Graceful Shutdown and Cleanup

The code in Listing 20-21 is responding to requests asynchronously through the use of a thread pool, as we intended. We get some warnings about the workers, id, and thread fields that we’re not using in a direct way that reminds us we’re not cleaning up anything. When we use the less elegant ctrl-c method to halt the main thread, all other threads are stopped immediately as well, even if they’re in the middle of serving a request.

Now we’ll implement the Drop trait to call join on each of the threads in the pool so they can finish the requests they’re working on before closing. Then we’ll implement a way to tell the threads they should stop accepting new requests and shut down. To see this code in action, we’ll modify our server to only accept two requests before gracefully shutting down its thread pool.

Implementing the Drop Trait on ThreadPool

Let’s start with implementing Drop on our thread pool. When the pool is dropped, our threads should all join on to make sure they finish their work. Listing 20-23 shows a first attempt at a Drop implementation; this code won’t quite work yet.

Filename: src/lib.rs

impl Drop for ThreadPool {
    fn drop(&mut self) {
        for worker in &mut self.workers {
            println!("Shutting down worker {}", worker.id);

            worker.thread.join().unwrap();
        }
    }
}

Listing 20-23: Joining each thread when the thread pool goes out of scope

First, we loop through each of the thread pool workers. We use &mut for this because self is a mutable reference, and we also need to be able to mutate worker. For each worker, we print a message saying that this particular worker is shutting down, and then we call join on that worker’s thread. If the call to join fails, we use unwrap to make Rust panic and go into an ungraceful shutdown.

Here is the error we get when we compile this code:

error[E0507]: cannot move out of borrowed content
  --> src/lib.rs:65:13
   |
65 |             worker.thread.join().unwrap();
   |             ^^^^^^ cannot move out of borrowed content

The error tells us we can’t call join because we only have a mutable borrow of each worker, and join takes ownership of its argument. To solve this issue, we need to move the thread out of the Worker instance that owns thread so join can consume the thread. We did this in Listing 17-15: if Worker holds an Option<thread::JoinHandle<()> instead, we can call the take method on the Option to move the value out of the Some variant and leave a None variant in its place. In other words, a Worker that is running will have a Some variant in thread, and when we want to clean up a worker, we’ll replace Some with None so the worker doesn’t have a thread to run.

So we know we want to update the definition of Worker like this:

Filename: src/lib.rs


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
# use std::thread;
struct Worker {
    id: usize,
    thread: Option<thread::JoinHandle<()>>,
}
#}

Now let’s lean on the compiler to find the other places that need to change. Checking this code, we get two errors:

error[E0599]: no method named `join` found for type
`std::option::Option<std::thread::JoinHandle<()>>` in the current scope
  --> src/lib.rs:65:27
   |
65 |             worker.thread.join().unwrap();
   |                           ^^^^

error[E0308]: mismatched types
  --> src/lib.rs:89:13
   |
89 |             thread,
   |             ^^^^^^
   |             |
   |             expected enum `std::option::Option`, found struct
   `std::thread::JoinHandle`
   |             help: try using a variant of the expected type: `Some(thread)`
   |
   = note: expected type `std::option::Option<std::thread::JoinHandle<()>>`
              found type `std::thread::JoinHandle<_>`

Let’s address the second error, which points to the code at the end of Worker::new; we need to wrap the thread value in Some when we create a new Worker. Make the following changes to fix this error:

Filename: src/lib.rs

impl Worker {
    fn new(id: usize, receiver: Arc<Mutex<mpsc::Receiver<Job>>>) -> Worker {
        // --snip--

        Worker {
            id,
            thread: Some(thread),
        }
    }
}

The first error is in our Drop implementation. We mentioned earlier that we intended to call take on the Option value to move thread out of worker. The following changes will do so:

Filename: src/lib.rs

impl Drop for ThreadPool {
    fn drop(&mut self) {
        for worker in &mut self.workers {
            println!("Shutting down worker {}", worker.id);

            if let Some(thread) = worker.thread.take() {
                thread.join().unwrap();
            }
        }
    }
}

As discussed in Chapter 17, the take method on Option takes the Some variant out and leaves None in its place. We’re using if let to destructure the Some and get the thread; then we call join on the thread. If a worker’s thread is already None, we know that worker has already had its thread cleaned up, so nothing happens in that case.

