It seems like every application I’ve ever written, at some point needs to run a task in the background that is to be scheduled at some point in the future. My need for tasks as reoccurring batch jobs has decreased significantly over the years because of my applications being more event driven. Nowadays, I will often use Event Stores Persistent Subscriptions with my event stream as a queue. However, I’m not event sourcing all parts of the application and not always using Event Store. If you have any questions, please follow me on Twitter.
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HangfireI stumbled upon Hangfire a couple years ago when trying to find solution to running background tasks in a .NET console application running as a service with Topshelf. When I was trying to find a solution, I need to have tasks distributed across multiple worker services. Hangfire has this problem solved.
An easy way to perform fire-and-forget, delayed and recurring tasks inside ASP.NET applications. No Windows Service required. Backed by persistent storages. Open and free for commercial use. Background method calls and their arguments are serialized and may overcome the process boundaries. You can use Hangfire on different machines to get more processing power with no configuration – synchronization is performed automatically.
Getting StartedThe docs are really good over at the Hangfire site, so I don’t want to rewrite what is already over there. I do however just want to give you enough to show you how simple it is to use and let you decide if its a viable solution for you. There are two ways in which you can get started. If you plan on using Hangfire within an ASP.NET Web Application and want to use SQL Server as your storage mechanism, then you can install the boostrapper package which has everything you need.
Install-Package HangFire -Version 1.5.6If you plan on using in any other project type (Windows Service, Console, OWIN-Compatible Web Application, Azure Worker Role) or different storage mechanism, you can install the Hangfire.Core.
Install-Package HangFire.Core -Version 1.5.6
ConfigurationConfiguration is the same if you are in an ASP.NET Web Application or any other project type. What differs is where you put this configuration. But it is incredibly straight forward. You simply use the GlobalConfiguration class to configure the entry point.
ServerThe server is what processes the background tasks we will define later. In order to create a server, you simply create a BackgroundJobServer. This can be called from any project you wish to act as a Hangfire server. As with configuration, where you place create the BackgroundJobServerwill depend on the project type.
Create Background TaskThere are different types of background tasks that we can now create from any other project type. These calls do not need to be made from the same application as the server.
Fire-and-forgetYou simply call the Enqueue with your action you want to invoke on the server.
TheFor my example, I’m going to Enqueue a new task in the same application as my server. When you run this application, here is the console output.
Enqueuemethod does not call the target method immediately, it runs the following steps instead:
- Serialize a method information and all its arguments.
- Create a new background job based on the serialized information.
- Save background job to a persistent storage.
- Enqueue background job to its queue.
15 thoughts to “Background Tasks in .NET”
Yeah, Hangfire is fantastic! We use it with the Redis store and can’t say enough good things about it. It’s great to just be able to throw serializable MediatR Request objects up in a queue to be executed in the background. Commands all the way down FTW 🙂
Exactly! I use the same approach. I generally handle the initial command to satisfy the request then offload to Hangfire to do some additional work in the background.
I think my next post is going to elaborate on this exactly. On how you can create a command (MediatR Request), send off to Hangfire and have it run in the background.
Thanks for the feedback!
Hangfire is super tool, no doubts about that
Just couple of technical things to your blog.
1) Data Storage> (typo) SQLight => SQLite
2) Hangfire does not supports all data stores list in the link.
SQLite, for example, is definitely not working
Thanks for the feedback. I’ve updated accordingly. I’ve been looking for a MySQL provider and there are a couple out on GitHub but not entirely sure how complete they are yet.
I used WebJobs on Azure in my last project. WebJobs worked really well for me – I especially liked its reliable queues. However I did find diagnosing problems a bit difficult. I think I could have used HangFire instead.
A couple of questions from your experience. What is HangFire like for testing and debugging background tasks? Also, what happens if you publish/replace an ASP.NET application – I assume any enqueued messages still get honoured as they are stored in a persistent store – correct?
In terms of debugging locally, it’s as if you are debugging any other console or web app. Once an job is invoked you can break where the start of your code (the job target) would occur. The UI does provide pretty decent messages if something goes wrong to calling your target method. It does automatically do retries if the invocation failes (10 by default).
For logging in general, I’ve been using a combination of log4net and Exceptionless.
great article thanks!
Love Hangfire! We recently integrated it into a project and in conjunction with SignalR we could do some really cool live (long running process) updates to the user as they were running. These were for long running jobs that users triggered.