Tasks handling

SENAITE QUEUE keeps a prioritized queue that contains the tasks to be processed. Each time the clock wakes-up (clock-server directive in buildout configuration, see Installation), the system checks if the queue is currently locked by the tasks consumer. If locked, the system does nothing and returns to a neutral state, awaiting for the undergoing task to finish. If the queue is not locked, the consumer pops the next task from the queue. The consumer then starts a new thread for processing the task.

As soon as the processing of the task finishes, the consumer notifies the Queue so it can return to a neutral state and dispatch next task. This task is removed from the queue.

If an error arises while processing the task, the consumer notifies the Queue about the incident as well. This time, the queue resumes to neutral state, but labels the task as “failed” and is not removed.


Two factors are taken into account for tasks prioritization: creation date time and task custom priority value.

By default, system applies a priority value of 10 for all type of tasks. This value can be changed for specific tasks though. The lesser the priority value, the higher will be the priority of that task over others.

However, the creation date time is also used for tasks prioritization. So, even if a task has a higher priority based on the priority value explained before, tasks that were created long before this task will be prioritized. For this to happen, the system calculates the task priority with this formula:

\[P = t + 300 * p\]


  • P: Priority of the task
  • t: Number of seconds passed since epoch when the task was queued
  • p: Priority value

For instance, given two tasks added to the queue with a difference of 5 minutes (300 seconds), the first one with a p of 100 and the second with a p of 10:

\[ \begin{align}\begin{aligned}P_0 = 1600003935 + 300 \times 100 = 1600033935\\P_1 = (1600003935 + 300) + 300 \times 10 = 1600037235\\P_0 < P_1\end{aligned}\end{align} \]

In this example, the task that was added first will be processed first, although its priority value was greater than second’s (remember the lesser the priority value, the more priority).

This mechanism prevents the Queue to be jeopardized by high-priority tasks when there is a lot of overload. Also, each time a new attempt for a failed task takes place, the created value is updated accordingly. Thus, the mechanism also acts as a safeguard for when a task takes long to complete and requires several attempts to finish: it makes room for other tasks to be processed instead of retrying the same task time again and again.

Failed tasks

The Queue discards a task as “failed” because of any of the following reasons:

  • The process did not complete because of transaction commit conflicts
  • The process did not complete because of other errors
  • The process reached the timeout defined in settings

By default, the Queue will try to re-process the failed tasks up to 3 times. This value can be changed in Queue control panel. view: Maximum retries. When a task is considered as failed, the Queue transitions from status “locked” to “unlocked” and therefore, next task becomes available for consumption. If the process does not succeed after maximum retries is reached, the task is discarded as failed again, but no further retries will take place.

On each re-attempt, the queue sets a delay of 5 seconds, giving some time before the task is re-processed. This mechanism reduces the chance of failures and also makes room for other tasks to be processed before retries.

Also, the number of items to process for that precise task is reduced in a half. This reduces the chance of both conflicts and timeouts.

When a process does not complete successfully, the thread in charge of handling the task ends gracefully and the queue is immediately notified. This is the safest case, cause there is no risk that more threads the CPU can handle are started accidentally.

However, a process might take long to complete or maybe the zeo client was stopped while a task was being processed. These are the two scenarios the last reason refers to. In such cases, the Queue does not know if the task is actually running or is not. Still, the Queue needs to resume because otherwise, no further tasks will ever be processed: the queue would enter into a dead-lock status. The Timeout mechanism (see next section) prevents this to happen.


When system retries a task, it will increase the timeout for that specific task. Timeout is the time in seconds the Queue will wait for the task to complete before being discarded as failed. By default, this value is set to 120 seconds, but can be changed in Queue control panel: Maximum seconds.

Given a value of timeout of 120 seconds, if a task fails the first time, the system will increase the timeout for that task to 180 seconds. If it fails a second time, it will increase its timeout to 270 seconds: the system multiplies the seconds by a factor of 1.5 each time.


Note that if Maximum retries is set to 5 and the timeout is 120 seconds, the time in seconds the Queue will wait for the task to complete in the last attempt will be 608 seconds (10 minutes). Take this into account when configuring default values for Maximum seconds and Maximum retries.

Transaction commit conflicts

When a database transaction commit conflict takes place, the system retries the same transaction up to 3 times as per Zope’s default. However, if the last transaction attempt cannot be completed, the Queue re-queues the task for further attempts, up to the value defined in Queue control panel: Maximum retries.