Signaling to the Threads to Stop Listening for Jobs

With all the changes we’ve made, our code compiles without any warnings. But the bad news is this code doesn’t function the way we want it to yet. The key is the logic in the closures run by the threads of the Worker instances: at the moment we call join, but that won’t shut down the threads because they loop forever looking for jobs. If we try to drop our ThreadPool with our current implementation of drop, the main thread will block forever waiting for the first thread to finish.

To fix this problem, we’ll modify the threads so they listen for either a Job to run or a signal that they should stop listening and exit the infinite loop. Instead of Job instances, our channel will send one of these two enum variants:

Filename: src/lib.rs


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
# struct Job;
enum Message {
    NewJob(Job),
    Terminate,
}
#}

This Message enum will either be a NewJob variant that holds the Job the thread should run, or it will be a Terminate variant that will cause the thread to exit its loop and stop.

We need to adjust the channel to use values of type Message rather than type Job, as shown in Listing 20-24.

Filename: src/lib.rs

pub struct ThreadPool {
    workers: Vec<Worker>,
    sender: mpsc::Sender<Message>,
}

// --snip--

impl ThreadPool {
    // --snip--

    pub fn execute<F>(&self, f: F)
        where
            F: FnOnce() + Send + 'static
    {
        let job = Box::new(f);

        self.sender.send(Message::NewJob(job)).unwrap();
    }
}

// --snip--

impl Worker {
    fn new(id: usize, receiver: Arc<Mutex<mpsc::Receiver<Message>>>) ->
        Worker {

        let thread = thread::spawn(move ||{
            loop {
                let message = receiver.lock().unwrap().recv().unwrap();

                match message {
                    Message::NewJob(job) => {
                        println!("Worker {} got a job; executing.", id);

                        job.call_box();
                    },
                    Message::Terminate => {
                        println!("Worker {} was told to terminate.", id);

                        break;
                    },
                }
            }
        });

        Worker {
            id,
            thread: Some(thread),
        }
    }
}

Listing 20-24: Sending and receiving Message values and exiting the loop if a Worker receives Message::Terminate

To incorporate the Message enum, we need to change Job to Message in two places: the definition of ThreadPool and the signature of Worker::new. The execute method of ThreadPool needs to send jobs wrapped in the Message::NewJob variant. Then, in Worker::new where a Message is received from the channel, the job will be processed if the NewJob variant is received, and the thread will break out of the loop if the Terminate variant is received.

With these changes, the code will compile and continue to function in the same way as it did after Listing 20-21. But we’ll get a warning because we aren’t creating any messages of the Terminate variety. Let’s fix this warning by changing our Drop implementation to look like Listing 20-25.

Filename: src/lib.rs

impl Drop for ThreadPool {
    fn drop(&mut self) {
        println!("Sending terminate message to all workers.");

        for _ in &mut self.workers {
            self.sender.send(Message::Terminate).unwrap();
        }

        println!("Shutting down all workers.");

        for worker in &mut self.workers {
            println!("Shutting down worker {}", worker.id);

            if let Some(thread) = worker.thread.take() {
                thread.join().unwrap();
            }
        }
    }
}

Listing 20-25: Sending Message::Terminate to the workers before calling join on each worker thread

We’re now iterating over the workers twice: once to send one Terminate message for each worker and once to call join on each worker’s thread. If we tried to send a message and join immediately in the same loop, we couldn’t guarantee that the worker in the current iteration would be the one to get the message from the channel.

