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Lionel Cons


Directory::Queue::Normal - object oriented interface to a normal directory based queue


  use Directory::Queue::Normal;

  # simple schema:
  #  - there must be a "body" which is a string
  #  - there can be a "header" which is a table/hash

  $schema = { "body" => "string", "header" => "table?" };
  $queuedir = "/tmp/test";

  # sample producer

  $dirq = Directory::Queue::Normal->new(path => $queuedir, schema => $schema);
  foreach $count (1 .. 100) {
      $name = $dirq->add(body => "element $count\n", header => \%ENV);
      printf("# added element %d as %s\n", $count, $name);

  # sample consumer (one pass only)

  $dirq = Directory::Queue::Normal->new(path => $queuedir, schema => $schema);
  for ($name = $dirq->first(); $name; $name = $dirq->next()) {
      next unless $dirq->lock($name);
      printf("# reading element %s\n", $name);
      %data = $dirq->get($name);
      # one can use $data{body} and $data{header} here...
      # one could use $dirq->unlock($name) to only browse the queue...

  # looping consumer (sleeping to avoid using all CPU time)

  $dirq = Directory::Queue::Normal->new(path => $queuedir, schema => $schema);
  while (1) {
      sleep(1) unless $dirq->count();
      for ($name = $dirq->first(); $name; $name = $dirq->next()) {
          ... same as above ...


The goal of this module is to offer a "normal" (as opposed to "simple") queue system using the underlying filesystem for storage, security and to prevent race conditions via atomic operations.

It allows arbitrary data to be stored (see the "SCHEMA" section for more information) but it has a significant disk space and speed overhead.

Please refer to Directory::Queue for general information about directory queues.


The new() method can be used to create a Directory::Queue::Normal object that will later be used to interact with the queue. The following attributes are supported:


the queue toplevel directory (mandatory)


the "random" hexadecimal digit to use in element names (aka R) as a number between 0 and 15 (default: randomly generated)


the umask to use when creating files and directories (default: use the running process' umask)


the maximum number of elements that an intermediate directory can hold (default: 16,000)


the schema defining how to interpret user supplied data (mandatory if elements are added or read)


The schema defines how user supplied data is stored in the queue. It is only required by the add() and get() methods.

The schema must be a reference to a hash containing key/value pairs.

The key must contain only alphanumerical characters. It identifies the piece of data and will be used as file name when storing the data inside the element directory.

The value represents the type of the given piece of data. It can be:


the data is a binary string (i.e. a sequence of bytes), it will be stored directly in a plain file with no further encoding


the data is a text string (i.e. a sequence of characters), it will be UTF-8 encoded before being stored in a file


the data is a reference to a hash of text strings, it will be serialized and UTF-8 encoded before being stored in a file

By default, all pieces of data are mandatory. If you append a question mark to the type, this piece of data will be marked as optional. See the comments in the "SYNOPSIS" section for an example.

By default, string or binary data is used directly. If you append an asterisk to the type, the data that you add or get will be by reference. This can be useful to avoid string copies of large amounts of data.


The following methods are available:


return a new Directory::Queue::Normal object (class method)


return a copy of the object; this can be useful to have independent iterators on the same queue


return the queue toplevel path


return a unique identifier for the queue


return the number of elements in the queue


return the first element in the queue, resetting the iterator; return an empty string if the queue is empty


return the next element in the queue, incrementing the iterator; return an empty string if there is no next element


add the given data (a hash or hash reference) to the queue and return the corresponding element name; the schema must be known and the data must conform to it


attempt to lock the given element and return true on success; if the PERMISSIVE option is true (which is the default), it is not a fatal error if the element cannot be locked and false is returned


attempt to unlock the given element and return true on success; if the PERMISSIVE option is true (which is not the default), it is not a fatal error if the element cannot be unlocked and false is returned


update the access and modification times on the element's directory to indicate that it is still being used; this is useful for elements that are locked for long periods of time (see the purge() method)


remove the given element (which must be locked) from the queue


get the data from the given element (which must be locked) and return basically the same hash as what add() got (in list context, the hash is returned directly while in scalar context, the hash reference is returned instead); the schema must be knownand the data must conform to it


purge the queue by removing unused intermediate directories, removing too old temporary elements and unlocking too old locked elements (aka staled locks); note: this can take a long time on queues with many elements; OPTIONS can be:


maximum time for a temporary element (in seconds, default 300); if set to 0, temporary elements will not be removed


maximum time for a locked element (in seconds, default 600); if set to 0, locked elements will not be unlocked


All the directories holding the elements and all the files holding the data pieces are located under the queue toplevel directory. This directory can contain:


the directory holding temporary elements, i.e. the elements being added


the directory holding obsolete elements, i.e. the elements being removed


an intermediate directory holding elements; NNNNNNNN is an 8-digits long hexadecimal number

In any of the above directories, an element is stored as a single directory with a 14-digits long hexadecimal name SSSSSSSSMMMMMR where:


represents the number of seconds since the Epoch


represents the microsecond part of the time since the Epoch


is a random hexadecimal digit used to reduce name collisions

Finally, inside an element directory, the different pieces of data are stored into different files, named according to the schema. A locked element contains in addition a directory named locked.




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