts "couldn't find key in @activities list: #{activity_name}" puts "contents: #{@activities.keys}" end end end end

The code just waits for do_activity to complete, and then calls either complete! or fail! on the task based on the return code.


This code exits from the poller once the final activity has been launched, since it has completed its mission and has launched all of the activities. In your own Amazon SWF code, if your activities might be run again, you may want to keep the activity poller running indefinitely.

That's the end of the code for our ActivitiesPoller class, but we'll add a little more code at the end of the file to allow the user to run it from the command-line.

if __FILE__ == $0 if ARGV.count < 1 puts "You must supply a task-list name to use!" exit end poller =, ARGV[0]) poller.poll_for_activities puts "All done!" end

If the user runs the file from the command line (passing it an activity task list as the first argument), this code will instantiate the poller class and start it polling for activities. Once the poller completes (after it has launched the final activity), we just print a message and exit.

That's it for the activities poller. All that's left for you to do is to run the code and see how it works, in Subscription Workflow Tutorial: Running the Workflow.