To better understand why we need two separate loops, imagine a scenario with two workers. If we used a single loop to iterate through each worker, on the first iteration a terminate message would be sent down the channel and join called on the first worker’s thread. If that first worker was busy processing a request at that moment, the second worker would pick up the terminate message from the channel and shut down. We would be left waiting on the first worker to shut down, but it never would because the second thread picked up the terminate message. Deadlock!

To prevent this scenario, we first put all of our Terminate messages on the channel in one loop; then we join on all the threads in another loop. Each worker will stop receiving requests on the channel once it gets a terminate message. So, we can be sure that if we send the same number of terminate messages as there are workers, each worker will receive a terminate message before join is called on its thread.

To see this code in action, let’s modify main to only accept two requests before gracefully shutting down the server, as shown in Listing 20-26.

Filename: src/bin/main.rs

fn main() {
    let listener = TcpListener::bind("127.0.0.1:7878").unwrap();
    let pool = ThreadPool::new(4);

    for stream in listener.incoming().take(2) {
        let stream = stream.unwrap();

        pool.execute(|| {
            handle_connection(stream);
        });
    }

    println!("Shutting down.");
}

Listing 20-26: Shut down the server after serving two requests by exiting the loop

You wouldn’t want a real-world web server to shut down after serving only two requests. This code just demonstrates that the graceful shutdown and cleanup is in working order.

The take method is defined in the Iterator trait and limits the iteration to the first two items at most. The ThreadPool will go out of scope at the end of main, and the drop implementation will run.

Start the server with cargo run, and make three requests. The third request should error, and in your terminal you should see output similar to this:

$ cargo run
   Compiling hello v0.1.0 (file:///projects/hello)
    Finished dev [unoptimized + debuginfo] target(s) in 1.0 secs
     Running `target/debug/hello`
Worker 0 got a job; executing.
Worker 3 got a job; executing.
Shutting down.
Sending terminate message to all workers.
Shutting down all workers.
Shutting down worker 0
Worker 1 was told to terminate.
Worker 2 was told to terminate.
Worker 0 was told to terminate.
Worker 3 was told to terminate.
Shutting down worker 1
Shutting down worker 2
Shutting down worker 3

You might see a different ordering of workers and messages printed. We can see how this code works from the messages: workers zero and three got the first two requests, and then on the third request the server stopped accepting connections. When the ThreadPool goes out of scope at the end of main, its Drop implementation kicks in, and the pool tells all workers to terminate. The workers each print a message when they see the terminate message, and then the thread pool calls join to shut down each worker thread.

Notice one interesting aspect of this particular execution: the ThreadPool sent the terminate messages down the channel, and before any worker received the messages, we tried to join worker 0. Worker 0 had not yet received the terminate message, so the main thread blocked waiting for worker 0 to finish. In the meantime, each of the workers received the termination messages. When worker 0 finished, the main thread waited for the rest of the workers to finish. At that point, they had all received the termination message and were able to shut down.

Congrats! We’ve now completed our project; we have a basic web server that uses a thread pool to respond asynchronously. We’re able to perform a graceful shutdown of the server, which cleans up all the threads in the pool.

Here’s the full code for reference:

Filename: src/bin/main.rs

extern crate hello;
use hello::ThreadPool;

use std::io::prelude::*;
use std::net::TcpListener;
use std::net::TcpStream;
use std::fs::File;
use std::thread;
use std::time::Duration;

fn main() {
    let listener = TcpListener::bind("127.0.0.1:7878").unwrap();
    let pool = ThreadPool::new(4);

    for stream in listener.incoming().take(2) {
        let stream = stream.unwrap();

        pool.execute(|| {
            handle_connection(stream);
        });
    }

    println!("Shutting down.");
}

fn handle_connection(mut stream: TcpStream) {
    let mut buffer = [0; 512];
    stream.read(&mut buffer).unwrap();

    let get = b"GET / HTTP/1.1\r\n";
    let sleep = b"GET /sleep HTTP/1.1\r\n";

    let (status_line, filename) = if buffer.starts_with(get) {
        ("HTTP/1.1 200 OK\r\n\r\n", "hello.html")
    } else if buffer.starts_with(sleep) {
        thread::sleep(Duration::from_secs(5));
        ("HTTP/1.1 200 OK\r\n\r\n", "hello.html")
    } else {
        ("HTTP/1.1 404 NOT FOUND\r\n\r\n", "404.html")
    };

     let mut file = File::open(filename).unwrap();
     let mut contents = String::new();

     file.read_to_string(&mut contents).unwrap();

     let response = format!("{}{}", status_line, contents);

     stream.write(response.as_bytes()).unwrap();
     stream.flush().unwrap();
}

Filename: src/lib.rs


# #![allow(unused_variables)]
#fn main() {
use std::thread;
use std::sync::mpsc;
use std::sync::Arc;
use std::sync::Mutex;

enum Message {
    NewJob(Job),
    Terminate,
}

pub struct ThreadPool {
    workers: Vec<Worker>,
    sender: mpsc::Sender<Message>,
}

trait FnBox {
    fn call_box(self: Box<Self>);
}

impl<F: FnOnce()> FnBox for F {
    fn call_box(self: Box<F>) {
        (*self)()
    }
}

type Job = Box<FnBox + Send + 'static>;

impl ThreadPool {
    /// Create a new ThreadPool.
    ///
    /// The size is the number of threads in the pool.
    ///
    /// # Panics
    ///
    /// The `new` function will panic if the size is zero.
    pub fn new(size: usize) -> ThreadPool {
        assert!(size > 0);

        let (sender, receiver) = mpsc::channel();

        let receiver = Arc::new(Mutex::new(receiver));

        let mut workers = Vec::with_capacity(size);

        for id in 0..size {
            workers.push(Worker::new(id, Arc::clone(&receiver)));
        }

        ThreadPool {
            workers,
            sender,
        }
    }

    pub fn execute<F>(&self, f: F)
        where
            F: FnOnce() + Send + 'static
    {
        let job = Box::new(f);

        self.sender.send(Message::NewJob(job)).unwrap();
    }
}

impl Drop for ThreadPool {
    fn drop(&mut self) {
        println!("Sending terminate message to all workers.");

        for _ in &mut self.workers {
            self.sender.send(Message::Terminate).unwrap();
        }

        println!("Shutting down all workers.");

        for worker in &mut self.workers {
            println!("Shutting down worker {}", worker.id);

            if let Some(thread) = worker.thread.take() {
                thread.join().unwrap();
            }
        }
    }
}

struct Worker {
    id: usize,
    thread: Option<thread::JoinHandle<()>>,
}

impl Worker {
    fn new(id: usize, receiver: Arc<Mutex<mpsc::Receiver<Message>>>) ->
        Worker {

        let thread = thread::spawn(move ||{
            loop {
                let message = receiver.lock().unwrap().recv().unwrap();

                match message {
                    Message::NewJob(job) => {
                        println!("Worker {} got a job; executing.", id);

                        job.call_box();
                    },
                    Message::Terminate => {
                        println!("Worker {} was told to terminate.", id);

                        break;
                    },
                }
            }
        });

        Worker {
            id,
            thread: Some(thread),
        }
    }
}
#}

We could do more here! If you want to continue enhancing this project, here are some ideas:

  • Add more documentation to ThreadPool and its public methods.
  • Add tests of the library’s functionality.
  • Change calls to unwrap to more robust error handling.
  • Use ThreadPool to perform some task other than serving web requests.
  • Find a thread pool crate on https://crates.io/ and implement a similar web server using the crate instead. Then compare its API and robustness to the thread pool we implemented.

Summary

Well done! You’ve made it to the end of the book! We want to thank you for joining us on this tour of Rust. You’re now ready to implement your own Rust projects and help with other peoples’ projects. Keep in mind that there is a welcoming community of other Rustaceans who would love to help you with any challenges you encounter on your Rust journey.